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The Man in the High Castle
Scott Free Productions/Electric Shepherd Productions/Amazon Studios, 2015
Directed by David Semel (Ally McBeal, Dawson's Creek)
Written by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files, Millennium)
Based on the novel by the late Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale)
Running Time: 60 minutes
Rated TV-MA for graphic violence, nudity, and profanity.

Cast
Alexa Davalos (Kyra in The Chronicles of Riddick, Andromeda in Clash of the Titans) as Juliana Crain
Rupert Evans as Frank Frink
Luke Kleintank as Joe Blake
DJ Qualls as Ed McCarthy
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat, Heihachi Mishima in Tekken) as Trade Minister Nobusuke Tagomi
Rufus Sewell (Adam in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Autolycus in Hercules) as Obergruppenführer John Smith

Joel de la Fuente (Ruben Morales in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Paul Wang in Space: Above and Beyond) as Inspector Kido

Synopsis
In an alternate timeline, the Axis Powers have won World War II. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan occupy the United States and establish the Greater Nazi Reich and The Japanese Pacific States, respectively. Between those puppet states is a neutral zone comprised of the Rocky Mountain States.

In the year 1962, a series of small events occur on both sides of the continent involving The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, a film that depicts the Allied Forces winning WWII. Juliana Crain of San Francisco and Joe Blake of New York meet each other in Canon City, Colorado, each having discovered the film. Meanwhile, relations between both the Nazis and the Japanese are slowly deteriorating, and with rumors of Hitler nearing his death, there are suspicions that his successor will drop nuclear bombs on Japan and gain complete control of the former United States.

Lowdown
To learn more about the original story, watch Alternate History Hub's video analysis:



There have been a number of alternate history media depicting the world if WWII had ended differently. This TV pilot adaptation of Philip K. Dick's 1962 novel is probably the most realistic depiction of society under Axis rule. This episode is very plot-heavy, introducing our main characters and the dystopia they live in. Technology has not advanced beyond WWII, while the Nazis and the Japanese keep a close eye on the citizens of their occupied states. The younger generation lives normal lives while the older people continue to regret the war they lost. Meanwhile, the discovery of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy raises questions on this dystopia due to its realistic nature while cracks begin to form between the Axis Powers. On top of that, the excellent performances by the actors add to the grittiness of the setting. So far, we learn that Juliana Crain is on a journey to find out what her half-sister Trudy was killed for, while Joe Blake is a Nazi double-agent assigned to discover the motives of the American resistance in the neutral zone.

Thanks to the critical acclaim of this pilot, Amazon Studios has greenlit the series for a full season. Rightfully so, as this is one of the best TV series debuts of this century.

Rating: A

Links
Official Website Edited by areaseven

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Episode 2: "Sunrise"
Directed by Daniel Percival (Michael Dolan in Lost in Austen)
In Canon City, Juliana gets a job as a waitress after her luggage was stolen during her trip while Joe makes contact with his superiors in New York, having discovered the film aboard his truck. She is advised by a customer to go to the local bookstore and pick up a Bible, which gives more clues to the Man in the High Castle. Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, Frank is arrested and tortured by the Kempeitai, who demand the whereabouts of Juliana and her copy of the film. In New York, Obergruppenführer Smith survives an ambush by Jewish rebels.



Differences from the Book

Premise
- The TV series does not cover the prologue, where President Franklin D. Roosevelt is assassinated in 1933, leading to a weak presidency by his successors that results in an easy takeover by the Axis Powers.
- In the TV series, the Rocky Mountain States are simply known as the Neutral Zone.
- Unlike in the novel, Hitler does not suffer from syphillis and Martin Bormann does not assume the position of Führer. Hitler still assumes power, despite rumors of his ailing health.
- In the TV series, the Nazis do not convert the Mediterranean Ocean into a vast farmland, nor do they land on the Moon or Mars.
- In the novel, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is a book that is banned in the Nazi side of the U.S., while it is widely read in the Japanese side and the Rocky Mountain States. In the TV series, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is but one of many different films depicting alternate outcomes of World War II.
- Both novel and TV series do not ever mention Canada.

Characters
- In the novel, Frank Frink is a WWII veteran who is fired from the Wyndham-Matson Corporation, where he was manufacturing forgeries of prewar Americana artifacts. He and Ed McCarthy set up their own jewelry shop. In the TV series, both Frank and Ed still work at Wyndham-Matson.
- In the novel, Frank and Juliana are divorced, with Juliana living in Cañnon City, Colorado, as a judo instructor and having an intimate relationship with Nazi spy Joe Cinnadella. In the TV series, Frank and Juliana are in the middle of a rocky relationship; in addition, Juliana is an aikido student.

