Is the Apple Watch and other tech the beginning of the end of us? Doubtful, but AMC’s upcoming series “Humans” might make a good case for such an idea.
The eight-part drama, premiering at 8 p.m. June 28 on AMC, is set in a parallel universe where the latest must-have gadget is an artificially intelligent servant called a Synth. (Named Siri perhaps?) If you’re thinking there’s nothing new about this kind of sci-fi story, you could be right. But the show trailer suggests a well-done series exploring the emotional impact of using such technology.
And it looks quite eerie. Watch the trailer to the end, when the Synth Anita (Gemma Chan) tells Laura Hawkins (Katherine Parkinson), “I’m watching you, too, Laura.”
“Humans” is written by British writing partners Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, who are responsible for one of my favorite spy dramas, “MI-5” (called “Spooks” in the UK). It’s based on the Swedish sci-fi drama “Real Humans,” which I believe is currently streaming on Netflix.
William Hurt leads the cast as scientist George Millican, who created the Synth technology and treats his robot, Odi, like a son. Will Tudor, the hot call-boy Olyvar in “Game of Thrones,” stars as Odi.
Other actors in the series include “Merlin” star Colin Morgan, Tom Goodman-Hill from “Mr. Selfridge,” Rebecca Front from “Inspector Lewis,” as well as Parkinson of “The IT Crowd” and Chan from “Secret Diary of a Call Girl.”
Read more from the Humans AMC release below.
In Nagasaki, Japan, a hotel staffed primarily by robots will be opening this summer. These robots won’t just clean your room and pick up your laundry. They’ll check you in, make your dinner reservations, mimic human behaviors and speak four languages.
Your Saturday afternoon errands could result in purchasing a fully functional robotic domestic helper that will get your kids ready for school or take care of an ailing parent. Whether that’s a good or bad decision is the question “Humans” sets out to explore. It’s not about what this technology is capable of; it’s about the impact that this advanced technology will have on the human population. Will this new way of navigating life be detrimental or beneficial to us as a human race? And who will we become when this technology arrives?
At the center of the four concurrent storylines explored throughout “Humans” is the flawed but loving Hawkins family. Joe Hawkins (Tom Goodman-Hill) makes the decision to invest in the latest must-have gadget for any busy family—a Synth. His relationship with his wife Laura (Katherine Parkinson) is becoming increasingly strained and he believes that the addition of a robotic servant to the household will give them back the time they so desperately need and help them re-connect both as a couple and as a family. The Hawkins’ new Synth, Anita (Gemma Chan), is an immediate hit, and their chaotic house is suddenly transformed into an oasis of tidy, organized, well-fed contentment. With hesitation, Laura gives in to the family demand, but soon senses there’s something different about Anita. There’s something not right.
Others, though, have long since abandoned any skepticism and are embracing their Synths as family members. Widower George Millican (William Hurt) has formed a close relationship with his out-of-date Synth, Odi (Will Tudor), whom he treats more like a son than a piece of machinery. When Odi begins to malfunction, the National Health Service forcefully upgrades him with a new stern elder-care model named Vera (Rebecca Front) and George must hide the bond he has with Odi or risk forfeiting him to the authorities.
Meanwhile, a young man named Leo (Colin Morgan) and his Synth, Max (Ivanno Jeremiah), are desperately searching for someone from Leo’s past. But who is it, and why? And why does Max seem to be so unlike other Synths? On their heels is a mysterious man named Hobb (Danny Webb), who is determined to uncover a secret before it can destroy humanity as we know it.
Finally, D.S. Peter Drummond (Neil Maskell) works for the Special Technologies Task Force, solving Synth-related disputes to get away from his frustration over his wife’s flawless Synthetic physical therapist. Pete spends most of his days pushing papers and solving petty incidents, as Synths rarely, if ever, malfunction, until one day he investigates a case that defies all possibility.
“Humans” stars William Hurt (“A History of Violence,” “Damages”) as Dr. George Millican, Katherine Parkinson (“The IT Crowd,” “The Honourable Woman”) as Laura Hawkins, Gemma Chan (“Sherlock,” “Dr. Who”) as Anita, Tom Goodman-Hill (“Mr. Selfridge,” “The Imitation Game”) as Joe Hawkins, Lucy Carless (“Code of a Killer”) as Mattie Hawkins, Colin Morgan (“Merlin,” “The Fall 2”) as Leo, Pixie Davis (“Utopia,” “The White Queen”) as Sophie Hawkins, Ivanno Jeremiah (“The Hollow Crown”) as Max, Theo Stevenson (“In Bruges,” “Fred Claus”) as Toby Hawkins, Emily Berrington (“24: Live Another Day,” “Sons of Liberty”) as Niska, Neil Maskell (“Utopia”) as D.S. Peter Drummond, Will Tudor (“Game of Thrones”) as Odi, Rebecca Front (“The Thick Of It,” “Just William”), as Vera, Danny Webb (“Dr. Who,” “Being Human”) as Hobb, and Sope Dirisu (“Utopia”) as Fred.
“Humans” is produced by Kudos (“Utopia,” “Broadchurch,” “The Hour”) in association with Matador Films (“Real Humans”). Directed by Sam Donovan (“Utopia”), executive producers are Jane Featherstone (“Broadchurch,” “Utopia,” “The Hour”) and Derek Wax (“The Hour,” “Occupation,” “Lip Service”) for Kudos, with Chris Fry (“The Smoke”) producing for Kudos and Henrik Widman and Lars Lundström for Matador Films. The series was commissioned for Channel 4 by Piers Wenger, Beth Willis and Simon Maxwell, and Kristin Jones and Joel Stillerman for AMC. Distribution will be handled by Endemol Shine International.