Real Humans" (Äkta Människor) a Swedish drama/sci-fi series written by Lars Lundström, set in a parallel present day in which a new android race has joined the humans. They are called "hubots", a humanistic version of a robot, designed to aide in the day to day tedious chores that can sometimes swallow up us regular folk. Originally, the hubots would take on the simple role of servant, labourer or even a bit of company for the lonely. As the technology has become more advanced, the programming of the androids has also developed into something more complex. The hubots are now feeling, experiencing human emotions. They are becoming even more authentically human and the lines have begun blurring and boundaries are being crossed.
Instead of the hubots being treated as a basic robotic service provider, other forms of more intimate relationships have begun arising, with real humans finding an affinity with them. Some people welcome and embrace this new technology, while others are disturbed and anxious at the thought of real people being replaced by hubots as parents, lovers and friends.
In the pilot episode of the unusual new series, entitled Break In, Break Loose, we meet several characters of human and android-kind. Initially we are introduced to a rogue group of hubots who appear to be taking no prisoners when it comes to fighting for their freedom. Leo (Andreas Wilson) seems to be the leader of the pack, with his second in command, Niska (Eva Röse) close at hand. While making their way into the home of an anti-hubot activist, they lose another companion, Mimi (Lisette Pagler), to a couple of human criminals who capture hubots to resell on the black market.
Mimi is soon seen again, but not as she once was. Then comes Hans Engman (Johan Paulsen), a family man whose father-in-law Lennart's (Sten Elfström) hubot Odi (Alexander Stocks) malfunctions in the supermarket and they must acquire him a new one as soon as possible as he is an older man who lives on his own. At the hubot emporium they find a suitable elderly-specific variety of hubot to tend to Lennart's needs. However, the salesman suggests a sweetener to seal the deal. He offers Hans an additional hubot free of charge, which he gladly accepts. With Hans' wife Inger (Pia Halvorsen) shall we say, a little reluctant to have a hubot in her home, the newly programmed "Anita" is given a 2 week trial period. Lennart's hubot, Vera (Anki Larsson), is not quite to his taste, a rather pushy older woman who is unlikely to let him get away with anything. However, unwilling to part with his beloved Odi, he hides him in his basement and miraculously reboots him, much to his delight.
The final piece of the pie is Roger (Leif Andrée), who runs a warehouse that is being filled with more and more hubot workers. Roger is getting exceedingly fed up with them and is even less keen on them after his wife Therese (Camilla Larsson) begins a close relationship with their hubot Rick (Johannes Bah Kuhnke). After an incident involving Rick, Therese leaves Roger behind and takes her son Kevin (Fredrik Silbersky) and Rick with her.
The series is obviously quirky, but for some reason the Swedes do it very well. It's unusual, moving and the acting is solid. It is all done in Swedish but with English subtitles. So if you're not into subtitles then there's an issue. Personally, they don't bother me at all and you get used to it pretty quickly, so I would say don't let that put you off. After watching the initial episode, I definitely want to see more and see where this peculiar concept is taken. For years we have imagined this would one day be possible, the hover-cars and androids aren't moving in just yet, but this show makes you feel like it's a little bit more likely to happen sooner rather than later. If you're anything like me and a teensy bit irrationally irked by things of this nature, it might make you curl up under the blankets when you watch (as I did). Either way, it is certainly worth a look and I am intrigued, hanging out to watch the next installment.
You can catch it on SBS on Saturdays at 9.30pm (after Hunted), or if you miss it on the tele, you can view the episodes online through SBS On Demand. Each episode will be available to view for 7 days after airing.