If you’ve ever seen a little TV production called ‘Fatherland’ starring Rutger Hauer, adapted from the novel of the same name, you’ll probably know what to expect from this production. The Man in the High Castle was a novel written in the early 1960s, an alternate universe where the Axis powers won the war. Talk of a live action adaptation has been around for years, but perhaps it was Ridley Scott’s coming aboard as producer that finally got it off the ground. The pilot has been released via Amazon Instant Video, the feedback is now being examined as regards to the concept being continued as a series.
I haven’t read the novel, but the synopsis is that the year is 1962 and the world is now halved in two between Germany and Japan. Both have invaded the USA, Japan from the west and Germany from the east. But years into their victory a Cold War is developing along the new American border between the two sole superpowers. This series follows an underground partisan movement, one half under German territory in New York and the other in Los Angeles, in Japanese territory.
Something bothered me about this concept from the start – the idea that Germany and Japan could conquer the planet between them, it’s almost up there with North Korea invading the USA. Germany in WW2 was a country the size of Texas, Japan is hardly much bigger. Both lost the war because they were overstretched, and the territory they held wasn’t a fraction of what is outlined here. By the time Hitler got to Moscow, let alone New York, his combined force of several European countries had had it, they were beat. Nevertheless there is such thing as artistic license and I was hoping for some ingenuius explanation and backstory, but the pilot offers little to nothing, other than Washington being… well, that’d be a spoiler. Maybe that is something they’ll ‘curve’ out as (if) the series progresses.
Even so I think this series has potential. It’s unique and despite not even being on TV, it doesn’t look too bad, considering that you have to recreate the 1960s, an alternate ’60s no less. I also dug the score, powerful and mature enough to match the content, but not intrusive. By the way it has Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as one of the head Japs, it’s always good to see him in anything if you ask me. Being an espionage thriller though, there’s an inevitable twist and I spotted this swerve minutes in, I’m sure I won’t be the only one.
This is one for history buffs, it could go either way, but it needs a chance.