Amazon is really looking to makes Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, its upcoming scifi anthology series, more cinematic than episodic. At "The World of Philip K. Dick" panel at New York Comic Con (which covered both Electric Dreams and The Man in the High Castle), the producers emphasised how the show is far more like a series of films than a television show.
"I don't like to call it episodes, I like to call it a series of 10 movies," showrunner Michael Dinner said.
Dinner explained each episode has different writers and directors, and they were given creative freedom to take the short stories and interpret them in whatever way they saw fit. This is in addition to the rotating cast, which includes stars like Steve Buscemi, Bryan Cranston, Janelle Monae, and Liam Cunningham, the only actor who appeared at the panel. Executive producer (and Philip K. Dick's daughter) Isa Dick Hackett said she felt this was the best way to approach Dick's short stories, which she called "the gems of his ideas," in a way that both honored his work but also made the messages relatable to a modern audience.
"We just thought it would be interesting to invite people to play in the sandbox with us," Dinner said.
Some of the writers and directors include David Farr, Francesca Gregorini, Jessica Mecklenburg, and executive producer Ronald D. Moore, who wrote an episode called "Real Life" starring Anna Paquin and Terrence Howard "about two characters in two very different worlds questioning their reality and wondering if they're actually the other person."
The producers wouldn't say whether there's a common thread that ties the episodes together (the only hint we have of any direct connection between them is the fact that actor Gumuliauskas Vaclovas appears in four episodes in an unnamed role) but they did talk about the common themes. And while Black Mirror, a similarly structured anthology show, is about the world's dependence on technology, Electric Dreams takes a more humanistic approach. It's more about the nature of reality and what it means to be a human, something Cunningham said is echoed in his episode.
"The humanity in this piece is gorgeous," Cunningham said. "There's a really good reason it's called 'Human Is.'"
Electric Dreams has already debuted in the UK, and will arrive in the United States sometime in 2018.