If you’ve seen the terrific British sci-fi thriller series Humans, you owe it to yourself to watch the original Swedish version on which it’s based: Real Humans.
I binge-watched the Real Humans (Äkta människor) DVDs a couple years ago and liked it so much, I hoped the series would make it to a streaming service in the US one day.
That day arrived on February 1, 2018, when Hulu premiered the first season.
The series is set in a parallel universe where AI in the form of humanoid robots called hubots is nearly ubiquitous in Sweden. Programmed to be obedient, they work in warehouses, serve as housekeepers, and act as companions to the elderly, and hubots that have been hacked and modified can be bought as sex workers.
Attorney Inger Engman (Pia Halvorsen, Valkyrien, Fjällbacka Murders) has reservations about hubots, so the family has been hubot-free. The household grows by one, though, when her husband, Hans (Johan Paulsen, Jordskott, Beck), receives a used model as a freebie for buying a new and expensive home care nurse model for Inger’s elderly father, Lennart (Sten Elfström, Wallander). For his part, Lennart doesn’t want Vera (Anki Larsson, Inspector Winter); he’d rather keep Odi (Alexander Stocks, Arne Dahl), the hubot friend he’s had for years, even though Odi is on the fritz.
While the Engmans treat Anita (Lisette Pagler, Viva Hate, Gåsmamman) as a member of the family, their anti-hubot neighbor, Roger (Leif Andrée, Annika Bengtzon, Nobel’s Last Will), doesn’t want hubots in his home, at his warehouse job, or anywhere in Sweden. So when his wife, Therese (Camilla Larsson, Beck), gets and keeps a hubot trainer despite Roger’s protests, things come to blows.
Meanwhile, a small group of “free” hubots — hubots that have developed consciousness, emotions, and free will — goes into hiding after one of them is captured. Leo (Andreas Wilson, Kennedy’s Brain), the leader of the renegade hubots, goes in search of the abducted Mimi while sentient hubot Niska (Eva Rose, Marie Wern) takes decisive action to keep their whereabouts a secret. However, this results in Bea (Marie Robertson, The Sandhamn Murders) and her colleague at E-HURB, the hubot crime task force, launching a double-homicide investigation.
Back in the city, a radical member of the anti-hubot activist group called Real Humans is plotting an attack, a government agent is conducting an investigation into the hubots, Anita is growing on the Engmans in more ways than familial, and Roger gets involved with a new woman while his now-separated wife takes her hubot relationship to another level.
And as Flash (Josephine Alhanko, Irene Huss) and the other fugitive hubots exhibit more of their human-like natures while waiting for Leo to return, it is revealed that certain individuals are actually hubots or a human-hubot hybrid in disguise…
Dark and disturbing, the binge-worthy, ten-episode first season features Natalie Minnevik (Arne Dahl), Måns Nathanaelson (Beck), Peter Viitanen (Veni Vidi Vici), Thomas W. Gabrielsson (The Protectors), Johannes Kuhnke (Black Widows), André Sjöberg (Johan Falk), and Ellen Jelinek (Modus).
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