Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams is available January 12th on Amazon Prime Video.
By Chris Flanagan
I’m going to save you a little bit of reading and go ahead and tell you in the opening sentence that Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams is the sci-fi step-brother in a house that has Black Mirror as the golden child who can do no wrong. Simply put, it can’t compete but boy does it try. Based off of the aforementioned author’s works which have also brought us Blade Runner, The Man in the High Castle, and many other sci-fi staples is getting yet another screen adaptation, this time with Amazon Studios. With Electric Dreams, each episode focuses on a specific story from the author that offers very diverse storylines.
Right away Electric Dreams draws your attention by boasting an incredible cast (Bryan Cranston, Timothy Spall, Benedict Wong, Steve Buscemi & more) throughout its ten episodes, but most of the time they do little to elevate the bland stories to anything worthwhile. After the first several episodes, it’s glaringly apparent that something is missing and I’m not entirely sure what that “thing” is. One thing is certain: Most of the stories’ endings lack a certain punch that many other sci-fi anthologies have been able to figure out and perfect. Even when the story takes a last-minute twist, it still fails to provide an ending that can be comprehended. There are some stories that are in fact promising but quickly enter into complacent storytelling that is predictable and overdone in many ways.
Trust me, as I write this I want to be wrong, but the obvious truth is that Electric Dreams tries desperately to make very intriguing written stories into a paint-by-the-numbers TV adaptation and despite high production value it still comes across as mediocre. I wanted it to be good. I wanted it to rival the others shows that are currently telling similar stories, but one by one each episode kept letting me down as the end credits rolled leaving me confused, disappointed, or just downright angry. I would advise you to look elsewhere instead of Electric Dreams. There are some decent stories within this series but they are too few to warrant investing your time. If you do find yourself lost watching this series, Godspeed.
I give Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams a D.