There has been a great big-screen adaptation of the writings of Philip K. Dick in 1982’s Blade Runner, and some less-than-stellar ones since. But now we have the first near-great TV series based on the Hugo Award-winning author work in Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle. I thought the pilot had some issues when it went up on Amazon in January, but, as my video review above says, the espionage-rich 10-episode first season that debuts November 20 is a great binge-worthy way to spend a weekend in a world that thankfully never was.
The long-gestating, meticulously crafted and damn fine alternative-history drama depicts a divided and drab America of 1962, in which the Nazis rule the East Coast and Imperial Japan reigns over the West Coast. There’s the shocking image of swastikas over Times Square, Jewish persecution, and the bureaucratic banality of evil that pervades everywhere – sometimes with brutal violence. A nightmare to be sure made all the more horrific by a near-certain stateside war between the totalitarian Axis powers as rumors of the failing health of Adolf Hitler swirl.
With Blade Runner director Ridley Scott, The X-Files’ Frank Spotnitz and Dick’s daughter Isa Dick Hackett among the executive producers, High Castle questions not only our sense of history but also what freedom itself means in a world where order is valued over all else. With a banned film that shows a very different outcome to World War II playing a pivotal part in High Castle, there’s also a strong cast of Mob City’s Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans and Luke Kleintank. Topping it is Rufus Sewell as Obergrupperfuhrer and All-American family man John Smith, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Trade Minister Nobusuke Tagomi — two very different members of the different elites with eyes on the big picture and the future.
Take a look at my video review of The Man In The High Castle and tell us what you think.