The Father Thing is – on Channel 4 at least, as the series returns after a four month gap, the seventh episode of Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, although all ten episodes have since aired on Amazon Prime where this became the final episode. The series has also had a bump to a later, weekday slot because of falling ratings on a Sunday primetime slot (now occupied by the return of Homeland), and it makes me wonder if they’ve brought forward the finale because it’s the best one and they want the series to return with a bang?
We all know our parents don’t seem quite like themselves from time to time, when we’re growing up, but aliens are invading Earth, and some time after their arrival, for Charlie (Jack Gore), his father (Greg Kinnear) really isn’t quite the same, but that concept feels way too close to how Bryan Cranston didn’t seem quite the same in the previous episode, Human Is. In this case, this man is not the only one this is happening to, so the kids in the neighbourhood must rebel.
The episode felt like an ’80s kids movie which we’ve seen many times before, and while I know these stories were written many moons before that – and I haven’t read them, and since a lot of them have been messed about with modern rewrites, I can’t take the source material as wholly as it was originally. So, it remains like one of those ’80s films, but with this, it spent forever on the set-up, and any resolution came about without looking into the reasons why the aliens had arrived.
It just felt like a completely missed opportunity, especially since the billing states: the episode is about “one man’s stand against a totalitarian regime and its xenophobic policies and a futuristic city living under a terror-prevention regime”, since I got NONE of that from this programme… hence, it could be that the billings have been screwed up and messed about, especially since it also listed actors who weren’t in this episode.
The Father Thing is the seventh episode of Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams and airs tonight night on Channel 4 at 10pm. Once broadcast, each episode will be on All4, but the entire series is available on Amazon Video.
Director: Michael Dinner
Producer: Lynn Horsford
Screenplay: Michael Dinner (based on the short story by Philip K Dick)
Music: Harry Gregson-Williams
The Father: Greg Kinnear
Charlie Cotrell: Jack Gore
Rotko: Shannon Brown
Detective Fernandez: Alana Arenas
Mr. Dick: Terry Kinney
Principal: Marc Grapey
Dylan Peretti: Jack Lewis
Henry Peretti: Zakk Paradise
The Mother: Mireille Enos
Dashiell: Cole Keriazakos
Tall Bald Man: Philip Ghantous
Mr. Daltry: Brian Boland
The Attendant: Ryan Evans
Captain Miller: Andrew Rothenberg
Golan: Eric Lynch
Umpire: Steven Johnson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.