Amazon Original Pilot - The Man in the High Castle


Finished the season. I am very impressed; I never expected so much of the book’s sensibility to make it to the screen. This is, after A Scanner Darkly, the closest thing to actual PKD Hollywood has ever produced.

There are nitpicks. Robert Childan and Mr. Tagomi were the heart of the book and they both were somewhat backburnered here. Childan doesn’t get his full character arc, but at least Mr. Tagomi gets his big moment. Apart from Sewell’s big set piece early on (which is excellent), the action/people-chasing-each-other-with-guns scenes were not very interesting, and they could easily have done with less of them. The characters with the most screen time often act like dolts for the sake of padding out screen time. And a certain character is too shallowly written for the conclusion of their character arc to really be justified.

But how great everything else is! The production design was wonderful … I cracked up at “Ranger Reich” magazine, and when “The End of the World” started to play (especially after playing Fallout.) The V-A Day episode was perfectly written and acted. And Sewell deserves an Emmy.

That it does. Though for people who haven’t gotten to the end, I will quote someone from early on in the show and say, “If you’re looking for [explicit answers] that’s not gonna happen.” This is not a figure-out-the-plot-twist kind of show.


Yes, they really put a lot of effort into getting the details right, including things like non-import (in our world) Japanese cars with their Japanese nameplates and all of the advertising signs in Times Square converted to Nazi propaganda. And then getting the details right in that scene made the ending visually powerful.


The finale presents a real damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t choice doesn’t it? And the series as a whole terrifically presents the entire spectrum of evil from its most willfully vile to simply accommodating it. And much of that it is wonderfully portrayed in Rufus Sewell’s slight changes of facial expression. I agree with HumanTon that he deserves an Emmy. Early on Inspector Kido says that he isn’t a monster, but the series shows how his job has made him one.


Another high quality TV series. I liked everything but the ending, although it sounds like it was faithful to the book.

I’m amazed as a lover of alternative history, and fan of Philip Dick novels that I’ve never heard much less the book before. But I’ve order the book, so Amazon got a sale from me.


Renewed for season 2!

— Alan




YEAH! Loved this show.


We finally finished this last night & loved every minute of it. It’s very nearly a masterpiece. I’d say the whole Marshall subplot is both unnecessary & needlessly melodramatic. The fact that that’s the only real criticism leaping to mind speaks volumes.

My favorite thing about the show is the morally complex villains. This seems to be a trend with online TV shows of late, and TMITHC has a whole range on display. I would echo that Rufus Sewell deserves an Emmy for anchoring this show. I also have to agree with strummer that the show actually had me sympathizing with Hitler. That’s both astonishing & impressive, a real twist. And speaking of twists…

Ending spoilers

I was caught completely off guard that Hitler is made to be the Man in the High Castle in the end. A brilliant stroke of creativity, to be sure, and maybe meant literally?

I’m almost disappointed, just because it feels so complete as it is.


You know, since I’ve read the book, I felt I could read your spoiler without fear.

I was very very wrong. That is a twist. And quite a departure from the book, as I recall.


Wait, wait. Waitwaitwait. I didn’t even realize that about Hitler. How did I miss that? Are you sure?

— Alan


It was…let’s say, implied heavily. Far as I recall, no one actually came out and said, “hey, check it, Hitler’s playing both sides as the Man in the High Castle!” But they spent a whole bunch of time showing that he does in fact live in a castle up on a high place, and he has all these videos, and dropped hints that he gets them from both sides.



I always thought that it was implied he was a collector, just like TMITHC, or at the very least trying not to put it in THMITC’s hands.

— Alan


Yeah, I’m really not sure if the show intends him to be the titular character or if he’s meant to play a parallel role. In either case, it was quite the revelation.

I guess we’ll find out now that there’s a second season on the way.


Finished up the first season, it was really good.

As soon as they did the castle shot in the last episode, I was like no way!


Just finished this last night, myself.

Definitely the stand-out role in the series for me. Loved every second he was on screen just so I could get more of that performance.


Sewell was great, and never better than when Smith was actually someone you could sympathize with, like when he made the awful realization about the fate of his son given his medical diagnosis.


Finally say down and watched this over the weekend. Enjoyed the heck out of it. Disappointed by the ending though. I thought this was a one-shot, as opposed to a possible open ended series. So I was expecting more a an…ending. I’m really not sure how to interpret the final scene (especially since I didn’t read the book).


Apart from the titular role reversal, it’s actually almost the same ending as the book. It’s meant to be open to interpretation in a way, but I think it’s thematically complete. If season 2 ends up being terrible, for instance, I’d still be happy to think of this season as standalone canon, kinda like how you only need three seasons of Misfits or just the first Matrix movie.


…or the first season of Heroes.


Frank Spotnitz is gone, just as Season 2 was nearing production. The weird thing is that Amazon is supposedly not going to replace him, but just go ahead with the existing crew, which is weird, because part of the job of showrunner is, you know, running the show. Someone has to have the final word.