August 8th, 10 p.m., Cinemax
Welcome to New York's Knickerbocker Hospital, circa 1900 – back in the bad old days when anesthesia is primitive and antibiotics are unknown. And meet your doctor, Clive Owen – a mustachioed tyrant whose main interests are cocaine injections, opium dens and chopping into his patients' bodies. Steven Soderbergh's The Knick is basically a medical Deadwood – Owen is like Al Swearengen, drugging, whoring and swearing away, except with a scalpel in his hand instead of a hunting knife. Which doesn't necessarily make him any less deadly. You have to hand it to Soderbergh for some of the most gruesome operating-room scenes you'll ever watch through your fingers. All the period detail is superbly vivid, and Owen is magnetic; trying to cheat death is his personal battle with the Almighty – as he says, "God always wins. It's the longest unbeaten streak in the history of the world." But it's a battle he relishes.