No, WGN America’s second scripted original isn’t set on a certain overpopulated island, and it’s not a guide to mixing the perfect whisky-vermouth-bitters concoction. Instead, it’s a stylish retro drama about the men and women commissioned by the United States to create the world’s first atomic bomb—or, as one scientist wryly informs another in the following exclusive trailer, a device the team ”prefers to call a gadget.”
Not already intrigued? Take a look at the extended promo, which starts out with old-timey newsreel footage before segueing into actual scenes from the series. You’ll meet star John Benjamin Hickey as Los Alamos newbie Frank Winter, who’s been tasked with leading the Manhattan Project; Olivia Williams as Liza, his botanist wife; and a host of other characters played by faces familiar to anyone who keeps up with prestige dramas (hey, it’s Rachel from House of Cards! Nice to see you in the 1940s, Duck Phillips!). There is wry period humor (the “computers” that the Project relies on are actually an arsenal of comely secretaries); there is darkly-amusing-in-hindsight dialogue (“We won’t just end this war. We’ll end all war”); and there’s a stirring musical backdrop, courtesy of Serena Ryder’s sultry, Amy Winehouse-esque ballad “For You.” It’s kinda like Masters of Sex, except with more booms than boot-knocking. And actually, not really that much like Masters of Sex.
Manhattan premieres Sunday, July 27 at 9 p.m. ET on WGN America.