The concept of Humans isn’t really anything new, I suppose. We’ve seen this sci-fi story many times involving man versus machines that have become too smart. Look at sci-fi movies about robots and their humanity like Chappie, I, Robot, and The Machine to explore more into the idea of robots taking over our lives. I won’t comment too much on our reliance on technology in our everyday lives nowadays, except to say that I’m pro-technology. But, basically, AMC’s new Humans TV show delves into that discussion.
The Humans TV show premieres this upcoming Sunday on AMC in the States (it originated in the UK’s Channel 4 and has been running for a few weeks already). And, this first episode is definitely worth watching, especially if you’re a fan of the genre. The debut Humans episode gets the series off to a great start, and it’s the first really juicy sci-fi TV series we’re excited to sink our teeth into in quite sometime (although, I still intend to watch Sense8…just haven’t gotten around to it yet). But as far as cable TV is concerned, Humans is a welcomed change of pace.
Humans takes place in an alternate reality in which machines (“Synths” as their referred to in the series) are placed into homes as servants. The debut episode follows three different threads: an old man named George who refuses to update his old malfunctioning synth because he seems to have some emotional attach to it, a man struggling to keep his marriage afloat buying a synth (which the family later names Anita) to help around the house, and Leo, who has a pack of synths that have developed a consciousness that have been kidnapped. The three stories don’t cross just yet, but it’s likely that we’ll see their paths intertwine at some point in future episodes. Regardless, the three varied storylines provide a great setup for the Humans TV show.
Another thing that just feels right is the Humans cast, which most notably includes William Hurt (Into the Wild, A History of Violence), and also includes Gemma Chan (The Double, Exam) and Tom Goodman-Hill (unfortunately from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but we won’t hold it against him). Chan’s portrayal of the synth named Anita is chilling as she provides an eerie and dangerous demeanor that really exemplifies what Humans is really all about. At one moment in the show, Anita is prompted to laugh at a joke, and keeps laughing, and laughing, and laughing until she’s told to stop. The scene is actually quite creepy, again, thanks to Chan’s portrayal. Anyway, the Humans cast is brimming with talent, and this first episode shows just that.
The series also makes a lot of subtle commentary that makes you stop and think about the applications of owning a robot in real life. Humans shows Anita can drive, but also shows Anita “accidentally” burning the mother with a hot pan to protect the child. But if the mother is the primary owner of the synth (the kids are secondary owners), shouldn’t the robot have protected her, first? Also, Anita is shown starring at the child creepily. If a robot stares creepily at your child, do you remove it from the household? (Correct Answer: Yes). What about if a synth malfunctions and injures a grocery store clerk? Should it be charged with battery, or should the owner be responsible? The idea that synths might one day take all of the jobs is also mentioned, which naturally is a common topic of conversation in sci-fi circles. And of course, it wouldn’t be a robot-based sci-fi show without a commentary on using robots for sex. I’m okay with that… But, the point of it all is that there is some interesting thought-provoking moments in the first episode alone, and hopefully the series follows the trend throughout this first season.
The Humans soundtrack is also noteworthy, with an expressive and futuristic tone.
This first episode does a great job of following each of the three threads, giving a respectable amount of time to each. It appears as though Anita and the Hawkins family is front and center, and we look forward to unraveling what surprises, twists and turns Humans will have.