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The Man in the High Castle

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by MikeKardec, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    I'm well into this and enjoying it a good deal ... grim as it is. It takes an episode or two to settle down, I almost didn't bother after episode one but then decided to try it while I exercised. The story got subtler, the art direction and cinematography found a groove and I started finding pieces of it fairly moving.

    People here will probably like some of the costumes and a lot of the art direction though it's an unreal mashup of stuff that simply looks cool within the "otherworld" context of the series (a depressed, defeated early 1960s America in a alternate reality where the Axis won WWII). It's full of nicely nuanced creepiness.

    The writer/executive producer/showrunner/whatever ... the main guy ... is Frank Spotnitz who is one of the several X-Files graduates who have done impressive work since. He also came in to reboot Strike Back to become the series we've seen here in the US. The original had Richard Armitage and Andrew Lincoln but they went on to become Dwarfs and Zombie hunters. Spotnitz has yet to gain the notoriety of Vince Gilligan, Kurt Sutter or David Chase but he is sort of a stealth writer in TV land.

    Anyone else watching? It's on Amazon Prime.
     
  2. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    This is on my radar and I plan to watch this after I'm done tackling the novel revisions. I'm glad to get your take on it, and also glad for the caveat that it takes a few episodes to get going. :D
     
  3. On my radar too. Really want to watch it, just need to find time to add it in. Thank you for your review and comment about needing to stay with it as I now won't drop if I'm not impressed with the first episode.
     
  4. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    Pilots are dealt with differently at different places. Amazon does a pilot and then waits while they see how the public salutes it before they go ahead with the series ... the wait can be rather long. Other cable outlets just do a pilot so the executives and producers can see and correct the flaws. Thus you have Sons of Anarchy where it was recast and reshot with Ron Perlman and A Game of Thrones pilot that was analyzed and then reshot and (though it's hard to notice) the actress playing Sansa Stark grew a couple of inches in between. In this case it's really the first several episodes that have to be gotten out of the way (though the information in them is important) before it settles in. It will be a fun conversation piece for people here because of the many questions it raises about history and attitudes. One that has come up several times in reviews I've read seems sort of odd: Since it's 1962, many reviewers seem to expect the same level of economic and technical advancement in Japanese/German America, yet without the post war US developing a good deal of that technology and wealth the show seems right on in portraying an America that still has one foot in the depression and the other in a more exclusive world of luxury products made mostly for the two dominant empires. Germany in the '30s, '40s, '50s, and even today, was/is more of a manufacturer of limited run elite products ... even in the way they made war material. Even as V-2 were falling on London they were transporting soldiers armed with WWi era rifles to the front in horse carts. I think, especially given the limits of a TV show they definitely got it right. It's also very clearly not our world, because our world plays a role as do others.

    Cool show.
     
  5. seilerjp

    seilerjp New in Town

    "The Man in the High Castle" by Phillip K. Dick is one of my favorite Sci-Fi stories. From what I have read and the little I have seen, they tend to deviate way too much from the book. I doubt if I will watch the series.
     
  6. I've seen this advertised here in London, on the tube - it caught my attention because it's obvious what they are hinting at, but all the adveritsing coyly avoids the swastika (stirs memories of the advertising campaign for Ingloious Basterds, some of this didn't even carry the name of the picture). I doubtg I'll get to see it, though, as we already have Netflix and probably won't want to spend the extra for Amazon Prime.
     
  7. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    I totally respect that. Allow me this alternate case, however ... not to suggest that it is the choice for everyone.

    I always like to think of film, TV or theater adaptations as a separate story set in a similar universe or like the "cover" of a popular song. Dick wrote in an era that developed the sort of streamlined prose that really allows the reader to use their imagination to a great extent rather than spelling out everything. I think that much of the time each reader experiences a very different story because of how they imagine it even though they are reading the same words. Great writers (though not so many "literary" writers) make the reader a partner in their creativity.

    It's really impossible for an adaptation to a completely different medium to ever catch what any of us might have had in that shared experience. Occasionally, there is a brilliant script and production that hits the average point so perfectly that it's like they read the minds of a whole cross section of the audience ... but that is really rare. Seeing that it's pretty impossible to get into each and every mind (so far) it seems to me that a good adaptation shouldn't even try to be a perfect reproduction of the original but to expand on and do the things that the medium (TV in this case) can do well. Ultimately, there is no loss; it's not like either book or film removes or destroys the other.

    Did anyone ever both see and read The English Patient? Novel and film are two utterly different takes on the same events. The "hero" of the novel is mostly Kip, the Sikh bomb disposal expert. The novelist was extremely happy with the adaptation, which was very different and very good (though all too often they are different and bad), he actually wrote a book "The Conversations" with Walter Murch who was the editor on The English Patient about their approaches to their work. The point of view is sort of that they were the first creator and the last creator involved in the evolution of the story.

