Amazon Studios’ pilot season, where audiences can watch the first episode for a variety of new shows and vote on which ones they want to become full series, is a unique, egalitarian way to go about sourcing new shows. While it’s produced a few things of mild interest, by far the most exciting thing they’ve done up to this point, at least in our humble opinion, is an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s classic sci-fi novel The Man in the High Castle. The new slate of potential shows is now up for your perusal (we haven’t watched it yet, but we should have a review of it before long), but here is a new clip to whet your appetite.
Set in an alternate reality where the Axis powers won World War II, the book is a sprawling collection of loosely connected narrative threads spread out across the U.S., ranging from coast to coast. You watch as tensions rise between the hegemonic powers of Japan and Germany, and as the underground resistance plies their trade in these dangerous times. It’s not a novel that easily lends itself to adaptation, and we’re curious to see how Amazon pulls it off.
Here’s the official synopsis for the series:
Based on Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award-winning 1962 alternative history, The Man In The High Castle considers the question of what would have happened if the Allied Powers had lost World War II. Some 20 years after that loss, the United States and much of the world has now been split between Japan and Germany, the major hegemonic states. But the tension between these two powers is mounting, and this stress is playing out in the western U.S. Through a collection of characters in various states of posing (spies, sellers of falsified goods, others with secret identities), The Man in the High Castle provides an intriguing tale about life and history as it relates to authentic and manufactured reality.
In this clip you see Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank) trying to convince Don Warren (Michael Rispoli) to give him a job working with the resistance. It’s grim and bleak and gives you a good sense of the stakes of the series, about what they stand to lose if they get caught. And it sounds rather unpleasant, and you understand Warren’s reluctance.
The Man in the High Castle has been a long time coming. Ridley Scott was originally working with Syfy to bring the adaptation to the small screen, but that didn’t work out, though Scott is still on board as a producer. The pilot is available now for Amazon members if you want to take a look. If you’ve watched it, we’re interested to hear what you think, and hope that this lives up to the potential of Dick’s novel. We really want this to be good.