I’ve just watched The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime; its one of the contenders in this year’s Amazon Pilots programme where several tv-pilots are streamed and viewers can vote for which pilot to go to series. Well I have to say if this one doesn’t go to pilot I will be appalled. This show is extraordinarily good and deserves a series, if only because of the mother of all cliffhangers that the pilot concludes with (man, that’s one horrible cruel tease if this show doesn’t get picked up).
For those not in the know, The Man in the High Castle is an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award-winning alternative history novel. The Allies lost World War 2 and the Germans and Japanese have divided up control of the United States. Its a remarkably dark vision of a fascinating and horribly plausible world, and its one that is incredibly well executed in this pilot. Written by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) and executive produced by Ridley Scott, I hoped it would be good, but didn’t expect it to be so utterly brilliant. Hell, they had me at the title sequence- the use of the gentle song “Edelweiss” being sung over chilling images of an alternate past in which America has been defeated and occupied by the Axis Superpowers.
The show is beautifully constructed and shot- one of my only worries is how expensive this show was to produce, and how that may effect the eventual decision to go to a series. I think its clear though that if this does go to series, then Amazon have moved into a whole new ball-game of production.
Set in 1962 and full of bizarre retro charm (imagine setting Blade Runner in 1962); it looks like some kind of twisted dystopian episode of Mad Men, with Nazi’s walking New York streets and Japanese police patrolling San Francisco. The scale and detail is breathtaking, making it one of the most interesting and engaging things I have seen on tv in years. So many questions are raised and the possibilities of a full-series run are mouth-watering.
So if you have Amazon Prime, get watching this as soon as possible and be sure to score it accordingly afterwards. This really needs to go to a series. Me, I’m going to watch this show again and soak up all the details, see what I missed first time around. Great show.