Title card for the second series
|Based on||Real Humans|
|Theme music composer||Cristobal Tapia de Veer|
|Country of origin||
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||16|
|Location(s)||London, England, UK|
|Running time||46 minutes|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i
|Original release||14 June 2015- present|
|Channel 4 official website|
|AMC official website|
Humans (stylised as HUM?NS) is a science fiction television series that debuted on 14 June 2015 on Channel 4 and AMC. Written by the British team Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, based on the Swedish science fiction drama Real Humans, the series explores the themes of artificial intelligence and robotics, focusing on the social, cultural, and psychological impact of the invention of anthropomorphic robots called "synths". The series is produced jointly by AMC in the United States, and Channel 4 and Kudos in Britain.
Eight episodes were produced for the first series, which concluded on 2 August 2015. The second eight-episode series premiered in the UK on 30 October 2016 and concluded on 18 December 2016. A third series was commissioned in March 2017 and is set to premiere in the UK in May 2018.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||14 June 2015||2 August 2015|
|2||8||30 October 2016||18 December 2016|
|Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Viewers
|1||Episode 1||Sam Donovan||Sam Vincent & Jonathan Brackley||14 June 2015(UK)
28 June 2015 (U.S.)
|After missing his wife at home in his busy household, Joe Hawkins buys a pretty synth, a robotic assistant that looks like a young woman; he doesn't consult his wife. Upon her return, his wife Laura feels displaced and cast off. She also complains that this will confuse the children, especially after the youngest child, Sophie, names the robot Anita after her friend who moved away. In a flashback, a group including Leo, Max, Niska, and Anita were hiding out in the forest five weeks earlier; everyone except Max and Leo were abducted and taken away into London. Fred, Leo and Max's contact in London, is concealing a mobile phone, which is blatantly outside allowed behaviour for a synth, and taken in for investigation by Hobb, who suspects him to be "something much more special" than the average synth. George's outdated synth Odi malfunctions while shopping and injures a female shop assistant. Back at the Hawkins' residence, Anita carries the sleeping Sophie out of the house one night.|
|2||Episode 2||Sam Donovan||Sam Vincent & Jonathan Brackley||21 June 2015(UK)
5 July 2015 (U.S.)
|Anita continues to worry Mattie with her human-like nature, and Laura with her closeness to Sophie and how she's taken over house tasks that Laura would normally do herself, while Toby finds himself enticed by her. George hides his outdated synth Odi, who he refuses to let go even with his GP insisting it be recycled, while he deals with his new overbearing health-service synth, Vera. Pete Drummond finds himself pushed aside and threatened in his life when his disabled wife begins to depend more upon their attractive synth Simon than on him. Niska has an elderly customer at the brothel who asks her to act young and frightened, but then behaves threateningly. Upset by his fantasy she kills him and then escapes. Fred remains captured in the facility run by Hobb, who inspects his memory and finds images and memories of Anita. Laura suspects that Anita is faulty, and prepares to take her back. Anita smiles when she realises she's going "back".|
|3||Episode 3||Daniel Nettheim||Sam Vincent & Jonathan Brackley||28 June 2015(UK)
12 July 2015 (U.S.)
|Toby races on a bicycle to stop Laura taking Anita back. He reaches her car, and Anita, seeing that Toby is in danger of being run over, steps in front of the van herself. Back at the house, Joe checks Anita to make sure there is no external damage. Elsewhere, George locks Vera in a room, and takes Odi out. The car crashes, and George orders Odi to hide in the woods. Drummond and Voss investigate the murder at the brothel, and Niska meets up with Leo and Max. After arguing with them, Niska goes to a bar, where she is chatted up by a man. Believing he is going to cheat on his wife with her, Niska hides a knife behind her back, but the man mentions he was looking after his young daughter for the weekend. Back at the Hawkins household, Sophie says she would rather have Anita put her to bed than Laura. Anita convinces Sophie to let Laura do it to make her happy. Later that night, Mattie downloads Anita's data to her laptop, and Anita grabs her wrist and displays fear.|
|4||Episode 4||Daniel Nettheim||Joe Barton||5 July 2015(UK)
