Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams: Everything you need to know

Find out more about the cast, episode air dates and stories for Channel 4 and Amazon Prime Video's sci-fi anthology series

Electric Dreams Bryan Cranston

Losing Charlie Brooker’s smash-hit dystopian drama Black Mirror to Netflix was a blow for Channel 4, but they haven’t waited too long to jump back on the sci-fi anthology horse.

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Working with Amazon Prime Video and Sony Pictures Television, they’ve now developed 10-part series Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, a collection of one-off science fiction parables adapted from some of the author’s classic short stories, with a starry cast including Bryan Cranston, Steve Buscemi and Terrence Howard.

Breaking Bad’s Cranston also serves as executive producer, which is quite an ask for a show involving so many different writers and stories.

“The logistics have been so challenging: ten writers, ten directors, ten casts, ten different locations, ten different designs… It’s worse than having a baby – it’s like having triplets,” he told Radio Times. Read the full interview with him here.

The first episode of the series, The Hood Maker, will air on Channel 4 on Sunday 17th September, followed by five more episodes broadcast weekly (more or less). The final four stories will be broadcast in early 2018; at the time of writing the air dates of the episodes are as below, but keep an eye out: it’s possible they could be moved around in later weeks.

Amazon will reveal their release dates at a later date.

And full marks if you spotted the reference in the series’ title, which appears to have been taken from one of Dick’s most famous short stories Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – better known these days as the basis for sci-fi movie classic Blade Runner and its upcoming sequel.

Read our full Electric Dreams episode guide below – and check out our first-look Electric Dreams review here.

Updated 17th September


Episode 1: The Hood Maker

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Set in a dystopian, 1970s-ish London blighted by limited technology and civil unrest, The Hood Maker follows Agent Ross (Madden) and his telepathic partner Honor (Grainger) as they investigate unrest between the oppressed mindreading “Teeps” and regular humans, while tracking down a mysterious figure making thought-proof hoods.


Episode 2: The Impossible Planet

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  • Cast includes: Jack Reynor, Benedict Wong, Geraldine Chaplin
  • Written by: The Night Manager’s David Farr, who also directs the episode
  • Based on: The Impossible Planet by Philip K. Dick
  • Air date: Sunday 24th September, 9pm Channel 4

Two bitter space tourism employees (Reynor and Wong) take up a confused old woman’s (Chaplin) request for a trip back to Earth – despite the existence of the planet having now become a long-debunked myth. But as time goes on, their scam takes an unusual turn…


Episode 3: The Commuter

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  • Cast includes: Timothy Spall, Hayley Squires, Tuppence Middleton
  • Written by: National Treasure and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne
  • Based on: The Commuter by Philip K. Dick
  • Air date: Sunday 1st October

A lowly train station employee (Spall) discovers to his great alarm that many commuters are taking a train to an unusual location – a town that shouldn’t exist.


Episode 4: Real Life

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  • Cast includes: Anna Paquin, Terrence Howard, Lara Pulver
  • Written by: Outlander and Battlestar Galactica creator Ronald D Moore
  • Based on: Exhibit Piece by Philip K. Dick
  • Air date: Sunday 8th October

A policewoman from the future (Paquin) finds herself connected to a brilliant game designer from the present (Howard) through an unusual piece of technology, with the pair hunting violent killers who have devastating plans. But when it turns out their connection could be the end of them both, will they be able to break it?


Episode 5: Crazy Diamond

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  • Cast includes: Steve Buscemi, Julia Davis, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Joanna Scanlan
  • Written by: The Young Pope’s Tony Grisoni
  • Based on: Sales Pitch by Philip K Dick
  • Air date: Sunday 15th October

Boat-lover Ed Morris (Buscemi) leads an ordinary life in a sanitised, heavily-controlled world – but when an enticing synthetic woman (Knudsen) tries to get him involved with a daring heist, his life, career and marriage start to crumble around him.


Episode 6: Human Is

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  • Cast includes: Bryan Cranston, Essie Davis, Liam Cunningham, Ruth Bradley
  • Written by: Stranger Things’ Jessica Mecklenburg
  • Based on: Human Is by Philip K. Dick
  • Air date: Sunday 29th October (after a week’s break)

An unhappy woman (Davis) trapped in a loveless marriage with an emotionally abusive husband (Cranston) finds him utterly transformed when he returns from war. But can the changes, however positive, really be so innocent?


Episodes coming in early 2018

Kill All Others

  • Cast includes: Mel Rodriguez, Vera Farmiga
  • Written by: Dee Rees, who also directs the episode
  • Based on: The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick
  • Air date: TBC

After a politician (Farmiga) makes a shocking statement encouraging violence, a man is apparently murdered and left hanging from a lamppost. Mysteriously ignored by passersby, only one man (Rodriguez) questions the situation, making himself an instant target as dark forces close in.


Autofac

  • Cast includes: Juno Temple, Janelle Monae
  • Written by: Pacific Rim and Clash of the Titans’ Travis Beacham
  • Based on: Autofac by Philip K. Dick
  • Air date: TBC

Human society has collapsed, and a vast, automatic factory keeps humanity oppressed after deciding that freedom of choice and free will only delay consumption of its products. A small band of rebels (including Temple and Monae) are all that stand in the factory’s way – but when they resolve to destroy it, they may find that they’re the perfect consumers after all.


Safe and Sound

  • Cast includes: Annalise Basso, Maura Tierney
  • Written by: The Man in the High Castle’s Kalen Egan and Travis Sentell
  • Based on: Foster You’re Dead by Philip K. Dick
  • Air date: TBC

An anxious small-town girl (Basso) moves to an enormous futuristic city with her mother (Maura Tierney), and finds her days gripped by fear and paranoia in a society obsessed with security and terrorist prevention. However, she soon finds some comfort from an unexpected source.


Father Thing

  • Cast includes: Greg Kinnear, Jack Gore, Mireille Enos
  • Written by: Michael Dinner
  • Based on: The Father-Thing by Philip K. Dick
  • Air date: TBC
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As aliens quietly invade Earth by replacing individual humans, only a young boy (Gore) realises that his father (Kinnear) has become a dangerous monster. Desperate to protect his mother (Enos) and the human race in general, he must make terrible decisions to save them all.