What is it?
The Man in the High Castle started as a novel written by Philip K. Dick in 1962. In 2015, it became Amazon’s premier original streaming series.
The show is an alternate history that paints a picture of a very different world than the one we know today. What if Germany and Japan won WWII and colonized America? What would life be like here? And then what would happen if you were to discover a man who possesses an archive of film footage from a world where America won instead?
What’s it about?
Juliana Crane is probably the main character, although significant time is spent developing other characters. Juliana gets a hold of this newsreel footage that shows America winning the war, including a shot from the top of Mount Suribachi when the marines raised the American flag. Juliana discovers that the film came from “The Man in the High Castle,” and she believes that the film represents how the world should be.
Season one follows Juliana as she gets involved with the Resistance and seeks out the Man in the High Castle. Season two is Juliana on the run from the Resistance, taking refuge in the Greater Nazi Reich as a refugee in search of an old friend of her father’s.
Who’s in it?
Alexa Davalos (The Chronicles of Riddick) plays Juliana Crane. D.J. Qualls (Supernatural) plays Ed McCarthy, a friend of Juliana and her boyfriend Frank’s. Frank, also a major player, is portrayed by Rupert Evans. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (who’s been in every Japanese movie ever made … j/k) plays Nobuske Tagomi, the Trade Minister of the Pacific States of America.
Rufus Sewell (A Knight’s Tale, Victoria) plays John Smith. Yes. John Smith. That’s his name. And I’m almost convinced they had to give him that name because his title is Obergruppenfuhrer. That’s a word you just want to say over and over again because you can.
There are many other characters, but another one who stood out to me in season two is Reichsminister Martin Heusmann, played by Sebastian Roche (the angel Balthazar on Supernatural).
What do I like?
Two thumbs way up for the whole show. I love the concept, and it makes me want to read the novel. The cast is a lot of fun too, mainly because they’re either mostly unknown or not big names in general. But each and every one of them gives a tremendous performance.
I love the clothing and the setting and the cars. The cars are nuts! So many amazing props and cultural elements make the entire series just pop off the screen.
What do I not like?
If I have any complaints about this show, it’s that its level of complexity is so high, you really have to watch it all at once to keep up with it. I made the mistake of not rewatching season one before I watched season two, and I’m sure I lost a lot of detail.
I’m planning to go back and watch season one and two in order again, in my copious spare time. That being said, it explains itself well enough that you can keep up.
To truly enjoy the show, though, I think you need to be bit of a history buff. And I am. Majorly. So I think it’s amazing.
Should you watch it?
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Please go watch it. Because the more people watch it, the more they’ll have to make season three. Because if they leave it where it is, I’ll be quite vexed.
But other than that, yes, because it’s just a great adventure that stretches your imagination and challenges what you believe about time and history and patriotism.