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TV Series Review

It's 1962 and all is well in America. At least as far as the Nazis are concerned.

Most of the United States is safely in the Fuhrer's collection of sycophant states—a New World outpost of fascism called the Greater Nazi Reich. After Germany dropped the bomb on Washington, D.C., and won World War II, Germany and Japan divvied the former United States between them—the Third Reich claiming the Great Plains and everything east, the Empire of the Rising Sun pocketing the Pacific time zone. A sliver of land—the Rocky Mountain region, essentially—is classified as a neutral buffer zone between these two "friendly" empires. And with Hitler's time as Fuhrer coming to a close, there's a sense inside the Nazi regime that it's time for another war—one that will pit Japan against Germany, with the winner claiming the once proud U.S. of A.

But not everyone is content to goosestep their days away. There are those who imagine a much different America—those who believe that somewhere, somehow, such an America actually exists.

Indeed, such realities are locked away in mysterious home movies and newsreels—perhaps evidence that the Nazified world everyone lives in may not be the only world possible. People in the resistance pass around these movies like holy relics, using them to cling to their desperate struggle and sometimes to recruit others along the way.

And even as the now frail Adolph Hitler tries to gather these films for himself, another, more mysterious man—Abendson, the Man in the High Castle—has his own archive. He's seen the future. All sorts of futures, really. They're all pieces of a puzzle, Abendson believes. And if he can just figure out how to put them together, perhaps their world could be a very different place, too.

A Strange, New World

Amazon's The Man in the High Castle is based on the novel of the same name by the late Phillip K. Dick, Hollywood's favorite science fiction writer. (Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report are among the 11 movies based on his work.) High Castle is arguably Dick's most ambitious tale, earning him the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963. But while it may be a literary triumph, it also transports readers into a grim land filled with manmade terrors.

The same can now be said for the television adaptation. Perhaps more so. Like Dick did, the show's creators want to make viewers experience, to some small degree, the horror of living under a brutal, fascist regime. We see people beaten and tortured, sometimes to death. Citizens are casually shot in the street. In one of the pilot's most chilling scenes, people watch as ash flutters down like snowflakes. A policeman explains that it's coming from the hospital. "Tuesdays they burn cripples, terminally ill, the drags on the state," he says.

Few of us—hopefully none of us—would want to live in the real world painted by The Man in the High Castle. And it's a pretty uncomfortable place to virtually visit as well.

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Episode Reviews

The Man in the High Castle: Dec. 15, 2015 "The Tiger's Cave"
The Man in the High Castle - Nov. 20, 2015 "The New World"



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Alexa Davalos as Juliana Crain; Rupert Evans as Frank Frink; Luke Kleintank as Joe Blake; DJ Qualls as Ed McCarthy; Joel de la Fuente as Inspector Kido; Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Nobusuke Tagomi; Rufus Sewell as Obergruppenführer John Smith; Arnold Chun as Kotomichi; Carsten Norgaard as Rudolph Wegener






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On Video

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Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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