Series Review

'Man in the High Castle's' facist world feels more relevant than ever in S3

Donald Trump's rise has made the alternative reality drama 'The Man in the High Castle' seem a prescient vision

14 October 2018 - 00:00

In 2015 when Frank Spotnitz's Amazon series The Man in the High Castle, a loose adaptation of sci-fi pioneer Philip K Dick's 1962 novel first appeared on Amazon Prime, it seemed a well-put-together addition to Dick adaptations.
With its vision of an alternative history in which the Allies have lost the world and the US is divided into three zones of control - the Greater Nazi Reich in the East, the Japanese Pacific States to the west and a neutral zone running in between along the Rocky Mountains - the show offered a critique of fascism and its threats to democracy, evoked through suitably grey dystopian cinematography and production design.
It boasted a strong cast and compelling storylines that combined solid dramatic and thriller elements, the ghastly vision of a Hitler who had not died and a chilling rendition of Edelweiss for its theme song.
By the time the second season of the show premiered in December 2016, Spotnitz had departed, Donald Trump had stunned the world with his presidential victory and for many fans Man in the High Castle seemed less a general indictment of fascism than a prescient vision of an all too horribly possible future America.

The showrunners, however, seemed to avoid becoming peak television's harbingers of doom and stuffed the second season with increasingly complex plots involving more traditional sci-fi elements such as parallel universes, leaving Dick's original material further and further behind.
The result received mixed responses from critics but satisfied sci-fi buffs and fans enough to see it return for a third season and have Amazon announce that a fourth season is in the works.
For British actor Rufus Sewell, who plays Obergruppenführer John Smith, a man ambitiously working his way through the ranks of the Reich while trying to keep his family together, things have come a long way since he was first approached to participate.
WATCH | The trailer for Season 3 of Man In The High Castle..

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