Humans (TV series)

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Title card for the second series
GenreScience fiction
Created by
Based onReal Humans
Theme music composerCristobal Tapia de Veer
  • Cristobal Tapia de Veer
  • Sarah Warne
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of series3
No. of episodes24 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Jonathan Brackley
  • Jane Featherstone
  • Lars Lundström
  • Sam Vincent
  • Derek Wax
  • Henrik Widman
ProducerChris Fry
Production locationsLondon, England, UK
  • Stuart Bentley
  • David Rom
Running time46 minutes
Production companies
Original release
Release14 June 2015 (2015-06-14) –
5 July 2018 (2018-07-05)

Humans is a science fiction television series that debuted on Channel 4. Written by Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent, based on the Swedish science fiction drama Real Humans, the series explores the themes of artificial intelligence and robotics, focusing on the social, cultural, and psychological impact of the invention of anthropomorphic robots called "synths". The series is produced jointly by Channel 4 and Kudos in the United Kingdom, and AMC in the United States.

Eight episodes were produced for the first series which aired between 14 June and 2 August 2015. The second eight-episode series was broadcast in the UK between 30 October and 18 December 2016. A third series was commissioned in March 2017 and aired eight episodes between 17 May and 5 July 2018. In May 2019, Channel 4 announced that the series had been cancelled.[1]


The series focuses on the social, cultural, and psychological impact of the invention of anthropomorphic robots called "synths". It explores a number of science fiction themes, including artificial intelligence, consciousness, human-robot interaction, superintelligence, mind uploading[2] and the laws of robotics.[3]



Introduced in series 1[edit]

  • Emily Berrington[4] as Niska Elster, a conscious synth built by David Elster to be Leo's sister, assigned to work as a prostitute when they were separated. She is violent and resentful of humans and wishes to live her own life, but later starts to care about humans.
  • Ruth Bradley[5] as Karen Voss, a detective inspector and the partner of Detective Sergeant Pete Drummond. Those around her have not discovered that she is a conscious synth and was created by David Elster to replace his deceased wife, Beatrice.
  • Lucy Carless[5] as Mattie Hawkins, Laura and Joe's teenage daughter, who is upset that her family is falling apart and angry at the emerging role of synths in society. Despite her own intelligence, she feels useless, claiming that synths will soon be able to do anything she can do. She is skilled in computer programming and hacking.
  • Gemma Chan[4] as Anita Hawkins / Mia Elster, a servile synth belonging to the Hawkins family. She was sold as new, but is actually Mia, a conscious synth built by David Elster to be Leo's babysitter, kidnapped and hacked with new software.
  • Pixie Davies as Sophie Hawkins, Laura and Joe's younger daughter. She names the new family synth Anita after a friend of hers who has moved away, and develops a strong affection for the synth.
  • Jack Derges[5] as Simon (series 1), Jill Drummond's attractive synth caregiver and physiotherapist. Pete is dissatisfied with Simon, thinking that he is his replacement.
  • Sope Dirisu[6] as Fred (series 1), a conscious synth built by David Elster to be a brother to Leo. Professor Hobb likens Fred to the Mona Lisa in terms of the complexity of his design.
  • Rebecca Front[4] as Vera (series 1), a medical synth from the NHS who is supposed to replace Odi as George Millican's caregiver. Millican is frustrated with her relentlessly officious and domineering manner, and generally refuses her help.
  • Tom Goodman-Hill[4] as Joe Hawkins, Laura's husband. He bought Anita because he felt Laura's absence caused a void, and he needed help managing their family.
  • Jill Halfpenny[5] as Jill Drummond (series 1), Pete's disabled wife. She is dissatisfied with Pete.
  • Ivanno Jeremiah[6] as Max, Leo Elster's conscious synth and confidant, built by David Elster to be a brother to Leo.
  • Neil Maskell[6] as Pete Drummond (series 1–2), an unhappy Special Technologies Task Force detective sergeant who has always been suspicious of synths. He is partnered with Karen Voss. By the second series, Pete and Jill have separated and Pete is shown to be involved with Karen despite his knowledge of her true nature.
  • Colin Morgan[4] as Leo Elster, son of David Elster, a part-synth fugitive believed by the rest of the world to have died in a car accident; he was in a fatal accident as a child and his father developed synth components to cope with the damage to his brain.
  • Katherine Parkinson[4] as Laura Hawkins, a lawyer and mother of three who feels uncomfortable around synths. She had concerns about Anita and sought to find out more about her.
  • Will Tudor[4] as Odi (series 1–2), George Millican's malfunctioning synth caregiver. He is prone to system glitches, though Millican is unwilling to recycle him or return him to the NHS.
    • Tudor also portrays V (series 3), an artificial intelligence developed by Athena Morrow based on her deceased daughter Virginia.
  • Danny Webb[4] as Edwin Hobb (series 1–2), an artificial intelligence researcher.[7] He is simultaneously concerned about and intrigued by the possibility of conscious synthetics. Hobb is a key player in the quiet government investigation to find the four synths deemed a threat.
  • William Hurt[4] as George Millican (series 1), a retired artificial intelligence researcher and widower who suffers memory loss and physical disabilities secondary to a stroke. He forms a special bond with his outdated caregiver synth named Odi.[8] He previously worked with Leo's father.
  • Manpreet Bachu[5] as Harun Khan (series 1), a friend of Mattie, who helps her hack the synths.

