The Man in the high castle

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The Man in the high castle

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-02 07:04pm

So Amazon has got this new show. I really like it, but feel it would be tremendously improved if they would just cut the fantasy elements like the newsreels. This series would work far better if it would only focus on the Nazi and Japanese occupation thing.
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2015-12-02 10:51pm

Thanas wrote:So Amazon has got this new show. I really like it, but feel it would be tremendously improved if they would just cut the fantasy elements like the newsreels. This series would work far better if it would only focus on the Nazi and Japanese occupation thing.

What fantasy elements are there? I thought it was straightforward alternative history.

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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby SpottedKitty » 2015-12-03 01:42am

Aren't the newsreels in the original Philip K. Dick novel?
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby FaxModem1 » 2015-12-03 04:25am

The original novel is very much dependent on the alternate worlds as revealed by The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, so the series adaptation needs it as well, since a theme of the book is about what is true in the world, in an object, and in people. The Grasshopper lies Heavy, in the book, is a book written by the Man in the High Castle, about how the Allies somehow won WWII, and the ensuing Cold War between the US and the UK over the planet, and was considered a black market book distributed worldwide. The show takes a different stroke, making Grasshopper reels of film, showing other worlds, which we see over the course of the series.

Taking the reels out would be gutting the theme of the original story.

EDIT: As proof of this, this is why one of the protagonists, Frank Frink/Fink, works at a factory makes fake antique Civil War revolvers and replicas, as there is huge Japanese demand for 'genuine Americana'. There's an entire economy built on making things that don't work, don't serve any purpose, and are fake, but are sold on a lie, so as to keep up with the demand for that lie and the romance of it.

It's similar in the same way that American GIs were rather interested in Samurai katanas in the 1960s in Japan in reality.
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-03 05:28am

I don't buy that, for the interesting part of the story is watching the characters deal with their lives and the political intrigue, not some crazy search for alternate world depictions.
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby FaxModem1 » 2015-12-03 05:52am

Thanas wrote:I don't buy that, for the interesting part of the story is watching the characters deal with their lives and the political intrigue, not some crazy search for alternate world depictions.


It's an adaptation of the book, and The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is a heavy part of that. Saying you don't buy that is like saying you dislike that part of Moby Dick which features a white whale in it, as it detracts from the parts of the book about Ishmael and Queequeg's friendship. Sure, you can cut it out, but at that point, it ceases to be an adaptation of the work you're adapting.

Especially as Juliana's plotline, in the book and the TV show, deal heavily with The Grasshopper Lies Heavy and the Man in the High Castle, and without going into spoilers, so do other characters.
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2015-12-03 05:54am

Indeed. While you could do such a series without The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, it wouldn't be "The Man in the High Castle" in anything but name, it'd just be a generic alt-history piece loosely inspired by the book.
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-03 07:03am

Which IMO would be much better really. Immersion-breaking is a thing for me.
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Block » 2015-12-03 05:14pm

Then don't watch?

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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-03 05:28pm

Block wrote:Then don't watch?


Good response. Will use it everytime somebody critiques a work of art. :roll:
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Block » 2015-12-03 09:31pm

Hey if you don't like an integral plot line then you don't like the work. That's fine. But don't say it'd be better without it because it's frankly the whole point and the title of the show, and without it the work is meaningless. If the main plot takes you out of the show, it's not for you, don't watch. It's just mindless brutality without the films to move it along and give the characters hope.

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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby FaxModem1 » 2015-12-04 01:10am

Keep giving the episodes a shot, and give this consideration. In a world where the Nazis and the Japanese utterly dominate the planet, with their philosophies influencing everyone, to the point that a beat cop thinks of burning the terminal ill as just a part of Tuesday, and their only concerns are what to do with each other, what hope would such a world have? For those who were raised as children in this world, they don't remember, or don't know what life was like before such a world, and would need to see something so different in contrast to even have a different perspective, as fascist governments wouldn't foster such things existing in their world.

