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Coming off of the critically acclaimed first season of The Handmaid’s Tale—for which she won her first Emmy—production designer Julie Berghoff challenged herself with another singular dystopian sci-fi series, in the form of Philip K. Dick’s…

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Amazon Prime Video announced today that, for the second year in a row, it will present an immersive For Your Consideration (FYC) Emmy experience around its titles, including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “The Dangerous Book for Boys,” “Long Strange Trip” and “The Grand Tour.” The experience […]

Amazon’s ‘Electric Dreams’ Hints at What Might Have Happened to Real-Life Philip K. Dick Android

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Amazon’s “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” contains more than just a host of stories by the prolific science-fiction writer.

The anthology series has a star-studded cast, and although Dick died in 1982, it includes a couple of Easter egg references to the author of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” — the source material for “Blade Runner.”

In the episode “The Father Thing,” protagonist Charlie finds himself thinking that his father has been replaced by some kind of alien look-alike. And he’s not the only one — Charlie’s teacher winds up committing suicide because he thinks the same thing about his wife. In a nod to the author, Charlie’s paranoid but perceptive teacher is named Philip Dick.

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Another nod to the author is found in the opening title sequence of “Electric Dreams.” Toward the end, a hooded figure appears — the computer-generated Dick. The “Electric Dreams” title sequence is full of weird, slightly twisted sci-fi visuals, and the twist on the Dick that appears in the sequence is that, as he pulls the hood off his head, he reveals that his face is attached to a series of mechanical parts. The imaginative author is, indeed, an android himself.

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This might just be a nod to much of Dick’s writings, but it could also reference something that really happened. There actually is a robot Philip K. Dick head out there in the world. In fact, there are two of them — and one disappeared.

The story goes back to 2005, as Slate reports. Roboticist David Hanson, a graduate student at the University of Dallas, was the inventor of a relatively lifelike synthetic skin he called “frubber,” and creating it led him to build several robotic heads. Hanson met graduate students from the University of Memphis at a conference, where he showed off his robotic heads, and they showed off AutoTutor, an educational program that had some basic conversational capabilities for interacting with users. The group decided to combine the two technologies to try to build an android head that could interact with people.

Thus, the group made a painstaking, fairly accurate robotic bust of Dick, complete with the ability to converse with people. It was pretty lifelike, too, with a camera built into its eye that helped it search for faces and then turn to face people. The android could hold basic conversations about Dick’s work and ideas.

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The android, which was described as an “interactive sculpture,” made several appearances and was even on a panel for the Richard Linklater film “A Scanner Darkly,” an adaptation of Dick’s novel, at San Diego International Comic-Con. Warner Bros. intended to send the android on a press tour to promote the movie, the New York Times reports.

It never happened, unfortunately. The Dick android head disappeared when Hanson was flying with it from Dallas to San Francisco. He was asleep when the plane landed in Las Vegas for a transfer he hadn’t expected. Groggily, Hanson grabbed his stuff — but accidentally left Dick in the overhead compartment.

When the mistake was realized, the airline had the head packed in a box and sent to San Francisco International Airport, but somehow, it never arrived.

As the Times reports, the android head took about six months to make and cost $25,000. Losing it was painful for Hanson. It strained his relationship with the author’s two daughters, who provided unpublished material for download into the head to give it with things to say. Fortunately, Hanson’s company, Hanson Robotics, rebuilt the head even better in 2010 — but nobody knows what happened to the original.

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That hasn’t stopped people from speculating, though. The blog Fiction Circus posted an account of how the head was eventually recovered by Interpol, in the possession of a Russian software piracy syndicate called “Little Bear.” The blog, posted on April Fool’s Day in 2010, suggested the Russians had deleted the Dick data from the android head and replaced it with pirated music and video games.

“Electric Dreams” seems to imagine another possible outcome for the android head. It might be that Dick’s mechanical version never wound up in either a landfill or somebody’s living room at all. What if, instead, it acquired a new body, and found a way to go on among us?

One imagines that if Philip K. Dick was writing the story of what happened to his own android head, the tale might go something like that.

“Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” is currently streaming on Amazon.

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Get Your ‘Black Mirror’ Fix From Amazon’s ‘Electric Dreams’ While You Wait for Season 5

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When it first crossed the Atlantic to pop up on Netflix, “Black Mirror” brought a dire look at the near future and filled a “Twilight Zone”-shaped hole in the lives of a lot of viewers. But fans who have already binged their way through “Black Mirror” Season 4 have a new series that’ll scratch a lot of the same itches.

“Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” is an anthology series that adapts 10 of the prolific sci-fi writer’s short stories into short films. Originally airing last year in the UK, the series was released in its entirety on Amazon Prime this month. While not all of Dick’s ideas feel quite as close to our world as those of “Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker, a few of the adaptations get near to kick up a lot of the same existential thoughts as what “Black Mirror” is often trying to bring up to its audience.

One of the reasons “Black Mirror” captures so much attention among viewers is that it’s an imaginative but familiar look at the world around us. The show’s focus on technology is part of what often makes it feel real. It’s also an almost unyieldingly dark take on our world — almost every “Black Mirror” episode imagines a dystopia of technology run amok, and the humanity we unwittingly sacrifice as we let it too far into our lives.

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“Electric Dreams” gets at some of those ideas too. There are a few episodes that imagine worlds where our technological grasp exceeds our reach, like “Autofac,” in which an automated factory continues to produce useless goods long after world war has rendered them useless. “K.A.O.” takes place in a world in which your identity is openly, constantly available both to advertisers and the government, causing privacy, and the ability to speak freely, to vanish. “Real Life” is about a woman who loses herself in a virtual reality world, struggling to remember which reality is the real one.

Probably the most “Black Mirror”-like of the episodes is “Safe & Sound,” which imagines a Big Brother-like relationship with a technology company that’s similar to Apple, or somewhat ironically, Amazon. It goes one essential step beyond the central idea of always being monitored, however, to discuss the ways that some people give up freedom in favor of security, and others take advantage of that fact.

Unlike “Black Mirror,” though, much of “Electric Dreams” is generally a more optimistic show, with less fatalist themes. Part of that is the result of the stories in “Electric Dreams” covering a wider gamut of science fiction — some stories take place in our world or very near future,s while others are set in distant locales and even far-flung solar systems. The episode “Impossible Planet,” for instance, is set so far in the future that humanity has become a spacefaring race with only a distant memory of Earth.

And while “Black Mirror” gets at the way an overabundance of technology can slowly (or quickly) reshape us, the stories in “Electric Dreams” tend to work at getting at a deeper of idea of what makes us human in the first place — or doesn’t. Sometimes that’s literal, in stories like “Human Is” and “The Father Thing” that tackle the idea of loved ones being replaced by impostors. In other cases, like “Impossible Planet” or “The Hood Maker,” it’s a bit more figurative as episodes get at how we treat each other, and why.

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“Black Mirror” gets at those ideas sometimes, too, but usually in a more tragic and dystopian way. The essence of the series is the idea that we can cede too much to technology — that the technology we use to make life better can have the effect of a runaway train, carrying us to places, and disasters, we don’t see coming. “Electric Dreams” might be a somewhat rosier anthology than “Black Mirror,” but the thing that makes both shows worth watching are their ideas about what our world is, what it could be come, and what we might let become of us.

“Electric Dreams” isn’t an exact imitation of “Black Mirror” or other similar shows like “Twilight Zone” or “The Outer Limits” — nor is it antithetical to that series. In fact, they compliment one another with that question that makes science fiction and speculative fiction so compelling: “What if?”

The release of “Electric Dreams” might suggest that the surge of popularity surrounding “Black Mirror” is bringing more science fiction along with it. Shows like these offer a deeper and often weirder look at who we are and where we’re going than other TV. It’s great that it seems like more of those perspectives are being brought back into the mainstream.

