Manhattan: Season One (Blu-ray Review)

ManhattanSet against the backdrop of the mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb Manhattan follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families as they attempt to coexist in a world where secrets and lies infiltrate every aspect of their lives.  



The Series 


Manhattan was a breath of fresh air in the otherwise crowded premium television show circuit. It deals with folks who are being recruited from all over the USA to a secret facility out in the New Mexico desert. The top-secret project would late be known as the “Manhattan Project” and it is where the atomic bomb was first built and tested.  We follow the events of this undertaking through the eyes of several different characters and the grand toll it will take on their families and themselves – physically and emotionally.

There are two projects running along at the same time – one is headed by Frank Winter (John Benjamin Hickey), who thinks that his idea of implosion is the best way to go about things but he and his team have yet to perfect the science. It exists and they know it but his supervisors don’t rally have the time or patience to wait. I should also mention that Manhattan also plays out like an arms race. It seems that Nazi Germany is also after the secret of the bomb and subtle hints are dropped that the Manhattan Project may have a mole.

Manhattan is a fully loaded affair. You have brilliant scientists of all kinds working side by side and against each other in order to create and implement a giant bomb that will kill millions. I’m not here to talk about the morality about it – it’s done, it happened, and the show just dramatizes those events and the keyword there is “dramatizes.” It’s a very entertaining show, with hints of slow burn and whatnot, but never dull. It’s amazing to see the transformations some of the characters go through when they become so obsessed with unlocking the secrets of the bomb that their friends, family are left behind to pick up the pieces of what will be broken people.

The show was renewed for a second season, which is a good thing, because this season has enough to keep one busy for a while. A second season is needed to bring things to fruition. Lots of folks were introduced and there are many subplots to get through in addition to resolving several story-arcs. Manhattan was created by Sam Shaw who previously worked as a writer on Masters of Sex (great show, by the way) and he is the head honcho on this show. He definitely has his hands full but I will return to see how this all ends. It’s weird that in real life we know how it ends, because it already happened, but damn it, I want to know how the show ends!


You Always Hurt The One You Love

The Prisoner’s Dilemma

The Hive

Last Reasoning Of Kings

A New Approach To Nuclear Cosmology

Acceptable Limits

The New World

The Second Coming

Spooky Action At A Distance

The Understudy


The Gun Model





Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: Manhattan on Blu-ray come sot us in a pristine AVC/MPRG-4 transfer. Contrast does seem to have gotten a bit of a boost but if one were to boost the contrast levels up a bit then this is how you do it. I love the aesthetic presented here. Sharpness levels are also kept in check.

Depth: I’ll go on record and say that Manhattan is one of the best looking shows on cable television and on the Blu-ray format. No expense was spared in getting it to look his good.

Black Levels: Black levels are flawless – detail is present and levels are deep, dark, and inky.

Color Reproduction: The series has a peculiar color palette in that most scenes revolving around the top secretive compound stay washed out some of the cars, costumes, and ladies’ make-up come through in a rich and vibrant fashion. There are quite a few scenes where some of the personnel go out for fun and those scenes really inject some color into the frame.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are natural – warm and everyone looks healthy. I reckon it’s the New Mexico air.

Noise/Artifacts: Noise and artifacts are absent all the way around.



Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1,

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Manhattan sounds great on Blu-ray. It’s a drama set during WWII but we do get lots of scenes that have some action in them whether it’d be weapons or engineering tests – the lossless soundtrack provided handles it all in stride.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE subwoofer channel takes care of those scenes requiring some low rumble without the added hints of rattle.

Surround Sound Presentation: There are a few scenes that use the rear channels for more than ambience – the Second World War is in full effect, so we do get glimpses of that. The rear surround field handles everything well enough.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are pristine.



The extras for Manhatta are informative but light in terms of content. They’re also split up on the 3-disc set, so that’s a bit cumbersome. We get some featurette talks about production, production design, make-up, costumes, and the fascination of the whole “Manhattan Project” event.  It could have used some more padding but I guess this is average enough.


  • Ground Zero: Bringing the Bomb to Screen (HD)
  • P.O. Box 1663: Creating a City that Didn’t Exist (HD)
  • Now I Am Become Death: J. Robert Oppenheimer (HD) 
  • Recreating an Era: Manhattan Costume Design (HD) 
  • Commentaries with Cast and Crew



 Manhattan: Season One was very entertaining and educational. Great performances by all involved elevate the season above others. Yes, there will be a second season coming soon, so get ready for that. This 3-disc Blu-ray set features reference video and audio, with some light extras. It is highly recommended!


Manhattan: Season One was released on Blu-ray & DVD April 7th!




Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

1 Response to “Manhattan: Season One (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I was a big fan of this show. Looking forward to the next season! Nice review.