This November Amazon is showing us what could have happened had the Allies lost World War II with the release of season one of ‘The Man In The High Castle’. The story is one of many adaptations of Philip K. Dick‘s work, which include the source material for such beloved films as ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Minority Report’. ‘The Man In The High Castle’ was originally released as one of several Amazon pilots open to member voting. The pilot earned the votes needed to become a series and now here we are with the full-season trailer. It’s all very democratic.
The story follows characters through an alternate 1962 America divided into Japanese-controled and German-controled areas. The book explores tensions between the two occupiers as well as the Americans who now have to blend their culture with that of the AXIS powers. We could stop right here and already have a rich setting for a series, but there is also mysterious layer introduced a San Francisco woman (Alexa Davalos) discovers a film reel showing images of an America in which the Allies won the War–essentially footage of our world. It’s unclear if the film’s creator has made a creative work about an alternate history, not unlike the series itself, or if the film is representative of our actual universe making this supernaturally self-referential.
In Philip K. Dick’s novel, the film reel was a book called ‘The Grasshopper Lies Heavy’, a title derived from the Bible. The book was banned by the Germans who still live and die by their propaganda. It makes sense now that the novel has been translated to a visual media that the book-within-the-book likewise be translated to a film reel. Possession of this film makes the woman a traitor and drives the conflict of the plot.
‘The Man In The High Castle’ will be available for Amazon Prime members to marathon November 20th.