Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Man in the High Castle

Based on the 1960s novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick, this is the pilot for an Amazon Prime series that happens on an alternate world where the Axis powers won World War II.

In this world, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was assassinated in the 1930s before pulling the United States out of the Depression. Presidents that followed pursued an isolationist stance in world events, and the US was therefore unprepared for the crippling blow at Pearl Harbor. At the end of a prolonged war, the once powerful US is now divided into three puppet nations under the control of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. In this new timeline these two empires engage in a familiar yet more dangerous nuclear Cold War.

As the Fuhrer is dying and the power struggle to fill the void promises an oncoming American war between Germany and Japan, the pilot follows a handful of characters as they navigate this alternate political landscape. Complicating matters is a film called "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy," which depicts a World War II occurring as we know it, whether it's trick photography or an actual newsreel is left up in the air in this pilot.

"The Man in the High Castle" is a streamlined version of a very complicated book, with a few subtle twists not present in the source material. It sets itself up as an enthralling political thriller albeit taking place in a sinister yet fascinating parallel world. I hope it does well in Amazon's pilot season because I'd like to see more.

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