Are Androids Humanistic?

Humans is a British show about artificial intelligence, currently in its third season. This show has gone under the radar a bit. But it shouldn’t have. The plot is that the average suburban family in the future has a domestic android to help with the kids and the housecleaning. Chaos ensues, as people test the limits of the robots capabilities. Husbands and wives begin sleeping with the bots, behind each other’s backs. Sometimes they malfunction, and have to be put down. But the kids are attached to the bots, and shield them or the bots flee. A robot even commits suicide. There are also robot brothels.

Meanwhile, in a further experiment, other bots have gained higher consciousness. William Hurt makes an appearance as the former mad scientist’s buddy, who tries to shield one of the more advanced models from capture.


Many ethical questions ensue. If a robot is asked to kill another robot, will it kill them, or turn on the humans? Also what do robots want, to conquer humans, or to be human, and be adopted by a family? Are the robots influenced by abuse, to where they resent humanity? Are they responsible for their actions, or do they not know any better (when they malfunction)? How do robots feel about having been created simply as part of an experiment, rather than in some sort of divine creation?

This show answers all these questions, and more. After nearly completing the first season, it appears the show is saying the average person is so cruel and heartless, that the bots can teach us something about humanity. The show seems to imply that maybe humanity does not deserve to live.

Big Little Lies – A Monterey Thriller

Brand new HBO series Big Little Lies premiered tonight. No it’s not about CNN’s Fake News. The show, a naturalistic coastal version of a murder mystery, features big stars like Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. What peaks my interest is not that it has elements of a police procedural thriller, as many shows do, but rather the way in which it uses its setting in Monterey to it’s advantage. This series was shot in the area that John Steinbeck wrote about and lived in because it is so beautiful. Salvador Dali also lived there. His paintings featured the landscapes of the area. Big Little Lies has  some shots featuring gorgeous panoramic views of nature. The director of this film, John Mark Valee, did Dallas Buyers Club and Wild previously.

The sets are shadowy. The women are beach blondes. And there are more women stars than normal on this show. With any luck, odds are they will all be grabbing hair and ripping each others throats out by season’s end. Maybe things have changed to where the beach isn’t the fun buoyant place it used to be in the 80s and 90s. Some signs of liberal irony are present. The main characters’ little 6 year old kid is being accused of ‘bullying’ in the school. Personally, I live pretty close to Monterey. From experience I know that these towns really do have all these blondes. The retro furniture and upper middle class thing seem fitting. The lighting is perfect on this show to set the dreary mood. But I would say that the actual people who live on the coast are not melancholy like the characters on the show. Rather they are fairly merry even when complaining.

Not a whole lot was revealed on the premiere episode tonight. From upcoming trailers its is clear that families are in turmoil , and people will die ( possibly from love triangles) . If you are a fan of murder mysteries, or a fan of naturalistic directing styles I would recommend this very cinematic show. It has some of the best shots and lighting I have seen this year. Hopefully it will head down a darkened path as things unfold.

Westworld’s Sexbot Mayhem

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Sexbot fans unite! HBO’s “Westworld” is finally here! As a reboot of Michael Crichton’s classic but hideously dated 1973 film, it works pretty well, but it’s not without some problems. The music score lacks distinction, and eventually climaxes in a bad orchestral version of “Paint it Black.” Also, although the whole cast is good, Anthony Hopkins as the creator of Westworld and Ed Harris as the Man in Black are so good that they tend to blow everyone off the screen.

Now, on to the good stuff! There is lots of action. Evan Rachel Wood, one of the most beautiful actresses working today, is solid in the lead as an understandably confused android. The show moves quickly in the first episode and addresses some very interesting hot-button issues such as: What is our responsibility to robotic humanoids we create? Do they have real feelings? Do they feel pain? Is their apparent impending rebellion against humans justified? Do the vacationing humans enjoying the robots deserve to have the tables turned on them? If future episodes continue to address these issues, this could be a great show. The pilot is a solid watch but not a classic. Long live sexbots! –CoolAC