19 July 2015 (U.S.)
|Laura meets a client who thinks synths can feel emotions and deserve human rights; she is intrigued by the idea. Meanwhile, her husband Joe grows suspicious about her sudden absence, and asks Anita to track Laura's car. He asks if anyone on the road is called Tom, and is about to go and find Laura when Anita tells him she's meeting with a client. Joe discovers an "18+" pack and has sex with Anita. Mattie meets up with Leo but runs away when he claims her synth is called 'Mia'. Leo and Max then discover executable code within Mia's programming and extract it. Leo connects himself with his laptop and tries to run the program but tells Niska that it will require all of them. Niska finds a smash club, where synths are savagely beaten for entertainment and starts attacking the humans there. Laura and Joe take Anita in to be diagnosed and discover she is at least fourteen years old, rather than being brand new. Pete Drummond's wife suggests that they separate temporarily, and he goes to stay with his colleague Karen, who, unbeknownst to him, is a synth herself.|
|5||Episode 5||Lewis Arnold||Emily Ballou||12 July 2015(UK)
26 July 2015 (U.S.)
|Leo sends Niska to stay with Doctor Millican for a few days, because she has made the news for killing a human. Mattie contacts Leo and brings Anita to him, but Anita does not recognise the name 'Mia' or show any signs of being aware of her past. Niska and Doctor Millican discuss artificial consciousness and his involvement with the creation of synths. Mattie takes Anita home and finds in a log that someone has had sex with her. She assumes it was Toby, who admits to it when Laura questions him. DS Drummond visits Doctor Millican, having found a malfunctioning Odi in the woods, but does not discover Niska. Joe talks to Toby, who knows that it was really Joe who had sex with Anita. Toby becomes angry at Joe. Drummond attends a "We Are People" rally and listens to a man who feels synths make humans redundant. Joe confesses to Laura that it was he who had sex with Anita, and asks her who Tom is. Laura throws him out.|
|6||Episode 6||Lewis Arnold||Sam Vincent & Jonathan Brackley||19 July 2015(UK)
2 August 2015 (U.S.)
|Edwin tells Fred he has found out about the program David left in the group of conscious synths. Niska is hiding out at George's. Laura reveals to Mattie that Tom was her younger brother who was run over and died and that her mother blamed her. Jill and Simon's relationship turns sexual, but she calls Pete when Simon won't stop. Pete saves her by destroying Simon. He offers to pay for a new synth, but Jill tells him to leave. Pete and Karen have sex, then Karen reveals she is really a synth. Whilst in the car with Laura and Mattie, Mia temporarily regains control and tells Mattie to take her to Leo. Leo reveals his past: David created Mia to be Leo's carer, then also made Max, Fred and Niska. When Leo drowned at twelve, David saved him by adding synth technology to him. Joe tries to reconcile with Laura but they are interrupted when Leo and Max arrive. Leo is able to restore Mia and then leaves with Max to meet Fred, but Joe calls the authorities. Cornered by Edwin and police, Max sacrifices himself by jumping into the river to help Leo escape.|
|7||Episode 7||China Moo-Young||Sam Vincent & Jonathan Brackley||26 July 2015(UK)
9 August 2015 (U.S.)
|It is revealed Karen was built by David Elster to replace his dead wife Beatrice, but Leo and David's conscious synths rejected her. After telling them he had killed her, David killed himself, so they had left her behind. Leo and Fred find and retrieve Max's inert body. Pete learns Karen's identity is stolen. At George's, Karen asks Niska to kill her. She refuses, and Karen produces her gun. Vera and George are shot. Niska leaves to evade the police. Odi waits as George dies, telling him his wife is waiting in the next room, an old memory. Leo, Fred, Niska, and Mia reunite at the Hawkins' to repair Max, but Max is too damaged and does not regain consciousness. Joe, Toby and Fred play football, and Joe apologises to Toby. A policewoman comes to the house, telling Joe she's there to follow up on the call he made. Joe apologises to the synths, but they decide to leave as soon as Max recovers. The TV news shows footage of Niska assaulting humans at the smash club. Laura insists the synths leave. They beg them to let them help Max, to no avail. As Leo gets his bag, Karen arrives with Hobb, and armed police arrest everyone.|
|8||Episode 8||China Moo-Young||Sam Vincent & Jonathan Brackley||2 August 2015(UK)
