SANTA FE, New Mexico — World War II came to a close 70 years ago, but a television show takes you back in time to that tumultuous period of history. The second season of "Manhattan" premieres on WHO’s sister station WGN America Tuesday, October 13th.
The second season promises more suspense and action. Creator Sam Shaw said, “We have sort of thrown our characters into some really uncharted waters."
The show “Manhattan” is set against the backdrop of the race to build the world's first atomic bomb. Actor Christopher Denham said, "Unlike what you've learned in history books in high school, this isn't a historical lesson. This is really about human interactions, the betrayals, the lies, the romance, the espionage behind the true story."
And the second season is all about the fallout. "The stakes become a lot higher in the 2nd season. It all sort of sets the backdrop of the Trinity test building up to this time line," said Denham.
The show takes place in what is now known as Los Alamos, New Mexico. It is shot on two sets in Santa Fe, New Mexico. One is about 20 minutes outside the city. It's made to look like the Trinity test site, about 200 miles north of where the test actually took place 70 years ago.
Actress Olivia Williams said, "When I drove over the hill for the first time and saw the trinity test tower, it's not standing anymore in real life because they blew it up 70 years ago. So to see it standing again, very mixed feelings. It gives me goose bumps to see it."
The show utilized science and history consultants to create a universe similar to the one that existed during World War II, but this is no history lesson. Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear historian, said, "The way that they work about it, though, is that they look at what actually happened in the past and a spread of ideas people might have had in 1945 in Los Alamos."
While “Manhattan" is meant for entertainment, the story remains relevant for the modern viewer. Williams said, "Anybody who has listened to any current affairs is going to have their subconscious woken up because the phrases that we use for the first time are coined in this time, like nuclear fallout and WMD, and anything that's happening in world politics is a consequence of what happened that day 70 years ago."
Denham said, "It just sort of reminds you, it's a story that needs to be retold. There are many people, young people who don't know anything about the Manhattan Project, and if you don't know your history, you're doomed to repeat it."