Chances are if you are expecting Electric Dreams to be on the level of Black Mirror, then you will be upset and disappointed.
For while Black Mirror builds on and updates core themes that science fiction writer Philip K Dick explored in this short stories and novels, Electric Dreams tries to adapt Dick’s rather hackneyed 50s short stories, where the context is bound to cause some shortfall in expectations.
Again, “Real Life” (based on “Exhibit Piece”) is no different. Basically both the original and adaptation question the basis of reality, when a person is caught between two realities – which one is real?
The big problem with “Real Life” is that the viewer would be hard pressed to identify with our protagonist, traumatised cop Sarah (Anna Paquin) – who is so weighed down by her survivors’ guilt that she takes a virtual reality ‘vacation’ that she conjures up a even more depressing reality in her mind!
In this alternate reality, she is George Miller (Terence Howard) – a billionaire owner of a virtual reality device who has recently lost his wife (Katie – also Sarah’s wife in the other reality), hunting down Katie’s killer (also the cop killer in the other reality) and believing that the other reality is something produced by his own device.
It all does not make much sense and the ending is somewhat telegraphed and predictable. The characters are under-developed and the lack of audience empathy makes it difficult for us to care about the final outcome.
Surprisingly, the episode was written by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galatica), and must be an aberration in his oeuvre. If nothing else, we are enjoying these poor attempts at adapting Dick’s work – despite themselves – and taking them at face value. It never hurts too badly!
…. still there’s more …