22 December 2001 | mike_usagisan
A love letter to Phillip K. Dick
How to describe this series? Imagine if Shakespeare was alive during the late sixties and seventies and decided to write a sci-fi epic at the height of the early nineties hype about virtual reality, and you'd only be in the same ballpark.
The story? Okay, the story revolves around an unassuming family man, Harry, who only begins to realize the strangeness that is going on around him. A secret police force are kidnapping people. His daughter refuses to speak. His son is developing some violent behavior. His wife is withdrawing into a bottle. And a strange woman from his past is offering him a glimpse at a world he could only imagine before.
Combining elements of Japanese and Eastern myths, Phillip K. Dick's quest for reality, Twin Peak's surreality, a grand opera's sweep, and science fiction's imagination, Wild Palms sets up the dominos of a world that could be and then lets them fall.
Harry is drawn into the New Age cult of a powerful senator who is about to transform the world by introducing a new form of media - one that is so close to being real that it's often hard to tell the difference. If you had the choice of this world, or a world of your own creation, which would you choose? But what if that world was being controlled by someone with their own agenda? And as the world starts to deal with those questions, a group of libertarian `Friends' attempt to stop the senator any way they can. Two powerful houses will fight until there is only one remaining.
This is not a series for everyone. It isn't sci-fi in the genre of Star Trek like most television fans are used to. It's also told in the fashion of an opera, with high melodrama and amazing leaps of logic. And lest you think that it is heavy, it also has some great patches of absurdity. But it is thought provoking, and has something to say about technology, religion, power, politics, drug use, and a range of other topics. And it says it in a way that doesn't speak down or make the audience feel they are being unduly manipulated. It is fine television for a very small audience.