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story.lead_photo.caption Humans, Season 1

What is it? Humans, Season 1, eight episodes on three discs from Acorn Media

When? Now

How much? $39.99

That's an awfully vague title. Yes, it is. This British series, which airs on AMC, is about what it means to be human. Or not human. Or how non-humans can be kind of human and humans can be inhuman. That all sounds confusing, but there are some deep themes at play here.

In this alternate reality of our present, synthetic humans (called synths) are a regular part of life. They cook. They clean. They do all sorts of menial tasks humans don't want to do or don't have time to do. They look just like real people for the most part, though they are kind of stilted in their speech and movements. And, of course, they can't really think or feel.

Or can they?

Members of the loving but frazzled Hawkins family are starting to wonder.

Lawyer Laura's (Katherine Parkinson) job keeps her busy and frequently on the road, while her husband Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) finds himself at loose ends trying to keep the household going and his career afloat.

At his wits' end, he decides to buy a synth, whom they name Anita (Gemma Chan). Teen son Toby (Theo Stevenson) is accepting and little Sophie (Pixie Davies) is thrilled. But tech-savvy oldest daughter Mattie (Lucy Carless) isn't so sure, and Laura is downright furious and threatened by Anita's presence in her home.

Even beyond that, though, something seems slightly off.

And it is, because Anita is special. She and a handful of other synths were programmed with humanlike consciousness. Now, certain people in the government are trying to find them while their creator's son (Colin Morgan), is working hard to rescue them.

Naturally, the paths of the various people and synths eventually cross, and all have to face some pretty big questions and tackle their own demons and preconceived notions.

How is it? Eerie, but also thought-provoking, well-written and well-acted. Just what does it mean to be human? And what impact does technology ultimately have on our humanity and human relationships?

Far from simply an intellectual, philosophical exercise, it's also capable of stirring the emotions.

Extras? There are quite a few, composed primarily of interviews with cast and crew about characters and their thoughts on the meaning and purpose of the series. There's also a good bit of behind the scenes footage that may be interesting for fans of TV production, but is fairly dull otherwise.

New this week: The Affair, Season 2; Gotham, Season 2; Hell on Wheels, Season 5, Volume 1; Lou Grant, Season 2; Once Upon a Time, Season 5; The Vampire Diaries, Season 7.

Next week: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season 3; Castle, Season 8; Clean Break, Season 1; Doctor Who, Season 2 (Blu-ray); Elementary, Season 4; Endeavour, Season 3; Inspector Lewis, Season 8; Legends of Tomorrow, Season 1; Lucifer, Season 1; Narcos, Season 1; NCIS, Season 13; NYPD Blue, Season 10; Roots, miniseries; Scandal, Season 5; The Strain, Season 2; Superstore, Season 1; The Walking Dead, Season 6.

Style on 08/14/2016

Print Headline: AMC series Humans stirs emotions, prods the psyche

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