Viewers in the US may not be too clued up on the TV series Humans, as it initially made its debut on the British Channel 4. However, this science fiction series is well worth watching. It focuses on artificial intelligence and robots, exploring how the world would be if there were robots resembling humans called Synths. There are three seasons of this show to binge watch, and it was originally a partnership between Channel 4 and Xbox Entertainment Studios.

Interestingly, the robot actors were sent to ‘synth school’, where they learned to move without using physical human gestures. They would have to remove any tics they would usually make use of when acting, and one actor said it was a relief to head home and take a break after days like this on set. The budget for this series was $15.3 million.


The basic premise for Humans is that there is a parallel present day society which sees Synths as the latest gadget for busy families. These human-like robots are available to help out with day to day tasks. The series begins with the Hawkins family deciding to purchase a Synth called Anita. However, they begin to become suspicious of her, and Laura’s feelings of being threatened escalate. While Anita does perform a number of good actions, the family takes her for testing when they receive reports of her acting strangely.

When a news story breaks about a Killer Synth, public anxiety begins to spiral. The Synths become hunted, and as they develop consciousness, they take refuge and go into hiding. When they take refuge at the Hawkins household, disastrous consequences result – but then the Hawkins realise they have feelings for the family of Synths, becoming determined to assist them.

Cast and characters

  • Manpreet Bachu – Harun Khan
  • Emily Berrington – Niska
  • Ruth Bradley – Karen Voss
  • Lucy Carless – Mattie Hawkins
  • Gemma Chan – Anita/Mia
  • Pixie Davis – Sophie Hawkins
  • Jack Derges – Simon
  • Sope Dirisu – Fred
  • Rebecca Front – Vera
  • Tom Goodman-Hill – Joe Hawkins
  • Jill Halfpenny – Jill Drummond
  • Ivanno Jeremiah – Max
  • Neil Maskell – Peter Drummond
  • Colin Morgan – Leo Elster
  • Katherine Parkinson – Laura Hawkins
  • Theo Stevenson – Toby Hawkins
  • Will Tudor – Odi
  • Danny Webb – Edwin Hobb
  • William Hurt – George Millican
  • Marshall Allman – Milo Khoury
  • Sonya Cassidy – Hester
  • Carrie-Anne Moss – Athena Morrow
  • Billy Jenkins – Seraph Sam
  • Holly Earl – Agnes
  • Ukweli Roach – Anatole
  • Mark Bonnar – Neil Sommer
  • Dino Fetscher – Stanley
  • Phil Dunster – Tristan
  • Ellen Thomas – Lindsey Kiwanuka
  • Jonathan Aris – Robert
  • Stephen Boxer – David Elster
  • Spencer Norways – Young Leo Elster
  • Letitia Wright – Renie
  • Bella Dayne – Astrid
  • Ritu Arya – Flash
  • Sam Palladio – Ed
  • Akie Kotabe – Ji Dae-Sun

Episodes and reception

Humans has been nominated for a number of awards, and won four times. The name appeared at the British Screenwriters’ Awards, Royal Television Society: Craft and Design Awards, BAFTAs, Broadcast Awards, Broadcasting Press Guild Awards, National Television Awards, Royal Television Society: Programme Awards, Satellite Awards, South Bank Sky Arts Awards and Televisual Bulldog Awards.

There are 24 episodes of this series in total, as each of the three seasons comprises eight episodes each. The first two seasons aired in 2015 and 2016 respectively, while the third one aired in 2018. When the series was cancelled, it was reported that the co-creators Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley were gutted that there wouldn’t be a fourth instalment of episodes. However, fans can check out similar shows like Doctor Who and Bates Motel.

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