Introduced in series 2[edit]

  • Marshall Allman as Milo Khoury (series 2),[9] a techno-entrepreneur and owner of Qualia, a synth research corporation, who seeks to harness the sentient synthetics for himself.
  • Sonya Cassidy as Hester (series 2),[9] a synth who becomes self-aware from the consciousness program unleashed across the world. She is rescued from a synth-laboured facility by Leo and Max, but soon starts to exhibit disturbing behaviour.
  • Carrie-Anne Moss as Athena Morrow (series 2),[9] an AI researcher based in San Francisco who has been invited to reverse engineer the consciousness program.
  • Thusitha Jayasundera as Neha Patel (series 2),[10] a government lawyer with initially a hostile stance towards the synth cause.
  • Billy Jenkins as Seraph Sam (series 3; recurring series 2)[11]

Introduced in series 3[edit]

  • Holly Earl as Agnes (series 3),[11] a synth in Mia and Max's group. She is suspicious of their leadership and sympathizes with the terrorists.
  • Ukweli Roach as Anatole (series 3),[11] a former courtesan synth who believes in a higher power, namely David Elster, and that synths were always meant to be given consciousness.
  • Mark Bonnar as Neil Sommer (series 3),[11] a charming scientist on a government commission with whom Laura develops a strong personal connection.
  • Dino Fetscher as Stanley (series 3),[11] an "orange-eyed" synth given to a reluctant Laura by the Dryden commission group as her personal synth and protector.
  • Phil Dunster as Tristan (series 3)



SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired (UK)Avg. UK viewers
Avg. US viewers
First airedLast aired
1814 June 2015 (2015-06-14)2 August 2015 (2015-08-02)4.121.18
2830 October 2016 (2016-10-30)18 December 2016 (2016-12-18)1.930.47
3817 May 2018 (2018-05-17)5 July 2018 (2018-07-05)1.050.35



The series was announced in April 2014 as part of a partnership between Channel 4 and Xbox Entertainment Studios.[15] However, after Microsoft closed Xbox Entertainment Studios, AMC came aboard as partners to Channel 4.[16] Filming commenced in the autumn of 2014, with the series premiering on 14 June 2015.[16] The series' budget was £12 million.[17]

