Follow @Mr_McCrackelz

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Man in the High Castle Season 1 Review: Is New York Burning?

If there's one thing peak TV has taught me, it's that there is a finite amount of craftsmen in this world capable of making genuinely great shows. MITHC has a lot going for it. A killer premise, solid production value, and a firm grasp on how living under a foreign power would feel. That last part is the hardest nail down and it's worth watching simply because it's about time Americans get a taste of what it's like when the shoe's on the other foot.

 It aims straight at the heart of what would drive someone to commit acts of terror and I'm glad this kind of story landed in the mainstream instead of the indie scene. Though that has it's drawbacks. Serious drawbacks. No one talks about MITHC much because aside from 3 or 4 brilliant episodes, a whole lot of mediocre writing waters it all down.

If you love fedoras, crisp suits, and jackboots this show will make you loose. your. SH*T.

I'm gonna try to coin a phrase here: Law&Order-itis. When a show becomes so plot driven the dialogue becomes laughably bad. Case and point, halfway through the season the main couple has a fight that gets so heated one of them accidentally (acci-f**king-dentally) blurts out that she murdered someone recently. The only reason in the whole goddamn universe someone would say something like that is because the writer couldn't think of a way to move the story forward. Dialogue like that is the canary in the coal mine for bigger plot problems. Such as someone sneaking into an office to steal Intel almost once an episode. One time two office excursions played out simultaneously. If this show wasn't set in a genuinely well realized nightmare of a world I would be much more upset right now. But, Christ, the writers needed to figure out different friggin' things to do with it! 

The opening credits are something else. You really need to see it.
But there is a lot to love. Rufus Sewell's SS captain could have been a goosestepping stereotype, but he is ordinarily and horrifically American. Everyone else doesn't get in the story's way but hardly any characters are fleshed out enough to grab my interest. Though the folks involved in the obligatory Jewish resistance were lovely. The script really came together for those scenes.

There's nothing else like MITHC. Aside from the script problems and the occasional absurd action scene, this vision of America is still haunting. I find myself thinking about it at work and in the car. Not that this specific reality is possible, (Hitler was fighting a war on 3 fronts, the Nazi's did a bang up job defeating themselves) but a fallen America is a hell of a thing to see. I'm not a flag waving, chest pounding, patriot but seeing Americans bow before Japanese secret policeman made me obnoxiously uncomfortable. That's not nothing and I'm willing to forgive several rookie screenwriting mistakes because of it. It's greatest contribution to 2016 was the dire warning that democracy is not guaranteed. That's something we all need to understand.

No comments :

Post a Comment