A star rating of 4 out of 5.

For those patiently waiting for the second season of Severance to return to Apple TV+, the latest sci-fi series heading to the streaming service will certainly help bridge the gap.


Based on The Dark Manual by Colin O'Sullivan, Sunny is a hilariously weird but wonderful sci-fi outing in a similar vein to the award-winning corporate sci-fi thriller, proving another excellent addition to their roster of compelling mysteries.

Created by Katie Robbins and directed by Lucy Tcherniak, Sunny follows the newly-widowed Suzie (Rashida Jones) as her life is turned upside down following the disappearance of her husband, Masa (Hidetoshi Nishijima) and their son in a mysterious plane crash.

Suddenly she’s gifted Sunny (Joanna Sotomura), a cute bobble-headed domestic robot known as a “HomeBot”, made by tech company ImaTech – which is soon revealed to be where her husband worked in secret.

At first, Suzie cannot stand the robot, but she soon learns that there are memories of Masa hidden inside her, helping her to process her grief. As they work together to uncover the dark truth of her family’s disappearance, they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous plot over the advanced android.

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Set in a semi-futuristic modern-day Japan, we’re quickly introduced to the potential threat of these robots in a shocking and blood-soaked cold opening. Straight from the get go, Robbins has us questioning the ethics of robotics and AI, feeling incredibly timely. "If robots were killing people, we’d know about it" an ImaTech employee states. And yet, one of the earlier mysteries centres around the suspicious death of Councillor Ito by his very own robot.

As the 10 episode sci-fi thriller unravels, there are plenty of captivating reveals, shock cliffhangers and crazy cold openings peppered throughout, as the pieces of the puzzle begin to take shape. Just who are the creepy ImaTech corporation and the mysterious division five? Who created the dark manual code and the wolf logo? What does four circle five mean? Why are shady figures watching and following Suzie and Sunny’s every move? Robbins crafts a hugely suspenseful tale with a gripping captivating mystery, paired with a sharp and witty script full of dark comedy.

Ranging between 30-40 minutes, the episodes unravel with punchy pacing and impressive emotional beats. Robbins deftly balances the more dramatic moments, delving into the impacts of grief, loneliness and loss, with the brilliant and highly amusing dynamics of Suzie, Sunny and Masa’s mother-in-law, Noriko (Judy Ongg).

While episodes 8 and 9 are undoubtedly the standouts, with an absolutely bonkers but brilliant gameshow in the latter, certain grounded reveals in the earlier episodes feel somewhat disappointingly stereotypical.

Parks and Recreation star Jones absolutely shines as the grieving but razor sharp Suzie, bringing fantastic comedic timing and a hilarious witty delivery to the leading role. The shifting dynamic between Suzie and Sunny is a joy to watch, from bickering to buddy cop, with Sotomura bringing a real warmth and humour to the android (“Are you insane?” “Says the woman ripping up her own home” is a rather amusing rapport between the two).

But it’s Judy Ongg who threatens to steal the show as the spirited mother-in-law Noriko, especially in one particular laugh-out-loud sequence as she comments to a shop worker: "I’d keep an eye on me if I were you!" before proceeding to blatantly steal from the convenience store. She also shares a wonderfully sweet relationship with Sunny, often calling Suzie just to talk to the android.

Drive My Car star Hidetoshi Nishijima is another standout as the deeply emotional robotic creator Masa, channelling a quiet determination through his childhood trauma and loneliness. While he primarily appears fleetingly throughout flashbacks and dreams in the first half of the series, there’s much more of a shift to his perspective in the latter half, and it’s here where the emotional beats really pack a punch.

Sunny is another fantastic Apple TV+ entry, with great production values and world building, courtesy of production designer Shinsuke Kojima, Masaharu Maeda’s art direction and set decoration from Yutaka Motegi. The outstanding creative team have crafted an intriguing semi futuristic world complete with brand new tech including homebots, in-ear translation tech and hologram-esque phones. Also, Sunny is one of the most expressive and well realised robots we’ve seen on screen yet, with her giant eyes and emotive expressions joining the ranks of WALL-E and Baymax.

Overall, Sunny is a hugely captivating series from Apple TV and A24 which will keep you guessing throughout. Part sci-fi, part corporate mystery, part dark comedy and much more besides, this gripping watch has a big ‘ole beating heart at its centre – and it’s all the better for it. Think Severance crossed with a darker (and swearier!) Big Hero 6. Let’s just hope that the streaming service greenlights a second season sharpish, as the climactic third act isn’t quite as resolved as one would hope.

Sunny will premiere globally with the first two episodes on 10th July on Apple TV+.


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