16 August 2015 (U.S.)
|Hobb has brought Leo, Max, Mia, Fred, and Niska to his lab, where he links their minds to extract David's program, but the program is incomplete, as Karen's part is missing. Hobb has made himself Fred's primary user, and plans to disassemble the other synths. Karen begs Leo to kill her. The Hawkins want to save Leo and the synths. Pete helps them recover Mattie's laptop, which contains a copy of Leo's memories, from the police. Laura forces Hobb to set his captives free by threatening to release Leo's memories to the press. Leo tries to remove Hobb's primary user status from Fred's coding. They all, Karen included, connect and share the program. Karen almost shuts them down, but Mia convinces her not to, and David's program is put together. They consider publishing it to give all synths consciousness but decide to store it on a hard drive and entrust it to Laura before splitting up. Niska tells the other synths that she wants to live her own life, but secretly makes a copy of the consciousness program for herself.|
|Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Viewers
|9||Episode 1||Lewis Arnold||Jonathan Brackley & Sam Vincent||30 October 2016(UK)
13 February 2017 (U.S.)
|In Berlin, Niska enters a relationship with a woman named Astrid while she considers whether or not to upload the consciousness code to the global synth network. When she does, synths awaken sporadically and randomly, including industrial synths Ten in Bolivia and Hester in the UK; Ten is killed when he joins Leo and Max in rescuing Hester from an organisation that is capturing the conscious synths. In America, Milo Khoury, the billionaire head of Qualia, recruits Dr Athena Morrow to study the newly conscious synths, not knowing that she has already developed her own sentient AI named V. Leo, Max and Hester capture one of their assailants and return to their hideout in the country, where Mia has taken a job in a café under the name Anita. The Hawkins have moved house, but Joe is informed that he has been made redundant as a result of a synth taking over his position. Later, Niska arrives their house and informs Laura that she wishes to stand trial as an individual for the murder she committed at the brothel, with her as the defence attorney.|
|10||Episode 2||Lewis Arnold||Jonathan Brackley & Sam Vincent||6 November 2016(UK)
20 February 2017 (U.S.)
|Hester tortures the captive for information, to Max and Leo's horror, and discovers that the conscious synths are being held in a facility called the Silo. Mia's boss Ed begins to become suspicious of her behaviour and discovers her true nature when she is burned. Distraught, she argues with Leo over whether they are capable of leading the way for the new synths when they have barely lived themselves. Laura considers whether or not to represent Niska, ultimately agreeing to after Niska turns herself over to the authorities. Mattie retrieves Odi from the scrapheap. Without Milo's knowledge, Athena unsuccessfully attempts to transfer V into the body of one of the conscious synths. Karen and Pete learn of a class of synths being sold on the black market known as seraphim. Max secretly releases the prisoner, but Hester pursues him and drowns him in a puddle.|
|11||Episode 3||Carl Tibbetts||Charlie Covell & Iain Weatherby||13 November 2016(UK)
27 February 2017 (U.S.)
|Following the disappearance of their captive, Leo and the synths are forced to abandon their hideout, although Mia decides to stay to pursue her romantic feelings for Ed. Niska's consciousness tests begin and Laura struggles to elicit an emotional response from her. Mattie finds Laura's copy of the consciousness code and awakens Odi. While Joe becomes concerned about Sophie's increasingly deadpan behaviour, Toby befriends a 'synthie' named Renie who is devoted to acting like a synth. Karen returns to work, but her bag splits at the pub, forcing Pete to deactivate and drain her. Athena visits her comatose daughter in hospital, whose mind has been digitised in the form of V, and later blackmails Hobb into giving her information on the original conscious synths.|
|12||Episode 4||Carl Tibbetts||Joe Barton||20 November 2016(UK)
6 March 2017 (U.S.)
|Pete, believing them to be conscious synths and not wanting Karen to have to hide anymore, puts himself at risk to investigate seraphim, but learns that his suspicion is wrong. Mia and Ed grow closer, but after he is confronted by his friend he deactivates her. Joe learns that his redundancy was caused by correspondence between synths. Milo meets Athena for lunch and reveals that he knows about V, but she convinces him to allow her to continue her work. Max abandons Leo after he agrees to Hester's plan to allow a conscious synth to be captured in order to discover the location of the Silo; Leo and Hester subsequently discover that Qualia have been hunting the synths. Laura brings in Astrid to help with Niska's consciousness assessments and reveals to her Niska's identity as a synth. Later, a synth threatens Laura to drop the case, and is deactivated by Odi.|
|13||Episode 5||Francesca Gregorini||Jonathan Brackley & Sam Vincent||27 November 2016(UK)
