Humans: 6 Things to Know About AMC's Eerie New Android Drama

Humans Renewed

No need to fear the moment that artificial intelligence invades every aspect of our lives, say those involved with AMC’s Humans: It’s already here.

And within the universe of the cabler’s new drama, AI takes the form of human-like androids who make every aspect of life easier… and also may be plotting your death.

VIDEO Watch the Chilling Humans Teaser Trailer

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The sci-fi series from Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent (MI:5) and based on Sweden’s Real Humans is set in suburban London in the “parallel present,” where incredibly lifelike androids called “synths” are used in all facets of life.

Our introduction to the new world order comes when Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill, Mr. Selfridge) impulsively purchases a synth named Anita to help around the house, and she turns out to be a looker — played by Gemma Chan (the United Kingdom’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl) — who instantly makes Joe’s wife Laura (Katherine Parkinson, The Honourable Woman) feel judged and suspicious that the robot isn’t as benign as she seems.

RELATED Summer TV Calendar: 108+ Dates to Save!

Meanwhile, other storylines focus on an aging scientist (William Hurt, The Big Chill) desperate to hang on to his failing synth, a cop duo that deals with synth-related crimes and a group of rogue robots whose thoughts and feelings (!) defy their programming.

In advance of Humans‘ premiere (Sunday, 9/8c), TVLine talked with some of the cast, as well as Brackley and Vincent, about what to expect from the unsettling, eight-part series.

WHAT’S LAURA HIDING? | Very early in Episode 1, it becomes clear that Laura is keeping a rather large secret from Joe and their three kids. “Though Joe doesn’t know what’s going on, he knows something‘s going on,” Parkinson says, adding that her character is “a bit emotionally blocked” and that may or may not affect how she reacts to Chan’s character. “She’s a busy lawyer and a busy mother and wife, and feels as a lot of busy working mothers do: that they’re kind of falling short everywhere,” she says. When Anita shows up and handily makes everything tidy and smooth, Laura “doesn’t really feel she’s got a leg to stand on.” But soon, the harried mom starts to wonder if Anita has it out for her.

RELATED Mad Men Creator: Finale Coke Ad Came From Don’s ‘Enlightened’ State

READING, WRITING AND ROBOTICS | Chan and the other actors who played synths “went to what we called ‘Synth School'” for a month before filming began, the actress says. A choreographer helped the group learn how to move like a machine that could almost — but not quite — pass for human. “We tried to come up with a universal language of movement for synths that we would all share, a fundamental set of rules,” she says. Another challenge came during scenes of high drama: “I wasn’t allowed to physically cry,” she says, noting that synths just don’t do that. “I often did end up in tears, but we’d have to cut… I had to find a different way to convey the emotion.”

THE FUTURE IS NOW | You won’t see a lot of sterile laboratories or sleek, space-age environments in Humans — and that’s a conscious choice, according to Goodman-Hill. “To put it in a domestic setting, to make an average suburban household have to confront that technology and live with it is just endlessly engaging,” he says.

VIDEO AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead: Scared Student Sounds Early Alarm

A WIDE (CYBER)NET | The series is “a 360-degree look at a world in which these machines exist. It’s not just cops with synth partners or anything like that,” Brackley says. “It allows us to go absolutely anywhere we like.” A sampling of topics touched on and/or tackled during the series’ eight hours: industrial labor, sex workers, what happens when children form attachment to synths and how government-issued synths create what one character calls a “nanny state.”

Humans Season 1 Spoilers

GRANDFATHERED IN | Hurt’s character, Dr. George Millican, was involved in synth creation but has since retired, choosing instead to hole up in his home with his devoted — though soon-to-be-defunct — synth, Odi. George is “loving something mortal” — his dead wife, Mary, of whom Odi has many memories — “through something immortal,” the Oscar winner says. Though Odi has sentimental value to George, Hurt hints that we’ll eventually learn there’s another reason the aging scientist doesn’t want his artificial pal scrapped.

RELATED Hell on Wheels‘ Fifth and Final Premiere Date Set at AMC

BLUE BLOODS | When the synths leak fluid, it’s blue, but that wasn’t always the case. “Originally, we wanted it to be beige, a dark cream color, because we wanted it to be digusting,” Vincent says with a laugh. “We felt a color like that would be the most unsettling, because it would feel organic but would be wrong.” Eventually, production settled on the sky hue — like the original Swedish show used — because beige just didn’t film well. “Visually,” he adds, “it was very hard to make that color work.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

10 Comments
  1. Its a fantastic program, two eps in in the UK, fantastic!

  2. Sarah UK says:

    I agree. It’s a brilliant show!

  3. m3rcnate says:

    I’ve seen the first two episodes and it has my attention in a good way…but it has the potential to be a huge disappointment in regards to the overall big mystery arc of the series. Right now its small and intimate, just a few Androids and the main one specifically with the family, but as the show goes on no doubt it will grow in scope and if the big mystery isn’t very interesting…well the show starts to fall.

    This show made me miss Almost Human. :/

  4. Kae says:

    It’s scene for scene from the original swed version real humans

  5. mansambambam says:

    I’m really loving it so far, some really terrific performances.

  6. Mike says:

    Like the program and it’s move from robot to sentient robot(?)… Hopefully it will head into more uncharted territories. Glad that they renewed!!

  7. SO loving this show. So glad it was renewed