Humans (TV series)

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Humans
Humans Series Intertitle.png
Title card for the second series
Genre Science fiction
Created by
  • Sam Vincent
  • Jonathan Brackley
Based on Real Humans
Starring
Theme music composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer
Composer(s)
  • Cristobal Tapia de Veer
  • Sarah Warne
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 24 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Jonathan Brackley
  • Jane Featherstone
  • Lars Lundström
  • Sam Vincent
  • Derek Wax
  • Henrik Widman
Producer(s) Chris Fry
Production location(s) London, England, UK
Cinematography
  • Stuart Bentley
  • David Rom
Running time 46 minutes
Production company(s)
Release
Original network
Picture format HDTV 1080i
SDTV 576i
Audio format 5.1
Original release 14 June 2015 (2015-06-14) – present (present)
External links
Channel 4 official website
AMC official website

Humans (stylised as HUM∀NS) is a science fiction television series that debuted on Channel 4. Written by the British team Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, 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 AMC in the United States, and Channel 4 and Kudos in the United Kingdom.

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.

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Introduced in series 1[edit]

  • Manpreet Bachu[1] as Harun Khan (series 1), a friend of Mattie, who helps her hack the synths.
  • Emily Berrington[2] as Niska, 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. In the second season, she uploads the consciousness program to the synth network, but only a few synths are successfully upgraded. After a whirlwind relationship with Astrid, Niska returns to the Hawkins and asks to be tried as a human for her crimes. In the third season, after Astrid is injured in a terrorist attack, Niska spends the series looking for revenge for her girlfriend. At the end of the third season, Niska meets V, originally Odi, who tells her she is unique and has great power.
  • Ruth Bradley[1] as D.I. Karen Voss (series 1–3), police partner of D.S. 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. Karen wants to end her life but her programming forbids suicide. By the second season, she has become more accepting of her status and is in a relationship with Pete.
  • Lucy Carless[1] as Matilda "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[2] as Anita/Mia, 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. By the second season, she has begun working in a café, and is romantically interested in her employer.
  • 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[1] 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[3] 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. He has gone missing between series one and two, although Max believes that he is safe.
  • Rebecca Front[2] 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[2] as Joseph "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[1] as Jill Drummond (series 1), Pete's disabled wife. She is dissatisfied with Pete.
  • Ivanno Jeremiah[3] as Max, Leo Elster's conscious synth and confidant, built by David Elster to be a brother to Leo.
  • Neil Maskell[3] as D.S. Pete Drummond (series 1–2), an unhappy Special Technologies Task Force officer who has always been suspicious of synths. He is partnered with D.I. 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[2] 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. He spent the first series trying to track down and reunite the conscious synths made by his father, while in the second series he is trying to help synths adjust to the spread of the consciousness program.
  • Katherine Parkinson[2] 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. By the second season, she had become more accepting of the idea, agreeing to act as Niska's lawyer in her subsequent trial for murder while Niska underwent an assessment to determine if she was truly conscious.
  • Theo Stevenson[2] as Toby Hawkins, Laura and Joe's teenage son, who is attracted to, and has become protective of, Anita.
  • Will Tudor[2] as Odi (series 1-2), Dr 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. He stays with the Hawkins briefly in series 2.
    • Tudor also portrays V (series 3), an artificial intelligence developed by Athena Morrow based on her deceased daughter Virginia. Following Day Zero, V inhabits Odi's body, having erased his consciousness at his request, and becomes the mythic purple-eyed "Synth Who Sleeps". V leads Niska to her so as to grant her connectivity to the internet and persuade her to become the synths' leader. Chloe Wicks voices the disembodied V in series 2.
  • Danny Webb[2] as Professor Edwin Hobb (Series 1–2), an artificial intelligence researcher.[4] 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[2] as Dr 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.[5] He previously worked with Leo's father.

Introduced in series 2[edit]

  • Marshall Allman as Milo Khoury (series 2),[6] 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),[6] 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 co., but soon starts to exhibit disturbing behaviour.
  • Carrie-Anne Moss as Dr Athena Morrow (series 2),[6] an AI researcher based in San Francisco who has been invited to reverse engineer the consciousness program. She presents herself as unconcerned about the conscious synthetics, but in reality she has already independently developed her own sentient A.I., who she refers to as 'V' (for Virginia, her daughter), and is attempting to provide V with a new body.
  • Billy Jenkins as Seraph Sam (series 3, recurring series 2)[7]

Introduced in series 3[edit]

  • Holly Earl as Agnes (series 3),[7] 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)[7], 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 Dr Neil Sommer (series 3)[7], a charming scientist on a government commission with whom Laura develops a strong personal connection.
  • Dino Fetscher as Stanley (series 3)[7], an "Orange-Eyed" synth given to a reluctant Laura by the Dryden commission group as her personal synth and protector.

