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Jeff Korbelik: Amazon scores with 'Man in the High Castle'

Jeff Korbelik: Amazon scores with 'Man in the High Castle'

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NY Premiere Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle"

Alexa Davalos and Luke Kleintank attend the Amazon original series "The Man in the High Castle" premiere event on Nov. 2 in New York.

So what would have happened if the Allied Powers had lost World War II?

Novelist Philip K. Dick pondered that question in his 1962 Hugo Award-winning novel “The Man in the High Castle,” which Amazon has adapted into, arguably, its most-anticipated original series.

That’s saying something, considering how well “Transparent” resonated with viewers and critics alike.

Two episodes already are available, and Amazon will release the other eight on Friday.

The series is set in 1962, 15 years after, according to Dick’s novel, when the war ended. Japan occupies the western half of the U.S., and Germany is in the east, Midwest and plains. A neutral zone runs along the Rocky Mountain states and divides the two Axis powers.

Here’s the catch: A film -- titled “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy” -- is making the rounds among the resistance, distributed by the mysterious “man in the high castle.” It shows that the Allied Powers won the war in some kind of alternate reality. Hmmmm. Add to that the growing distrust between the Japanese and the Germans, and the conflict really heats up.

The Amazon series is well done, right down to all the VW Bugs and Beetles that pop up on the screen. “High Castle” stars Alexa Davalos as Juliana, a young woman from San Francisco searching for the man in the castle; Luke Kleintank, as John Blake, a resistance fighter who encounters Juliana in the neutral zone; and Rufus Sewell, as the ruthless Nazi officer.

This is one you will want to binge-watch. It’s a thrill ride from the onset. Grade: A

Across the remote

* Two other new shows premiere this week:

“The Badlands,” 9 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 15), AMC. The network will use “The Walking Dead” -- airing an hour earlier -- to help launch this new series about a ruthless, well-trained warrior (Daniel Wu) and a young boy (Aramis Knight) who embark on a spiritual journey across a dangerous land.

“Chicago Med,” 9 p.m. Tuesday, NBC. The new “Chicago” series from Dick Wolf is set in a trauma center, where all heck routinely breaks out. It stars Oliver Platt and “Law & Order” alum S. Epatha Merkerson.

* NBC’s Monday night drama “Blindspot” became the first new series to be renewed for next season. Not wasting any time, the network also renewed Dick Wolf’s other “Chicago” series, “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Fire,” for the 2016-17 season.

* “Mystery Science Theater 3000” is attempting a comeback. Series creator Joel Hodgson has a Kickstarter campaign going to raise $2 million needed to produce three episodes. If he can raise $5.5 million, he’ll do a 12-episode season. That would be something.

* CBS announced the post-Super Bowl slot will go to -- drum roll, please -- “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and not one of its dramas or comedies. Colbert also will do the show LIVE. The game is set for Feb. 7, and, hopefully will feature my New York Jets.

* Bravo’s planning more cities for its “Real Housewives” franchise. The network announced it will launch “The Real Housewives of Potomac” on Jan. 17, with “The Real Housewives of Dallas” debuting later in 2016.

* Quick hits … FX renewed “American Horror Story” for a sixth season … Bob Newhart will reprise his Arthur Jeffries character as a ghostly Jedi on the Dec. 17 episode of “The Big Bang Theory” … “Saturday Night Live’s” Nov. 14 episode with Donald Trump as host drew its largest audience since Jan. 7, 2012, when Charles Barkley was host and Kelly Clarkson was the musical guest.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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Features editor

Jeff Korbelik is the features editor and covers dining, performing arts, TV and local media. Follow him at @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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