DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Two New Series Stream Friday, and Both Are Well Worth Watching - 'Man in the High Castle' Especially
November 20, 2015  | By David Bianculli  | 2 comments
 

The best new series of the year is about to drop on Amazon Friday, with every episode of Season 1 available at once: The Man in the High Castle, based on the Philip K. Dick novel…

Dick, of course, is the novelist and visionary whose stories inspired such movies as Total Recall and Blade Runner. That latter film was directed by Ridley Scott, one of the executive producers of this new Amazon streaming series. And another of the executive producers, who wrote the first two episodes and developed Dick’s novel for television, is Frank Spotnitz, a former writer and producer for Fox’s The X-Files.

The series, like the book, imagines an alternate history in which the Nazis and Japanese won WWII, and split up the United States into two territories: the Japanese Pacific States in the West, and, in the East, the Greater Nazi Reich. Set in post-war 1962, this puts giant swastikas in Times Square, ruthless police states on both sides of the Rockies, and a small band of underground resistance fighters hoping to find a way to restore their country to its old democratic ways and identity.

Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle moves at a pace that requires you to pay attention, but rewards that attention with rich and startling production details, plot subtleties and disturbing images. The young stars, playing characters drawn into the resistance one way or another, are Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans and Luke Kleintank. You may not know any of their names now – but if High Castle catches on, as it deserves to, you will, very soon.

For my full review, with many more details and a well-chosen couple of appropriate music clips, please visit the Fresh Air website to hear my review on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

--

Another very intriguing new drama that drops its entire first season Friday, this time on Netflix at 3 a.m. ET, is the network’s second drama based on characters from the Marvel Comics universe. It’s Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and stars Krysten Ritter (below, the dead-by-puke junkie on Breaking Bad) as the title character, a former costumed superhero making do, relatively low-key, as a private eye, still traumatized by a villain who captured and mentally abused her, by mentally controlling her, for many months.

That villain is played by former Doctor Who star David Tennant, and he doesn’t even show up in Marvel’s Jessica Jones until halfway through these first-season episodes. But Jessica’s dysfunctional behavior, from the very start, is due to what she endured at the hands of her captor – and when he resurfaces, her post-traumatic stress is so high, it infuses every second of this new series. Marvel’s Jessica Jones is more of a character study than anything else, at least for now… but as it begins, it’s one of the more interesting new characters to join the Marvel universe.

In the comics, Jessica Jones made her first appearance in 2001, so older Marvel fans can be excused for not knowing much about her, or the Alias comic (no relation to the TV series) in which she starred. Know this, though: That comic was part of an intentionally mature, as in R-rated, special line of Marvel comics, so don’t expect anything light-hearted here. But, if you’re a fan of such way-above-the-bar genre shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gotham, you really should check this out.

Just not before you dive into The Man in the High Castle…

 
 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 
 Name (required)
 
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 
 Website (optional)
 
OTTDB
Type in the verification word shown on the image.
 
 
 Page: 1 of 1  | Go to page: 
2 Comments
 
 
WM Jacques
Very stylistic, wonderfully directed show. Definitely one of the best productions I have seen in a long, long time. I'm waiting for ScottFree to soon do something with Hugh Howey's "Wool", which they have re-optioned and written a pilot script.
Jan 16, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Bruce Douglas
So... David.... based on your review I spent 10 hrs watching High Castle. That ending-- uggg! I feel there is (or ought to be) a virtual contract between the creators and the viewer: "Dear viewer, if you step through that door and come along with us, we may frighten and frustrate and flummox and confuse you, but if you pay attention and stay with us, in the end all mysteries will be illuminated and major questions resolved". Shows that don't hold to this, 'Lost" being the prime example, are to me very annoying. I feel that the creators of these shows are exhibiting arrogance and cynicism at a high level- " if you don't get it tough for you- I am the auteur here so suck it up". There were so many unanswered questions in High Castle that it would take more space than I am allowed here to enumerate all of them- EDITED BY TVWW - Sorry, Bruce, but the Man in our High Castle has edited your comment due to a SPOILER ALERT.
Dec 13, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
 
 Page: 1 of 1  | Go to page: