Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: Humans

TV Preview: Humans | TV3, 8.30 Tuesday


By Doug Coutts

Humans imagines what life would be like if robots were real, as in actually existed not as in living. Although if they did exist, then they would be surely be alive … and there’s the rub.

In this parallel dramatic universe, robotics has developed to the stage where every home can have a synth, and not just a Casiotron keyboard. Synths look real, can understand complex sentence constructions and don’t mind cleaning up after every one.

This is good news indeed for Joe, whose wife Laura is away a lot for work and consequently the house is a bit of a mess. The new synth is called Anita and, like a clever puppy, she understands every word you say. Unlike a puppy however, she can be put to sleep with just a tap under the chin and she harbours a dark secret.

Exactly what secret we’re not entirely sure but it’s got something to do with a handful of other synths who are on the run from men in dark glasses and darker cars.

And then, in another part of town William Hurt plays old Dr Millican with a very early model of synth that’s having a few blue screen of death moments, but rather than trade him in for a new one, he’s trying DIY with Scandisk and a defrag. You have to wonder why.

Laura’s wondering a bit about the new Anita too – something’s not quite right there, particularly with Anita’s obsession with the youngest child, Sophie. Mind you, Laura’s got her own set of problems, and we get the feeling it’s more than being busy at work.

Stepford Wives meets I, Robot with just a touch of Outnumbered (cute kid and all), the first episode of Humans poses a lot of intriguing questions and leaves them all unanswered. Not because they’re difficult questions, just intelligent ones.

What other critics said:

“There’s a lot going on in this show, which is being billed as an eight-episode series. Some of it is familiar from previous takes on artificial life, some of it is innovative, but all of it is involving, well written and well played. And though this is a drama, it is also served up with dashes of humour.” — New York Times.

Humans’ programming runs toward melodrama at times, especially in Hurt’s subplot, but it’s mostly restrained and chilling. It doesn’t threaten and scare but hums enigmatically in power-saving mode. ” — Time.

Humans is certainly timely, and there’s nothing subtle about the show’s central apprehensions regarding what’s being sacrificed by potentially handing over more of our lives to gadgets. Yet that actually works against this British co-production, which mashes together renegade-robot themes in a manner that feels both derivative and a trifle boring.” — Variety.

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years. He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at:

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7 Responses to “Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: Humans”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/ on line 66
    August 10, 2015 at 9:26 am

    YAY, looking forward to Humans … hope it gets wonderful ratings 🙂

  2. Saw Ep 1 when I was in Oz last week. Was quite good. As Trevor says, I hope it rates well or we know where it will end up.

  3. WOW, Humans is by far the best show on TV at the moment, it’s SO brilliant 🙂

  4. Yes, it blew me away, too, Trevor. It’s a fantastic addition to TV3’s schedule, which has been too CSI-fied for too long. Here’s hoping the network’s rewarded in the ratings.

  5. I have a feeling Gemma Chan is going to be the next big star, she is so amazing 🙂

  6. I saw a few episodes of the Swedish original version Äkta Människor. They were very good. Though of course everyone sounds like the chef from The Muppets. Swedes probably never get tired of that being pointed out.

  7. Dur flicky stuben der bork bork bork you betcha!

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