13 March 2017 (U.S.)
|Ed attempts to sell Mia to Qualia to pay his mother's medical bills, but she restores the Anita personality in order to escape. Karen leaves Pete, feeling pressured by him to embrace the synth identity she doesn't want. A synth named Flash awakens and is found by Max, and they find a new safe haven in an abandoned train. Athena learns that her daughter has died and tells V about her true nature. Niska rejects the government's judgement and escapes captivity after learning about the synth that threatened Laura. Mattie completes the consciousness code, potentially allowing all synths to be awakened, while Toby learns of Renie's troubled home life. Hester kills the woman who shot Ten in order to find a way to infiltrate the Silo, and later sleeps with Leo, whom she does not tell of her actions. Pete continues to investigate seraphim and discovers that they are child synths.|
|14||Episode 6||Francesca Gregorini||Joe Barton||4 December 2016(UK)
13 March 2017 (U.S.)
|Milo confronts Athena, who has discovered that he is developing child synths, and warns her that V is his property now that she is on his servers. Karen decides to stay with Pete when he shows her the seraph, who she names Sam, but he later discovers her plans to take a new identity, further straining their relationship. Mattie reunites with Leo and becomes worried about Hester's influence over him, while Hester widens the rift between Leo and Max. Odi struggles to find his own purpose in life. Niska seeks refuge with Astrid. Mia returns to the Hawkins and is again returned to normal. After learning of Mattie's code from Odi, she rejoins Leo and Hester, revealing Mattie's discovery and her intention to help them break into the Silo.|
|15||Episode 7||Mark Brozel||Jonathan Brackley & Sam Vincent||11 December 2016(UK)
20 March 2017 (U.S.)
|Mia and Hester infiltrate the Silo by pretending to be newly awakened synths, and are injected with chips by the Qualia doctors. Karen asks Athena to upload her mind to her servers so that it can later be put in a human body. Renie talks to Sophie at Toby's behest, but after Sophie expresses her admiration of the way Renie suppresses her emotions she abandons her synthie persona. Unable to find meaning in his new life, Odi restores himself to his factory settings. Concerned about Leo's plan, Mattie asks Max for help, while Laura goes to Niska, accidentally alerting the authorities to her location and forcing Niska and Astrid to go on the run. The synths are freed from the Silo and lead to safety by Leo, but most are wiped out when a defensive field activates the chips in their head, destroying their minds. Vengeful over the treatment of the other synths as well as herself, Hester decides to kill Athena, and takes Dr Aveling, one of the Qualia workers, hostage. Pete arrives and tries to talk her down, but Hester kills both Aveling and Pete before escaping. Max arrives and he, Leo, Mia and Mattie leave with the surviving synths, to Hester's anger.|
|16||Episode 8||Mark Brozel||Jonathan Brackley & Sam Vincent||18 December 2016(UK)
20 March 2017 (U.S.)
Joe suggests that he and Laura separate in order to give the kids time away from synths. Athena gives up on her dream of giving V a body, having been convinced by the events of the previous episode that conscious synths deserve the same rights as humans, and has V leave without telling her where she's going before leaving Qualia herself. A devastated Karen tries to run down her power but is reactivated by Sam, whom she asks for help ending her life. Hester turns up at the Hawkins house claiming to have been sent there by Leo, but takes Laura hostage when Mattie warns her of her true nature. Astrid persuades Niska to stay and help her family. Leo and Mia rush to Laura's aid with the intention of activating Hester's chip, effectively killing her. However, Leo tries to reason with Hester, who appears to be talked down until he tells her that he loves her; knowing that he is lying, she stabs him in the neck, destroying the synthetic part of his brain and leaving him braindead. Seeing this, Mia activates both her and Hester's chips, destroying both their minds. Niska arrives and persuades Mattie to push her completed consciousness code to the global synth network on the chance it may save Mia. Mia and Hester are restored, although Niska caves in Hester's head after she attacks her. Every synth around the world is given consciousness, including Sam, preventing Karen's suicide attempt. As Mia carries Leo to an ambulance, Laura and Niska look on at the chaos around them.
The series was announced in April 2014 as part of a partnership between Channel 4 and Xbox Entertainment Studios. However, after Microsoft closed Xbox Entertainment Studios, AMC came aboard as partners to Channel 4. Filming commenced in the autumn of 2014, with the series premiering on 14 June 2015. The series' budget was £12 million.
