Will ‘The Man In The High Castle’ Return For Season 2? Here Are 5 Shows To …

20 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘High Castle’ imagines a Nazi America.

There’s every reason the new Amazon streaming series “The Man in the High Castle,” available to Amazon Prime subscribers today, should be a home run. Luke Kleintank didn’t see much of that filming his scenes in the opening hour of the 10-episode first season, but was freaked out the first time he had to utter the historically infamous line “Heil Hitler.” “It is very weird. At a time when pop culture will go to all kinds of CGI and blinking-GIF extremes to make you look, this new Amazon series grabs your eyes by reaching back to dated and taboo imagery. In the years after the Allies lost World War II, the United States has been carved up: The German-occupied East is dark and disturbing, ruled by American Nazis; the Japanese-occupied West is lush with Asian-influenced designs but equally paranoid and oppressive; and the neutral zone between the two is lawless and unpredictable, a deserted landscape in which those rejected by the fascist society can rot.

Set in 1962, the series required the show’s creators to conceive and build a world that was recognizably American but reflective of its foreign overseers. Dick’s 1962 Hugo Award-winning alternate-history novel of the same name, imagines a world in which Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan triumphed in the Second World War, and possession of illicit fictional accounts of an Allied victory are grounds for execution. There are things you’re going to see in this show that push a lot of boundaries,” Kleintank says. “There were moments I had to sit down and take a second and step back from it. This tension is expressed both in grandiose moments, like a shot of an immense neon swastika in Times Square, and in subtler signals of a dreary, occupied America that never experienced a postwar boom. “You have to go somewhat astray, but you can’t go too far, or else it’s no longer going to feel right in our imaginations,” said Frank Spotnitz, the former producer for “The X-Files” who created this show. “It’s a period drama for a period that never was.” The action involves an emerging alternate Cold War between Japan and Germany and hinges largely on a young woman named Juliana (Alexa Davalos), who discovers a contraband film suggesting that things might not be as they appear.

The production design alone, showing a Japanese-ruled San Francisco and swastikas adorning billboards in New York’s Times Square, is worth tuning in to see for the unnerving shock value. It started to weigh on my soul a lot.” New York City, circa 1962, is part of the Greater Nazi Reich, while the West Coast is run by Japan in High Castle, adapted from the Philip K.

The starkly remixed iconography is alarming, fascinating, and, with the world currently in paroxysms of war, uprising, and revolution, all the more thought-provoking. The bevy of major players can be hard to keep track of, whether you’ve read the book or not. (For those who have, some of the major characters won’t appear until later, and therefore aren’t in this roundup.

In a somewhat tangential example, Hitler is dying in the series from Parkinson’s disease, which many historians believe he actually had, instead of syphilis, as the novel had it. On her way to a secret meeting in Canon City, Colo., Juliana witnesses the murder of her sister, Trudy, by Japanese military police in the streets of San Francisco. Robert Childan, anyone?) To prepare viewers for their binge, showrunner Frank Spotnitz and several cast members broke down the roles for EW, teasing where the characters will be headed in the season: Juliana is based in San Francisco, where she’s developed an appreciation for Japanese culture even though her father died in the war at the hands of the Japanese. “She can embrace that contradiction,” Spotnitz says. “And that was very deliberate to establish her as that kind of extraordinary person.” Part of what makes her an “extraordinary person” is her capacity for hope in a world mostly rid of it, a quality that drives her forward and fuels her desire to have an impact. “She’s on a mission, this woman,” Davalos says. “To a fault, I think.” Juliana suffers a major loss and is assigned a mission to deliver a mysterious film reel — all in one night. The producers did not want to simply overlay superficial bits of German and Japanese culture onto scenes in New York and San Francisco, but instead sought to investigate how Axis tenets would look through a midcentury American filter.

FRANK SPOTNITZ: I wanted people to understand this world and the rules of this world, but more importantly, I wanted them to think about what it would be like if you were actually living in that world, the daily life, not just the spy stuff and shootouts and cloak and dagger. Large chunks are devoted to descriptions of Dick’s favorite hobby at the time he wrote it (jewelry making), as well as his favorite divination method (the I Ching). Soon after, she decides to travel away from San Francisco. “She’s trying to do the right thing, but terrible things keep happening as a consequence of her pursuing the right thing,” Spotnitz says. Confused, Juliana takes her sibling’s place in the journey east, where a fledgling resistance leads her to Joe, who has been tapped to drive a truck with unknown cargo from New York to Canon City and who harbors secrets of his own.