- Joe Cinnadella is renamed Joe Blake in the TV series, and he does not have a romantic relationship with Juliana.

- Obergruppenführer John Smith is an original character for the TV series.

- General Tedeki, who is Rudolf Wegener's contact in the novel, is not in the TV series; instead, Wegener corresponds directly with Trade Minister Tagomi.

- Hawthorne Abendsen, who is the Man in the High Castle in the novel, does not appear in the TV series. Instead, it is implied that Hitler himself is the Man in the High Castle.

Edited by areaseven

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Yea I really liked the book back when I read it in highschool, reviews for the first episode are solid, so I may have to get a Prime account and start watching this.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sowcbucw0WE

And now for a quick recap:

Episode 3: "The Illustrated Woman"

Directed by Ken Olin (Michael Steadman in thirtysomething)

Devastated over the loss of his sister and her children at the hands of the Kempeitai, Frank must tell the bad news to her husband. Tagomi is on edge when the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan arrive in San Francisco. Meanwhile, a bounty hunter known only as "The Marshal", enters Canon City, looking for clues on the disappearance of the Origami Man. While ditching the Origami Man's body, Juliana and Joe find a map to an abandoned mine, where they make a gruesome discovery.

Episode 4: "Revelations"

Directed by Michael Rymer (Battlestar Galactica)

Juliana and Joe meet up with Lemuel Washington, the owner of the local diner and one of the names on the list of suspected Resistance members. He leads them to the next clue to the Man in the High Castle, but not before exposing Joe as a Nazi spy. Meanwhile, Frank plots his revenge on the Japanese government, but something goes wrong during the Crown Prince's speech.

Episode 5: "The New Normal"

Directed by Bryan Spicer (Castle, 24)

The Crown Prince is assassinated, placing San Francisco on high alert as Frank ditches his gun, despite not being the culprit. Juliana comes home and turns herself in to the Kempeitai after hearing of the damage she had done to Frank's life. Meanwhile, Joe reports back to Obergruppenführer Smith and learns that he has failed his mission.

Episode 6: "Three Monkeys"

Directed by Nelson McCormick (Daredevil, NYPD Blue)

As part of her mission to learn more about the Man in the High Castle, Juliana gets a job as Tagomi's assistant. Meanwhile, Joe is invited to celebrate VA Day with Obergruppenführer Smith's family. Wegener, who has been placed on the Kempeitai's watchlist under suspicion of being involved in the Crown Prince's assassination, bumps into Obergruppenführer Smith at the airport and joins the party.

Trivia: The title refers to Sanzaru, or the Three Wise Monkeys of Japanese folklore.

Episode 7: "Truth"

Directed by Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Fringe)

Obergruppenführer Smith extracts more information from Joe about his encounter with Juliana in Canon City. Joe is ordered to contact Juliana again, as Nazi intelligence has learned of another film in the Pacific States. Meanwhile, after bumping into Juliana at the government office, her stepfather tells her the truth about Trudy. Wanting to learn more about Juliana, Togami gives her Trudy's final whereabouts.

Episode 8: "End of the World"

Directed by Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Jennifer's Body)

Just as Juliana and Frank plan their escape from the Pacific States, Joe arrives and meets up with Juliana. The Resistance coax her into asking Joe to give them 100,000 yen to obtain the new film from the Yakuza. Meanwhile, Obergruppenführer Smith brings his son to the hospital for a checkup, only to learn of the disturbing truth about his son's health.

Trivia: The title references the 1962 Skeeter Davis song "The End of the World". During the Bamboo Palace scene, an American singer is performing the song in Japanese.

Episode 9: "Kindness"

Directed by Michael Slovis (Breaking Bad, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)

Due to the Kempentai's raid on the meeting place, the Yakuza and the Resistance hold Joe and the film for ransom, and Juliana tries to convince Frank to help her raise the 50,000 yen. Meanwhile, at a formal dinner, Wegener is interrogated by Oberst-Gruppenführer Heydrich over allegations of leaking Nazi technology to the Japanese. Kido discovers the shocking truth behind the Crown Prince's assassination.

