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How WESTWORLD Helped AMC’s HUMANS

How WESTWORLD Helped AMC’s HUMANS

There has always been healthy competition in the television industry. Actors are competing with other actors for roles and awards. Studios are competing with other studios to make more money and get more publicity. Networks are competing with other networks to get better ratings. Hey, even websites that write about television shows *cough yes, even Nerdist, cough* are competing with other outlets to get more page views. It’s a dog eat dog world in entertainment. But that’s why it’s even more special when two seemingly-opposing forces unite for the greater good. In the case of AMC’s sci-fi series Humansit actually benefitted from rival sci-fi series Westworld‘s success even though both of the shows were essentially telling the same story about A.I. robots achieving consciousness.

Although Humans came first, the widespread critical and ratings success of Westworld helped bring Humans back into the pop culture conversation because of how it raised the same kind of philosophical questions about technology and humanity.

“I think from our point of view it’s only a good thing,” Humans writer Jonathan Brackley said at the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour. “If people are interested in the issues that we’re all talking about then that’s great. If people watch Westworld, they’re probably going to watch our show and vice versa. There’s room for both.”

When it comes to those far-reaching, existential questions about where artificial intelligence fits in with humanity, the writers never want to give the answers away or make any statements in the show.

“It was always our intention to show this world as realistically as possible, as least what we thought would be the potential possibilities of this world,” Brackley said. “We didn’t want to make a judgment either way. We’ve always wanted the audience to decide, to think about the issues and decide for themselves. Our ideal situation would be a couple sitting at home discussing what they’ve seen. It promotes discussion.”

AMC

Humans is about a time when Humanoid Synthetics have become an inextricable part of society, obediently serving and protecting the human population. The series questions what happens when these Synths are given the right to consciousness and their own free will. Season two picks up several months after the events of the season one finale, with Niska (Emily Berrington) still at large and in possession of the consciousness code. Her Synth family, Mia (Gemma Chan), Leo (Colin Morgan), and Max (Ivanno Jeremiah), unaware of her location, are each trying to find their place in the world, while Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) and Laura (Katherine Parkinson) attempt to mend their marriage. And as unconfirmed reports of Synths behaving inexplicably surface, the ripple effects of one simple yet seismic decision sees the past return dramatically and surprisingly to the door of the Hawkins house. Joe, Laura and the entire family are faced with a difficult choice that will put the family under an intense spotlight. Premiering next month, season two will feature a few new faces in the cast like Carrie-Ann Moss. Writer Sam Vincent revealed that Moss is playing “a classic A.I. genius.”

“I think she’s quite protective of her heart,” Moss said of her character’s guarded personality. “Throughout the world of our show you get to see why she is the way that she is. I found playing the role and really thinking about this idea of having synthetic, I’m the kind of person who when I use Siri I thank her after. I don’t think I would be someone who would want that but I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently. It’s really happening [now in the real world with everyone on smartphones].”

Another new face joining the cast is Nashville‘s Sam Palladio.

“Ed is a human first and foremost who has never really dealt with synths,” Palladio said. “Ed is a very young guy struggling to make ends meet. He’s a bit of an everyman, a reflection of a young struggling chap trying to keep work afloat, his ailing mother and has a lot on his shoulders and needs help. He meets Anita and that relationship starts to develop in a very interesting way when we reveal that things are not quite as they seem.”

Palladio credits the luck of scheduling that allowed him to join Humans this season as well as continue to play his fan-favorite role on Nashville as it moved networks from ABC to CMT.

“Shooting this fell naturally between season 4 of Nashville and CMT picking us up for season five,” Palladio said. “I felt lucky to be able to do both.”

What are you most excited to see from Humans season two? Tweet me your thoughts at @SydneyBucksbaum!

Images: AMC

Humans season two premieres February 13 at 10 p.m. on AMC.

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