Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: HUM∀NS Season 1

Title: Humans Season 1
Starring: Gemma Chan, Katherine Parkinson, Lucy Carless
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Sci-fi
Episodes: 8

Honestly, I only watch AMC when a new season of the Walking Dead comes on, which may or may not be a surprise. When I saw advertisements for this show, I was definitely intrigued, then when it came on, I forgot that it came on AMC and not Syfy. Heh. Anyway, I wanted to do a First Impression video for it, but by the time I got around to possibly doing it, I was already 3-4 episodes into the series. Obviously, I didn't record anything and simply waited for this moment to write a full review of the first season.

Tired of his wife leaving him alone with the children and chores, Joe Hawkins decides to take his youngest daughter Sophie out to purchase a Synth for their home. A Synth is like a human android or robot that can be used to make humans' lives easier whether socially, physically, or with tasks. When Joe and Sophie arrive with their now activated Synth, Laura, Joe's wife, has returned home and is upset with his purchase as they made a deal not to bring Synths into their home. Laura begins to worry about having a Synth in their home doing tasks she would normally do, especially when Sophie names her after her friend that moved away, Anita. Elsewhere is widower and retired artificial intelligence researcher Dr. George Millican who lives alone with his outdated Synth Odi as his caretaker as well as a few other characters that somehow connect into the Hawkins family's life.

When the show first began, I was instantly intrigued, especially when it had similar flashback elements as How to Get Away With Murder within the first few episodes. It might be a little confusing, but it all makes sense as the story progresses. Speaking of story, let's talk about that. For the most part, I enjoyed the twists, turns, and reveals of the plot. There were definitely some moments where my jaw dropped at the end of the season or I was deeply into the backstory of a character or two. The story has, for the most part, good pacing and handles the various subplots well while bringing them together in a nice package.

For those coming into the show for the first time, you might be a little intimidated by the somewhat large cast of characters, but the subplots help tremendously. At first, the subplots pretty much group each set of characters in their own situation and gradually brings each group together to form the main plot of the show. With the arrival (or addition) of Anita, the viewers get a chance to learn the dynamics of the Hawkins family. You might expect them to be cookie cutter perfect, but they have some issues and those issues pile on and continue as the plot progresses. Even though the parents have their own faults, it's easy to understand why they do what they do since Anita came into their lives. You want to be mad at them, during certain situations, but you can't. They're very realistic and sympathetic enough for you to forgive them and root for a positive resolution. Next, we have the relationship of the stubborn former researcher Dr. George Millican and his out of date Synth Odi. He seems like your typical elder person that doesn't want to change or, in this case, upgrade, even though it would benefit his health and the way he's being taken care of in his home. This relationship shows that the bond between a human and Synth can go beyond the tasks the Synth was made for. It's a rather touching development to watch as Dr. Millican does whatever it takes to keep and defend Odi, almost like a son. Then we have our smaller subplots that bridges the larger ones together, while also developing these characters into a bigger scope: Detectives Pete Drummond and Karen Voss who are investigating the case of some special runaway Synths; Leo Elster, the son of Synth creator David Elster, who is mysteriously shown through flashbacks with Anita and a small group of Synths running away; and Niska, a Synth who is assigned to work at a brothel and is trying to reconnect with Leo and his group. Each of these characters have a connection to each other and, with great pacing, shows a bigger picture that will keep you engaged from episode to episode.

Upon the first episode, I was surprised to hear these British voices from these characters, which took me a little bit of time to adjust to. Fortunately, the characters and reveals made things easier and kept me into the story, especially when I wanted find out what the heck was going on in the flashbacks with Leo and the Synths. Humans has become a great addition and, hopefully, successful series on AMC. There's a great variety of characters and it tries to go a slightly different direction with its villainous scientist corporation. Overall, I enjoyed that it didn't put Synths versus humans in its usual scenarios such as making Synths completely evil, malfunctioning, or a threat of taking over the human race. Although, there might be a tiny threat with the possibility of consciousness in Synths, these various ups and downs broaden the way humans, in the show as well as its viewers, think more deeply about their existence. I'm very happy to hear that our journey with the Synths has not completely ended. AMC has commissioned another 8 episodes to be produced and is planning to air them sometime in 2016.

Rating: 4/5

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