Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams: Impossible Planet
September 24, 2017 2:59 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Norton, a discontented tour guide of a cruise ship in space is on a one-way trip to nothingness until he meets the supernaturally old Irma, who is on a quest to reach planet Earth.
posted by lmfsilva (11 comments total)
I was left really cold by this one. I'm all for a little ambiguity in my endings, but this one didn't really seem to resolve anything.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:08 AM on September 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I actually really liked this. I don't know that there was anything to resolve, really; they took her to a planet that was not Earth, ran out of oxygen and perished. I suppose all the "life is a dream" red herrings were a bit unnecessary, but I didn't mind them. It was a story about the magic of storytelling, which, yes, is a little hoary but I thought they did it rather nicely here without laying it on too thickly. And I liked how the robot played along with the ruse out of apparent affection for the woman.

I also liked that this episode featured some of the minor character tropes from PKD's writing, like the emotionally distant dark-haired woman (not one of my favorites, but I enjoyed the thrill of recognition) and the kind of shlubby small-time businessman who's always scheming and is fundamentally not that great of a guy but still has his moments.
posted by whir at 12:19 AM on September 26, 2017 [5 favorites]

Yeah, the sets and themes were classic Dick, of a type we don't always see in derivations of Dick's work... I liked it just fine.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 2:12 PM on September 26, 2017

I've checked around, and the original story apparently ends with them finding an old dollar coin in debris, and the "fake" planet was actually earth all along™. It would probably make a better ending.

One thing I've liked in this episode was how everything kinda looked like 80s post-Blade Runner cyberpunk-but-still-without-a-name sci-fi (so, uh, like PKD?). This on VHS quality would probably fool me into thinking it was a late 80s show.
posted by lmfsilva at 3:08 PM on September 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

I thought it was pretty good. I actually think I prefer the TV show ending to the short story ending. But, I don't really understand why they would risk their lives smashing their spaceship into the ground for like no reason. I mean I would have to assume that in the future there will be spaceships in space and spaceships that work as shuttles to planets, and the spaceships taking long trips couldn't be built to handle the stresses of atmosphere and gravity, right? I guess maybe their ship is more Millennium Falcon than Starship Enterprise, but I still don't think anyone would crash land their ship on a rock for no reason.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:35 AM on September 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm really digging the kind of just-good-enough production qualities of the episodes I've seen so far. It's not a show that spends multiple million dollarbux in CGI production, it's just enough to sell the scene. And I appreciate that. It really reminds me of some of the later classic Dr. Who episodes.

Which is probably not a compliment, I guess. But it's nice to see something that isn't overdone just for the sake of being overdone.

I think I liked the first episode more than this one, but they've both been worth watching.
posted by Kyol at 9:30 AM on October 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

That was a sweet ending for a story about two con men tricking a woman out of her dying wish.

Adding my kudos to the production design. The robot especially looked like it was designed not to be practical but to go with the decor of an expensive McMansion.
posted by ejs at 6:46 PM on January 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I guess a young guy essentially committing suicide is not what I would consider "sweet" so this episode was problematic for me. Irma only has 2 months left so for her to choose how she wants to die is understandable. But for bothers me.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:46 PM on January 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

i was surprised the robot decided to go along with the ruse. but seeing as how she has 2 months left it was probably the right logical call. i don't like old ladies getting swindled, either, but i think Norton made up for it. wish they'd tell us what happens with Andrew and RB29, but I guess that's not important.
posted by numaner at 8:38 PM on January 28, 2018

I thought they left it open whether the robot might have figured out what was going on and actually rerouted the ship to the actual Earth, which would have been somewhat consistent with the original story. You would think the more senior crew member would have figured it out, but he seemed to be too preoccupied with sleeping and watching his video nasties. I also found it hard to believe he would have agreed to land the ship, a task which it obviously wasn't up to, on whatever planet it was. Maybe that is a clue that it wasn't the planet he thought it was.

While I can believe that Irma was actually the woman she described as her grandmother, if she chose the terrible excursion company because her great-great-great grandson worked there, it makes it even worse that she used a bunch of money to lure him to his death, hallucinating he was swimming while choking to death on toxic gas... Or maybe she just planted that idea in his head to make his sacrifice seem romantic? There seemed to be some hints that her hearing loss was contextual. At minimum, she used it to create distance with the one crew member and closeness with the other—and, as a result, distance between the two crew members. Combined with Barbara, there were two women luring the innocent to his death, spiritual death in one case and physical death in the other.
posted by nequalsone at 8:27 AM on May 22, 2018

> I mean I would have to assume that in the future there will be spaceships in space and spaceships that work as shuttles to planets, and the spaceships taking long trips couldn't be built to handle the stresses of atmosphere and gravity, right?

or that in the future, somewhere past the year 2500 or so, we'd have something that would transcribe human speech to text faster than my iPhone currently does.
posted by komara at 6:46 PM on June 27, 2018

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