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.
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, aired on Channel 4 last year on Sunday 17th September, followed by five more episodes broadcast weekly (more or less). The final four stories are now broadcasting in early 2018.
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 2017 sequel.
Read our full Electric Dreams episode guide below – and check out our first-look Electric Dreams review here.
Episode 7: 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: Monday 26th February 2018, 10pm Channel 4
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.
Episode 8: 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: Monday 5th March 2018, 10pm Channel 4
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 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.
Episode 9: 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: Monday 12th March 2018, 10pm Channel 4
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.
Episode 10: 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: Monday 19th March 2018, 10pm Channel 4
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: Richard Madden, Holliday Grainger, Noma Dumezweni, Anneika Rose. Find out more about all the cast and characters here
- Written by: Life on Mars co-creator Matthew Graham
- Based on: The Hood Maker by Philip K. Dick
- Air date: Sunday 17th September, 9pm Channel 4
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.
- Cast includes: Jack Reynor, Benedict Wong, Geraldine Chaplin. Find out more about all the cast and characters here.
- 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…
- 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.
- 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 8th 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 5: Real Life
- 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 6: Human Is
- 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?