NEW YORK (Reuters) - Attractive, efficient robots relieve people of the menial tasks of everyday life but problems arise when the androids threaten to surpass their creators in “Humans,” a new sci-fi TV series that explores the fascination and fear about technology.
The eight-part drama, which premieres on Sunday on AMC, is a co-production between the U.S. cable network behind the hit series “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad”, and Britain’s Channel 4.
When it debuted in England this month it drew an audience of 4 million viewers, the channel’s biggest original drama hit in over two decades.
“Humans” is not the first show or film to deal with artificial intelligence and robots overtaking humans. But actor William Hurt, who plays scientist Dr. George Millican, said audiences can relate to it because it is not set in a future dystopia.
“The people who are experiencing this in their lives are really like us, here and now,” Hurt, 65, in an interview.
Based on a Swedish TV series, “Humans” takes place in a parallel present in London where highly developed, artificially intelligent servants known as “synths” work in homes and business.
With four interweaving plot lines, it depicts the impact of the latest technology as a suburban family adapts to its robot, detectives investigate synth-related crimes and a scientist tries to track down renegade androids who can feel emotions.
“What this project does is it moves the future into our living room and asks questions in a blunt and organic way about what our visceral reactions would be, which is the best way to entertain your imagination of what this whole issue is about,” said Hurt.
His character helped to create the synths and regards his outdated model as sort of a son and the keeper of his memories of his dead wife.
British actress Katherine Parkinson, as lawyer Laura Hawkins, is unhappy when her husband buys a synth and feels unhinged when she suspects it shows emotions. Her young daughter is enchanted with it and her teenage son tries to grope the gorgeous robot while it is recharging.
“She feels threatened on all counts,” said Parkinson. “She is cautious and thoughtful about it and fears it will mess with her children’s heads.”
A review in trade magazine Variety said “Humans” addresses technology worries but added it “plays less like a blaring alarm about that modern revolution than a series of taps on the snooze button.”
Editing by Jill Serjeant and W Simon