Humans: A Review

Channel 4 and AMC's Humans series proved to be a bit of rollercoaster road for the Hawkins family.

The premise I reached back in Humans: First Impressions that the series would delve into what it means to be, and what deserves to be, human was infinitely explored throughout the remainder of the series. Every character in the series, human and synth, dealt (or is fought the more operative word?) with the debate in their own way, some emerging on the other side better for it and others, well, not so much.

The series also managed to deal several surprises, well, bombshells,  over its remaining course – spoiler alert!

First, a short recap of Humans is in order.

Based on the Swedish series Real Humans, Humans is framed around the five-strong Hawkins family and their varying relationships with synth, Anita. Of course, it’s not as simple as this, with the shady government (and its equally shady characters) hunting down four sentient or conscious ‘synths’ deemed to be a threat to the future of humankind, of which Anita is one.

And here’s why they’re such a threat, because they’re meant to do everything BUT think.

Now the bombshells.

We discovered that Leo Elster (Colin Morgan) was more bionic than human and the ‘thing’ I thought he had with Anita/Mia, well, it wasn’t so much as a thing than a mother-son relationship.

A further revelation came in the form of Detective-Sergeant Karen Voss, who was not a D.S. but a conscious synth made in the liking of Elster’s wife Beatrice, intent on righting the wrong of conscious synths.

But perhaps the most heartwarming revelation of the series was that Niska,  Mia, Fred, and Max were Leo’s family, teaching him the lay of the land – the roles his father shirked and his mother wasn’t capable of performing.

The biggest bombshell of all, however: locked inside the minds of Leo and his family was the key to making more conscious synths. Whether or not this will come to fruition is a question left to be answered in season two (I hope).

The series also managed to deal a few blows.

Fate did not prove kind to George Millican or his synth Odi, both essentially perishing at the hands (or should I say gun?) of Voss and her more-than-slightly demented agenda. I don’t know about any of you, but I had a feeling things wouldn’t end well for those two, right from the start.

Don’t even get me started on the water-logged demise of Max and the addled brains of Fred 😦

I’ll also refrain from mentioning Joe’s 18+ venture with Anita, that did not fail to cause a fair bit of upset in the Hawkin’s household.

On even less of a positive note, I have to say that the finale was rather flat compared to the previous episode where the s*** hit the fan for Elster’s synths and the Hawkins family. You’ll just have to watch to know what I mean.

The finale did however, leave me with some burning questions:

What is Niska planning? I would have thought Millican’s untimely death and all of the heart-to-hearts they shared might have made an impression or appeal to her ‘softer’ side – the one where she played dolls with Sophie Hawkins. (I did love her all-around sassiness though).

Surely Hobb wouldn’t give up that easily? He has, after all, been pursuing the conscious synths for the entire season.

The finale ended on Drummond and Voss touching, so what are his intentions? Understanding or pity?

I hope, like many of you, all of these questions are answered in season two.

Overall, a superb series that is well worth a watch!

But, just in case you missed it, here’s a look at series one.



The Player: First Impressions

NBC series The Player looks like it will prove to be a bit of a hit-and-miss with the gamblers (pardon the pun).

Having already been reduced from a thirteen-episode run to only nine episodes, things are not looking good for Philip Winchester a.k.a. Alex Kane in what I thought would be a great action-packed series after Winchester’s stellar performance in Strike Back. However, looks can, after all, be deceiving.

The Player follows former security expert Alex Kane as he navigates his role as ‘The Player’ for ‘The House’, a shady Las Vegas organisation with a Person of Interest-type artificial intelligence computer that predicts crime before it happens. Kane’s role? To stop the crime before it happens,  whilst pleasing a plethora of wealthy clientele who ‘bet’ on whether he beats the odds and takes out the bad guys, before they take out him. But Kane is not alone, helping him his ‘dealer’ Cassandra (Charity Wakefield), a British bombshell who is also a tech-wiz. And breathing down both their necks is ‘pit boss’ Mr Johnson (Wesley Snipes) whose role it appears is to be as equally condescending as shady.

But just as marital woes proved to be a problem for Winchester’s character Michael Stonebridge in Strike Back, it looks like the same thing has come back to plague Winchester in The Player, with Kane’s wife supposedly knocked-off in the first episode.

For a former FBI agent I believe, Kane’s performance as ‘The Player’ is awfully underwhelming. He ran his own security business, but can’t seem to break away from his reliance on dealer and tech-wiz Cassandra. Quite pathetic, really.

The only thing that’s keeping me tuned in every Tuesday evening is the mystery surrounding Ginny’s ‘death’. It’s intriguing she may still be alive, and perhaps even more intriguing is Cassandra’s relation to Ginny.

Formerly titled Endgame, ratings may prove to be the endgame for this disappointing NBC series, that also makes me question Winchester’s versatility as an actor.

It seems Winchester has had a bad deal as former Strike Back co-stars Sullivan Stapleton and Rhona Mitra enjoy ratings success with their new shows Blindspot and The Last Ship.

But stay tuned, I’ll be back with my final review soon.