A couple years ago, after Netflix had some success with original shows like "House of Cards" it seemed a lot of other online platforms wanted to jump on the bandwagon like Yahoo!, Playstation, etc. Amazon was another, only they have this thing where they have shows audition by putting up a pilot and then ones that are popular will get picked up. The only one I ever watched was the "Zombieland" pilot, which wasn't very good as they recast the movie roles with actors who were less than impressive.
In this year's bunch of Amazon pilots is "The Man in the High Castle," which is based on a Philip K Dick novel I read a year or two ago and don't remember all that well. The basic premise is that this is an alternate history where the Axis won WWII in 1952 thanks in large part to Germany nuking Washington DC. The former USA is divided so that Germany controls everything east of the Rockies and Japan controls everything west of the Rockies, with the mountain range being a neutral zone.
The series takes place in 1962 when Hitler is on the verge of dying, which promises to create tension between Germany and Japan. Most of the show follows a young guy who joins the American resistance in New York and is sent to the neutral zone with a special package and a woman in San Francisco whose sister gives her a movie before being killed by Japanese police. The movie is supposedly made by "the man in the high castle" and is a documentary showing what we think of as our history, where the US-UK-USSR defeated Germany and Japan.
Since it's only an initial episode that's as far as the story goes. Like I said I read the book a year or so ago and don't remember it extremely well. I do remember the part where a factory worker designs some jewelry and shows it to his boss who tells him the Japanese don't want original designs, they just want replicas of old American stuff like Colt .45 revolvers.
Anyway, this reminds me of the old "V" movies and TV show, only less campy because there's no lasers and spaceships and stuff. I like too that even though it's alternate history, they haven't worked in a lot of people we would recognize. I mean it's not like JFK is the head of the resistance or anything dumb like that as some alternate history books do. I'd really like to see more because there's a blend of action, history, and sci-fi unlike anything on TV that I'm aware of. I'm hoping it's popular enough for Amazon to pick it up, though I imagine one thing that might prove detrimental is a series like this is more expensive to produce than the others. The subject matter might also piss off redneck Fox "News" watching types."Whaddya mean we didn't win the war?! My granpappy killed 50 Japs with his bare hands!"
If you have Amazon Prime you can watch it for free. I'm not sure if they charge you to watch it if you don't have Prime. Some people also have it on YouTube if you want to search for that. Here's a much shorter video:
While you can check it out. Or you can read the book too if you want.