It seems inevitable that Amazon would try and find its answer to Netflix’s Black Mirror, and it seems to be even down to finding a ton of great actors.
Even though Amazon has its own good sci-fi / dystopian series in The Man in the High Castle (and Hulu with The Handmaid’s Tale), Netflix’s adoption of Black Mirror still has a tendency to dominate the conversation. Part of that, one suspects, is the ubiquity of Netflix.
However, even before Netflix took over, Black Mirror had a strong cast that included Jessica Brown Findlay, Hayley Atwell, Daniel Kaluuya, Domhnall Gleeson, Rory Kinnear, and more. In the Netflix season, the usual name dropped first is Bryce Dallas Howard. However, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Benedict Wong, and Jerome Flynn are all also in the season.
We say all this because Amazon currently has Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams on its slate, possibly this year due to Channel 4 planning to air it in 2017. Richard Madden, best known as Robb Stark, recently joined the cast. Wong, Terrence Howard, Bryan Cranston, Mireille Enos, Steve Buscemi, and Anna Paquin all also have spots. (Cranston also has an executive producer gig for the show.) Today, Variety reported today that Vera Farmiga will star in another of the episodes.
Of course, we’re not saying that Amazon is flat-out trying to copy Netflix or anything. Picking up Electric Dreams seems like a natural choice because of The Man in the High Castle. And, for an anthology series like this, the casting really does make a difference. One need not look further than the loaded cast of American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson or even Ryan Murphy’s pulling in Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Lady Gaga, and Jessica Lange at various times over the six seasons of American Horror Story.
Those kinds of names draw people in. Indeed, Amazon Prime Video has even done something like this a few times before. Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne, anyone?
Granted, the fact that Electric Dreams originally comes from Channel 4 in the U.K. does make it seem a little more coincidental. The channel originally aired the first two seasons of Black Mirror, after all.