Guest writer Linda Richardson gives her review of a series based loosely on a novel by American writer Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) and executive produced by Ridley Scott, who directed “Blade Runner” from another of Dick’s 44 novels.
THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE ♦♦♦♦½
If you grew up in the decades following World War II and are familiar with that part of our history or you are concerned about the rise in populism, xenophobia and authoritarian regimes, you might enjoy the series on Prime called “The Man in the High Castle”. The show (four seasons) raises a question that many of us have probably thought about over the years. What if the Allied forces had not won the war but, instead, the Axis forces (the Japanese Empire and the Nazi Reich) had prevailed? What would the world and, in particular, North America look like in the 1950s and ’60s?
It is a sci-fi series, teasing viewers with the possibility of alternate realities or alternate worlds. Without giving away too much, I will say we need to puzzle through some of the early episodes wondering “how could this be?” or “what does it all mean?”. The show is also an expansive, epic tale with plenty of action and adventure. Many characters join resistance movements, including a small but determined rebel group fighting against rampant and historical racism on the west coast of the US. I cheered when some characters changed sides as they became aware of the realities of their situation.
The cinematography is very interesting, using black and white for some of the scenes and color for others, depending upon the locale. As the series moves along, the color or lack thereof begins to make sense.
I found the main characters to be well written and well acted. Although some of the 40 episodes dragged a bit, I remained intrigued, wanting to find out what happens and why. There are also interesting evolutions and shifts in some of the characters’ stories as they try, in different ways, to navigate the world they find themselves in and to retain some hope for a better future.
Although my husband watched the entire series with me, he doesn’t rate it as highly as I do. Rick gives the series ♦♦♦½ (largely because of the slow-moving nature of some episodes). Still, I definitely recommend it. •
P.S. Philip K. Dick once said: “I am a fictionalising philosopher, not a novelist.”