For those old enough to remember, they've been so beaten in that they go with whatever they're told to do, for fear of losing everything.

And, as I noted above, it goes with the themes of the book. This is, after all, based on a Phillip K Dick novel. Head trips are par for the course for him, and it helps build why this place isn't quite right.
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2015-12-04 02:23am

Block wrote:Hey if you don't like an integral plot line then you don't like the work. That's fine. But don't say it'd be better without it because it's frankly the whole point and the title of the show, and without it the work is meaningless. If the main plot takes you out of the show, it's not for you, don't watch. It's just mindless brutality without the films to move it along and give the characters hope.

I haven't watched this series, but what exactly is wrong with criticizing a key element of a work while liking other parts of it?

I personally have made similar criticisms of the Reapers in Mass Effect. I actually think the story would be better without them. The parts of the story that are more interesting to me are those about the politics of the various races rather than about the extragalactic invasion. My other underlying problem with the Reapers is that they are an idealized video game enemy that can be killed in mass without any sense of guilt or the idea that diplomacy might have worked had it been attempted. Which is not something that can be said about the conflicts with other races and groups within the galaxy.

What about those who claim that the lousy romance ruins Attack of the Clones(which was otherwise at least decent)? That is hardly an a controversial position.

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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby SpottedKitty » 2015-12-04 02:43am

FaxModem1 wrote:This is, after all, based on a Phillip K Dick novel. Head trips are par for the course for him, and it helps build why this place isn't quite right.

Very true; it wouldn't be a proper PKD story if it didn't make your train of thought jump the tracks and take out half of the train station. :wink:
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2015-12-04 06:27am

Adam Reynolds wrote:
Block wrote:Hey if you don't like an integral plot line then you don't like the work. That's fine. But don't say it'd be better without it because it's frankly the whole point and the title of the show, and without it the work is meaningless. If the main plot takes you out of the show, it's not for you, don't watch. It's just mindless brutality without the films to move it along and give the characters hope.

I haven't watched this series, but what exactly is wrong with criticizing a key element of a work while liking other parts of it?

I personally have made similar criticisms of the Reapers in Mass Effect. I actually think the story would be better without them. The parts of the story that are more interesting to me are those about the politics of the various races rather than about the extragalactic invasion. My other underlying problem with the Reapers is that they are an idealized video game enemy that can be killed in mass without any sense of guilt or the idea that diplomacy might have worked had it been attempted. Which is not something that can be said about the conflicts with other races and groups within the galaxy.

What about those who claim that the lousy romance ruins Attack of the Clones(which was otherwise at least decent)? That is hardly an a controversial position.


In this case, its not criticising a key element but liking the rest as much as saying "I like everything except for the bit that sets it apart from other "Nazis win" alt-history works."

Having The Grasshopper Lies Heavy be a film rather than a book was, IMO, a necessary change for a TV series, so the audience can see what is going on rather than have characters talk about it second-hand. Without that element of the story, you might as well be watching Wolfenstein: The New Order, the TV series.
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“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-04 06:45am

There is nothing that makes it anything but a needless MacGuffin right now. And I disagree with your take that is necessary. What plot element has it provided that could not be taken up by anything else? Instead of needing a film delivered it could just be Nazi plans or something. The films right now have done nothing to establish their significance. They are even worse than the proverbial sword in the stone that will fix anything. They have no relevance to the greater plot right now.
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2015-12-04 06:54am

I think the key word there is "right now," I'm only three episodes in and it's significant because of what it's inspiring Julianna to do and what price Frank is paying for that. Yes, Joe Blake could be carrying anything else but having Julianna be given something other than the film that shows the world as it could or should be wouldn't inspire her to go to the neutral zone.