The commissioning of a second, eight-episode series to air in 2016 was announced 31 July 2015.[18] Gemma Chan had previously said, in an interview with Den of Geek, that the first series is "not completely tied up at the end" and "there are definitely still areas to be explored for a second series."[19] Similarly, C4's Head of International Drama, Simon Maxwell, told Broadcast's Talking TV podcast that: "We've got a story that is told over a great many episodes and is very much designed to come back and return. We'll be following those characters on a really epic journey."[20] Filming of the second series began on 11 April 2016, with a premiere date of 30 October 2016.[21][22]

A third series was commissioned in March 2017 and premiered in the UK on 17 May 2018,[23][24] and in the United States on 5 June 2018.[25] By August 2018, discussions were ongoing about a possible fourth series.[26] Channel 4 announced in May 2019 that there would not be a fourth series.[27]


During rehearsals, Gemma Chan and her fellow robot actors were sent to a "synth school" run by the show's choreographer, Dan O'Neill, in a bid to rid themselves of any human physical gestures and become convincing synths. "It was about stripping back any physical tics you naturally incorporate into performance", explains Chan, who adds that it was a "relief to go home and slouch" after a day on set.[28]

Katherine Parkinson began filming six weeks after giving birth to her second child; her part in the series was filmed on 10 separate days, between 10 days' rest.[29]

A number of scenes for the second series were filmed in Thanet, Kent. The production team used Botany Bay and West Bay as filming locations, while shots of the farm and fields overlooking the factory were filmed in Dagnall. The scenes were predominantly centred on Anita at work.[30]

Broadcast and release[edit]

The first episode of the series was broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 on 14 June 2015 and premiered in the United States and Canada on AMC on 28 June 2015.[31] It started airing in Australia on ABC2, on 3 August 2015.[32] It was shown on TV3 in New Zealand from 11 August 2015.[33]

The second series premiered in the United Kingdom on 30 October 2016,[22] in Australia the day after[34] and premiered in the United States on 13 February 2017.[35]


For one week in May 2015, the series was marketed using a fake shopfront for Persona Synthetics on London's Regent Street, inviting passers-by to create their own synth using interactive screens,[36][37] and employing actors who pretended to be synths around central London.[38] An accompanying Channel 4 trailer for the series in the style of an advertisement for Persona featured "Sally", a robotic servant described as "your new best friend". In addition, website banner advertisements appeared on the eBay UK website leading to an eBay "buy it now" listing for a Persona Synthetics Robot.[38]

Home media[edit]

Channel 4 DVD released the first series on DVD in the UK on 17 August 2015.[39] Spirit Entertainment released the second series on DVD in the UK on 16 January 2017.[40] Spirit Entertainment released the third series on DVD in the UK on 29 January 2019.[41]

In Region 1, Acorn Media has released the first two seasons on DVD and Blu-ray. Humans – Season 1: Uncut UK Edition was released on 29 March 2016.[42] Humans – Season 2: Uncut UK Edition was released on 31 October 2017.[43] As of 2023, the first through third seasons are available in Region 1 for purchase on Apple TV.


The first season of Humans received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the season an 89% based on 62 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The site's critical consensus reading: "Humans is a mature, high-octane thriller offering emotional intrigue and thought-provoking suspense that should prove irresistible to sci-fi fans while remaining accessible enough to lure in genre agnostics."[44] Metacritic gave the season a rating of 76 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[45]

The second season received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a score of 94%, based on 17 reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Humans continues to quietly distinguish itself in the sci-fi drama category – and prove better than most of its flashier AI competition."[46] On Metacritic, the season has a rating of 82 out of 100, based on 8 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[47]

The third season received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a score of 100%, based on 13 reviews, with an average rating of 6.0/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Humans gains new sociopolitical dimensions in its third season, mining deeper insight from its sci-fi premise without diluting the potency of its well-drawn characters."[48]

The show is Channel 4's highest rated drama since the 1992 programme The Camomile Lawn.[17] It has been described as having "universal appeal" and as being "one of 2015's dramatic hits".[49] The show has been described as "a bit dystopian and Black Mirror-esque".[50] A review in the Telegraph praised the show's performances but said that the story is "conceptually ... old hat" and "wasn't breaking any new ground philosophically".[51]

