Humans, created by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley—based on a Swedish series, Real Humans—explores a futuristic world where humans employ androids to do menial works. The story focuses on poignant themes like discrimination, social inequality, and abuse with allusions to real-world stereotypes. In delivering the message, it poses a though-provoking question to ponder upon for the whole 3 seasons (now streaming on Mola TV). What makes us human?
First, let’s take a look at the plot of Humans. The narrative revolves around several synths programmed to do human’s works from household works to special jobs. At the heart of the story, Anita (Gemma Chan, Crazy Rich Asians), is recently bought into the house of the Hawkins to do household chores. Unbeknownst to them, Anita has a dire backstory as a sought-after special synth. This would later pose as a trigger of frictions within the family, as the patriarch, Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) and the matriarch, Laura (Katherine Parkinson), as well as the children, Mattie (Lucy Carless), Toby (Theo Stevenson), and Sophie (Pixie Davis), begin to drift apart with their own view of the synths. Outside the family, several synths begin to defect and the blurred line between humanity and artificial intelligence begins to melt away.
Is it our look? In Humans, humanity has created humanoid androids called “synth” that look exactly like human, talk exactly like human, walk exactly like human, and behave exactly like human. Is it our mind? The synth also thinks and processes information just as human albeit limitations due to their internal coding; but, human has an internal coding as well. It’s called conscience. Is it our heart? Humans tells us otherwise as Anita and her comrades behave outside allowed synth behavior to follow her “heart.” So, what exactly makes us human?
The narrative of this series somewhat mirrors narrative elements of Quantic Dreams’ game, Detroit: Become Human, an exercise of free-will amongst androids. It keeps questioning the true nature of humanity and tackling the issues of civil rights—something that has been in the humanity’s struggle since the dawn of time. Humans takes the sharp turn in telling audiences that there has always been a possibility of history repeating itself. Some humanity seems to fear of difference; therefore, there is always a thirst for segregation—be it against people of different colors, beliefs, ways of living, and many more. This time, it’s between people who feel superior of their biological origins and those of artificial origins.
Humans presents the story and the conveyed message from both perspectives: human and synth. The whole discourse is mostly wrapped around the life of the Hawkins and Anita. Through their lives, we learn of the prejudice and abuse against synths—which contextually makes a thought-provoking allusion to traditional slavery. The humanity is often depicted in the light of anxiety, distrust, and ironically superiority, which somehow reflects on the history of slavery itself. In the end, the one question remains: what makes us human? There’s no way we can be more human than other human.
Humans is produced jointly by AMC in the US and Channel 4 as well as Kudos in the UK. The first season debuted on Channel 4 between 14 June and 2 August 2015. The series had been cancelled after three seasons. Currently, all the episodes of Humans are available for streaming on Mola TV as a part of Mola Primetime Series.
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