The Knick: A Storytelling Format Here to StayPosted: August 8, 2014
In a recent Fast Company, Co.Create piece, Bloody Hell: Steven Soderbergh Dissects His Modern, 1900s Medical Drama, The Knick, editor Teresa Iezzi (@tiezzi) provides a deeper look into the strategic planning side of the brain belonging to one of Hollywood’s most successful directors. Soderbergh, who was pulled from retirement by a script “too good to pass up,” talks about how fun and fear-free working in television has become, especially when served up series-style. The Knick, per reviews, is an all too real view of surgery done 1900s-style–a time when chloroform was the anesthetic of choice, scalpels were far less the fine carving tools of today, and exploratory surgery took on a whole new meaning. To keep content as realistic as possible, Soderbergh and team consulted with Dr. Stanley Burns at the Burns Archive, which houses an “…unparalleled collection of early medical photography, but…is also renowned for its iconic images depicting the darker side of life: Death, Disease, Disaster, Mayhem, Crime, Racism, Revolution and War…”
While the subject matter of Soderbergh’s current choice is always of interest in both true and fictional worlds, what caught my attention was the emphasis on continued production of an entire season of TV episodes at one time and then releasing the series in its entirety, encouraging the binge-watching our current online entertainment environment allows. Emmy-award winners and nominees, shows like Dexter, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, True Detective and Orange is the New Black are consumed in mass quantities over single sittings, leaving fans thirsty for the next season’s installment or new series creation just shortly after release. Once a Netflix or HBO phenomenon, full series like The Knick are now being uploaded to a wider range of channels such as Cinemax, AMC and PBS. As technology and resulting viewing habits evolve, so must the way stories are shared–at least in mass media formats. Soderbergh has embraced the change with his usual creativity, and has already been given the green light for a second season of The Knick, and is working on a new pilot for Amazon. What does this mean for new storytellers? There are far more venues for content release–keep writing, keep creating.