Tagged: Man in the High Castle

Mindy Newell Is Writing This During The Giants / Packers Game

The Crown Season 1

This is going to be a relatively unusual column today as I am frequently stopping to watch the New York Giants/Green Bay Packers wild card game. Right now there are 20 seconds left in the 1st quarter, the G’ints just punted, and Green Bay’s drive will start on the 45 yard line. The Giants should be up by at least one touchdown, but Beckham has dropped two perfect passes in the end zone – commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are speculating that it’s because of the cold weather and although that’s possible, that’s not what I expect from a player of Beckham’s caliber. He made the All-Pro team this year. Anyway, the G’ints are up by a field goal (that’s three points for you non-football fans out there) and Green Bay has yet to put anything on the board.

I will say that New York’s defense in the 1st quarter has been terrific, but it’s a loooong game. Also, as I pointed to out to my daughter, son-in-law, and brother, the Packers have lost two previous play-off games to the Giants and they are as hungry as I would be. Eye of the Tiger, y’know?

Man, it’s hard not to write a running commentary on the game, but this is ComicMix, not NFL SuperPro (to mention the magazine I edited at Marvel in conjunction with NFL Properties), so I will digress from the pigskin.

To be honest, I haven’t ready any new comics that have impressed me enough to talk about – although I do love Adam Hughes’ Betty & Veronica – but I sure have been on the web a lot lately checking out “ComicMix-y” series, along with previews and trailers for what’s “coming soon.”

Constant readers will know that I have watched The Crown on Netflix (the geek connection is Matt Smith as Prince Phillip) and just finished the second season of The Man in the High Castle on Amazon. I’m currently looking forward to The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the 1985 speculative fiction, dystopian novel by the noted Canadian author Margaret Atwood, which will be premiering on Hulu in April. Set in a bleak future in which the United States has been become the theocratic Republic of Gilead, in which women have two functions: Madonna (wife and mother) and whore (the “Handmaids” of the title). While the novel primarily explores the themes of the roles of women in society, it also raises questions about the relationships between men and women, the purpose of class and caste, freedom of speech and thought, and the power of religion to subvert individualism.

The novel won the 1987 Arthur C. Clarke Award, and was nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award and Booker Prize; it was also nominated in 1987 for the Prometheus Award. It has already been adapted as a movie (which starred the late Natasha Richardson, and which, im-not-so-ho, did not do the book justice) and has also been translated to radio, opera, and stage. I’m really looking forward to it’s adaptation as a series so that the book has the chance to “stretch its legs.”

It’s the 2nd quarter, 3:60 left, and the G’ints are up by 6 – two field goals. Green Bay hasn’t yet scored…fuck! Green Bay just scored…and I must admit it was a daring pass by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the successful and talented wide receiver Davante Adams. With the extra point, the Packers are now up by 1 – the score is now 7 – 6.

Much closer – next Saturday (January 15) is the television premiere of the sixth season of Homeland, although Showtime is already streaming the first episode and has made it available on Showtime On Demand. Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is in New York City, specifically Brooklyn, disengaged from the CIA, and has started a foundation to help falsely accused Muslims. Saul Berenson (Mandy Pantikin) and Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) are back, as is…


…Rupert Friend as CIA “black ops” agent Peter Quinn. (To paraphrase Captain Kirk to Spock in The Wrath of Khan: “Isn’t he dead?”)

I check out the premiere of Emerald City (NBC, Fridays at 9 P.M.), which co-stars the indomitable and magnificent Vincent D’Onofrio (Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. the Kingpin, last seen on the whatever screen you use in second season of Netflix’s Daredevil) as the Wizard…

Double fuck!!!!! I missed the play (in fact, I don’t know how the Packers got the ball back because I was writing this), but the Packers have just scored again – and it’s an 8-point Green Bay lead. 14 – 6 going into halftime. What the hell happened to New York’s defense??

