Manhattan: Season 1 (2014)


Season 1

Critics Consensus

Though slow to start, Manhattan is a top-notch drama thanks to a talented cast, beautiful cinematography, and a keen eye for period detail.



Critic Ratings: 29


Audience Score

User Ratings: 388
User image


Air date: Jul 27, 2014
Air date: Aug 3, 2014
Air date: Aug 10, 2014
Air date: Aug 17, 2014
Air date: Aug 24, 2014
Air date: Aug 31, 2014
Air date: Sep 7, 2014
Air date: Sep 14, 2014
Air date: Sep 21, 2014
Air date: Sep 28, 2014
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Manhattan: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Secrecy and lies drive this 1940s period drama about the birth of the nuclear age, and the fictitious stories of the men and women involved in the clandestine race to build the world's first atomic bomb. The series focuses on the moral dilemmas faced by a ragtag team of scientists headed by brilliant nuclear physicist Frank Winter (John Benjamin Hickey) after they, along with their families, are relocated to the remote desert of Los Alamos, N.M., to work on the top-secret Manhattan Project. For loved ones, asking questions is frowned upon, but that doesn't keep Frank's botanist wife Liza (Olivia Williams) from making some frightening discoveries about the local environment. Meanwhile, her marriage to Frank suffers as he becomes consumed by his mission. Daniel Stern, Ashley Zukerman, Katja Herbers and Rachel Brosnahan also star.


John Benjamin Hickey
as Frank Winter
Olivia Williams
as Liza Winter
Ashley Zukerman
as Charlie Isaacs
Rachel Brosnahan
as Abby Isaacs
Daniel Stern
as Glen Babbit
Alexia Fast
as Callie Winter
Eddie Shin
as Sid Liao
Michael Chernus
as Louis ''Fritz'' Fedowitz
Harry Lloyd
as Paul Crosley
Katja Herbers
as Helen Prins
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News & Interviews for Manhattan: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Manhattan Season 1

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (19)

Manhattan should be more gripping and more entertaining.

Jul 23, 2014 | Full Review…
Top Critic

A beautifully executed 1940s period drama about the men and women involved in the top-secret Manhattan Project is at once transporting and provocative.

Jul 21, 2014 | Full Review…

In this oversaturated summer of quality drama, "Manhattan" faces tough odds. But it's hard not to root for an underdog.

Jul 31, 2014 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Manhattan is awfully overwrought, stocked with personalities as volatile as the radioactive isotopes they're trying to tame. Its melodramatic tone makes it resemble Lifetime's Army Wives more than it does A Beautiful Mind.

Jul 29, 2014 | Full Review…

Carrying the weight of the world can be heavy lifting. Manhattan so far shows every sign of being able to shoulder the load.

Jul 28, 2014 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
Top Critic

Manhattan... is as exciting as the history that inspired it

Jul 28, 2014 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Paranoia is kept at a fever pitch. One of the elements that makes Manhattan work so well as long-form narrative is that the milieu dictates a palimpsest of networks of secrecy.

Nov 18, 2015 | Full Review…

Manhattan is a well-conceived period drama that does a good job conveying the atmosphere of tension and secrecy that surrounded The Manhattan Project during the later years of WWII.

Aug 4, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Manhattan is the result of an unlikely attempt to cross-pollinate Lost with Mad Men, only the audience knows the answer to almost every mystery on the show is "the atomic bomb."

Jul 29, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

The cast is incredibly talented and the story tightly written.

Jul 28, 2014 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Manhattan: Season 1

  • Oct 25, 2014
    One of the biggest surprises of the year, Manhattan might also be one of the best new series of the year. A series that smartly doesn’t have protagonists (everyone is important), this drama with thriller ambitions starts with a couple of bangs and slows a bit on the middle. Which is great, because we got to know these characters intimately and all of them are fascinating, growing and evolving with each passing episode. The consequences of living in such a tight-knight project will also affect them immensely with heartbreaking results. The last 4 or 5 episodes are absolutely relentless on the thriller aspect, pulling great surprises at every turn, making you constantly guess who might be the “spy” even if there is one and their reasons. But also these last episodes are great on concluding certain story lines for these characters. Always aided by great dialogues, soundtracking and adequate cinematography, Manhattan holds great promise for the future.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer
  • Dec 17, 2018
    While I usually agree with reviews on this site. Not so with Manhattan. It's a fictionalized account of the Manhattan Project. Season One basically showcases every women in the cast as a military whore and the only women who is not a whore has mental issues. The only female physicist is also a bed-hopper. It doesn't portray women in a good light. According to the Hollywood Reporter there was a 45% drop in viewership come season two and after watching season one, it's clear to see why. It was hard for me to watch Season Two with such ridiculous personal fictionalized stories written for these characters. If I could have given it less then one-star I would have. Oh! The series was abruptly canceled for low-ratings. So if you decided to watch this, just know that it does NOT have a proper ending to the series.
  • Nov 10, 2018
    The reason it was cancelled, according to Hollywood, 45% of the audience of season one did NOT come back to see season two. And rightfully so. This series uses the guise of the creation of an atomic bomb to sell you a made-up story with characters that were never involved with the bomb. Since it was cancelled, don't waste your time watching a series that has no proper ending.
  • May 19, 2018
    The first season of WGN's short-lived period drama is often engrossing, and has a nice ratio of science and history to keep it interesting and diverse. Fictionalizing the Manhattan Project which of course gave birth to the atomic bomb, the show carries a heavy air to it, yet narrowly avoids pretension. While the large cast can at times be unwieldly, most of the show's character are finely developed, and the writing supplies them all intelligent (if at times mildly anachronistic) dialogue. Solid production values, and a firm momentum also keep Manhattan afloat, and it only found ways to improve for its second (and unfortunately final) season.
  • Feb 03, 2015
    Great twist on writing, perfectly cast characters & good period snapshot make it my new obsession.
  • Nov 14, 2014
    Great TV series, great cast and plot. Accurate from the scientific point of view and the emotional one as well!
  • Oct 23, 2014
    Started off very strong but grew progressively more melodramatic and implausible to the point where any paranoid fantasy becomes believable. The real Los Alamos program was developed in total secrecy and with military control that must have made life impossibly rigid for those under it, but the series amps that reality up to eleven. There are numerous deaths (including a number of the scientists), constant military violations of human rights (to the point where cold extra-legal detention centers must be almost like second homes even to heads of the project), backstabbings for minor benefits, and general dickishness that never ceases to amaze. Instead of dispassionately, or at least rationally, judging the plausibility of two possibilities (which is what Dr. Oppenheimer SHOULD have been doing here) the characters have to resort to complicated schemes and betrayals in order to achieve very simple goals. The desire for constant tension leaves the series at a permanent state of excess that it undoubtedly wants but begins to feel forced around the fifth time the lead betrays someone to get something he should have just been able to ask for. The period detail is really nice and they do go into some interesting character analyses but in the end it cannot resist the temptation to push everything beyond the breaking point, and that is why this ends up being less and less entertaining as it goes on.
  • Oct 17, 2014
    Simply one of the best series so far!
  • Oct 13, 2014
    I"m passionate about it. THOUGHTFUL. CHALLENGING. Complex. Insightful. One of my favorite shows. Renew it!
  • Oct 07, 2014
    Great film. Hoping it never ends.

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