Episode 10: "A Way Out"

Directed by Daniel Percival (Pipp Everett in Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj)

Juliana and Frank play the film they acquired at a school auditorium and discover a horrifying revelation that involves them. When Joe reaquires the film, the Resistance offers Juliana and Frank a way out in exchange for Joe's life and the film. Meanwhile, Obergruppenführer Smith is invited by Heydrich to a morning hunting session, aware that it may be his last. Following a tip-off by the Yakuza, Kido locates the man behind the Crown Prince's assassination, but feeling he has failed his country, he prepares to commit seppuku. Wegener arrives in Berlin for one final mission that may affect the future of the Third Reich.

Edited by areaseven

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Great review A7!. You may also want to add the part where Frank got his 46,000 Yen by making counterfeit artifacts and selling them thru Robert. From wikipedia :

Robert Childan owns American Artistic Handcrafts, an Americana antiques business on Montgomery Street in San Francisco, supplied in part by WyndhamMatson, Inc. He believes the items he sells are genuine, but cannot distinguish the authentic from the counterfeit. Childan has adopted many of the manners and ways of thinking, as well as the English speech patterns, of the Japanese occupiers. However, he is privately contemptuous of the Japanese, retaining his pre-war racist beliefs and reserving his real admiration for the Nazis.

Cant wait for 2nd season.

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Great review A7!. You may also want to add the part where Frank got his 46,000 Yen by making counterfeit artifacts and selling them thru Robert. From wikipedia :

*snip*

Cant wait for 2nd season.

I intended my rundown to be spoiler-free as much as possible.

As for a second season, I don't know.

While the final episode seemed very open-ended, it implied that the Man in the High Castle was none other than Hitler himself.

I will need to pick up the book for more answers.

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I absolutley LOVED this, really ticked all the boxes for me. I binged watched the whole season. so good,I'll probably give it all a re-watch soon.

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Originally composed by Rodgers and Hammerstein for The Sound of Music, "Edelweiss" is the perfect song to open this series.

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It's an incredible series. I just have to watch the last episode still. I've read the synopsis of the book and can see.....and I've also heard....that there are differences between the book and the series. I'm curious where the split in history happened. Did we still enter the war the same way and just lost it? Or did events before the war change how we entered the war thus leading to our downfall, as it was in the book? Very curious about this world. It's very scary.

Chris

Edited by Dobber

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I gave it a try and couldn't get past the first episode's character writing nonsense. The production is ace though, the alternate version of the post war era is really interesting and you can definitely see the production's money on the screen which is even more sad to me since the characters were so hollow and poorly played that I couldn't care about what would happen next.

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I gave it a try and couldn't get past the first episode's character writing nonsense. The production is ace though, the alternate version of the post war era is really interesting and you can definitely see the production's money on the screen which is even more sad to me since the characters were so hollow and poorly played that I couldn't care about what would happen next.

I felt the same way but after a few episodes I kinda got the feeling that this universe might be somewhat dreamlike.

So for me that kinda explains why the characters act and do unrealistic things.

I had to forget about "Where did the film's come from?" and "Why and How do the film's exist?"

If you have ever seen Blade Runner it's kinda similar with the question of "What is Humanity?" or consciousness.

For me the underlying question in The Man in High Castle is "What is reality?

Edited by oshanmacross

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I finally got around to watching this. It was nothing like the book, however I enjoyed the design of the Messerschmitt 9E and overall it looked liked the world that PKD describes. I wonder what the next season will bring?

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I felt the same way but after a few episodes I kinda got the feeling that this universe might be somewhat dreamlike.

So for me that kinda explains why the characters act and do unrealistic things.

I had to forget about "Where did the film's come from?" and "Why and How do the film's exist?"

If you have ever seen Blade Runner it's kinda similar with the question of "What is Humanity?" or consciousness.

For me the underlying question in The Man in High Castle is "What is reality?

That's an interesting way to see it, actually I didn't feel like it was suggested in episode 1 but maybe you get that feeling later on.

Maybe I should have explained better why I couldn't bother watching past episode 1 :

At some point the sister of the Juliana character is shot dead before her eyes in a creepy street and all she does afterwards is watch some silly news movies she instantly believes are from an alternate reality. This was the final storytelling trainwreck, there was other moments too but this one was just too much for me

Also there are too many other excellent shows worth watching right now so I'm too lazy to watch another 3 episodes to get the feeling that it is finally going take off.

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>>>Spoiler

Yeah That bothered me too about Julianna, There are things that happen later that kinda explain why she acted this way though.

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