In December 2015, Humans was voted Digital Spy's "Top Show of 2015", described as managing "to stand out as something totally different in a TV landscape awash with cop shows and crime thrillers ... And its fearlessness, its creativity and its quality all deserve to be recognised."[52]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2015 British Screenwriters' Awards Best British TV Drama Writing Joe Barton, Jonathan Brackley, Sam Vincent and Emily Ballou Won [53]
Royal Television Society: Craft and Design Awards Design Titles Momoco Won [54]
Trails & Packaging 4Creative Nominated [54]
2016 BAFTA Audience Award Humans Nominated [55]
Television: Drama Series Humans Nominated [56]
Television Craft: Digital Creativity Development Team Won [57]
Television Craft: Editing – Fiction Daniel Greenway Nominated [57]
Broadcast Awards Best Drama Series or Serial Humans Nominated [58]
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Actress Gemma Chan Nominated [59]
Best Drama Series Humans Nominated [59]
Breakthrough Award Gemma Chan Nominated [59]
National Television Awards New Drama Humans Nominated [60]
Royal Television Society: Programme Awards Best Drama Series Humans Nominated [61]
Satellite Awards Best Genre Series Humans Nominated [62]
South Bank Sky Arts Awards Best TV Drama Humans Nominated [63]
Televisual Bulldog Awards Best Drama Series Humans Won [64]

Chinese adaptation[edit]

