Philip K. Dick’s expositional dreams

A.K.A Rod Serling is rolling in his grave
Sat, 02/10/2018 - 8:15am

It’s extremely rare for me to watch the entirety of a show that lacks any purpose; actually, I never watch pointless television shows all the way to the end. Philip K. Dick’s “Electric Dreams” — now streaming on Amazon Prime — should be congratulated on finally being a boring show that I watched all the way to the end (of the first season). “Electric Dreams” is a show that has nothing to say, no social commentary, and contains very few interesting ideas. I was wondering how to review an anthology series, so I came upon the idea to cover each episode separately, starting with a brief summary and then moving to exactly what the episode does wrong and what the episode does right. I will be going over some of the episodes, but before I begin I should probably just give my basic thoughts on the show. Yes, it has some decent episodes, but its best episodes are only mediocre. No matter how I personally feel about “Electric Dreams,” I can not call it bad, because it really isn’t bad. However, I would argue that a majority of the “Electric Dreams” episodes reach something that is worse than being simply bad, it’s such a boring, bland, safe, and artless show made purely to make money. Now let's go with the short episode reviews of a few of the 10 episodes. 

“Real Life”

This episode is about a police officer in the future who goes on a virtual reality vacation, a process that lets you live your subconscious dreams, and she starts living the life of the present day business man who invented the dream virtual reality vacation thing. As it switches from “vacation” to “vacation” it makes you question which one is real life. 

So my main complaint with this episode that makes it so phenomenally stupid, and the reason for the title of this article, is how this episode never shows the police officer’s backstory. Characters just smoothly bring it up in casual conversation. “I understand you’re feeling depressed from that police massacre by gangsters that you happened to survive” is almost a direct quote from the episode. It just expects you to care when they never flashback to it or anything, and with good writing you wouldn't have to show it, but this episode is one of the most lazily written things in television history. Also the ending twist is so predictable, mostly because it thinks it’s so much more clever than it is. Characters keep saying that the future police lady world is the dream because flying cars are cool (yes, that is effectively their reasoning) and they say it about fifty times, so if you have a brain and are paying minor attention to the dialogue (like me) you can probably guess what the “twist” is. The premise is interesting, but they never do anything thought-provoking with it, making this episode just so aggravatingly meaningless and harmless that it genuinely aggravated me to the point of naming it the worst episode of the show.

“That Father Thing”

I have nothing to say about this episode because it’s just “Stranger Things” crossed with “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” However, it has no color, style, humor or 80s music, making it a complete waste of time and I refuse to spend more time writing about it than it took someone to come up with the idea. 

“Crazy Diamond”

I would give a quick plot summary about this episode but, frankly, I have no idea what it was about. I don’t know if I missed something but had no idea the entire time I was watching it. I would say this is my favorite episode of the show regardless, because it was interesting to watch. The entire episode is really intense, plus the weird B-movie action scenes give this episode the odd yet lovely feel of watching someone's dream after they dropped acid then fell asleep. I would highly recommend this episode because it’s just some dumb fun that I keep thinking about. 

“The Impossible Planet”

Two space tour guides are hired to bring an elderly lady to a planet that no longer exists. 

That’s the entire plot for this episode entirely summed up in just one sentence, so needless to say it isn't the most complicated episode. However, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this episode. The one thing I have heard about this episode is that it all falls apart at the ending. That confused me because the ending was actually quite effective, and I thought it was better than all of the other episodes. If there was one thing in this episode, it was the robot that was clearly designed to look like C3PO — but slightly less annoying. 

I’m not going to bother talking about the other episodes because it would get painfully repetitive so I am going to do it right here. This following description applies to the episodes: “Kill all Others,” “Autofac,” “The Commuter,” “The Hood Maker,” “Safe and Sound,” and “Human Is.” These episodes can be described as interesting ideas that the writers did either nothing with or were completely ruined by an idiotic twist. I hope this show is not renewed and is forever remembered as a cynical attempt to clone “Black Mirror” and “Twilight Zone,” but with terrible special effects.