Main cast: Geraldine Chaplin (Irma), Benedict Wong (Andrews), Jack Reynor (Norton), Georgina Campbell (Barbara), Christopher Staines (RB29)
Director: David Farr
Andrews and Norton are two pilots employed by Astral Dreams, a company that specializes in space tourism. It’s nothing special – they take tourists to popular planets, enhance the scenery a bit with computer magic to make them go “Ooh!” now and then, and collect their paycheck. The pay is meager, so Andrews only wants to get paid enough to quit his job and live it up a bit. Norton’s girlfriend Barbara is not happy that they are stationed in this uncool part of the neighborhood for four years now, and she is pressuring Norton to somehow find a way to get transferred out of there. Poor Norton doesn’t know what he wants.
Then, just as they finish their latest shift and are about to leave for a week of R&R, they are approached by a very old woman, Irma, who doesn’t have much time left. Before she expires, she only wants to see Earth – more specifically, Carolina, a place which she has heard from her mother (who heard from her grandmother) to have waterfalls and forests. Problem is: Earth no longer exists. Still, she is deaf and likely dotty, and she is willing to pay in cash an amount that is equivalent to five years’ worth of their salaries. Andrews sees an opportunity to give Irma a trip using the company ship – but without notifying the company, of course – and Norton reluctantly joins him. They both could use the money more than a dying old lady, and all they need to do is to take her to a planet nearby that can be passed off as Earth, circle it and let her get a view from the window, and profit.
Seriously, what can go wrong?
Impossible Planet is of course based off Philip K Dick’s short story of the same name, and right off the bat there is an obvious problem: this is not the most interesting short story around, and this episode just meanders around as it tries to fill up its almost one-hour run time. I get the predictable and clichéd scenes of Norton bonding with Irma while Andrews acts like a stereotypical money-grubby Chinese man, and their conversations are all about what is your heart and other Care Bear nonsense.
Worse, this episode changes the hard-hitting denouement of the short story into some sentimental nonsense that makes little sense, because there is no reason why Norton will do what he does. Unless I’m to read some major May-December vibes between Irma and the man who looks a lot like her grandfather, that is – and of course, that is not creepy at all, snort.
Boring, ridiculous, and all-around pointless, this butchery of Mr Dick’s story is a complete step down from the previous episode. Sure, that one is ridiculous too, but at least it is well-paced with some decent entertainment value and eye candy. This one is a snore all around that manages to still poke me in the eye with its last ten minutes.