On 25 July 2018, it was announced Roland Moore would be head writer on a Chinese version of Humans in Mandarin,[65] produced by Endemol Shine China and Croton Media.[66] The series began airing on Chinese broadcaster Tencent on 19 February 2021.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Channel 4 sci-fi Humans has been cancelled". Radio Times. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  2. ^ "AMC's 'Humans' Is Closer To Reality Than You Think". Popular Science. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Review: AMC's 'Humans' explores the laws of robotics yet again". Uproxx. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hegarty, Tasha (10 January 2015). "Humans: Channel 4 and AMC's sci-fi drama releases its first image". Digital Spy.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Humans – Series 1 Episode 1". Radio Times. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "Humans: New AMC TV Show to Debut". TV Series Finale. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  7. ^ "HUMANS – Professor Edwin Hobb". AMC. Archived from the original on 6 November 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  8. ^ "HUMANS – Dr. George Millican". AMC. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Production Begins on Humans Season 2". 21 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Humans : Series 2 - Episode 2 : EPISODE GUIDE". Radio Times. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Humans Series 3 Episode 1". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 14 July 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Humans – Series 1 Episode 5". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Humans – Series 1 Episode 8". Radio Times. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Humans Series Three Press Pack – Channel 4 – Info – Press". Channel 4. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  15. ^ Fullerton, Huw (15 October 2014). "William Hurt and Colin Morgan to star in new sci-fi drama series". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  16. ^ a b Finbow, Katy (22 September 2014). "Channel 4 teams up with AMC for sci-fi series Humans". Digital Spy. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  17. ^ a b Plunkett, John (22 June 2015). "Humans becomes Channel 4's biggest drama hit in 20 years". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  18. ^ Barraclough, Leo (31 July 2015). "AMC, Channel 4 Renew Sci-Fi Drama 'Humans' for Season 2". Variety. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  19. ^ Meller, Louisa (12 June 2015). "Humans: Colin Morgan and Gemma Chan interview". Den of Geek. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  20. ^ Kanter, Jane (10 July 2015). "C4 in talks over second run of Humans". Broadcast. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Production Begins on Humans Season 2". ComingSoon. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  22. ^ a b "Gemma Chan reveals Humans series 2 air date – and it's not far off". Digital Spy. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  23. ^ Petski, Denise (28 March 2017). "'Humans' Renewed For Season 3 By AMC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  24. ^ Jeffrey, Morgan (2 May 2018). "Humans series 3 UK air date is confirmed by Channel 4". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  25. ^ Jeffrey, Morgan (26 March 2018). "Humans series 3 gets a confirmed air-date and it's coming to Channel 4 soon". Digital Spy. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  26. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (30 August 2018). "Humans season 4 is still 'a possibility' with talks 'rumbling on'". Digital Spy.
  27. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (20 May 2019). "Humans will not be returning for season 4". Digital Spy. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  28. ^ "TV: Humans on Channel 4, all you need to know about the robot drama". Gloucestershire Echo. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  29. ^ Francis, Pam (7 June 2015). "Humans' Katherine Parkinson: When I started the job I had a six-week-old baby". Express. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  30. ^ "Humans Series 2 (2016)". Kent Film Office.
  31. ^ Bibel, Sara (14 May 2015). "New Drama Humans to Premiere Sunday, June 28 on AMC". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on 16 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  32. ^ "Humans: ABC TV". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  33. ^ TV preview: Humans, The New Zealand Herald, 2 August 2015
  34. ^ "Humans: ABC TV". ABC. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  35. ^ "'Humans' Season 2 Gets Premiere Date On AMC". Deadline Hollywood. 5 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  36. ^ Love, Ryan (12 May 2015). "Channel 4 explains innovative Humans marketing campaign". Digital Spy. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  37. ^ Walker, Danny (9 May 2015). "Channel 4's Persona Synthetics ad for Humans could be the best TV promo we've ever seen". Mirror. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  38. ^ a b "Channel 4 dupes viewers into thinking robot servants for sale". ITV. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  39. ^ "Humans". Amazon UK.
  40. ^ "Humans 2.0". Amazon UK. 16 January 2017.
  41. ^ "Humans". Amazon UK.
  42. ^ "Humans DVD news: Announcement for Season 1: Uncut UK Edition". Archived from the original on 17 April 2016.
  43. ^ "Humans DVD news: Box Art for 2.0: Uncut UK Edition". Archived from the original on 26 August 2017.
  44. ^ "HUMANS: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandago. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  45. ^ "Humans Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  46. ^ "HUMANS: Season 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandago. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  47. ^ "Humans: Season 2". Metacritic.
  48. ^ "HUMANS: Season 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandago. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  49. ^ Lawson, Mike (22 June 2015). "Humans: a bankable British TV show that isn't a costume drama". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  50. ^ Denham, Jess (14 June 2015). "Humans: Everything we know about Channel 4's new series so far from the cast to that creepy Persona Synthetics ad". The Independent. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  51. ^ Wilson, Benji (20 June 2015). "There's something slightly robotic about Humans". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  52. ^ "Digital Spy's best TV of 2015: Our top 5 – and No.1 show of the year – revealed". Digital Spy. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
  53. ^ "The 2015 British Screenwriters' Awards". Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  54. ^ a b "The Royal Television Society Awards". 14 August 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  55. ^ "BAFTA Radio Times Audience Award". 29 March 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  56. ^ "BAFTA Television in 2016 Awards". Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  57. ^ a b "BAFTA TV Craft in 2016 Awards". Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  58. ^ "Broadcast Awards". Archived from the original on 1 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  59. ^ a b c "Broadcast Awards". 11 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  60. ^ "National Television Awards (2016)". National Television Awards. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  61. ^ "RTS PROGRAMME AWARDS 2016". 19 October 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  62. ^ "Satellite Awards (2015)". International Press Academy. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  63. ^ "Doctor Foster and Stormzy win at South Bank Sky Arts Awards, plus full list of winners". The Telegraph. 5 June 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  64. ^ "Televisual Bulldog Awards 2016". Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  65. ^ "Channel 4 and AMC's Humans is getting a remake in China". Digital Spy. 25 July 2018.
  66. ^ White, Peter (25 July 2018). "AMC & C4 Sci-Fi Drama 'Humans' To Be Remade In China Via Endemol Shine & Croton Media". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 January 2019.

External links[edit]