Channel Four are rightly proud of the success of their Sunday night eight-part drama Humans; it’s captivated around four million viewers a week, which is impressive enough in itself and especially astonishing for Channel Four. There’d be even more cause to celebrate if Humans was an entirely original series - it is, of course, based on the acclaimed 2012 Swedish drama Real Humans - but such concerns are ultimately swept away in a series which deftly nails the difficult problem of how to create a science fiction series which will appeal to an audience really not interested in the genre. I’d be willing to bet my secret stash of Wispa Golds that many of the show’s audience didn’t even realise they were watching a science fiction show until about episode four or five.
Set in the near future (no silver space suits, hovercars or jet-packs in sight) or a parallel-world present-day, Humans tells of a society which has become reliant on the domestic assistance of disturbingly realistic androids known as ‘synths’ and, across its taut, well-paced eight episodes, explores the potentially tenuous relationship between humankind and artificial intelligence and what might happen should the lines between the two become blurred. It is, dare I say it, about ‘what it means to be human’ as a group of synths, programmed with human feelings and sensibilities, battle for the right to stay truly sentient in a suspicious world, and fight to remain free as the scientific establishment and the more mundane
Doctor Who; Contact me via the magic of email - firstname.lastname@example.org or do the Twitter thing - @PMount