Amazon launches 'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams'

Posted 1/12/18

By Kevin McDonough

Are we entering a new golden age of anthology television? Hot on the heels of a new season of Netflix's "Black Mirror," Amazon Prime starts streaming "Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams." Its 10 standalone episodes are based on …

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Amazon launches 'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams'

Posted

By Kevin McDonough

Are we entering a new golden age of anthology television? Hot on the heels of a new season of Netflix's "Black Mirror," Amazon Prime starts streaming "Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams." Its 10 standalone episodes are based on the short stories of Dick, whose works inspired such films as "Blade Runner," "Minority Report," "Total Recall" and "A Scanner Darkly."

Better yet, "Electric Dreams" features an impressive cast, including Steve Buscemi, Terrence Howard, Janelle Monae, Greg Kinnear, Maura Tierney and Bryan Cranston.

Cranston is also a producer on this American-British project, which began airing on the U.K.'s Channel 4 in September.

The episodes vary in subject, genre and tone, reflecting the breadth of Dick's output. "The Commuter" stars Timothy Spall as a browbeaten station master for the British railway whose rather grim existence is brightened by his discovery of a secret train stop that leads to a mysterious village, where a pleasant existence unfolds in repetitive "Groundhog Day" fashion. He's delighted and somewhat addicted to the place, until he discovers the very personal price for his mystical diversion.

Another episode, "Father Thing," has a more straight-up Spielbergian science-fiction feel. Kinnear stars as the supportive father of a young baseball obsessive who begins to notice strange behavior in his dear old dad following an unexpected meteor shower.

Perhaps "Electric Dreams" is the modern-day analog to "The Outer Limits," whereas "Black Mirror" is more comparable to "The Twilight Zone." Or is it the other way around? Either way, fans of speculative and slightly unsettling short stories are in luck.

• David Letterman returns from retirement. Sort of. Fully bearded, the former late-night regular will host "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction," a monthly talk show on Netflix. His scheduled guests for the series' first six-month run include George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z, Tina Fey and Howard Stern. Letterman's first guest is President Barack Obama, making his first TV talk show appearance since leaving office.

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• Would-be brides anticipate their walk down the aisle just as soon as their betrothed is released from prison on the new series "Love After Lockup" (10 p.m., WE, TV-14).

• Liquor salesman, father and undistinguished boxer Chuck Wepner (Liev Schreiber) - known as "the Bayonne Bleeder" - goes 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali (Pooch Hall) in the 2016 biopic "Chuck" (8:15 p.m., Showtime). Many believe that this true-life tale inspired Sylvester Stallone when he wrote and starred in the 1976 hit "Rocky." "Chuck" sports a game cast, including Naomi Watts, Elisabeth Moss, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Rapaport and Ron Perlman.

TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

• Loose nukes on "Blindspot" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

• Contestants must remake a meal based on only one taste of the original on "Hell's Kitchen" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).

• In captivity, Bryan fights to survive on the second season premiere of "Taken" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

• Mulder and Scully have company while searching for their missing son on "The X-Files" (9 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).

• The reunited team becomes a target on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).

SERIES NOTES

Automation can be murder on "MacGyver" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * Rebecca can only do so much on "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) * Grover consoles a would-be suicide on "Hawaii Five-0" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14) * Erin hires her old nemesis on "Blue Bloods" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

LATE NIGHT

Laurie Metcalf is booked on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS) * Jimmy Fallon welcomes James Spader, Camila Cabello and Pete Lee on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) * Anthony Anderson, Hong Chau, Amanda Seales and Mark Guiliana visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC, r) * Emmy Rossum, January Jones and Pink are on "The Late Late Show With James Corden" (12:35 a.m., CBS, r).

© 2018, United Feature Syndicate