Show: The Man in the High Castle
How much I’ve seen: Two Seasons (everything to date)
You should watch it if you like: period dramas, I guess? This is a hard one. It’s nothing like Mad Men or Downton Abbey, but those are the only shows I can really think to compare it to. It does also kind of remind me of the flashback bits in X-Files episodes when The Cigarette Smoking Man was … I don’t know, The Cigarette Smoking Younger Man? I guess just jump to the break and keep reading if you like the sound of the premise.
Where you can stream it: It’s an Amazon Prime exclusive, so Amazon.
What would 1960s America look like if we’d lost World War Two? Well, if this show (and the Philip K. Dick book it’s based on) are correct, Nazi Germany will control most of the country up to the Rockies, and Japan will have the west coast, with a “Neutral Zone” in the mountainous region between.
The show follows the lives of several people: the Trade Minister in the Japanese Pacific States, the Obergruppenführer; head of the SS for the entire United States portion of “The Greater Nazi Reich,” along with several members of The Resistance. I struggle with describing this show because I enjoy it so much I don’t think I could do it justice, and also because I have found the less information I have going into a movie or TV show, typically the better. Following the lives of people in this world is absolutely fascinating, and the show does a really good job of world-building. That is to say, they have a lot of details both background and fore that will really give you a good feel of what this might actually be like.
As I said, this is based on a book. One I had discovered a couple of years before the show was created but I never got a chance to read. If you recognize the name Philip K. Dick, it shouldn’t surprised you that the show does have a sci-fi bent, but don’t let that dissuade you. It is vital to the plot, but it’s not Star Trek or something. It’s much more subtle than that, but it’s hard to explain without ruining it for you. So subtle in fact, that I didn’t really like the very end of season one, right up until about half way through season two. (Again, I shouldn’t say more than that, but I bet you’ll remember this when you get to the scene I’m hinting at. Have faith; that scene — and hopefully this cryptic aside — makes sense, and is ultimately vital to season two even though it seemed out of place initially.)