“The Knick” on Cinemax is a very good show. It almost feels like a successor in some ways period-wise to “Boardwalk Empire” (not in terms of linearity, but feel), and it also has a great role for an underrated actor in Clive Owen.
Unfortunately, it’s possible that this is the first time some of you out there have ever heard of “The Knick,” and that makes us sad. The unfortunate reality is that this series airs on a network that is not regularly viewed by many, even if some episodes have seen some life over on HBO. It also hasn’t received a whole lot of mainstream attention.
Here is the ultimately pickle that Cinemax has themselves in with this show. While a season 2 is official for the show already, how do you promote and expand an audience for a premium cable drama that effectively, people have to pay up-front in order to watch? This has been a challenge for other networks in this category as well. Take, for example, Starz. The network struggled to get shows like “Boss” and “Magic City” off the ground, and their biggest hits in the “Spartacus” franchise and “Outlander” have name recognition going in. Even HBO now is reliant somewhat on names like George R.R. Martin (“Game of Thrones”) and Damon Lindelof (“The Leftovers”) to get people watching from the get-go.
What we wonder for the time being is if Cinemax or its parent companies would someday consider putting half of a first season on a streaming service like Netflix / Amazon Prime after its airs, mostly for the purpose of bringing in new viewers. You cannot hand over the entire season, since that devalues your own subscriptions. However, you need to acquire new customers. When your show is very good, but somehow not outstanding enough to get Emmy attention, there are often few avenues for yourself.
This is at least a situation that we’re going to be monitoring moving forward, so be on the lookout for other updates. Anyhow, enjoy the finale for “The Knick” tonight, and head over here to get some further TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter.