I’ve pretty much not stopped thinking about Alex Garland’s Annihilation since it came out in early 2018. It’s got so many layers and is so cosmically disturbing that it pops up in my mind more often than I ever expected. The same was true for Garland’s previous film, Ex Machina, another trippy sci-fi thriller about existence and reality. So imagine my glee upon seeing a trailer for a TV show in that same vein, with similar visuals. Devs is the FX on Hulu show from Garland debuting in March and it looks crazy good. And just crazy.
Devs immediately has a similar visual vibe to Ex Machina; massive, sparse underground research facility beneath a quiet woodland area. Lots of yellows and oranges to break up the darkness. We also have Nick Offerman as a Christlike tech guru not unlike Oscar Isaac’s character in Ex Machina. But there’s something far more mysterious, and possibly otherwordly, going on too.
Sonoya Mizuno, who had small but pivotal roles in both Ex Machina and Annihilation, stars as Lily Chan, a woman who arrives at the mysterious Devs facility to figure out what happened to her boyfriend. Everybody seems pretty shifty, and nobody even really knows what Devs, like, does. Alison Pill then tells Lily, “This is the only principle you need to understand; Nothing ever happens without a reason. Everything is determined by something prior.” And later, Offerman says “Life is just something we watch unfold.”
The official synopsis doesn’t shed all that much light on it, either.
Devs is centered around Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno), a computer engineer investigating a quantum computing company called Amaya, run by Forest (Nick Offerman). She believes this company is responsible for the disappearance of her boyfriend.
It’s possible whatever happens at Amaya is so advanced that it can see the fate of everybody. The word “Amaya” is a fairly common Spanish name, but it has interesting origins. The word derives from the village of Amaya near Castile and Leon; in that context the word means “mother” or “mother city”. However, it also may stem from the Basque (French/Spanish hybrid language and people) word meaning “the end.” So maybe Forest sees the end of all things, and that room which Lily learns is “everything” shows people what they don’t want to see.
The fact that I’m already spinning my wheels of speculations is a great indicator that Devs will keep us talking for each of its eight episodes. Garland not only wrote all eight episodes, he directed them all as well. In the age of high-profile television shows, we should probably just consider this the next movie in Garland’s impressive catalog.
Devs premieres March 5 on “FX on Hulu,” a branding for the type of prestige show FX produces direct to Hulu. Disney owns both, after all. New episodes will drop every week, and we’ll be watching them. Will you?
Featured Image: FX/Hulu