Some very interesting TV news has come out today – it’s been announced that the BBC are to produce an adaptation of The Man In The High Castle, produced by Ridley Scott from a script by Howard Brenton.
While there’s some justifiable excitement about the director of Blade Runner returning to work on a story by Dick – though just as a producer this time – I find the idea of Brenton writing it very interesting. Responsible for some of the best early episodes of Spooks, he’s that vanishing breed, a very political writer working in British TV and should provide a very interesting take on the original work.
The trouble with many adaptations of Dick’s stories and novels is that they take the surface elements and ignore the deeper meanings. It’s somewhat understandable in that those surface elements do tend to have more originality packed into them than the entire annual output of several channels, but as a long-time fan of Dick’s work, it’s sad to see his examinations of the nature of reality and the question of just what it means to be human thrown aside in favour of a few more explosions and a good chase scene. Having a writer like Brenton on board gives me hope that the adaptation will be more than just ‘what if the Nazis and Imperial Japan ruled the US? Wouldn’t that be weird?’ The reason why the novel is so well-regarded is that it works on so many levels, and it’d be a shame for the adaptation to lose any of them.