I read the book, not even considering that something so obscure could have even been considered for the screen. I only found it on by chance when I was googling the name of the book and the TV series appeared.
So far there’s only one episode of the series. The pilot was released in January this year with more to be released. Obviously as it’s only the pilot, not much of the plot is covered in the episode.
The pilot was filled with some really striking shots. There was a lot of Japanese and German imagery. Perhaps the most striking image of the whole episode was this one, New York covered in the Swastika.
It was really interesting to see the vast difference in how America looked. In the parts in San Francisco, Japanese culture seems to have taken over completely, with little of American culture left. Every shop sign has been replaced with Japanese characters, there’s dojos and herbalists, and the street are filled with Japanese people. Shots like these gave a real sense of how much the Japanese and Germans had taken over American life. A book can only give you so much, but to actually see how un-American it looks really makes an impression.
Perhaps what I liked most about this, was also what I liked most about the book. The fictional story within a story, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, is not a book in the series but a film that shows iconic footage from the Allies winning the war. Although that would not have been possible to get that footage had the war been lost, as it was in that reality. I really like the way that Juliana looked as she was watching it. You could see the hope in her eyes and the sheer wonder at this other, better world.
If it goes on as the pilot episode, it would make for a very good series. So what’s the results in my opinion? Film wins!