Review of Humans

60 minutes

Humans is set in a world where the new must-have gadget is a 'Synth' -- an eerily lifelike robotic servant. It stars Katherine Parkinson and Tom Goodman-Hill as a couple who purchase a Synth (played by Gemma Chan) but quickly come to regret their decision.
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Jun 17, 2015 5:33AM EDT

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One of the beauties of Humans is that, like Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, it really isn’t such a big leap, or ask. Only last week there was a story about Ocado creating an army of humanoids with artificial intelligence. The online supermarket robots might not be as pretty as Gemma Chan, who plays Anita (very convincing as a semi-humanoid), but this stuff is happening. Tellingly, Humans is set not some time in the future, but some time around now. It’s sci-fi for the non sci-fi fan, sci-fi that has more than a foot in sci-fact.

It’s also a clever, high-energy thriller. Written – actually adapted from a Swedish series – by Spooks writers Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, it has some of that show’s breathless urgency and tachycardiac pace. There are more of these sentient synths about the place, in the woods, plus urban wastelands, hiding, running. They are seen as a threat, bad dudes are after them, darting them, bundling them into vans, taking them away to be wiped clean, rebooted, decommissioned, or abused. Actually, it’s too early, and too simplistic, to divide into good and bad. There’s a more complicated, more realistic, more interesting morality to Humans.


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