Another year, another attempt at sci-fi. This month, the hit Channel 4 programme Humans celebrates the launch of its second season. Although the whole robots coming to take over the planet idea has been regurgitated and reused constantly throughout the sci-fi corner of the media world, I’ve personally never seen it done in a way that makes me question by perception of science and technology (apart from I, Robot of course. We all love a generic Will Smith role).
Humans introduces an innovative spin on this genre, not yet seen on British TV. The programme follows the Hawkins family, who have fallen victim to the latest trendy gadget, the ‘Synth’ as they purchase Anita. The Synth is a highly developed robotic human who looks and sounds exactly like you and me. They are deeply intellectual beings who can provide you with statistic information on the weather, last night’s football results or how that Red Bull/Chocolate Cake combination you had for breakfast this morning isn’t going to do you any favours later today. Moreover, their incredible strength and agility exceeds that of any athlete today.
During the season, it is revealed that Anita has an internal malfunction, in that she has actually gained consciousness, and so have a few of her robo-friends. Alas, this is where the plotline becomes a little far-fetched, due to the fact that a synthetic robot gaining thoughts and feelings is like me getting a first in my degree (a girl can wish, right?). However, the improbability of the whole thing adds to the fictional elements of this bizarre, yet rather addictive show. With help from The Hawkins, Anita attempts to save herself and Synths like her from government and scientific officials who dislike this peculiar breed of robot.
Although the show may be slightly hit and miss, and, let’s be honest, Channel 4 aren’t known for their gripping dramas, Humans still provides some fantastical entertainment to my Sunday evenings.
Most of all, it has me thinking about the future of sci-fi in relation to the evolution of the human race. Will technology ever advance enough for robots be integrated in to our society? Will they take our jobs, as seen in the first episode of Season 2? Or does the fictional aspect of Sci-Fi completely surpass any scientific attempts? I have no Synth brain, and am unable to comprehend these kinds of questions, but the writers of Humans sure give it a good try.