TV Review: Electric Dreams (Season 1, Episode 7)
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Electric Dreams is back and episode seven, ‘The Father Thing’, explores a classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers-type science fiction where Charlie Cotrell (Jack Gore) witnesses his father (Greg Kinnear) have his identity assumed by an alien. Having a four-month hiatus between this episode and the mid-season finale, ‘Human Is’ was a sneaky but judicious move on the part of Channel 4. Not only would having two back-to-back stories about alien-possession of human bodies have felt quite cheap, but the thorough lack of complexity and originality to ‘The Father Thing’ would only have been further highlighted by the comparative excellence of the previous instalment. The beginning of the episode struggles to get to the meat of the story, dedicating as much time to establishing the central father-son relationship and Charlie’s day-to-day life as would be expected from a feature film, not a 45-minute-long anthology episode. Though arguably important to setting up the events through a child’s mind, the first act feels laboured and thus the core theme doesn’t land its full impact with the audience. With the baseline established, ‘The Father Thing’ then jumps to an homage to classic alien invasion films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Faculty, The Thing, the more modern The Host, or even the television series V. There is no shortage of this science fiction genre, so making such a story original or unexpected is no easy feat. It mostly fails, though its centring on the relation of father and son, and the timely Stranger Things and It flavour make a good attempt at giving the episode an extra layer. Despite it being well-made, aesthetically appealing and having a stylish ambiance, there’s not enough to ‘The Father Thing’ to shake the episode’s familiarity and make it stand out.
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