Every year it seems like there’s at least one interesting sci-fi-themed option in Amazon’s audience participation based pilot season. X-Files creator Chris Carter showed up with The After one time, and the one we’ve been most interested in this year is an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s classic sci-fi novel The Man in the High Castle. We’ve heard some casting news over the last few months, but now the online retail monolith has released an official synopsis.
Ridley Scott and Syfy were working together to bring Dick’s book to the small screen, but that never materialized, and earlier this year, it was announced that it would join Amazon’s party. Amazon Studios produces a handful of pilots, which subscribers can watch and then vote on. The titles with the most votes are then given a series order. It’s a unique, egalitarian way to about the process, though it has yet to result in anything either super great or overwhelmingly popular.
Today they officially announced the six shows for this go round, and here is the official synopsis that came with it:
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.
While there are some minor tweaks, the set up for the series sounds pretty much the same as the source material. The novel is an intricate latticework of characters, storylines, and themes, and while it looks like they’re going to try to keep some of that intact, you can’t help but imagine they’re going to simplify things a bit in order to streamline the plot. At least working in episodic television there is space and room to get into all of these.
There’s obviously some character shenanigans going on, but we’ll have to wait and see it for ourselves to find out just how extensive the changes are. The hour-long pilot stars Alexa Davalos as Juliana Crain, Luke Kleintank as Joe Blake, Rupert Evans as Frank Frink, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Tagomi, Joel De La Fuente as Inspectror Kido, Rufus Sewll as John Smith, and D.J. Qualls as Ed McCarthy. There are still some powerful players behind the pilot. Scott and David W. Zucker are executive producing. David Semel (Heroes) directs the episode, which Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) wrote.