The Hawkins family is a bit overrun with daily life. Mom Laura (Katherine Parkinson, The IT Crowd) is a busy attorney and spends much of her time away from home working on cases, while her husband Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) is trying to keep the family running smoothly, not an easy task with three kids running about. Teenage daughter Mattie (Lucy Carless) is brilliant, especially with computers, but she has become a rebellious renegade lately, while Toby (Theo Stevenson) is an average teenage boy. Youngest daughter Sophie (Pixie Davies) is the sweetness and light that tends to bring the family together, even when they'd prefer to quarrel. When Joe brings home a beautiful synth to help with the household duties while Laura is away for work, the trouble begins. The family names her Anita (Gemma Chan) and Sophie is immediately taken with her, while Toby lusts after her, and Mattie shuns her, since synths seems to be taking over all the human jobs. Laura goes nuts when she finds Anita there and is quite wary of this thing that has invaded her home and is doing her job as mother and woman of the house far better than she could ever hope to. Anita doesn't seem to be like normal synths and Laura can't help but think that something is "off" with her, but the rest of the family thinks Laura's a bit crazy, especially since the household is running so smoothly. Well, Laura is right about Anita being different.
Anita is actually a specially designed synth formerly named Mia, who was stolen along with her "sister and brother," Niska (Emily Berrington) and Fred (Sope Dirisu), while their group was on the run. Fred and Niska were placed into service, in a plant nursery and synth brothel, respectively, but still retained their memories. Meanwhile, unlike Fred and Niska, Anita/Mia hasn't made contact with Leo (Colin Morgan, The Fall: Series 2) and Max (Ivanno Jeremiah), her other brothers, so they fear she has been reformatted and is lost forever. The group is desperate to reunite and escape to someplace where they can simply be left alone, but a scientist named Hobb (Danny Webb) is hunting them all and will make this pretty difficult, but they will not give up the search for Mia.
Dr. George Millican (William Hurt) was one of the original scientists working on the synth project with David Elster, but having long-since left the project, he is now suffering from memory loss, presumably Alzheimer's or dementia. His wife passed away some years back and as his memory fades, the only way he can hold onto those wonderful memories is through his very old synth Odi (Will Tudor, Game of Thrones), for whom he cares deeply. Sadly, Odi's mechanisms are failing and following an incident at the grocery where he struck a bystander, Dr. Millican has been instructed to recycle Odi and take on a new synth named Vera, to care for him physically. Not one to give up on his only link to his past, Dr. Millican hides Odi in the woods, but becomes embroiled in a synth mystery when Leo and Max come to him for help.
DS Pete Drummond (Neil Maskell) and DI Karen Voss (Ruth Bradley) are cops who investigate synth-related crimes, so Drummond is pretty familiar with Dr. Millican and his Odi troubles. Pete is surrounded by synths in his job and when he goes home, he is faced with a handsome and well-built synth named Simon who is caring for his wife following a bad car accident. Pete can hardly contain his contempt for synths, which causes marital issues for him down the line and opens up the possibility of something more with Karen than being just partners at work, but she is hiding a deep, dark secret.
Amidst all of this is a strong undercurrent of societal hatred towards synths and a quickly-growing movement against them. From underground human vs. synth fights, to blatant mistreatment in the streets, the tide is turning against them, but will this new and rare group of synths change all of that or make things worse? The secrets contained within them threaten to change the course of history, and throughout the eight episodes, the Hawkins family, Dr. Millican, and Pete Drummond will certainly learn that there is more to them than meets the eye.
I've barely skimmed the surface of HUMANS: Season 1, but to reveal more would do viewers a disservice, as it is a thrilling mystery that must unfold on its own. The acting is sensational, the plotline thrilling, and the writing excellent. There are quite a few special features, including cast interviews, behind the scenes footage, featurettes on how the actors learned to behave like synths, and the various topics focused on in the series. The behind the scenes footage is fairly boring, but the others are worth watching and shed some interesting light on the show.
All in all, if you are a fan of sci-fi, you should watch HUMANS: Season 1. If, like me, you caught an episode on AMC while it was airing and just never got back to watching your DVR'd episodes, what you are getting here is the UK uncut version, so you'll have a bit more edgy content and, quite simply, a brilliant sci-fi show, but one with healthy servings of family drama and mystery. Highly recommended.