TV Review: The Man in the High Castle
At the end of 2015 Jenn and I spent most of December finishing our 12 Days of Christmas Movies which we successfully completed. However during the nights we weren't watching Love Actually or Miracle on 34th Street we watched the 10-episode first season of The Man in the High Castle on Amazon. Of any show this year, The Man in the High Castle had a premise that hooked me before I watched a minute of the show. The show is based off the famous Phillip K. Dick novel of the same name which explores a world in which the Nazi's and Japanese won World War II.
The show has everything going for it. In a year that streaming is king and Amazon has had some real hits on their hands, The Man in the High Castle had all the makings of becoming the Amazon flagship show. Sadly it's a show that I think both and Jenn enjoyed but a lot of that was for the wrong reasons and a few for the right. First and foremost the show does a brilliant job at times of pulling the camera back and letting you see a world that could have been. The United States is divided into three areas the west coast is run by the Japanese, the central portions are the "free zone" and the east cost is Nazi run. It's a fascinating concept that the show does a decent job of painting a pretty dark and eerie portrayal of.
The problem with The Man in the High Castle is that both the characters and the acting fall flat. There were far to many times that Jenn or I or both of us would scoff or laugh out loud at something a character would say or do. At times (and I hate to make the comparison) it felt like Under the Dome, or anything on the normal networks. Just take two of the characters names for instance. One is named Joe Blake another is (and I'm not kidding) John Smith. Luckily not everything is bad including the last episode of the first season which is far and away the best episode of the season.
The show was good enough that when season 2 does air we will watch. It's not a show that I or Jenn am eagerly anticipating. There was very little plot in season 1, very little at stake. The show tries to convince us that these video tapes from The Man in the High Castle are important but do a terrible job of it. I am interested to see what they do from here and how the strain between the Nazi's and Japanese. I'm far less interested in what is happening with the main characters. Sadly The Man in the High Castle is a very middle of the road show in an age in television where you cannot afford to be.