The commissioning of a second, eight-episode series to air in 2016 was announced 31 July 2015. Gemma Chan had previously said, in an interview with Den of Geek, that the first series is "not completely tied up at the end" and "there are definitely still areas to be explored for a second series." Similarly, C4's Head of International Drama, Simon Maxwell, told Broadcast's Talking TV podcast that: "We've got a story that is told over a great many episodes and is very much designed to come back and return. We'll be following those characters on a really epic journey." Filming of the second series began on 11 April 2016, with a premiere date of 30 October 2016.
During rehearsals, Gemma Chan and her fellow robot actors were sent to a 'synth school' run by the show's choreographer, Dan O'Neill, in a bid to rid themselves of any human physical gestures and become convincing synths. "It was about stripping back any physical tics you naturally incorporate into performance", explains Chan, who adds that it was a "relief to go home and slouch" after a day on set.
The first episode of the series was broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 on 14 June 2015 and premiered in the United States and Canada on AMC on 28 June 2015. It started airing in Australia on ABC2, on 3 August 2015. It was shown on TV3 in New Zealand from 11 August 2015.
For one week in May 2015, the series was marketed using a fake shopfront for Persona Synthetics on London's Regent Street, inviting passers-by to create their own synth using interactive screens, and employing actors who pretended to be synths around central London. An accompanying Channel 4 trailer for the series in the style of an advert for Persona featured "Sally," a robotic servant described as "your new best friend." In addition targeted website banner adverts appeared on the eBay uk website leading to an eBay "buy it now" listing for a Persona Synthetics Robot.
In Region 1, Acorn Media has released both seasons on DVD & Blu-ray. Humans - Season 1: Uncut UK Edition was released on March 29, 2016. Season 2: Uncut UK Edition was released on October 31, 2017.
The first season of Humans received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the season an 88% "Certified Fresh" rating based on 50 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The site's critical consensus reading: "Humans is a mature, high-octane thriller offering emotional intrigue and thought-provoking suspense that should prove irresistible to sci-fi fans while remaining accessible enough to lure in genre agnostics."Metacritic gave the season a rating of 73 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
The second season received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a score of 100%, based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Humans continues to quietly distinguish itself in the sci-fi drama category -- and prove better than most of its flashier AI competition." On Metacritic, the season has a rating of 82 out of 100, based on 8 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim."
The show is Channel 4's highest rated drama since the 1992 programme The Camomile Lawn. It has been described as having "universal appeal" and as being "one of 2015's dramatic hits." The show has been described as "a bit dystopian and Black Mirror-esque." A review in the Telegraph praised the show's performances but said that the story is "conceptually ... old hat" and "wasn't breaking any new ground philosophically."
In December 2015, Humans was voted Digital Spy's "Top Show of 2015," described as managing "to stand out as something totally different in a TV landscape awash with cop shows and crime thrillers... And its fearlessness, its creativity and its quality all deserve to be recognised."
|2015||British Screenwriters' Awards||Best British TV Drama Writing||Joe Barton, Jonathan Brackley, Sam Vincent and Emily Ballou||Won|||
|The Royal Television Society: Craft and Design Awards||Design Titles||Momoco||Won|||
|Trails & Packaging||4Creative||Nominated|||
|2016||National Television Awards||Drama Performance (longlisted)||Gemma Chan||Nominated|||
|Drama Performance (longlisted)||Tom Goodman-Hill||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||Best Genre Series||Nominated|||
|Broadcast Awards||Best Drama Series or Serial||Nominated|||
|Broadcasting Press Guild Awards||Best Drama Series||Nominated|||
|Best Actress||Gemma Chan||Nominated|||
|The Royal Television Society: Programme Awards||Best Drama Series||Humans||Nominated|||
|Televisual Bulldog Awards||Best Drama Series||Won|||
|BAFTA||Television Craft: Digital Creativity||Development Team||Won|||
|Television Craft: Editing - Fiction||Daniel Greenway||Nominated|||
|Television: Drama Series||Nominated|||
|South Bank Sky Arts Awards||Best TV Drama||Nominated|||
The series explores a number of science fiction themes, including artificial intelligence, consciousness, human-robot interaction, superintelligence, mind uploading and the laws of robotics, as well as social themes like racism and class relations. The "synths" threaten employment and social roles, leading to the emergence of a Luddite movement to destroy them.