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In 2015 Amazon debuted its flagship TV show, an alternate history where the Nazis and Japanese win WWII, set in the 1960s. The show casts Sally from The Mist (also Gwen Raiden from Angel), Agent Myers from Hellboy (you know, the character so boring he didn't make it into the second movie), Lt. Wang from Space Above and Beyond, Finn from Bones, Kanwulf from the Highlander TV show, and MOTHERFUCKING SHANG TSUNG FROM MORTAL COMBAT.


I went into The Man in the High Castle (hereafter "Mitch") with intense skepticism. My expectation that it could be no more than a guilty pleasure at best was so intense that I trudged through the first few episodes until, somewhere in the middle, I found myself riveted. Here's the thing: Mitch isn't just a good show, it is probably the best-written, best-directed, best-designed, and best-acted show on television right now. My first viewing (through the end of Season 1) was sometime ago, before Season 2 had aired, but I convinced my girlfriend to sit through it with me a couple of weeks ago, and we are riveted.

 

I deliberately left out the most important cast member, Rufus Sewell, who plays the Nazi intelligence agent Obergruppenführer John Smith, who runs Hitler's operation in the American Reich. Looking at Sewell's (a classical Shakespearean actor), you might get the impression that his performance steals the show - which it does, but not because any other characters fall short. For me, Sewell and de la Fuente (Inspector Kido) both bring extremely compelling performances to the screen, dragging the audience kicking and screaming to sympathize and empathize with their characters, both of whom are, by their bylines alone, completely unsympathetic. While you might expect that the only way to make a Nazi officer or a kenpei sympathetic would be as in Downfall, neither Smith nor Kido appeal to the audience's pity. Rather, both are such consummate, noble professionals that the virtues of their character are impossible to ignore. Yes, they're working for the "wrong sides", but the whole point of the universe is that right and wrong are inverted. The Nazi Reich and the Japanese Empire are the status quos, here. 

 

Speaking of both fictional states, the representations of both are excellent. Nazis act like actual Nazis (slightly fictionalized as they must be - the incompetence endemic to historical Nazis is dramatically reduced in Mitch's Nazis. I suppose that's how they won the war, after all), and the Japanese Empire reflects its historical counterpart. The beaten and broken Americans rationalize their defeat in realistic ways, while The Resistance (a tiny, loose organization of terrorist cells) is formed of those a little too unhinged to let go entirely. Mitch never falls victim to the AH trope of hyper-analogous political states - There are parallels between that world and our timeline, but lots of differences, too. One plot line in particular is reminiscent of a famous historical incident between the US and USSR, but it comes much later, and its character is different due to the different geopolitical situation between the Nazi Reich and the Japanese Empire. 

 

It's obvious that Amazon is staking a lot on the success of this show: The sheer amount of money on the scene is insane. Every element is fastidiously researched, and often it seems as though no expense is spared bringing the vision to life. There is a huge number of sets (including a goddamn Nazi SST), some of which never get re-used. Details like Japanese Empire lapel pins, Type 64 rifles used by Imperial Guards, and everything from automobiles, posters, buildings, etc are out on display. Some is CGI, of course, but generally speaking it is used extremely tastefully and is difficult to notice.

 

The show has lots more to recommend it, but that's probably enough for this. I definitely recommend it, even if the subject matter has you balking a bit.

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   Watched this show - https://www.netflix.com/ru/title/80174608

   Love, Death & Robots. It is 18 series animated show (3D, classic anumations, etc) with each episode being separate short story about different subjects. Show is diverse, interesting, mixing different genres and type of story make it to be pretty good. All stories are some sort of fantasy or sci-fi, though, so if you want something realistic L,D&R is not for you. For everybody else (except kids) i would recommend it.

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Spoiler

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   Watching Babylon 5 and i discovered that Mass Effect is basically Babylon-5 universe with some small changes:

 

- Giant space station that works as a hub/space UN for several alien races and humans,

- Developed political background from each race

- Ancient alien civilisation that is a source of great danger once again

- Other ancient alien civilisation that fought with bad aliens and now is nearly gone

- Commander flying on small-ish but advance space ship crewed with different people and alien to do missions on other planets

- Commander directly participating in mission instead of commanding from HQ

 

360

 

 

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