As for why it's necessary, because it's a major part of the book the series is based on. I don't see how you don't get this. If you don't include something like The Grasshopper Lies Heavy (be it book, film, whatever) you aren't basing the series on the book anymore, it's just a generic alt-history work. If that's what you want, fine, but I really don't see how you can complain when a TV adaptation of a book actually follows the plot of the book. Don't we normally complain when that doesn't happen?
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-04 09:10am

I am in episode 7 and the films have basically disappeared and ceased to be of any importance after episode 4.
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2015-12-04 06:21pm

Well there is still more episodes to go, correct? I think you should probably wait until you've seen the whole series before you judge what items are unnecessary.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Ziggy Stardust » 2015-12-06 11:37am

Adam Reynolds wrote:I haven't watched this series, but what exactly is wrong with criticizing a key element of a work while liking other parts of it?


Nothing, but neither is there anything wrong with criticizing the bases of that criticism. It cuts both ways. Thanas is well within his rights to say that he doesn't like that element, just as Eternal_Freedom is well within his rights to point out that Thanas' criticisms may be off-base. (I've read the books but not yet seen the show so I don't know how they portray it in the show, but Eternal_Freedom is right that these elements are critical to the book and it would be largely nonsensical if it was cut).

Thanas wrote:There is nothing that makes it anything but a needless MacGuffin right now. And I disagree with your take that is necessary. What plot element has it provided that could not be taken up by anything else? Instead of needing a film delivered it could just be Nazi plans or something. The films right now have done nothing to establish their significance. They are even worse than the proverbial sword in the stone that will fix anything. They have no relevance to the greater plot right now.


Isn't this a little bit like reading "The Hobbit" before LOTR and complaining that the ring is a needless MacGuffin? Within the context of that small part of the story, it was; it is only when viewing it in the context of the whole story that you see that it is meaningful.

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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-06 12:15pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:Isn't this a little bit like reading "The Hobbit" before LOTR and complaining that the ring is a needless MacGuffin? Within the context of that small part of the story, it was; it is only when viewing it in the context of the whole story that you see that it is meaningful.


But the ring in The Hobbit actually does things. But in the TV series this is much less pronounced. The reels do not cause somebody to question their beliefs, getting shot at over them does. There is no intrinsic value to them.
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby FaxModem1 » 2015-12-06 07:48pm

Thanas wrote:
Ziggy Stardust wrote:Isn't this a little bit like reading "The Hobbit" before LOTR and complaining that the ring is a needless MacGuffin? Within the context of that small part of the story, it was; it is only when viewing it in the context of the whole story that you see that it is meaningful.


But the ring in The Hobbit actually does things. But in the TV series this is much less pronounced. The reels do not cause somebody to question their beliefs, getting shot at over them does. There is no intrinsic value to them.


Thanas, how far are you in the series? I'd use spoiler tags about episodes 9 and 10, but those don't work anymore.

Also, did you note Juliana's sudden conversion to the Resistance in the pilot upon seeing the film reels? it utterly changed her outlook on the entire world, especially as her sister called them, "a way out".
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-06 08:42pm

K, saw Episode 9 and 10. I still think that it would have worked better as a pure alt-hist story.

That being said, I am very intrigued by the premise now. And also very disgusted, for I would never have thought the greatest evil would be portrayed as something preventing an even more horrible war.
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby FaxModem1 » 2015-12-06 11:47pm

That's intentional. In the book, in order to prevent Operation Dandelion, the Japanese government has a briefing on how the SS and the most vile forces of Nazi Germany are the ones who are currently not wanting war, so it would be best to work towards them assuming power than for the less vile, but wanting to invade and nuke the Japanese Empire factions of the Nazi Regime. It causes Mr. Tagomi to reach an existential crisis and to leave his office with the necklace and meditate over it in the park, leading to that rather interesting scene, as anything compared to their world would be better.
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Re: The Man in the high castle

Postby Phantasee » 2017-02-05 11:14am

Who's been watching season 2? I'm 5 episodes in to the second season and I find the pacing to be much better than the first, there's no interminable loafing around in Canyon City. Joe Blake is much less wooden, as well. John Smith is becoming my favourite character to watch, as he has to wrestle with family vs Reich and where his duty lies.
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