Okay. I’m calm. Depressed, but calm. As I was saying, I tried Emerald City, but it just didn’t work for me. It was too slow…or something. Not sure. I didn’t make it to the second half of the two-hour premiere – not actually a pilot, but two episodes run in sequence. But YMMV.

24 will be back, premiering on Fox after the Super Bowl (February 5), but without Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lyn Rajskub). Yep, Fox is doing a sequel, officially called 24: Legacy. Corey Hawkins is the “new Jack,” playing ex-Army Ranger and war hero Eric Carter. However, Carlos Bernard as agent-gone-bad Tony Almeida will be back. I don’t know about this one. Keifer and Chloe put such indelible marks on the show; it remains to be seen if lightning can strike twice.


Martha Thomases: Trigger Warnings! Beware!


Like the dweeb I am, I spent last weekend watching television on my computer. First (because I’d already seen the first two episodes), The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime, and then Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix. I suppose there might have been other things to do for two days, but all of them involved wearing pants.

This isn’t going to be a review, or even a comparison of the two shows. Instead, I want to talk about trigger warnings. Still, you might want to beware of spoilers.

A trigger warning is a note, usually on a book cover or syllabus or other preview piece, that informs the potential user that some material in the specific piece might be disturbing. If you watch the network news, you’ve probably heard some version of a trigger warning before the camera cuts to pictures of starving children or corpses of people shot down in the streets.

The term “trigger warning” has become a cause du jour because some people think it means a particular book (or movie or newscast) is banned when it comes so captioned. To those people, a trigger warning is just another way we are coddling kids today, with their crazy music and their hair, who don’t appreciate how good they have it and they should just get off my lawn already.

Anyway, some people think that there should have been a trigger warning on Marvel’s Jessica Jones. And, I confess, I hadn’t thought about that until I read the essay in the link.

Here’s what I think is the key quote: The point of a trigger warning is not to tell people “Don’t watch this.” Or “You’re too weak to handle this.” The point of a trigger warning is to empower all viewers by informing them of what they can expect so they can make the best decision for themselves, cognizant all the while that the viewer’s personal response is just that: personal.

Maybe I would have understood if I had read the comic book on which Jessica Jones is based. I did read the first issue, and I didn’t like it much. To my reading at the time, it seemed to me to be trying to hard to be shocking and gritty. I watched the series because I totally love David Tennant. Yes, I’m shallow. Don’t judge me.

If I’d read the series, maybe I would have known that Jessica Jones is the victim of the violent sexual and emotional abuse perpetuated by Kilgrave The Purple Man, the villain who uses his mind control powers exactly as you’d expect if you imagine David Tennant to be the embodiment of a houseful of frat-boys. Still, because I heart him so much, I found myself, after the first episode, wishing he would come to me in my dreams and lick my face, as he did to Jessica.

After a few more episodes, I didn’t want that anymore. If anything, I felt kind of soiled for having wanted it at all.

I haven’t experienced the kind of comic-book violence Jessica Jones went through, nor have I experienced any more than the daily insults and bruises that any woman gets in this culture (and as a straight cis woman with gray hair, I get less than many of my sisters). The violence in the Netflix series seemed more harsh than what we see every day on network television, but I didn’t have to look away except for the parts about needles in the eye.

Still, there are millions of women who have experienced actual criminal violence, and they might have been disproportionately upset by the fight scenes on the show. (When I say “disproportionately” I don’t mean they are too sensitive, I mean that their reactions are not what the creative people intended.) If Netflix put some kind of warning or disclaimer in the descriptive materials (like cast information and plot summaries) they post before the user clicks to play, this wouldn’t be an issue at all.

There wasn’t a warning on Amazon Prime for The Man in the High Castle either, and I haven’t seen anyone ask for one. So I guess it’s just me.

