Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams TV Poster Image
Sci-fi anthology show has clever ideas, sex and violence.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Motives and ethics are slippery things in this sci-fi anthology. Parents, law enforcement, superiors at work, all have complicated motivations and can't always be trusted. Some episodes target class issues, like when a class of telepathic humans is discriminated against until a mysterious person finds a technological solution. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Women and people of color have strong, central roles in most episodes, but good role models are rare: Most characters are complex and have dual or hidden ambitions. Betrayals are frequent, and characters often want things like money and power instead of love and security. 


Violence sudden and quite brutal: A man threatens to cut another man's finger off and make him eat it (and says he cut a different man's finger off and made his friend eat it); characters are suddenly shot and killed with blood, no gore; brief shots of dead bodies. Sci-fi or futuristic weaponry common: A woman is hit from behind with a device that glows red and knocks her out immediately. 


Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing and characters having sex with each other, including a scene in which two women are doing something with their hands to each other under a sheet while one moans and cries out, and another in which a woman moves rhythmically atop a man. No nudity. 


Cursing and language includes "f--k," "f---ing," "s--t," "damn," "ass." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters shown drinking; when asked how many she's had, a woman says "more than two, less than 10." At least one character smokes cigarettes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams is an anthology show built around science fiction themes. It's based on the classic work of sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick. As is common in sci-fi anthologies, themes are often dark and upsetting: a woman who escapes her life in virtual reality fantasies, a group of telepathic people who become Earth's new underclass, a woman who wants to visit a long-abandoned Earth. Violence can be sudden and brutal: characters suddenly shot and killed (with blood but no gore), a man threatening to cut off another man's finger and force him to eat it. Sci-fi weaponry and gadgets, like scanners that can see your thoughts, and a glowing device that paralyzes someone hit by it, are common. Characters have sex with each other with rhythmic movements and moaning; there's no nudity, but expect same- and opposite-sex kissing, romance, and sex. Many characters are shown drinking alcohol (no one gets drunk), and at least one character smokes cigarettes. Women and people of color have strong roles, but role models are few and far between. Cursing includes "f--k," "f---ing," "s--t," "damn," and "ass." 


User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byScott S. February 1, 2018

Fine Sci Fi, Pointless Language

The show seems like a well designed “Black Mirror” analogue, only I struggle with the non stop swearing. I understand that dropping the F Bomb can be used as a... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTechBug2012 January 21, 2018

Has its ups and downs, but is wonderful overall

Electric Dreams is an anthology series based on short stories written largely in the 1960s by Philip K. Dick, who is known for writing sci-fi classics such as B... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on the beloved sci-fi books and short stories of author Philip K. Dick, each of the episodes in PHILIP K. DICK'S ELECTRIC DREAMS is set in a different world: a law enforcement agency of the future, a train that transports miserable passengers to a more idyllic imaginary life, a future in which an elderly woman wants to recapture a little of her life back on the now environmentally ruined Earth. From five to 5,000 years in the future, each episode delves into Philip K. Dick's prophetic visions and ruminates on the nature of humanity.

Is it any good?

Sci-fi fans who crave dramas with flying cars and spaceships, take note: Philip K. Dick's "futuristic" scenarios are potent and interesting, but carry with them an '80s vibe. Makes sense, since the noted writer died in 1982, and never lived to see many of the technological marvels we now take for granted. So modern techno-geeks prepared to be dazzled, Black Mirror-style, with out-there new ideas, may be a bit disappointed in some of this show's slightly musty setups: an android who wants to extend her artificial lifespan, a plotline about paranoia that amounts to a retread on the Cold War-era Twilight Zone episode "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street." 

Still, the best thing about an anthology is that even when some episodes are a little shopworn, you can just skip past them to the gems. And there are gems here. In "The Commuter," a railway worker takes a train journey to a mysterious town where all your troubles are wiped away -- only to find upon his return that his real life has been, too. (Twilight Zone fans might note a superficial resemblance to the classic episode "A Stop at Willoughby," though this take is darker.) In "Real Life," a character becomes confused between what's real and what's virtual reality, and in "The Hood Maker," a psychic and a detective team up to capture a man with dangerous new ideas. As you can see, none of these ideas are brand-new and fresh. But for sci-fi fans, they still hold appeal -- and in the best episodes of Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, they're fleshed out with unnerving intensity and artistry. 


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the themes featured in Electric Dreams. What are these stories saying about the way our society uses technology like surveillance cameras, virtual reality, and cell phones, and people's fascination with social media? Do you think the show's dark, satirical style helps make these points? Or does it detract from them? 

  • Is Electric Dreams a good title for this series? Why? What does the term mean? 

  • Have you read any Philip K. Dick stories or books? Any of the stories on which these episodes are based? Does reading the source material make you more or less interested in screen adaptations? If you watch/read different presentations of the same story, does that deepen your experience, or does it distract you from the story itself? 

  • Do you think technology enhances people's lives? Can you think of examples where it seems to have gone too far in real life? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

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