Wednesday 21 January 2015

Why I'm not reviewing Amazon's The Man in the High Castle pilot

Amazon has made the pilot episode for a mini-series based on Philip K. Dick's alternative history novel in which the axis powers won World War II, The Man in the High Castle, and some of you can go and watch it for free!

I love Pippy D. He isn't just the Dick du jour for me, but a staple Dick. There are times when he is probably relegated to a sort of background, cosmic Dick, but he's always there.

I love his work. I get deep into it in a weird way. There are lots of things I can say about it that would be generally considered to be pretty negative. Things that would prompt people to then say, 'What you've just said makes me not want to read this book you're brandishing at my face'.

What I can say with absolute assuredness is that Dick's whole psychological wavelength was his own. That, to me, is a truth. The dude thought up some shit that other people simply weren't thinking. Once thought up he would then pen that shit, and go about getting it published so that people could consume it, and eventually mine it for their own outputs.

When The Man in the High Castle came out, it was that sort of thing. The war was less than two decades won, and people were getting deep into the cold war that followed, and people weren't writing about alternate Earths on which the United States is occupied by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, who are themselves now engaged in their own cold war.

It is essentially a 1960s, cold war drama/thriller set on an alternate Earth, and more so the people who live there. That is what it is. Well, honestly there is more to it than that. There are other elements. Things I won't go into here.

Right there, on that alone, it is sort of a winner. It's a thing that people want to watch. It sounds like the kind of thing that you would make into a TV series. I thought so when I read the book so much that I started adapting it before I even finished it.

Now, Amazon agreed with me, and got a lot further with their adaptation than I did, and it looks good.

The Man in the High Castle was the first (and arguably only) Philip K Dick novel to win a 'major' award. He won other awards for other books, but he got a Hugo for this thing.

It is subjectively one of his best books.

Less subjectively, it has been produced by Ridley Scott, who amongst his many achievements directed Blade Runner, which is the single best adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story. Fact.

It looks like everything that it should be, and people can watch it for free over on Amazon.

I can't watch it at all though. I'm Australian, and this activity is therefore verboten to me.

They have made a free pilot, off the back of which they presumably want to sell the rest of the series. They also presumably want to see what the market for such a series would be to markets outside their own so that they can try and convince those other markets to buy it in order to resell to the people that live there.

That makes sense to me. That sounds like a solid and open model.

'Do you want this thing we're thinking about making?', 'How many of you want this thing?', and 'Is it worth it for us to make this thing?' seem like really good questions to ask and on which to gather the sweet, tasty data.

That isn't what's happening. Everyone is essentially locked out until someone takes a punt on their region, which I kind of get (but still think is stupid), but I don't get locking out regions from the material you are using to see if people are interested in the product.

This is part of an unreasonably protracted slow death of an archaic model.

It would make a lot more sense if you could watch it on YouTube, seeing as it is, at this stage, essentially a promotional episode.

Dear Amazon,

Why are you making it so hard for us to like you?

Kind regards,

The Australian Market

Tuesday 20 January 2015

The Least I Could Do

I usually take a little time away from United by Glue around the end/beginning of any given year. January 2015 has been no exception. I'm okay with that. Normally, I have a couple of episodes tucked away for you all that post intermittently during this down time, but I guess that didn't happen this time.

Things have been a little on the busy side, as I've spent most of the past month throwing myself up against the wall of gainful employment with no real evidence that they're thinking about letting me in.

Well look, to be honest, I think I might be getting let in shortly. Someone has given me directions to the door (metaphorically speaking), but I'm not yet through, at, or even technically in sight of this metadoor of which I speak.

That isn't really why I'm here right now though. I just figured that I should offer up something small and delicious in the way of a sort of time bider. Something that you can go and enjoy and explore thanks in small part to me, and in large part to the people who actually created the content. They would be Ryan Sohmer and Lar deSouza.

Least I Could Do is a daily webcomic from the same creators as Looking for Group. It's been running for over a decade, and is still going. How they write this much material is beyond me, but they have and do. It's still happening.

Anyway, you should check it out. It's a fairly good time. In case the condom over the 'I' in the title didn't give it away, some of the content is definitely aimed at a more mature audience. Well, a more chronologically progressed audience at any rate.

I have a particular liking for Least I Could Do: Beginnings, which runs on Sunday to make up the seven strips per week. It covers the main character's life as an 8 year old boy, and his antics and shenanigans. I'm not going to go into why I prefer it in detail. It isn't really important. I will say that it essentially boils down to there is something endearing about it.

If you're interested, Looking for Group is also good, but I feel probably less accessible than Least I Could Do.

Have fun, and I'll be posting again soon.

Yahkapops Hen-Person