The Man In The High Castle is a new series developed by Amazon. Based on the 1962 Philip K. Dick story of the same name, and executive-produced by Ridley Scott, the show presents a 1962 in which the Axis powers won the Second World War, and the USA is divided between the Japanese and the Germans (the Germans getting the bigger half, and a Neutral Zone buffering the division).
Hitler’s ailing health suggests that soon he will be replaced, and his successor might not be happy to maintain the status quo: Germany might soon decide to take over the Japanese territory. In the meantime, subversive films, newsreels of the Allies winning the war, have been created by the so-called Man In The High Castle, we encounter (in the first couple of episodes) two copies of one of these films, sent to the Neutral Zone, from opposite coasts.
At two episodes into the show, we don’t really know who we can trust, yet. It will be interesting to watch all over again, after the season has finished, from a more informed (hopefully) perspective. I think there’s a lot of subtlety going on in some of the details. My wife pointed some things out during and after the second episode (I was pretty tired during that second episode, and I know I drifted a couple of times).
At the same time, Wikipedia pointed to an article from someone familiar with Japanese culture, explaining how there are quite a few details in that regard, in the first episode, are head-bangingly wrong. There was a gap between the production of the first episode and the rest of the series, I rather hope they improved things (but wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t).
High Castle’s paranoid atmosphere is different to that of Manhattan (still waiting for Season 2 to come to Hulu). A reaction that some of Manhattan’s characters had to the intense atmosphere in that show, was debauchery. Lot of it going around on TV these days, so far High Castle hasn’t been interested in that, which is a bit of a relief, to be honest.
The theme tune is a creepy version of Edelweiss, its ethereal sound contrasting with the more urban-vibe graphics.
I’ve enjoyed the cast so far, in particular it’s nice to see Rufus Sewell again.
Looking forward to the rest of the series showing up on Amazon in about a month.