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TV News Roundup: Amazon Anthology ‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams’ Sets Premiere Date

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In today’s roundup, both Amazon’s sci-fi anthology series “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” and National Geographic’s documentary special “Titanic: 20 Years Later with James Cameron” get premiere dates. DATES Amazon’s new sci-fi anthology series “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” will premiere on Jan. 12. Each of the series’ ten episodes is based on one of writer Philip K. […]

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Netflix has Black Mirror and Hulu is getting the Stephen King-inspired Castle Rock, and it looks like Amazon is ready to compete with both of them thanks to Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dream, an anthology series telling stories based on the work of the eponymous sci-fi writer. As seen in this trailer, Electric Dreams

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Janelle Monae, Steve Buscemi Lead All-Star Cast in First Trailer for ‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams’ (Video)

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An all star cast (and we mean all star) leads the first trailer for Amazon’s sci-fi anthology series “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams,” which debuted at New York Comic-Con Friday.

Each episode is adapted or inspired from a Philip K. Dick Dick story. While the author is best known for stories like “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (which inspired “Blade Runner”), “Minority Report” and “Man in the High Castle,” he has many lesser known stories that round out his vision about the future.

Some of the ones that’ll be featured in the anthology include “The Hood Maker,” about a world where telepaths are used to eliminate political opponents, “The Commuter,” about a train traveler who insists of the existence of a town not found on any map, and “Autofac,” which concerns a post-apocalyptic future where self-replicating robots are consuming the world’s resources.

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Multiple award winners and high-profile names appear throughout the show’s 10 episodes, including but not limited to Steve Buscemi, Bryan Cranston, Greg Kinnear, Maura Tierney, Janelle Monae, Anna Paquin, Terrence Howard, Liam Cunningham, Richard Madden, Vera Farmiga, Jack Reynor, Essie Davis, Benedict Wong and Geraldine Chaplin.

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Some of the writers and directors include Ronald D. Moore, Michael Dinner, Tony Grisoni, Jack Thorne, Matthew Graham, David Farr, Dee Rees and Travis Beacham.

If you’re a fan of the author, you can check out the full trailer above and see if you can point out which stories are represented.

The series premiered on Channel 4 in the U.K. on Sept. 17. It’s set to hit Amazon Video in 2018.

Another film inspired by Dick’s work, “Blade Runner 2049,” is set to hit theaters this weekend.

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Janelle Monae, Juno Temple Join ‘Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams’ Series

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

More big names are on board to help tell the stories of Philip K. Dick.

Sony Television announced Wednesday that Janelle Monae and Juno Temple have joined the cast of “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams,” a 10-episode sci-fi anthology series that will adapt a number of the renowned author’s short stories.

Both actresses will star in the “Autofac” episode, which features a world where human civilization is in shambles. Despite society and the world as we know it having collapsed, a massive, automatic product-manufacturing factory continues to operate according to the principles of consumerism — humans consume products to be happy, and in order to consume continuously, they must be denied freedom of choice and free will. When a small band of rebels decide to shut down the factory, they discover they may actually be the perfect consumers after all.

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Monae, who recently starred in “Hidden Figures” and “Moonlight,” will play Alexis, an Autofac representative. Temple, who recently appeared on “Vinyl,” will play Emily, one of the rebels.

Sony also announced that Jay Paulson (“Mad Men”) and David Lyons (“Revolution”) will appear in the episode, but didn’t disclose their parts.

Travis Beacham, co-writer of “Pacific Rim,” will write the episode and Peter Horton (“Grey’s Anatomy”) will direct.

The series has cast a number of big-name actors for its other installments, including Steve Buscemi, Greg Kinnear, Anna Paquin, Terrence Howard, Richard Madde and Vera Farmiga. Bryan Cranston, who is an executive producer on the series, also stars.

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Other writers signed on include Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica”), Michael Dinner (“Justified”), Tony Grisoni (“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”), Jack Thorne (“National Treasure”), Matthew Graham (“Life on Mars”), David Farr (“The Night Manager”) and Dee Rees (“Mudbound”).

“Electric Dreams” will air later this year in the U.K. on Channel 4 before being available on Amazon Prime.

This is the second Dick property to land with a premiere on Amazon Prime. The first, “Man in the High Castle,” was renewed for a third season.

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