Review by C.J. Bunce
The Man in the High Castle was Philip K. Dick‘s most critically acclaimed novel, which says a lot for his parallel history World War II tale when stacked up against his other brilliant short stories and novels (that’s 121 stories and 44 novels in all). It’s also the first of his stories to become a big-budget television series, premiering in 2015 with the well-received pilot for The Man in the High Castle. Amazon Studios proved it can make a drama on par with any other network or studio in its first two seasons, and at San Diego Comic-Con the studio announced the series renewal for a fourth season. This past week Amazon released a great preview for the next season (see it below). So you now have a full month to get caught up on the first 20 episodes before Season 3 arrives on Amazon Prime in October.
The series is well worth your time. The first season was a bit of a slowly building story, providing all the twisty elements to take viewers in a believable way into a parallel version of Earth’s past where the Nazis and Japan were victorious in WWII and America was divided up between them. As gritty a dystopian show as anyone could muster, the back half of each season is reward enough to stick with the series, even for viewers not especially in the mood for the bleak subject matter. The winner of two of eight Emmy Award nominations, the series begins in 1962, long after the end of the war–long enough for a new culture to have been solidified across the regions of North America. The series leads created the best performances you’ll find on television: Alexa Davalos (Angel, The Chronicles of Riddick, The Mist, Defiance), as Juliana Crane, an American whose actions are pivotal for the future, Rufus Sewell (Knight’s Tale, Zen), a former American soldier who becomes one of the Nazi leaders in the former States, Joel de la Fuente (The Adjustment Bureau, The Happening) is stunning as the most ruthless of characters, the Japanese leader of the Pacific region of America, and an incredibly nuanced performance of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Lost in Space, Star Wars Rebels, Grimm, Heroes, Alien Nation, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Big Trouble in Little China) as trade minister for Japan based in San Francisco–a brilliantly layered character like nothing you’ve seen.
Building on Dick’s original ideas and expanding on them is what the series does best, blending the best of the old (like keeping Tagawa’s character having a special power to see an alternate version of the world from the novel) and the new (like using film footage vs. books to inspire actions). The writers nicely integrate updates and new characters into the series. Who is the Man in the High Castle? You’ll just have to watch to find out. Look for a stellar supporting cast, two fantastic season finales, and a great set-up for the show’s third season. Fan-favorite genre actors in the show include Rupert Evans (Hellboy, Lexx, Fingersmith, Charmed), Luke Kleintank (Bones), DJ Qualls (Supernatural), Rick Worthy (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural), Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica, 12 Monkeys, Supernatural, Haven, Warehouse 13), Callum Keith Rennie (The X-Files, The Dead Zone, Tru Calling, Battlestar Galactica), Daniel Roebuck (Lost, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Grimm, Quantum Leap), Tate Donovan (Memphis Belle, Argo, Shooter), and many more.
Here is the latest trailer for the third season of The Man in the High Castle:
The first and second seasons of The Man in the High Castle are streaming now on Amazon Prime. Look for all ten Season 3 episodes arriving here on Amazon Prime October 5, 2018.