Real Humans premiered on Swedish television in 2012 and has since aired its two seasons on 50 networks in 50 countries, including France and Germany. Can viewers assume that this world-wide enjoyment of the sci-fi drama is a good reason to screen a third season?
An alternative version of the show aired on British television in 2015. This anglicized version of the critically acclaimed Swedish show has left the series creator Lars Lundstrom, disappointed. He has stated that the decision to remake the original doesn’t make sense to him, especially when it comes to British viewers, as he believes that they would respond well to the Swedish drama. Scandinavian dramas have proven to be a success for British audiences in the past, including The Bridge and The Killing and most recently, the Icelandic drama Trapped.
Lundstrom believes that since the UK market also enjoy Doctor who and Utopia, they would enjoy more Sci-Fi dramas set in the near future, or an alternative present.
Subtitles may not have put off British viewers, but Americans don’t have the literacy level of the first country, which is perhaps why the projected ratings for the screening of #RH on American soil were poor. Australian audiences didn’t seem to have a problem either.
#RealHumans follows two households who have employed the realistic robots, called ‘hubots’ (human robots) as servants. What sets RH aside from other artificial intelligence themed shows from the past is that it is possible to sleep with the ‘hubots’. Lundstrom reportedly took years to mull over the concept of robots that were employed as servants, but with which sexual relations were also possible. “I was fascinated by what would that do to human relations. Would it mess them up or help them?” Both scenarios have been played out in the first two seasons of the show.
Sleeping with the servants is not a new concept, in many cultures it was considered the head of the household’s right to sleep with the servants, this also extended to slaves. Having humans sleep with robots is a way that this phenomenon can be considered from a distance, but it also takes issues of class and race right out of the question, not to mention human agency and free will. What remains is guiltless fantasy where dominance and subservience can be played out or flipped on its head. The French maid fantasy exists for a reason.
In #RealHumans, the ‘hubots’ so closely resemble real humans that it is easy, at first glance, to mistake one for a living being. This likeness brings with it a human need to bond with the ‘hubots’ serving in their households and as happens between humans, it is difficult to keep sexual relationships purely sexual, even among the artificial, and relationships form.
This aspect of the series is a take on the robot genre that had yet to be explored, most robot Sci-Fi’s feature robots turning against humans, in #RH they are a threat that needs to be conquered.
Unfortunately, at this stage there is little rumor of a third season. The second season aired just months after the first ended, but apparently the
Until now, the ‘hubots’ have all been played by young actors, blessed with unwrinkled skin, but for how many seasons could these same actors retain their roles? It is only human to age after all.
What would you like to see happen in a possible third season of RH? The introduction of more ‘hubots’? Robots that pose a threat to the family?