Humans is over but it’s not game over: Channel 4’s biggest-ever drama will be back for a second series next year.
So what can we expect from another visit to the parallel-present world? With my head still spinning from the finale, here’s my synth-filled wish list (try saying that with a mouthful of chestnuts) for series two.
Spoiler alert – one of the characters may be a robot.
Rise of the machines
The final episode ended with forthright synth Niska (Emily Berrington, above) on a train with a code capable of unleashing thousands of conscious synths on the world – but will she use it? Could the Earth cope with an influx of confused and suddenly emotional robots, unstable, potentially dangerous and in every home? Would the government have to step in? How would the new synths interact with any remaining non-conscious synths? All this and more could be brilliantly explored next year.
Series two could focus on Niska’s tricky decision to release the code or not, and the consequences if she does. Leading in to…
Earth for humans
The anger felt by humans towards synths edging them out of work echoed real-life fears about the perceived threat posed by both machines and immigrants in modern society. In the second series, it’d be great to spend more time with anti-synth activists and pro-synth sympathisers (or synthpasisers, natch) – who would surely have more fire in their bellies once synths started to feel. Could we see a civil war between man and machine?
I married an automaton
One man who might be getting over his own dislike for “dollies” is Neil Maskell’s DI Drummond, who walked off into the sunset with surprise synth Karen (Ruth Bradley) in the finale. How could this relationship develop? We’ve seen familial bonds between humans and synths before, but what about romantic ties? Spike Jonze’s Her has shown how interesting a relationship between man and machine can be.
Ghost in the machine
To my mind, Humans was at its best when Gemma Chan’s Mia/Anita was being all mysterious in the Hawkins household, and the second series could use a whole new dose of creepy. What’s needed is more synths with secrets – and fewer “wait, is that human actually a synth?” shocks (that idea’s played out by now).
Freddie to rumble
This week’s episode left “big brother” synth Fred (Sope Dirisu) in a bad spot, doomed to serve a man he hates – Danny Webb’s Professor Hobb – and without his family. We’ve already seen one synth succumb to the dark side because of her interactions with humans in Niska – could Fred go down the same route? Maybe next series will see him forced to track down his adoptive family (namely Colin Morgan, Gemma Chan and Ivanno Jeremiah) for the still-at-large Hobb, and growing increasingly bitter at his predicament. Perhaps he could even become the series’ first proper synth baddie…
Speaking of, it’d be great to get a properly malevolent mechanical villain next time, after toying with the idea for Niska’s storyline this year, as well as with Nurse Ratched-style synth Vera (Rebecca Front). If an awful lot of synths get consciousness, it stands to reason some of them could be nasty sorts – just like humans.
New synths on the block
One of the most affecting storylines this series was between George (William Hurt) and his synth Odi (Will Tudor), and they’ll certainly be missed in the second series. Hopefully we’ll get some new blood (whether it’s red or blue) next time round – fresh humans and synths with stories as complex as those of the established cast.
Or why not ignore everything I’ve said so far and hope for something much more ambitious – a complete refresh, in the vein of Fargo or True Detective. The writers could start Humans 2.0 with Niska having already released the code and made synths conscious, and then introduce new characters in the parallel-present world dealing with the aftermath.
After all, it does feel like most of the characters got pretty decent closure – the Hawkins family (above) in particular strike me as characters that might struggle to find a purpose in a follow-up, and might be better left with their series one ending and replaced with new humans with all the latest concerns.
Sadly, I can’t actually predict the future, except in one respect: we probably won’t have our own sexy household robots by the time the second series comes round next year.