The word “retirement” conjures images of an idle life, filled with napping in hammocks, passing out Werther’s Originals, and building mad shuffleboard skills. It would appear Steven Soderbergh views retirement in much the same way, only his naps are a seemingly never-ending work schedule, his Werther’s Originals are “final” projects like Side Effects and Behind The Candelabra, and his new leisure sport of choice appears to be series TV. Eight years after Unscripted—and a full decade (or two-and-a-half election cycles) after K Street—Soderbergh will continue his oddly busy retirement from directing by pulling one last heist with his old buddy HBO. Or an HBO-owned network, rather, as the Soderbergh-directed, Clive Owen-starring period drama The Knick is set to debut on Cinemax next year, according to a press release distributed at the Television Critics Association summer press tour today. (Soderbergh had been in talks to direct the series in May, but it’s just now being confirmed.) This would be on top of that Sot-Weed Factor miniseries, so… the candy dish at the Soderbergh house must be very, very full.
The Knick marks a move toward the prestige programming of Cinemax’s companion within your premium-cable package, as the network’s most recent ventures in scripted programming are along the boobs-and-explosions lines of Strike Back and Banshee. No telling if a show set in a New York hospital circa 1900 will fit into that tawdry milieu, but there’s bound to be some commentary on the current state of medical care and/or the pharmaceutical industry embedded into The Knick’s first 10 episodes. Maybe something about primitive methods of sawing through the skulls of vaudevillian starlets—or how “retirement” is a silly concept that should only be visited upon the infirm or the creatively bereft.