The new dream-based NBC series Reverie premiered last night, and like a lot of speculative science fiction, it might just have you wondering if the technology it presents actually exists or if it could anytime soon.

The show follows Sarah Shahi as a former hostage negotiator and human behavior expert who is recruited by her former boss (Dennis Haysbert) to save people from the titular virtual reality program, which allows people to live out their wildest dreams. The trouble is, some of them have decided that they would much rather remain in the dreamscape permanently rather than ever return to the real world.

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So is Reverie actually a reflection of real groundbreaking scientific research? The answer is maybe, if you kind of squint a little.

The show’s premise is not too far off from Inception, and when that Christopher Nolan film came out in 2010, a Forbes article entitled “The Science of ‘Inception'” was published. It discussed the work of UC Berkeley neuroscientist Jack Gallant, who uses fMRI scans to recreate what the human mind sees. It has displayed accuracy with recreating people’s waking thoughts. Gallant has speculated that it could work with dreams as well, but it would be hard to verify the accuracy, since only the dreamers see their own particular dreams.

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So right now the technology is at the point of possibly being able to read dreams, but not so much manipulate them. And that is probably for the best, after all, because if Reverie is trying to tell us anything, it is that we should not want this technology to exist.

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