    Murch is the only man to win both Picture and Sound editing Ocsars on the same film ... TWICE! Apocalypse Now and The English Patient.

    All that said, I know where you're coming from. My entire live is wrapped up in preserving the integrity of literary material. I'm probably just more sensitive to how a publisher can screw it up (even years after the fact) than how a work is changed in a different medium, a medium that has to change how the story is told to begin with. That's only my own personal approach, I'm a stickler for one and more forgiving of the other.
     
    Edward likes this.
  8. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    I just watched the first two episodes of this and I'm hooked! I plan to watch more after I pick my daughter up from school. :D
     
  9. It is definitely in my plans for the watching sometime this week. As well as the second episode of Spotless and the past two Walking Dead.
    :D
     
  10. p51

    p51 Practically Family

    I'm not on Amazon prime, so I could only watch the first episode and that was that.
    I laughed out loud to see the scene where they walked out of what was the Roslyn Café in Roslyn, WA (which was often shown in the series, "Northern Exposure" subbing for a fictional town in Alaska) as I've been there more than once.
    It's an interesting premise, but I've never read the books.
    Not sure I'll be paying to see them further...
     
  11. Wire9Vintage

    Wire9Vintage A-List Customer

    I watched it and liked it a lot. Now I need to read the book, understanding that it will be different. Anyone in New York seeing the rather disturbing advertising?
     
  12. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    I binge-watched the first 7 episodes and had to force myself to stop and savor the last three. It gets much better after the first two episodes, though I must say, the first episode hooked me.
     
  13. Can you see the first one for free on Amazon? I've not looked. I like the premise, and I have heard it improves signficantly after the pilot.

    Northern Exposure - I liked that show a lot. WAsdisappointed when it ended at the time, butg in retrospect I think they did well to end while it was still good.
     
  14. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    Yeah. They make the pilot available and wait to see how it does and what the commentary is like before the go with the series. Prime is probably only worth it if you use all of it's advantages, like free shipping. The internet video streaming is clunky, at least if you have a mac, I finally got it working better but it's still not as good as a download. A hint: Safari seems to like Silverlight (their streaming program) better than Firefox.
     
  15. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    We use Amazon a lot and the free shipping included with Prime has paid for itself with the amount of stuff we buy.

    As far as streaming goes, I didn't have a single problem with it yesterday using Google Chrome. Guess it all depends on what you're using.
     
  16. Yeah, despite my guilty concenrs about what it is doing to - in the words of a higher-up in Waterstones - "real bookshops" - I do use amazon a lot. Mostly for Christmas shopping, given that I can drop ship stuff directly to my folks' house (to take it with me would cause crippling excess baggage charges). To date, I've only ever rarely used any shipping option other than 'super saver' free delivery, though, so as long as they don't rip the proverbial out of that by raising the qualifying costs yet again, I don't see any postal advantage in having Prime. I've always stuck with Windows boxes for now - works just fine with Netflix; we'll have to see with the Amazon trial bit. I'm not so keen on getting into another subscription service for now. I don't care for them as a rule, but Netflix has been great for us, definitely getting our money's worth. Prime freebies sound worth checking out if they start releasing the shows on DVD.
     
  17. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Did anyone see what they did in New York to advertise this show? Lots of blowback on it and Amazon has taken it down. So I don't know if they either thought 1) it's really bad to put these Nazi-American flag on a NYC subway train but it will be GREAT publicity! or 2) It's just advertising and no one will get offended. I'm thinking it's the first one.

    http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/ama...control-nyc-subway-tv-advertising-1201647886/
     
  18. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Ok - I finished wtching the entire season. Initial impression: incredible. I want to take a few days to really think about it and maybe I'll write up a review.

    What I think I liked the most about it was watching the power struggle between the two empires - and to see how neither is satisfied with having conquered the world. It's quite fascinating.
     

  19. Nothing like that here (outside of ephemeral nonsense like the Olympics, that sort of wrapover advertising tends to be restrcited to buses in London anyhow). I see they're as coy as TFL about actually using a Swastika, though (if anything, the generations here who have grown up with the Hollywood fetishisation of WW2 seem to be more sensitive about the whole thing that the generation who actually faced the Nazi threat; certainly they appear much more responsive to a media campaign telling them to be offended). I'd have thought the Japanese stuff would have been more of an issue than the others in the USA, but perhaps not.
     
  20. After seeing the pilot I was hooked. I know they added the resistance to keep form being so bleak a story but it works. Phillip K Dick's daughter is a consultant for the show to keep it as faithful as possible to the vision that a TV show can be.


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