The Anthology Culture

The newest addition: Amazon's "Electric Dreams"

Alexis Gaskin, Staff Writer

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The well-known “Black Mirror” may have some competition in the world of anthology series, against new series “Electric Dreams.” Both series originated in the United Kingdom on Channel 4.

These anthology series seem to be changing the way people watch television. The phenomenon of self-contained plot lines and characters in each episode has changed the way of directing, writing and producing.

“Electric Dreams” originally aired in late 2017 but was presented to the United States earlier this year on another online streaming site, Amazon Prime Video. The series, which is inspired by the short stories of late science fiction writer Philip K. Dick (“The Majority Report,” “The Man in the High Castle”), is comprised of 10 different episodes, each containing an all-star cast, including Vera Farmiga, Terrence Howard and Bryan Cranston to name a few.

The highly futuristic and dystopian background of the new Amazon series has storylines that include a crippling smog-infused earth where people mine for oxygen on other planets, a future where an Amazon-like company takes over the world and the popular trope of the dream-within-a-dream scenario.

Dick’s world of alternate realities, science fiction and sometimes paranormal stories are revamped and have underlying messages about the harms of overproduction, racism and mental health issues. The stories keep you on the edge of your seat but often drag out the plot, leaving the viewer bored and unsatisfied.

Meanwhile, “Black Mirror” was purchased by online streaming giant Netflix in 2014 and has continued its series on the site since, featuring actors such as Daniel Kaluuya, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jon Hamm.

The cult-classic show is always highly anticipated at the beginning of each season with speculation of what futuristic technologies would cause a demise next.

The anthology phenomenon has become a hot topic on social media and is being watched more than the regular season-long shows with lengthy plot lines and often predictable endings. Anthology series are set apart from regular shows because of their creative writing and shocking endings. They are becoming the new series for the new generation.

Each series is unique in their own right but share a common thread: the episodes leave viewers uneasy as to what’s going to happen next. The much-anticipated, shocking and ambiguous endings leave the viewers wanting to re-watch in order to catch what they may have missed.

The hype of anthology series is demonstrated through the creation of new shows like “Electric Dreams” and the continuation of the “Black Mirror” craze. One thing is for sure – no matter the anthology series, whether it be a newcomer like “Electric Dreams” or an oldie like “The Twilight Zone,” you will always be left thinking, “What did I just watch?”

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