The Man in the High Castle: Season 1 created by Frank Spotnitz (Amazon Studios, Big Light Productions, Electric Shepherd Productions)
Starring Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank, DJ Qualls, Joel de la Fuente, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Rufus Sewell, Arnold Chun, Rick Worthy and Carsten Norgaard.
In Praise of Imagination
May we always promote and encourage imagination. The young child proclaiming “choo choo” as he pushes his toy train around the house often loses his creativity when the mandates of life require the squashing if the imaginative spirit.
For me, the best stories often emerge from an imaginative foundation. The genre of magical realism best encapsulates my preferences. It takes life as we know it and alters it slightly to better explore our character. The change can be 1984-drastic or it might be as small as the ability to see smell.
A Powerful Setting
The power, then, from The Man in the High Castle surrounds its setting. The story lives in an alternate reality where the axis powers win World War II. 1960s America resides under Nazi and Japanese occupation with the East Coast under Nazi control and the West Coast under Japanese power.
While the central characters of the series work for the resistance, plotting rebellion by collecting propaganda films that portray a reality where the Allied forces win the war, the key intrigue of the series situates itself around the geopolitics of a shaky alliance between the two world powers.
Given the macro story, much of the first season drags as the main characters fail to enliven the script and encourage the viewers to care about the their micro-level plights when war looms between two superpowers.
A Passing Grade
The Man in the High Castle receives a passing grade mainly on its expertly imagined world and on the promise of further world politicking. The gorgeously imagined reality of Nazi New York and Japanese San Francisco provide the needed eye candy to make up for long stretches of boredom.
As a first taste, The Man in the High Castle offers intrigue but it will to do better in Season 2 to create an advocate out of me.
Verdict: 3 out of 5