Starring: Gemma Chan, Katherine Parkinson, Lucy Carless, Tom Goodman-Hill, Ivanno Jeremiah, Emily Berrington, Carrie-Anne Moss
Review by Stephanie Cooke
Humans was a show that I wasn’t aware before it showed up on my doorstep but I was instantly curious about it. A show with an interesting cast including Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd), and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix, Memento)? The DVD cover looks so intriguing too with Gemma Chan prominently featured and looking eerily robotic – something that she does exceptionally well within the show too making it easy to forget that she’s actually a human being playing an AI, but we’ll get to that.
The premise from the outside, is a bit like Alex + Ada, the comic series from Image by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna, although rather than being focused on one specific AI, this focusing on several. The general synopsis for the series as a whole is this: AIs are becoming normal around the world – designed to do the tasks that humans no longer want to do. Nothing is ever as simple as that though, and some of the AIs start gaining consciousness. As they realize what’s going on, they set out to find each other and figure out the next steps in their evolution.
It’s a little more complex than that, but it more or less boils down to those basic things.
The first thing I noticed about the show was the cast. Those actors playing AIs were incredible at it and almost terrifying in their portrayal. As mentioned, Gemma Chan is front and center on the cover of the DVD (and most of the posters), doing a great job at playing the obedient AI. Between her eyes, her makeup and the vacant stare as she delivers her lines, it’s almost eerie to watch, especially once you remember that she’s acting. It’s almost like how I feel about Orphan Black in the sense that I completely forget that the character on screen is an actor (or that case that almost all of the characters are the same actor). There’s a fantastic connection to Humans while you’re watching it and the way that the actors portray their characters doesn’t take you out of it at all.
Okay so this is where I admit something that I alluded to a bit earlier: prior to this show arriving for review, I had never heard of it before. I thought that the show (since it didn’t say Series 2 or whatever anywhere) that it was either a mini-series or the beginning of a show. I didn’t know that Humans 2.0 was actually the second season. So I dove into the show and immediately realized that I was missing a lot of the bigger picture from the previous season. There was a recap at the beginning but it wasn’t nearly enough to help me grasp the true scope of what went on and I was lost– very, very lost.
I stopped the show and set out to find some recaps and reviews to get up to date but I had trouble finding a summary of the entire first season that would bring me up to speed. I got bits and pieces from reviews and Season 1 YouTube videos from fans discussing their thoughts, but ultimately I wasn’t able to find a ton to explain what I was missing.
With that being said, I wasn’t able to really enjoy the show to the full extent that I might’ve been able to if I had been able to watch S1 first.
SO, in place of a proper review, I’m going to sum up the things that I liked from what I was able to gather as I watched the show and pieced together whatever I could:
- Great acting – I loved the creepy performances put on by those playing the AIs.
- The story – intriguing plot that definitely roped me in but required a lot more information in order to enjoy. Humans is definitely not a show that you just randomly jump into.
- The mystery – I suppose this ties into the plot above but still… I love a good mystery and a show with writing that I can try to figure out as I watch it. Lots of fun will they/won’t they moments are within the show and help keep up the suspense.
See it! I did this all wrong by starting a complex show on S2 so I missed out on a lot of huge moments that set up the world. That being said, the world that I saw while I watched this season was incredibly interesting, despite the fact that I felt a little bit lost.
While I definitely didn’t get all that I could’ve from Humans 2.0, it made me want to go back to watch S1 and come back to the show once I had all the pieces of the puzzle.