To be or not to be


It’s a pleasure to have a seriously challenging sci fi series on tv. Not the futuristic, philosophically hard-wired, Interstellar-style but creeping, unsettling daily life sci fi. We have two Roombas in this French house. They are programmed to come on and vacuum floors in the period between coffee in bed and being up and about. They speak several languages. We prefer English. One had ‘her’ being reprogrammed by my twenty month old grandson to speak in Spanish and start work at lunchtime. These magnificent non-sentient disks of hard labour are as far removed from sexual appeasement as can be conceived. Not so in Humans Channel 4. The blurred lines between android or ‘synth’ and ourselves cause moral mayhem. Picking up the same theme that is core to the film Ex-Machina, reviewed earlier, the viewer is forced to question whether, if in every possible way except being built of flesh and blood, a synth acts human, then shouldn’t we treat it as such and get on with congenial cohabitation. Humans provides the viewer with a variety of synths upon which to meditate, from lackey to sex worker to the fully conscious (and, in some cases enigmatically seductive).  It is unsettling. You both identify with the faulty, imperfect error-prone human beings and at the same time are drawn into the plight of these newly created creatures with their Munch-like screams of human consciousness locked inside. The plot is great. It’s full of the unpredictable. There are good lines. If you have missed it, watch the re-run or rent the set from Netflix when it arrives.


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