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TV Review: WGN America’s ‘Manhattan’

After launching the genre-period mash-up Salem, cable network WGN America goes for more serious fare with Manhattan, created by Masters of Sex writer Sam ShawThe drama, based on the creation of the atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico, premieres Sunday, July 27, at 10 p.m. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

"The show is paced like a thriller, and people, not physics, are in the foreground. But personal lives play out against a backdrop of war, secrecy and also paranoia."
—Alessandra Stanley, NYT

"Manhattan aims to paint on a larger canvas and flaunt an assured sense of identity. With 13 episodes set for the first season, it may be time to find out if you get WGN America in your cable or satellite package."
—Tim Goodman, THR

"WGN America's bold new period drama Manhattan goes even further [than Mad Men], eschewing the romantic veneer altogether in a gritty story of scientific mavericks operating in extreme circumstances."
—Matt Roush, TV Guide

"That's Manhattan over and over; no aversion whatsoever to cliché, but completely capable of moving beyond it."
—Margaret Lyons, Vulture

"As admirable as some of its elements are, what’s missing in the opening hours is the elusive spark necessary to make them genuinely pop."
—Brian Lowry, Variety

"As a thriller, Manhattan mostly works. We know what will happen—they’ll build the bomb—but the how, the twists and turns, the breakthroughs and bolts of luck, supply the necessary momentum."
—Willa Paskin, Slate