Humans (styled as HUM∀NS) is a British-American science fiction television series, debuted in June 2015 on Channel 4 and AMC. Written by the British team Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, based on the award-winning Swedish science fiction drama Real Humans, the series explores the emotional impact of the blurring of the lines between humans and machines. The series is produced jointly by AMC, Channel 4 and Kudos. Eight episodes were produced for the first series, and another eight will be made for the second series.
Set in suburban London, the story takes place in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a Synth – an android robot eerily similar to a human in nearly every respect.
Main Cast Edit
- Gemma Chan as Anita
- Katherine Parkinson as Laura Hawkins
- Tom Goodman-Hill as Joe Hawkins
- Lucy Carless as Matilda Hawkins
- Theo Stevenson as Toby Hawkins
- Pixie Davis as Sophie Hawkins
- Colin Morgan as Leo Elster
- Ivanno Jeremiah as Max
- Sope Diritsu as Fred
- Emily Berrington as Niska
- Danny Webb as Prof. Edwin Hobb
- William Hurt as Dr. George Millican (Season 1 only)
- Will Tudor as Odi
- Rebecca Front as Vera (Season 1 only)
- Neil Maskell as D.S. Pete Drummond
- Ruth Bradley as Karen Voss
The series was announced in April 2014 as part of a partnership between Channel 4 and Xbox Entertainment Studios. However, after Microsoft closed Xbox Entertainment Studios, AMC came aboard as partners to Channel 4. Filming commenced in the autumn of 2014, with the series premiering on 14 June 2015. The series' budget is £12 million.
During rehearsals, Gemma Chan and her fellow robot actors were sent to a 'synth school' run by the show's choreographer, in a bid to rid themselves of any human physical gestures and become convincing synths. "It was about stripping back any physical tics you naturally incorporate into performance," explains Chan, who adds that it was a "relief to go home and slouch" after a day on set.
Katherine Parkinson began filming six weeks after giving birth to her second child; her part in the series was filmed on 10 separate days, between 10 days rest.
For one week in May 2015, the series was marketed using a fake shopfront for Persona Synthetics on London's Regent Street, inviting passers-by to create their own synth using interactive screens, and employing actors who pretended to be synths around central London. An accompanying Channel 4 trailer for the series in the style of an advert for Persona featured "Sally," a robotic servant described as "your new best friend".
Gemma Chan said in an interview with Den of Geek that the first series is "not completely tied up at the end" and "there are definitely still areas to be explored for a second series."
Furthermore, Channel 4 has been in talks over a second series after the Kudos show became its best-rated drama in more than 20 years. C4’s head of international drama Simon Maxwell told Broadcast’s Talking TV podcast that although Humans has yet to be formally greenlit for a second run, "it's very much under consideration."
"We've got a story that is told over a great many episodes and is very much designed to come back and return. We’ll be following those characters on a really epic journey," he said.
Chris Fry, the show’s producer, added that discussions over storylines for series two have begun with writers Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley.
The first episode of the series was made available in the UK on Channel 4 on 14 June 2015 and premiered in the United States and Canada on AMC on 28 June 2015.
The show is Channel 4's highest rated drama since the 1992 programme The Camomile Lawn. It has been described as having "universal appeal" and as being "one of 2015's dramatic hits." The show has been described as "a bit dystopian and Black Mirror-esque." The actors have been praised for their performances, but some critics have said the story is "conceptually ... old hat" and "wasn't breaking any new ground philosophically."