Recurring[edit]

  • Ellen Thomas[1] as Lindsey Kiwanuka.
  • Jonathan Aris[1] as Robert.
  • Stephen Boxer[8] as Dr David Elster, Leo's father and the creator of the conscious synths.
  • Spencer Norways[9] as Young Leo Elster.
  • Letitia Wright as Renie (series 2), a human who lives as if she were a synth and whom Toby dates[6]
  • Bella Dayne as Astrid, a waitress who becomes romantically involved with Niska, helping Niska become more emotionally invested with humans.[10]
  • Ritu Arya as Flash (series 2–3),[6] a house synth who, like Hester, becomes self-aware from the consciousness program. Flash is rescued by Max, and they find a new safe haven in an abandoned train.
  • Sam Palladio as Ed (series 2–3),[6] Mia's employer, with whom she forms a special bond. He is the owner of a beachside cafe.

Episodes[edit]

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

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The series was announced in April 2014 as part of a partnership between Channel 4 and Xbox Entertainment Studios.[11] However, after Microsoft closed Xbox Entertainment Studios, AMC came aboard as partners to Channel 4.[12] Filming commenced in the autumn of 2014, with the series premiering on 14 June 2015.[12] The series' budget was £12 million.[13]

The commissioning of a second, eight-episode series to air in 2016 was announced 31 July 2015.[14] 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."[15] 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."[16] Filming of the second series began on 11 April 2016, with a premiere date of 30 October 2016.[17][18]

A third series was commissioned in March 2017 and premiered in the UK on 17 May 2018,[19][20] and in the United States on 5 June 2018.[21]

Filming[edit]

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.[22]

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.[23]

For series two, the production visited Thanet in Kent where they used Botany Bay and West Bay as the location where Anita (Gemma Chan) has taken a job.[24]

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.[25] It started airing in Australia on ABC2, on 3 August 2015.[26] It was shown on TV3 in New Zealand from 11 August 2015.[27]

The second series premiered in the United Kingdom on 30 October 2016,[18] in Australia the day after[28] and premiered in the United States on 13 February 2017.[29]

Marketing[edit]

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,[30][31] and employing actors who pretended to be synths around central London.[32] An accompanying Channel 4 trailer for the series in the style of an advert for Persona featured "Sally," a robotic servant described as "your new best friend." In addition targeted website banner adverts appeared on the eBay uk website leading to an eBay "buy it now" listing for a Persona Synthetics Robot.[32]

Home media[edit]

Channel 4 DVD released the first season on DVD in the UK on 17 August 2015.[33] Spirit Entertainment released the second season on DVD in the UK on 16 January 2017.[34]

In Region 1, Acorn Media has released both seasons on DVD & Blu-ray. Humans – Season 1: Uncut UK Edition was released on March 29, 2016.[35] Humans – Season 2: Uncut UK Edition was released on October 31, 2017.[36]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The first season of Humans received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the season an 88% based on 50 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. 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."[37] Metacritic gave the season a rating of 73 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[38]

The second season received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a score of 100%, based on 12 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."[39] On Metacritic, the season has a rating of 82 out of 100, based on 8 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim."[40]

The show is Channel 4's highest rated drama since the 1992 programme The Camomile Lawn.[13] It has been described as having "universal appeal" and as being "one of 2015's dramatic hits."[41] The show has been described as "a bit dystopian and Black Mirror-esque."[42] 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."[43]

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."[44]

Awards and nominations[edit]

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 [45]
The Royal Television Society: Craft and Design Awards Design Titles Momoco Won [46]
Trails & Packaging 4Creative Nominated [46]
2016 National Television Awards Drama Performance (longlisted) Gemma Chan Nominated [47]
Drama Performance (longlisted) Tom Goodman-Hill Nominated [47]
New Drama Humans Nominated [47]
Satellite Awards Best Genre Series Nominated [48]
Broadcast Awards Best Drama Series or Serial Nominated [49]
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Drama Series Nominated [50]
Best Actress Gemma Chan Nominated [50]
Breakthrough Award Nominated [50]
The Royal Television Society: Programme Awards Best Drama Series Humans Nominated [51]
Televisual Bulldog Awards Best Drama Series Won [52]
BAFTA Television Craft: Digital Creativity Development Team Won [53]
Television Craft: Editing – Fiction Daniel Greenway Nominated [53]
Audience Award Humans Nominated [54]
Television: Drama Series Nominated [55]
South Bank Sky Arts Awards Best TV Drama Nominated [56]

Themes[edit]

