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Humans - Pilot - Review : "What Is Human?"

15 Jun 2015

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The concept of having robots, so similar to humans, seems to be the hype in society today. As technology becomes more advanced, more and more writers are asking the question that is being pushed towards everyday. What is Human? Humans, following in the highly distinctive footsteps of other Channel 4 thrillers, such as Ex Machina, continues to revolutionize the way we look at ourselves, and the technology that is largely consuming us. Whilst not as dark and dubious as other technology-based flicks, Humans is a TV show that looks to be a steady build into the bigger questions of the ever-growing evolution of robotics - it's sure to be a raunchy and revengeful series.

Humans is a show that is pushed on by its characters - both human (ironic) and non-human. Unlike errors of other shows, the human-based characters are just as interesting as the non-human characters, which is fulfilling due to this astounding concept that may have been flawed by the lack of depth for the 'normal' characters, but Humans has enough heart to make the central family interesting and strangely relatable.
The forefront of Humans is a range of central character-driven storytelling sequences, luckily, they all work to be as unique and transcending as each other. Gemma Chan (Anita) is especially elegant on screen, her soft sinister side-glances are what excites me for the end-game for the mounting and mysterious tension that follows the show. Especially regarding her time with Pixie Davies (Sophie), the contrast between purity and what seems to be, a damaged past for Anita, is twisted and allows the audience to reflect upon how human these 'Synths' are similar to how we, as humans, care for our young. This relationship is sure to develop within the next 8 weeks, a frightening and yet, refreshing tone for the series.

If you're like me, and many others, that were dearly sad when BBC Three decided to axe In The Flesh - even though it had many distinct and fascinating features, then Humans may help you move out of that purgatory stage. Humans seems to be following many themes, of childhood, parenting and the stereotypical nature of humans when regarding something abstract and sidetracked from the norm.
Almost asking the question of whether we may be jealous of these abnormalities due to their differences, which make them ironically, better than us? Jealousy is a theme in Humans, especially shown within the subtle rivalry between Laura (Katherine Parkinson) and Anita, both have this Mother figure hood that could be the show possibly suggesting Anita has more memories of motherhood within her , further imply these 'Synths' are more human that they are being suggested to be. In a sharp contrast, this also links to Leo (Colin Morgan) who is central in another key storyline in the show, that these Synths could remove and add emotions - changing them, which I'm sure isn't what the designers of these machines would want, leading up nicely to the introduction of the rogue 'villain'-esque of the series, Hobb (Danny Webb).

Whilst Hobb only had a small part in the episode, the idea of dissecting a Synth isn't the most pleasant idea, and the integral reveal of Fred being different to the others (is he...more human?) makes for very interesting television. However, I hope it pays off, too many series' fall lackluster with their attempts at developing villains, and especially adapting that villain to fall with grace within the whole spectrum of the show. On the other hand, I have faith in the show as the steady pace allows for rising amounts of darkness and dread, especially due to this premiere being quite slow, suggesting the writers have many more reveals that they're waiting to pull beneath us.

Humans does have the features of many thrill-driven shows, however it has its own unique style of setting the show in a parallel-London - no whimsical 'future' nonsense. Humans derives its fear from the juxtaposition of its themes with its setting, a place that many of us are familiar with, and a family that is largely relevant to anyone, allows the fear and mystery to seem more real and current. I'm sure, sat right with you is iPads and iPhones, as it is with me, but what happens if in a parallel, that technology is your own Synth? - an interesting concept that the writers can surely use to their own advantage as the horror continues.

I'm sure, like the gadgets consuming your space around you, that they get old and you get new ones, but another very diverse point Humans makes in the subtly meaningful premiere, is that what's old, becomes new, and as shown in Dr George Millican (William Hurt) and Odi (Will Tudor) sequence of events, humanity and technology can work together to share and hold memories - and they become beautiful to both. This could be the writers suggesting that goodness only comes from sharing and communication, that both hold a place in society and only corporations' need for more money is what seperates this bond? A deep and revealing thought, that only transcends how I feel when watching this intricate and suspenseful show - but is that separation soon to result in a prejudiced barrier between Humans and Synths? We'll have to find out.

All in all, the pilot for Humans was riveting and and subtly thought-provoking, both exquisite and dark, the show takes on many themes and concepts that are integrally suspenseful, its character-driven episode allows the audience to relate and understand. I'm sure this show will continue to mould into something sincere and contemplative, as we will soon see, what makes anything human.

What did you think of the premiere of Humans? Will you be continuing and watching the next episode? And what are your theories on how the show will continue? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author - Owen Bush
Owen likes to regard himself as a reviewer, photographer, graphical designer and obssessor over a large range of TV shows.He also takes large interest in acting and drama - so if you see him in a TV show in 2050, let him know. In The Flesh will always be dear to his heart.
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  1. Congrats on your first review Owen! Welcome to the team :)

  2. Thank you so much for welcoming me! :)

  3. Great review Owen! Looking forward to seeing your reviews this series. Really enjoyed the premiere, and I'm glad it brought in the ratings it deserved - let's just hope it keeps it up!

  4. Great first review owen. Really enjoyed the premiere. The synths were well done and a bit creepy. I don't think I'd have one ha

  5. Thanks for reviewing this show. I'm really into it based upon the first episode. 2015 is definitely the year of AI in film and TV we have had Ultron, Chappie, Ex Machina, The 100, Dark Matter and Terminator. Is definitely a genre I'm interested in and I especially like the human/synth relationships.

  6. Thanks a lot Sharon! Yes, I'm not sure I'd be keen either (then again, they do seem a little bit cool) :P

  7. Thanks a lot for reading my review! You're definitely right, it's grabbing audiences everywhere!

  8. Great review! Will have to check this out on 4oD or something later in the week. Thanks!

  9. Thanks a lot! You definitely should, although it's a little slow (and the acting can be a little tedious) - the concept and detail is immense and it's sure to be amazing :)

  10. Panagiotis Karatasios15 June 2015 at 22:03

    A very good star for what promises to be a very good and intelligent science fiction show

  11. Very true! I hope it succeeds my expectations from this pilot!

  12. Another show I will watch this Summer.

  13. Hopefully you'll enjoy it!

  14. I think I will. It looks good.

  15. Allan Andreassen19 June 2015 at 04:22

    I think it is worth mentioning that "humans" is an English remake of the swedish show "Real Humans" which is a huge hit in Europe. So far the third season is in development set to be broadcasted probably in 2016.


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