As we head into Series 2 of Humans, the cast of characters is gradually expanding: among the new additions are Carrie-Anne Moss as Dr Athena Morrow (described as “an eminent AI scientist working on a slightly different AI angle”), Marshall Allman’s Milo Khoury (“A young Silicon Valley billionaire who is also very, very interested in this technology, who hires her to work on a secret project”), Sam Palladio as Ed, “a struggling café owner trying to breathe life into his family business”, plus Sonya Cassidy and Letitia Wright.
While some characters won’t be back, we are at least reassured by series co-creator Sam Vincent that the Hawkins family will be back. “There was no question of ever not finding a way to bring the Hawkins back, because they ground the story, they humanise the story; they’re the way into the story,” he enthuses. “They’re wonderful characters and actors, but that was one of the challenges: to bring them back in a way that was organic and real, and tied them back into the synth characters.”
While other characters struggle with the bigger questions of consciousness and AI, Katherine Parkinson (who plays Laura, the mother of the family) tells us that Series 2 sees the Hawkins family going through some much more grounded issues after we’ve addressed the slight weirdness of interviewing her and Tom Goodman-Hill (Joe Hawkins) in their dressing gowns. “When you’re in costume in pyjamas it tends to make you a bit sleepy – it’s a strange thing!” she laughs. “They’ve moved house, Joe gets made redundant, but in other ways Laura’s in a slightly better place, because I think she got some resolution last series, and they’re going to couples therapy.”
“Their counsellor is a synth!” Goodman-Hill tells us. “Which they initially hate the idea of, and then find out that she’s rather good at her job!” We saw most synths in more functional roles in the first series, but Series 2 shows us that they are becoming more integrated into society. “You start to see new synths who have a completely different mindset,” explains Goodman-Hill. “And you see them working in different environments and starting to impinge on areas of human labour and work that they hadn’t before. They are now beginning to be capable of taking over other roles in society that we haven’t seen before.”
Humans: Series 2 will air on Channel 4 from Sunday 30 December 2016. For all the latest TV news, pick up the new issue of SciFiNow.