Tuesday, June 14, 2016

TV: Hitler won?

Ridley Scott is one of the most visual directors around today -- THELMA & LOUISE, ALIEN,  BLADE RUNNER, ROBIN HOOD, EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS, G.I. JANE, etc.

Yet that's the first thing you can forget whenever you watch a Ridley Scott TV show.


There was nothing visually striking about THE GOOD WIFE other than the wig on the head of the lead actress.

It's even worse with THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE.

This Amazon Prime series is based on Philip K. Dick's novel of the same name and produced by Ridley Scott, Frank Spotnitz, Christian Baute, Isa Dick Hackett, Stewart Mackinnon, Christopher Tricarico, Michael Cedar, Jean Higgins, Jordan Sheehan and David W. Zucker.

The series takes place in 1962, only in a world where the US lost WWII and the country has been divided into three sections, the Japanese controled Pacific States of America, the neutral Rocky Mountain States and the Nazi controlled rest of the US.

Japan fears Germany wants to go to war with it and wants to develop a nuclear weapon in order to be prepared.  Adolf Hitler is alive but the object of death threats and rumors of health issues.

A resistance exists.

It should all add up to something but it doesn't.

Not to a damn thing.

When FRINGE took us to the alternate world, it felt like an alternate world.

This show deserves praise for set designers who tack up posters and other things but that's about it.

The world doesn't feel any different.

And when you're in nature, you realize how horrible the series is because they have nothing to splatter with paint or to tack a poster on.

And you grasp that this is a flat and nonvisual show.

FRINGE managed to visually convey isolation, paranoia and much more -- a veritable Alan J. Pakula of a TV series.  More recently, HULU's 11.22.63 managed to create suspense with visuals.

But THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE is just sort of there.

The acting's nothing to praise either.

Luke Kleintank plays the role of Joe (secret Nazi pretending to be a revolutionary) with all the limited reactions of any number of men cast in lead roles of failed shows on THE WB as they tried to ape their own success with DAWSON'S CREEK.  So it's fitting that Alexa Davalos' performance as Juliana is all hair (the legacy of Keri Russell lives on).

Mainly, what the cast does is endorse Hitler's Aryan race.

The main characters are all Anglo White.

Two new additions have been announced to the cast for season two and they're both Anglo White as well.

THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE remains deeply disappointing on every level.

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