If you haven’t read the Phillip K. Dick novel on which the show is based, you can still enjoy the show. I haven’t read it in decades. The premise imagines a world 20 years after the Axis won World War II. Germany controls the East Coast of the United States across to the Rockies. Japan controls the West Coast. There is a narrow neutral zone in between.

The world-building on this series is awesome. Everything, from the cars to the clothing to the outdoor advertising to the streetlights, reflects a world in which the American way has been perverted by fascism. It takes a while to notice some of the detail (like the lack of anyone but Aryans in Manhattan) but it’s chilling when it sinks in.

I didn’t experience concentration camps (I’m not that old), but I have been freaked out by the imagery for my entire life. I also have trouble looking at old footage from Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atomic bombs destroyed those cities. There’s a bunch of both of these things in this series. You have been warned.

Even if the shows had been labeled, I would have watched. Again, trigger warnings are not censorship. If anything, more people would probably enjoy them if they knew what they were getting into.

Now, if we could only lobby Marvel into that Dakota North series…

The Point Radio: You Must Binge THE HIGH CASTLE

It’s a weekend made to binge! MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE has dropped from Amazon Prime video, and if you don’t know what all the buzz is about, we have stars Alexa Davalos and Luke Kleintank plus visionary show runner Frank Spotnitz to fill you in. Plus with a title like ADAM RUINS EVERYTHING, Adam Conover is making a lot of noise on his Tru TV series.

Follow us here on Instagram or on Twitter here.

Mindy Newell: Dick and Me     


“Don’t believe everything you read or hear, remember a large part of our world is made up of fiction!!” • Victoria Addino

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” • Albert Einstein

“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.” • George Orwell,1984

“Am I the only one who knows? I’ll bet I am; nobody else really understands Grasshopper but me – they just imagine they do.” • Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle

I haven’t read The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick, for many years, not since my “Introduction to Science Fiction” class in my freshman year at Quinnipiac University.

I didn’t love it, even if it had won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963, and even though it was one of those books during the 1960s that was blowing everybody’s mind in Haight-Ashbury and anywhere else where people were tuning in, turning on and dropping, and even though my professor waxed on and on about its brilliance. (BTW, I started college in the fall of 1971, the tail end of the social revolution was coming to an end – im-not-so-ho – since the spring of 1970 with the killing of college students at Kent State by the National Guard, and eventually lead to “Dance Fever with Deney Terrio,” “Disco Duck,” and polyester jumpsuits.)

That’s not to say I didn’t appreciate it, or I didn’t understand it. I just find Dick to be very depressing. Okay, okay, you can all guffaw and snicker at that, so let me rephrase: I find reading Dick’s works to be heavy going; his themes are overall incredibly morose… y’know: life sucks, and then you die.

No matter what life you perceive as yours.

The Man in the High Castle professed to be an alternate history – what if the Axis powers, i.e., Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire, less Mussolini’s Italy, had won World War II? – with what I guess you can call a twist ending (I won’t give away any spoilers here), but what it’s really about, and what is at its heart, is its questions on the nature of reality and the human response to what is a perceived reality.

This afternoon I watched the first two episodes of The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime, produced by its eponymous studio. Produced and co-written by Frank Sponitz (The X-Files), it’s a beautifully crafted series, obviously done with love, and is a “triumph of world-building,” as Entertainment Weekly put it. It captures the darkness, dreariness, and depressiveness of the book; more disturbingly, it also reveals the psychological acceptance of a “it-is-what-it-is” acceptance of life under the Reich and the Japanese Empire by the American public, with very little display of “heroic Resistance fighters” to be seen. But there is resistance; and that is what drives the story, at least on the surface.

My one complaint is that it’s very slow going; just like the book, you really have to pay attention. No bathroom breaks allowed!

Though I’m interested to see how Sponitz and his fellow writers handle what is a very complicated ending that asks very existentialist questions, I don’t think I’m going to be rereading the book any time soon. To paraphrase Sex and The City:

I’m still not that into Dick.