Humans-Series 1 (2015)

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Released 30-Sep-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Featurette-Multiple
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 374
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up ?
Region Coding 4 Directed By Lewis Arnold
Samuel Donovan
China Moo-Young
Daniel Nettheim
Studio
Distributor
AMC
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This television series from the UK is set in a parallel present where synthetic humans, known as "synths" have been invented and mass produced. They provide services that humans don't want to do such as cleaning, housekeeping, being companions, massage therapists, sex workers, road workers, call centre operators and more. This means that opportunities for young people are reduced with only the most brilliant being able to easily find jobs. The 8 episode story focuses on a few different groups of people, whose lives are impacted in different ways by the synths. The main story line follows a family where the mother, Laura (Katherine Parkinson) is a successful lawyer and the main bread winner of the family. Her husband, Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) is also working, however, takes on the majority of the house and family work whilst his wife is away on various cases. They have three children, older teenager Matilda (Lucy Careless) who is a bit of a technology wizard, younger teenage son, Toby (Theo Stevenson) who is going through puberty and young daughter, Sophie (Pixie Davies). They have resisted the urge to get a synth to help around the house mostly due to Laura's resistance to the idea and how it would impact on her won perceived role as mother and wife. However, while Laura is on one of her trips, Joe, decides to go and buy a synth. He comes home with the very attractive Anita (Gemma Chan) who is immediately able to turn the house around, providing freshly cooked meals, cleaning, companionship for Sophie and something to ogle for Toby. Once Laura arrives home, however, things are not as rosy especially as Laura starts to wonder whether Anita is as simple as synths are meant to be. They are designed not to have emotions or free thought, however, there seems to be more to Anita than Laura or the rest of the family expect. What is Anita's secret and can the family unit cope with the pressure, especially considering the strain already in their relationships?

    Other groups in the story include one of the original inventors of the synths, Dr George Millican (William Hurt) who has a synth called Odi. Odi is getting old but Dr Millican refuses to swap him for a newer one despite his glitches. This is because Odi remembers George's wife who has passed away. As George is getting old the local community workers are trying to make him take a new health synth who will make sure he stays healthy. Another group is led by a shadowy government agent, Hobb (Danny Webb) who are investigating synths. Also, coming into the story are DS Peter Drummond and DI Karen Voss who investigate synth crime. Drummond's wife has been in an accident and now has a synth who massages her and helps around the house, which makes Drummond jealous.

    Lovers of thoughtful and thought provoking sci-fi should definitely take a look at this excellent series which combines some great sci-fi ideas with a believable family drama. This brings out the potential impacts of scientific discovery and invention on society and the family unit which makes for interesting viewing. In addition there is significant thriller and mystery material here which adds another whole dimension to the story. The cast are universally excellent and it is great to see William Hurt in a British television series. Gemma Chan and others also do a great job acting as not-quite-humans. This show was a joint production by the UKs Channel 4 and the AMC network from the US and is based on a Swedish television series called Äkta människor. There are many twists and turns in the story which keep the viewers interest and I am certainly looking forward to a second season. The show consists of 8 x 45 minutes episodes spread across 3 discs.

    Highly Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture was reasonably sharp throughout.The shadow detail was good.

    The colour was very good however there was some chroma noise at times.

    There was also some grain at times.

    There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read.

    There are no obvious layer changes during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good for television shows.

    This disc contains a English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus an Audio Descriptive track in Dolby Digital 2.0.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to hear and understand. The music used added to the show and sounded good.

    The surround speakers were used for music and some directional effects along with atmospherics.

    The subwoofer supported the music and added rumble to thunder and cars.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A decent set of featurettes and interviews. There is some crossover between them and they lack a little substance.

Menu

    The menu included music and motion.

Character Profiles (1:24, 1:36, 2:01, 1:35, 1:44, 1:24 & 1:47)

    The various actors talking about their characters. Includes Anita, George, Joe, Laura, Leo, Niska & Pete.

Greetings From the Set (1:18)

    On set interviews on last day of shooting.

The Making of Humans (6:31)

    Short but covers themes, the story, artificial intelligence, casting, the show it is based on, preparation and the look of the show.

Series Overview (4:08)

    The writers discuss themes, story, impacts on families, the characters and more. OK.

Being a Synth (3:39)

    Featurette on the design and look of the synths, their grace and economy of movement.

Family Matters (3:53)

    Featurette focusing on the family at the centre of the story.

Cast Interviews (18:05)

    Writers, Directors, producer and cast talk about what they would get a synth to do for them, whether they would own one or not, the impacts of technology and what the series is about. Not bad.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This show is available in the UK in the same format and also on Blu-ray.

Summary

    An excellent science fiction television show.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are fairly plentiful but lack substance.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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