It appears that the viewership batteries powering AMC’s cybernetic sci-fi drama Humans will sustain the show for a second season. It was announced that the summer freshman series, a production partnership with Channel 4 in the U.K., has been officially renewed on the back of some impressive Sunday numbers, at least for a show that isn’t The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones.
The announced renewal of Humans for another 8-episode run seems to indicate that AMC is reinforcing its current mandate of buttressing its primetime lineup with more fantastical genre shows. Averaging 2 million weekly viewers, Humans seems to have found an audience with its more subtle science fiction motifs. This idea is also coupled with the accessibility of the show’s drama relating to the way the traditional roles of its human characters are usurped in the workplace and in the home by the depicted artificial helpers.
Based on a Swedish series called Real Humans, AMC/Channel 4’s Humans takes place in a not-too-distant future London in which anthropomorphic automatons, or “synths,” have not only become the app of all apps, but are used as servants designed to mindlessly carry through mundane household chores. Though the show features a relatively large ensemble cast that includes the veteran film actor William Hurt, the plot mostly centers around a sketchy synth named “Anita” (Gemma Chang), whose sporadic instances of emotion-fueled acts vexes her new owners in the Hawkins family. However, it turns out that Anita is far from factory-fresh and her issues stem back to a rather fascinating, cognizant past that’s connected to a warrant-evading programmer, Leo Elster (Colin Morgan).
As the show has progressed, the Hawkins family have become increasingly divided over the presence of the extremely pleasant-looking appliance, who becomes a mother figure to their young daughter, an endearing/creepy crush for their young son, and a technological fixation for their aspiring hacker teenage daughter. However, Laura (Katherine Parkinson), the working woman of the house, continues to finds herself usurped in just about every conceivable role in her family in what seems to be a quickly escalating predicament. It’s a theme that’s mirrored with other characters like that of the police detective Pete Drummond (Neil Maskell), who also finds himself dealing with being replaced as a husband by a hunky household synth.
Consequently, Humans takes shape as a more muted, allegorical, implications-heavy take on the same kind of artificial intelligence issues as films like Blade Runner or A.I. have done in the past. While the show seems to be basing its mythology on slowly-dealt conspiratorial secrets, deeper questions about the nature of life seem to be its inspiration. Thus, the very human backlash from an increasingly dehumanizing technology is the predominant theme.
With the zombie-eviscerating carnage of The Walking Dead being AMC’s monumental, spin-off-inspiring centerpiece, Humans has proven to be a more aesthetically-bearable and poetic drama that tackles unthinkable issues in its own unique way. The show should be in good genre company, since it will be joined in the current lineup by genre-friendly fare like spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, the martial arts-infused Into the Badlands and the demonic comic book adaptation series Preacher.
Humans can be seen on AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST.