Over the past few years, Science Fiction fans have been treated time and time again at the box office, with the smothering of big-budget blockbusters including Arrival and Interstellar. This looks set to continue with the release of Bladerunner: 2049, the massively anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic.
Whilst Bladerunner: 2049 adds to the long list of existing Hollywood adaptations of the author’s work, Channel 4’s new series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, finally brings his genius to viewers on the small screen. With a different cast, director and writer every week, each episode offers a unique perspective into the many dark, dystopian, yet all too familiar worlds of Dick’s vast imagination.
Even those episodes bogged down with gaping plot holes are saved by stellar performances from the star-spangled cast.
Each episode is based on one of Philip K. Dick’s mighty collection of shorter fiction (he wrote approximately 121 over his life), yet some clearly take more liberties with the source material than others. On many levels this is great: we lucky viewers are treated to refreshing new takes on the works of from one of the greatest Science Fiction writers of all time.
However, despite the quality of writing is generally very high, it is clear that not all of the screenwriters fall under this same esteemed title. Yet not all is lost, as even those episodes bogged down with gaping plot holes (episode four: 'Crazy Diamond', I’m looking at you) are saved by stellar performances from a star-spangled cast including Bryan Cranston, Sidse Babett Knudson and an excellent Timothy Spall.
Each episode offers a unique perspective into the many dark, dystopian, yet all too familiar worlds of Dick's imagination.
All in all, it is a pleasure to have some limelight shed back onto shorter stories, as the increasingly overlooked genre lends itself so perfectly to shorter television slots (and hey, you don’t have to wait a whole week to find out what happens next!). Electric Dreams isn’t quite perfect, but it is a thoroughly thought-provoking exploration of some of Dick’s lesser-known writing.
Electric Dreams continues on Sunday, 9.00 p.m. on Channel 4.
Missed the last episode? Catch up on 4OD.