I noticed something odd when I began the Great Hugo Read two years ago. At that time, of all the Hugo winners, only three had been adapted to film. One was Starship Troopers, a controversial adaptation that is probably one of my top ten favorite films of all time. One was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which grabbed a win for the series by beating out A Storm of Swords. The third was Dune.
Oh, Dune. I grabbed the movie out of curiosity as part of a four movie DVD pack. I started watching, but was interrupted by a baby nap not lasting nearly as long as it normally would. I never ended up coming back to it. Paul was just heading out into the desert, and there was shockingly little movie left for how much plot they still needed to cover. I’ve still never finished it. I’m not sure I will. I just don’t really feel any great need to watch it. I’d be far more likely to track down the miniseries.
There have been attempts to turn other Hugo winners into movies, and more recently television shows. Several have failed. The biggest one currently limping along trying to find a home is the on-again-off-again adaptation of American Gods. Some, however, are moving forward. One I’ve heard about for awhile was the Ridley Scott helmed adaptation of The Man in the High Castle. I wasn’t aware that they were moving forward. Or casting. Or filming. So it was a surprise to learn that the pilot was not only complete, but that it was part of the Amazon pilot program release this week.
And it’s fantastic. There’s no other word for it, it’s just fantastic. It takes most of the background elements of the book, several of the characters, but fixes up the plot to better fit the format. While I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, it isn’t really plotted in a way that lends itself to adaptation.
Of course, this is just a pilot. Just one episode. If its going to become a series, it needs viewers, and it needs those viewers to rate it. While the eventual series, if we get one, will require Amazon Prime, the pilot can be watched by anyone. So go watch it. It’s great. Then rate it. Because I need more episodes of this show yesterday.