The series explores a number of science fiction themes, including artificial intelligence, consciousness, human-robot interaction, superintelligence, mind uploading[57] and the laws of robotics,[58] as well as social themes like racism, slavery and class relations. The "synths" threaten employment and social roles, leading to the emergence of a Luddite movement to destroy them.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Humans – Series 1 Episode 1". Radio Times. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hegarty, Tasha (10 January 2015). "Humans: Channel 4 and AMC's sci-fi drama releases its first image". Digital Spy. 
  3. ^ a b c "Humans: New AMC TV Show to Debut". TV Series Finale. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "HUMANS – Professor Edwin Hobb – AMC". AMC. 
  5. ^ "HUMANS – Dr. George Millican – AMC". AMC. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Production Begins on Humans Season 2". ComingSoon.net. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Humans Series 3 Episode 1". Retrieved 6 May 2018. 
  8. ^ "Humans – Series 1 Episode 5". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "Humans – Series 1 Episode 8". Radio Times. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Humans Series Three Press Pack – Channel 4 – Info – Press". www.channel4.com. Retrieved 16 May 2018. 
  11. ^ Fullerton, Huw (15 October 2014). "William Hurt and Colin Morgan to star in new sci-fi drama series". Radio Times. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Finbow, Katy (22 September 2014). "Channel 4 teams up with AMC for sci-fi series Humans". Digital Spy. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Plunkett, John (22 June 2015). "Humans becomes Channel 4's biggest drama hit in 20 years". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Barraclough, Leo (31 July 2015). "AMC, Channel 4 Renew Sci-Fi Drama 'Humans' for Season 2". Variety. Retrieved 31 July 2015. 
  15. ^ Meller, Louisa (12 June 2015). "Humans: Colin Morgan and Gemma Chan interview". Den of Geek. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  16. ^ Kanter, Jane (10 July 2015). "C4 in talks over second run of Humans". Broadcast. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  17. ^ "Production Begins on Humans Season 2". ComingSoon. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  18. ^ a b "Gemma Chan reveals Humans series 2 air date – and it's not far off". DigitalSpy. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  19. ^ Petski, Denise (28 March 2017). "'Humans' Renewed For Season 3 By AMC". Deadline. Retrieved 28 March 2017. 
  20. ^ Jeffrey, Morgan (2 May 2018). "Humans series 3 UK air date is confirmed by Channel 4". DigitalSpy. Retrieved 3 May 2018. 
  21. ^ Jeffrey, Morgan (26 March 2018). "Humans series 3 gets a confirmed air-date and it's coming to Channel 4 soon". DigitalSpy. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  22. ^ "TV: Humans on Channel 4, all you need to know about the robot drama". Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Humans Article". 
  25. ^ Bibel, Sara (14 May 2015). "New Drama Humans to Premiere Sunday, June 28 on AMC". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  26. ^ "Humans: ABC TV". Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  27. ^ TV preview: Humans, New Zealand Herald, August 2, 2015
  28. ^ "Humans: ABC TV". ABC. Retrieved 26 October 2016. 
  29. ^ "'Humans' Season 2 Gets Premiere Date On AMC". Deadline. 5 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  30. ^ Love, Ryan (12 May 2015). "Channel 4 explains innovative Humans marketing campaign". Digital Spy. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  31. ^ 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. 
  32. ^ a b "Channel 4 dupes viewers into thinking robot servants for sale". ITV. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015. 
  33. ^ "Humans". 
  34. ^ "Humans 2.0". 16 January 2017 – via Amazon. 
  35. ^ "Humans DVD news: Announcement for Season 1: Uncut UK Edition - TVShowsOnDVD.com". Archived from the original on 17 April 2016. 
  36. ^ "Humans DVD news: Box Art for 2.0: Uncut UK Edition - TVShowsOnDVD.com". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. 
  37. ^ "HUMANS: Season 1 – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandago. Retrieved 18 May 2018. 
  38. ^ "Humans Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 18 May 2018. 
  39. ^ "HUMANS: Season 2 – Rotten Tomatoes". 
  40. ^ "Humans". 
  41. ^ Lawson, Mike (22 June 2015). "Humans: a bankable British TV show that isn't a costume drama". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  42. ^ 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. 
  43. ^ Wilson, Benji (20 June 2015). "There's something slightly robotic about Humans". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  44. ^ "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. 
  45. ^ "The 2015 British Screenwriters' Awards". Retrieved 7 October 2015. 
  46. ^ a b "The Royal Television Society Awards". Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  47. ^ a b c "National Television Awards (2016)". National Television Awards. National Television Awards. nationaltvawards.com. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  48. ^ "Satellite Awards (2015)". International Press Academy. IPA. 2 December 2015. pressacademy.com. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  49. ^ "Broadcast Awards". Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  50. ^ a b c "Broadcast Awards". Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  51. ^ "RTS PROGRAMME AWARDS 2016". Retrieved 4 April 2016. 
  52. ^ "Televisual Bulldog Awards 2016". Retrieved 6 May 2016. 
  53. ^ a b "BAFTA TV Craft in 2016 Awards". Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  54. ^ "BAFTA Radio Times Audience Award". Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  55. ^ "BAFTA Television in 2016 Awards". Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  56. ^ "The Telegraph". Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  57. ^ "AMC's 'Humans' Is Closer To Reality Than You Think". Popular Science. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  58. ^ "Review: AMC's 'Humans' explores the laws of robotics yet again". HitFix. Retrieved 3 June 2018. 

External links[edit]