An organized Resistance is afoot, which drives the plot line, but most citizens have resigned themselves to the occupation and live in a state of quiet frustration. Juliana doesn’t even rush to tell her mother about Trudy’s death before she leaves town to fulfill Trudy’s mission, much to the chagrin of Juliana’s boyfriend, artist Frank Frink (Rupert Evans, “Rogue”).

Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) was excited to do a small-screen adaptation of High Castle because Dick’s novel made a big impression on him when he first read it in college. So when Season 1 ends nowhere close to the finale of the book, don’t fret; “Frank has plans,” Davalos promises, “but he won’t tell us any of them. The palette of the show, too, is mostly bleak and oppressive, with crumbling brick buildings and dirty streets, the only bursts of color coming from the disturbing red, white, and black signage. Still, Kleintank emphasizes that Joe’s not actually sure on which side he belongs, because his ideology is in flux. “He has this duplicity about him, so he’s an interesting shade of grey,” Kleintank says of his character. “He was raised in this world, so I don’t think there’s a good guy or a bad guy mentality.

A scene in the home of a Nazi Party boss emblematically named Obergruppenführer John Smith (Rufus Sewell) was shot as if it were a vintage family sitcom, the son complaining over the breakfast table about a self-promoting Hitler Youth chum at school. The story’s characters begin to question the authenticity of their own world when a fictional work presents an alternate-history within an alternate-history that looks eerily like our own world. At one point, we see a rundown movie theater whose marquee reads, “CLOS_D F_REVER.” In the lobby, an old poster for the Marx Brothers’ “Duck Soup” has the word “Semites” scrawled across it. Unfortunately, the next five episodes — which is all Amazon allowed us to review in advance — manage to squander that promise, thanks largely to turgid plotting, pacing and dialogue.

America’s actual postwar period included racial segregation and the onset of the Cold War, but on the surface it was a time of great optimism, with space age automobile aesthetics and Glenn Miller giving way to Elvis on the radio. But after struggling through the dull, confusing and unrelentingly grim story so far, I can confirm that this is going to be a hard show for anyone to binge-watch. Her father was killed by the Japanese, yet she still studies Aikido — and because she’s pretty good, it’s a skill that helps her later. “She’s a dreamer, she’s mischievous and she has a curiosity about the world.

Each time an English-speaking person says “Sieg Heil” and gives a Hitler salute (which is currently illegal in Germany, Austria, and other countries), the show provides yet another effective chill. The producers settled on a desaturated color palette to signal the bleakness of an occupied nation as well the utilitarian values of its fascist conquerors. While a high-budget, high-concept adaptation of an obscure book from the 1960s may have made TV networks leery in the past, long-form genre fare like HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead” may have paved the way for the show’s production.

Well, I didn’t change it radically, but just in getting the sense that Frank really loved Juliana and Juliana loved being with Frank before they start talking about her getting a job and having kids, which leads to the tension in the scene. You’d notice that someone would come in to play a part for one or two days and automatically speak with a German accent even though the character was American. [Your] body goes straight, your diction becomes clipped. When we saw Rupert and Alexa do the scene, the actors and all of us, we were like, “This isn’t working.” It didn’t feel right, it didn’t click.

Because sometimes the greatest zealots have that.” And yes, “John Smith” is his real name. “I deliberately gave him the most all-American, generic name I could think of,” Spotnitz says. “ ‘Obergruppenführer John Smith’ just has that, like, [there are] so many syllables in German and then ‘John Smith.’” Tagomi is the trade minister for the Japanese Pacific States—and the character blessed with the title of “Philip K. But they wanted to “do it the old-fashioned way,” said Drew Boughton, the production designer, instead of using technical effects to turn down the color.

Local actress/educator Chris Laitta’s TV Tunes, a singalong revue of popular TV theme songs from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s that debuted 10 years ago, returns for a one-night show Saturday at 8 p.m. at the James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy, 422 Foreland St., North Side. Audrey Fisher, the costume designer, took her cues from a trip she made to East Berlin in the 1980s. “It seemed like time had stopped 20 years before, and there was a gray haze over everything, so I used that as a jumping-off point,” she said. While most DOA new fall series remain on the air, even though their episode orders were cut, ABC yanked low-rated serial killer drama “Wicked City” after last week’s third episode aired, making “Wicked City” the first true official cancellation of the fall TV season. For the civilian characters, that meant earth tones and very few patterns, and any newly constructed clothes were distressed to make them look old and worn. Kurt Sutter, creator of FX’s “The Bastard Executioner,” announced in an ad in The Hollywood Reporter he was self-canceling the series due to the audience’s “meh” response (e.g. low ratings).

