Amazon's new TV series The Man in the High Castle is an adaptation of an amazing alternate history by Philip K. Dick. I'm optimistic.
The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick, is one of my favorite it all time novels. Set in 1962, we are introduced to a post World War II America where Germany and Japan have won. The cultures of America are greatly changed, Jews are being persecuted and America is a land confused. A novel within the novel greatly impacts the thinking and behavior of the entire, fantastic, cast of characters. This is a pretty moving tale.
When I heard there was a BBC adaptation of this in the works, a few years back, I'd hoped it'd be in the same vein as Life on Mars, one of my favorite all time BBC shows. I'd completely lost track of the project until a few weeks ago when I heard Amazon was picking up season one of a pilot they'd made! The pilot was available free online. I was worried they'd do a bad job and avoided it until this weekend. The show is pretty good, and not at all what I expected.
What was most important to me is this: Amazon's The Man in the High Castle thematically follows he story Dick wrote, it is not that story. There are some key changes, that while I am not sure are necessary for attracting a wider audience, will likely make this a more interesting series over the long haul. How the novel-within-a-novel The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is being used is quite different than in the original.
On the tv showiness? Its good. I'm looking forward to more. Alexa Davalos plays Juliana Craine, a woman who gets caught up in the resistance after her sister's death. Her boyfriend, Frank Frink nee Fink, is a jewish person hiding from discovery by the Nazis and played by Rupert Evans. The acting is plenty good, the dialog and writing are fine and set design, costuming, period elements are pretty wonderful. I enjoyed it.
Overall, I think the team producing this show has decided to be inspired by Philip K. Dick and not try to retell it. They've picked a good story and are doing a fantastic job of building interest thus far. Seems like a nice way to do the original work honor.