I saw a trailer for The Man in the High Castle at the cinema and immediately wanted to start watching the show: the idea I thought was original, and the fact that a film could be so powerful was something I found quite interesting. After seeing the trailer, the question of “what if?” revolved in my head. It is set in America, in an alternative future where the Nazis won the Second World War, and our protagonist Juliana discovers a film which shows the account of history we know, which (obviously) poses a threat to the control the Nazis have over the nation.
**SPOILER FREE POST**
Yesterday I watched The New World, the first episode (which are all available on Amazon), and I can safely say that I will be continuing to watch the series to its end. It’s a fairly strong start to the series, supplanting the audience in the middle of the world we know, but which is so unrecognisable – shots of Times Square covered in Swastikas. It introduces numerous characters without fully explaining the connections between them or even who they are, adding further to the sense of intrigue that the show permeates.
However, there were some elements of the episode that didn’t thrill me so much. At times the dialogue could be quite expositional and even predictable, namely the conversation between Juliana and her admirer at the martial arts club. But it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the episode, especially when allowing for the need to establish the world and characters for a new show. In fact the reveal at the end of the episode (of a character who shall remain nameless) surprised me, but as soon as it was done I felt like I should have seen it coming … I don’t know if that really counts as predictability if I didn’t actually guess it. Also, generally speaking the pace was also pretty slow throughout, but that again can be allowed for. The genre and narrative lend themselves to tension and excitement, so I think this pacing will pick up in the other episodes.
The narrative and the basic premise is original (the TV show is based on a book but I’m talking about the narrative in general), and strong enough to carry a suspenseful, dramatic tale which will breed captivating characters. Well, it was strong enough to last out for a novel, so if the filmmakers have got things right the TV series will be no less successful; it’s already got some impressive reviews – 8.4 on IMDb and 96% on Rotten Tomatoes (as of 2nd December).
All in all, there is promise here. I really think The Man in the High Castle will do great things, and I’m excited to continue watching it.