Another Science Fiction Show where machines with souls are bad.
Humans is a British Channel 4 science fiction show picked up by AMC. The big American star in the cast is William Hurt. He plays a grumpy old man who has a strong attachment to his malfunctioning robot. In this alternate reality, health care is not only free, it’s mandatory. The Government tells William he must replace his old model with a new one. The new model appears to be based on Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
The main storyline has to do with a handful of Persona Synthetics that can think, feel emotions, and seem to be fully aware of themselves. The first episode sees this merry band of robots wandering through the woods in the company of scruffy looking human. There’s very much an Underground Railroad feel to these scenes. The human pretends to be their owner so random people won’t take them away. Of course, as soon as he turns his back, random people take them away.
Now we find ourselves in a typical upper middle class British home. The Dad is overwhelmed by housework and Mom is away on a business trip. Dad decides it’s the perfect time to run out and buy that Android he’s always wanted. The robot, of course, is one of the smart droids stolen from the woods. She has been reprogramed, but she is still more human than other robots. When Mom returns, she is not happy to have this machine caring for her son and two daughters.
The robot maid/nanny is super model thin and very pretty. A running gag is that all the men who meet her check out her all but nonexistent ass. I guess they don’t have Keeping Up With The Kardashians in this reality. They do have robot brothels, though, which is where we find another of our sentient robots.
The last of the smart robots is discovered while he toils away at some kind of farm. He is captured by a man who wants to know his secrets. Where is your tribe, Taylor?
I like the look of Humans. The androids have glowing eyes and a slight plastic look to their skin. The world is pretty much our world, only machines now do most of the jobs humans used to do. It isn’t clear what flesh and blood people are supposed to do now. This might be a good time to return to the days of Downton Abbey.
Like most science fiction shows about robots, they have a nod to the great Isaac Asimov and mention in passing that the Robots are safe due to their Asimov protocols.
I like Humans, even though there are a lot of familiar notes here. The grumpy old man and his android bring to mind a wonderful indie film called Frank and Robot. And all stories about robots tend to hit the same notes about slavery, loss of employment, and wouldn’t it be nice to have a robot to have sex with.