While “Humans” Do Well, No New “Real Humans” – Ahrvid Engholm (Sweden)


    In an interview in the daily Aftonbladet1, Lars Lundström, script writer to the SVT (Swedish Television) robot series “Real Humans” (Äkta människor), says he’s given up hope for a third season. Meanwhile, the Channel 4 and AMC English version, named “Humans“, has just begun, to good ratings and reviews.

    SVT didn’t want to be involved anymore,” Lundström said. “And we couldn’t work it out with the French co-producers on the scale needed. So we had to kill it, unfortunately.”

    He says he has ideas for a third season and there have been thoughts about doing a movie, but it would be difficult to find the financial backing. The English version could use his season three ideas if they want to, but:

    They are not dragging the story in that direction. Several story threads are woven together and when they change a little it’s difficult to return to the track we had. Their script writers decide in which direction the story goes.”

     Humans Series Trailer 2015 – New TV Series 2015

    “Humans” hit the air in June. Viewership is said to be record high for a Channel 4 drama (3.5 million), their “biggest drama hit in 20 years” according to The Guardian.2 And reviews seem favourable, on Deadline Hollywood for instance:

    Very anxiety-provoking and plugged in and ultimately very good.”3

    Maybe a innovative pre-show campaign helped, with “seriously creepy” advertisments for the “synths” (robots) as if they existed already.4

    Lundström doesn’t say it,  but the reason why Swedish TV dropped a third season for “Real Humans” may be that they put their money into another success instead, “Jordskott” (already mentioned on Europa SF). It has also sold abroad and was recently awarded the BANFF Rookie Award for best serial drama in Canada. ***** And SVT is considering a second season of it.

    If robots aren’t to your satisfaction, mythological creatures in the woods can always replace them.

    ©Ahrvid Engholm

    Humans” (styled as HUM∀NS) is a British science fiction television series, debuted in June 2015 on Channel 4 and AMC. Written by the British team Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, based on the award-winning Swedish science fiction drama “Real Humans”, the series explores the emotional impact of the blurring of the lines between humans and machines. The series is produced jointly by AMC, Channel 4 and Kudos. The series will consist of eight episodes.

    The first episode of the series was made available in the UK on Channel 4 on 14 June 2015 and will premiere in the United States and Canada on AMC on 28 June 2015.

    Set in suburban London, the story takes place in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a Synth (a synthetic) – a highly developed, artificially intelligent servant eerily similar to its living counterpart.

    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.

    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 cyborgs 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.”

    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.”,  “a bit dystopian and Black Mirror-esque.”

    The actors (Colin Morgan, Gemma Chan, Katherine Parkins, Tom Goodman-Hill, William Hurt, Will Tudor, Rebecca Front, Neil Maskell, Danny Webb) have been praised for their performances, but some have said the story is “conceptually … old hat” and “wasn’t breaking any new ground philosophically.

    “Humans” is produced by Kudos in association with Matador Films (“Real Humans”).  Sam Donovan (“Utopia”) is the director; executive producers are Jane Featherstone (“Broadchurch,” “Utopia,” “The Hour”) and Derek Wax (“The Hour,” “Occupation,” “Lip Service”) for Kudos, with Chris Fry (“The Smoke”) producing for Kudos and Henrik Widman and Lars Lundström for Matador Films. The series was commissioned for Channel 4 by Piers Wenger, Beth Willis and Simon Maxwell, and Kristin Jones and Joel Stillerman for AMC.







    Ahrvid Engholm

    Ahrvid Engholm is a swedish author, editor, journalist and SF fan.


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