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.
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.
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…
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
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.
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.
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.
Cast includes: Greg Kinnear, Jack Gore, Mireille Enos
Written by: Michael Dinner
Based on: The Father-Thing by Philip K. Dick
Air date: TBC
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.