First, don’t you hate when a near-blogfaded bloggers apologizes for not blogging in so long? Yeah, me too. Sorry.
I can’t believe I haven’t complete binged the entire series of “Electric Dreams of Philip K. Dick” already, I still have a few episodes to go — but I’m really loving it. Well, I love the fact there’s more SF on TV right now, period! And, of course, being a huge Dick-head, I’m overjoyed that he’s getting even more screentime. Even though, I think, this show has been a mixed bag of both quality and level of honoring the original story the episode comes from, overall, I’m quite enjoying it.
But there’s one episode in particular I can’t get out of my head and I keep wandering back to in comparison to the original story and Dickian themes. The episode is “Safe and Sound” based on the story “Foster, You’re Dead!” I’ll give a spoiler-free general thought first, then I’ll get into some specifics after a warning.
I keep thinking about this one because the original “Foster” story is one of my favorites of Dick’s, and entirely because of the blatant criticisms it lays at late modern capitalism and disposable consumerism and manufactured need in order to make people endlessly consume. Dick has never been accused of being subtle, and this story he is at his bombastic best. The show episode “Safe and Sound,” however, does play into some subtlety and, actually, brings in some classic Dickian elements that the story did not contain, which was really interesting — but is actually at the core of my consternation. More on that after the jump.
But one of the things I thought the show did fantastically well was in modernizing the story while keeping the fundamental themes. The plot is different, but in ways in which make perfect sense, bringing story set in and critiquing late modern capitalism to that of our late postmodern capitalist world. Updating the threat of Cold War and Soviets and bomb shelters to invasive privacy issues, existential threats of terrorism, and identity. I suppose there’s not much more I can say without spoilers, so I’ll just say despite my problems with the episode, it’s a really fantastic one (even if I’m stymied whether I like the ending or not — and, even as I write this, I’m coming to the belief the ending is actually more in keeping with the story than what I would have liked to have seen in an episode they set up if it weren’t based on previous work).
And below be spoilers!