The Plot Against America - HBO

Looks like this will be a bit more serious than Hunters.

A few months before he died, in 2018, Roth told me in an interview that he never intended his book as a political allegory. But by then, with the Trump administration in full swing, he agreed that the parallels between the world he invented and what was happening in contemporary America were hard to ignore: a demagogic president who openly expresses admiration for a foreign dictator; a surge of right-wing nationalism and isolationism; polarization; false narratives; xenophobia and the demonization of others.

Still, there was one difference, Roth insisted: Lindbergh, unlike President Trump, had been a genuine hero.


I’ve been reading mixed reviews about this (some say it beats you over the head with the tie-ins to current events).

Started watching the first episode after watching Westworld last night. It was late so I knocked off about a quarter hour in, but what I saw seemed OK.

It’s pretty good, but it starts off verrrrry low key. Think of it as being a typical David Simon show, but instead of having a flashy subject like criminals or hookers or even musicians in New Orleans it’s about … a typical Jewish family in Newark in 1940. It’s just that history goes a little differently.

Don’t expect anything as high concept in terms of alternate history as The Man In The High Castle for a couple more episodes. For now some parts of it, like the family sitting around listening to Walter Winchell, will seem like filler, but it is going somewhere.

Only a couple of throwaway lines in the first episode struck me as being too on the nose/shoehorned in because of Trump-era events. Sadly most of the show’s topicality comes from the sad fact that reality has chosen to parallel a work of dystopian fiction. (I only read the book last year. If I had read it when it came out in 2004, I probably would have called it over the top, especially the ending. But reading it now, I … don’t know.)

I kind of wish they’d have used the device in the book of narrating entirely from the young Phillip’s point of view, with the occasional comment from an older, narrating Phillip to fill in some blanks: a big part of the story is the typical child’s journey of discovering the difference between the version of the world his elders want him to believe and the world as it really is.

But I can see why they went with a less subjective style, since it makes it easier to flesh the other characters out. Plus, showing everything from Phillip’s viewpoint would have probably required older Phillip doing voiceover narration, and that in turn would have inevitably drawn comparisons to Radio Days and A Christmas Story … which may not be comparisons they wanted people to make.

I thought the first episode was good, not great. It was very reminiscent of my own childhood, even though mine was about 10 years later.

I can’t stand it when they try to tie current events into a book that has nothing to do with those. If that’s the case here, then I’ll just re-read the book and skip this show.

This is well crafted, but it’s six episodes of unrelenting misery. If there is a season two, I don’t think I will watch it.

I really did like this one so far, five episodes in.

It’s very earnest!

Enjoyed the book. My wife and I started watching but it was just too close for comfort for us. We had to stop.

I only just watched this and really enjoyed it. Once you get past the first couple of episodes of world and character building it really picks up. Most importantly, I cared about a number of the characters and what happened to them. The plot felt pretty real too, I can’t think of a “US slides into fascism” story that felt this plausible (e.g. handmaid’s tale is much more exaggerated).