Coming off a string of well-received roles, 60-year-old former Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston is in the midst of what could be called a late-career resurgence. Studios seem to be falling all over themselves to recruit Cranston to their projects, with his latest venture set to take him firmly into the sci-fi realm: an area the actor previously explored in films like Godzilla (2014), John Carter, and Total Recall (2012).
Speaking of projects inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick (the original 1990 version of Total Recall was based on Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”) – Cranston has signed on to executive produce and star in Electric Dreams: The World Of Philip K. Dick, a 10-episode sci-fi anthology series based on the many works of the legendary author.
Even if one hasn’t read any of Dick’s many novels and short stories, they’ve still likely been exposed to his incomparable imagination via the multiple film adaptations of his work, including Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, and again, the aforementioned Total Recall. The title of the series is a clear reference to Dick’s novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, the source material for Ridley Scott’s iconic 1982 dystopian classic Blade Runner, perhaps the most famous movie based on an entry in Dick’s oeuvre.
Cranston released an official statement about the Electric Dreams TV series (via Variety):
“This is an electric dream come true. We are so thrilled to be able to explore and expand upon the evergreen themes found in the incredible work of this literary master.”
Electric Dreams is a co-production of Sony Pictures Television and the U.K.’s Channel 4, and will feature a writing staff comprised of both American and English writers. While Channel 4 will naturally be the U.K.’s broadcast home for the series, Sony is free to distribute Electric Dreams internationally, with a focus on crafting tales relevant to a global audience. In other words, stateside viewers are basically guaranteed to receive access to the series sooner rather than later. Also executive producing the project is Ronald D. Moore, creator of the 2000s update of Battlestar Galactica and more recently Starz’s Outlander.
To be clear, Electric Dreams will not be following the lead of modern anthology series like American Horror Story or Fargo, where each season plays host to one complete serialized tale. Fitting with Dick’s prolific propensity for creating short fiction, Electric Dreams is going by the old-school definition of anthology TV, telling a new story with new characters each week. Returning to this approach has already successfully worked for Channel 4’s Black Mirror, which recently got scooped up for a new season by Netflix. It’s unclear at the moment whether Cranston will appear in all 10 episodes of the series in some form, or only pop up in a few.
Will Electric Dreams continue the current renaissance of anthology TV? It’s too soon to tell, but Sony and Channel 4 have certainly picked the right leading actor to do Philip K. Dick’s work justice on the small screen.
Electric Dreams: The World Of Philip K. Dick has no current premiere date.