It’s a nice meta touch: The show is filled with arresting and challenging visuals, and the “Grasshopper” film so feared by the Nazis and the Japanese represents the power of visuals. In deference to imagined modesty mandates, women on the show wear upper-arm-concealing blouses and jackets and conservative skirts; slacks were used only on rebellious female characters like Juliana’s sister, an underground operative. In advance of that, WPXI announced plans for the 35th anniversary edition of “The WPXI Holiday Parade Presented by Pittsburgh Public Schools” (9 a.m.

I’m betting it’s why the show’s writer-producer, Frank Spotnitz (of “The X-Files” and “Strike Back”), changed “Grasshopper” from a book in the Dick novel into a movie. Tagomi and Wegener’s machinations are challenging to pull off — they involve plenty of spy work on Wegener’s part — but Wegener believes it’s his duty to do whatever is needed to stop any chance of Germany conquering the Pacific States. “He continues on his path,” Spotnitz says. “It’s all about passing the atomic secrets to the Japanese to create a balance of power, a balance of terror.” Juliana gets help from a mysterious wanderer named Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank), and together they deal with a Coen brothers-esque bounty hunter, played by Burn Gorman. Actor Patrick Warburton (“Seinfeld,” “Rules of Engagement”) will appear as “parade celebrity honoree.” Cable’s Destination America will revive the former truTV reality series “Full Throttle Saloon,” set at a Sturgis, S.D., biker bar with four new episodes debuting at 10 p.m.

So I did reach the conclusion fairly early on that I needed to rewind time a bit, to understand the nature of that relationship and feel the drama of seeing it threatened. In Frank’s plot line, by the way, there is a scene set in a Japanese government room and I challenge you not to notice and fear the air vent in the ceiling. Dec. 1 and chronicling the aftermath of a September electrical fire that destroyed the bar. … A Thanksgiving-themed episode of PBS’s “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” will debut at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving on WQED-TV. … NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” ends 2015 with Ryan Gosling hosting Dec. 5 with musical guest Leon Bridges; Chris Hemsworth hosts Dec. 12 with Chance the Rapper; Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host Dec. 19 with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. … CNN’s documentary “The Hunting Ground” (8 p.m.

They’re newsreels of footage from our world, the one in which the Allies won the war; the newsreels are marked with a bible quote, “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy.” When we see them, all we see are choppy images — G.I.s on beaches, Churchill and Roosevelt and Stalin meeting, the U.S. flag being raised at Iwo Jima. Sunday), about sexual assault on American college campuses, has come under fire from Florida State University, where one of the cases covered took place.

In the book, it was distant and talked about, but in the TV series, I knew I was going to have this deep interest in seeing what New York was like under Nazi occupation. This week’s Tuned In Journal includes posts on “NorthPole: Open for Christmas,” “The Art of More,” “The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar” and the Jim Henson Company. Computer-generated imagery was of course a core component, fleshing out signature sequences like the Times Square scene and shots of a Japanese San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. In sweeping helicopter shots of the Manhattan skyline, for example, technicians removed any obvious postwar skyscrapers, including the United Nations complex.

The visual effects team inserted a hulking Nazi headquarters in its place. “We were very careful, in all of our shots, to make sure it was the tallest building, to make it look menacing and imposing,” said Terry Hutcheson, a visual effects producer. He’s dismayed when he sees that film in the satchel when he runs into her outside her apartment, and then when you see him at the end, it’s clear they’ve gotten to him. The production did what it could to keep from roiling the emotions of locals during filming, covering armbands between scenes and waiting as long as possible before hoisting inflammatory flags and banners. News of Frank’s sister’s death in captivity gets around, but a major political figure is shot in front of a crowd of thousands and the authorities manage to keep it quiet.

Spotnitz to ask about the Japanese soldiers standing outside a bus terminal. “She says, ‘I’m from the Philippines; I remember those uniforms,’” he said. You’d hardly know Rupert Evans was a renowned Shakespearean actor for all the times he has to say, or react to, the cringeworthy line “get the hell away from me!” Platforms like Amazon are supposed to give showrunners the freedom to take risks.

Here you can write a commentary on the recording "Will ‘The Man In The High Castle’ Return For Season 2? Here Are 5 Shows To …".

* Required fields
All the reviews are moderated.
Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

About this site