Before watching Electric Dreams, you should know that this is an anthology series. Much like Black Mirror, every episode resets itself with a brand new cast and premise (albeit under the same sci-fi umbrella). I’m only warning you because I didn’t know this at first, and was shocked to see the pilot’s cliffhanger completely unresolved in episode two. Prepare yourself, and adjust your expectations accordingly.
The show’s two opening hours couldn’t be more different. The Hood Maker explores an authoritarian future in which telepaths are a part of the population and shunned as a result. It’s not too thrilling, but it does create effective parallels between telepaths and minority groups who are routinely discriminated against in our world today. It’s also refreshing to see Game of Thrones‘ very own Richard Madden in a lead role, which made the subsequent reset in episode two all the more disappointing. As the telepath of the story, Holliday Grainger is excellent as Honor, and it’s a shame we don’t get further episodes to explore her layered dynamic with Madden’s character. However, even though I now know Electric Dreams is an anthology series, I find myself very unfulfilled by the pilot’s ending. No spoilers here but there is barely a sense of closure when the narrative comes to an end.
Episode two, Impossible Planet, is a very eccentric beast. A much quieter story, this hour centers on a mysterious elderly woman who offers two space tourism guides a whole lot of money to take her to her grandparents’ home: Earth. What starts out as a somewhat dull affair soon evolves into a captivating story with a whole lot of heart and warmth. Again, there isn’t much closure here at the end of the hour, but it’s infinitely more satisfying than The Hood Maker. It helps that Geraldine Chaplin is absolutely mesmerizing as the woman at the center of the story. It’s an award-winning performance that tugs at your heartstrings in every way.
Across the board, Electric Dreams is beautifully brought to life. The set design, the CGI, the landscapes – they’re all quite stunning with vibrant pops of color and a moody atmosphere. This is a lavish production that’s a certified feast for the eyes.
It’s hard to judge an anthology series since every episode can vary so wildly in quality, but this is a creative little show. The Hood Maker and Impossible Planet aren’t perfect, but they definitely have potential.