Better Than Us
- TV Series
A family on the brink of splitting up become the owners of a cutting-edge robot being sought by a corporation, homicide investigators and terrorists.A family on the brink of splitting up become the owners of a cutting-edge robot being sought by a corporation, homicide investigators and terrorists.A family on the brink of splitting up become the owners of a cutting-edge robot being sought by a corporation, homicide investigators and terrorists.
OK, so the second thing I want to say is, as someone who watches a ton of shows that are marketed to small children: this is such a grown ups' show.
By this I mean a few things. I wouldn't say this was slow paced, certainly not like Tarkovsky, but they are definitely not rushing here. This was not made for the mile a minute media consumers (like me); this story unfolds with an elegant dignity as problems quietly smolder into much bigger problems.
Each notable character is developed with due care and attention until I felt I could have met any of them but they were never tedious people. If there is one element of the story line that was lacking it was Georgy and that girl he liked but I could still take it seriously.
There is no obvious interpretation of what it is trying to say philosophically. Maybe there is no message but just a nihilistic narrative which I can totally respect. Watching, I must say that their vision of a not-quite-so-distant future seems strangely feasible. There are tons of details in the technology and design both the gadgetry and in the media that so feel like they could be where we're headed and the tone is neither dystopian nor utoptian but just candid speculation.
There is a pervasive, yet not preachy, feeling of a world gradually giving itself over to simulacra to make up for losing touch with itself in which the synthesized human contact strives (with varying degrees of success) to be "human". You know the tropes: machine does a bunch of machine stuff, the machine tries tries to imitate people, the machine fails in some ways but in some ways is "the most human among us". Dare I say: better than...I forget where I was going with this...
I know it sounds a bit familiar but the handling is fresh and restrained and never feels smug about the ideas it's playing with. It's following a trend in science-fiction of the past decade in that its depiction of Artificial Intelligence is not the Wall-E/Short Circuit kind in which a sentient toaster basically becomes a way for us to represent the alienation we ourselves feel (did I mention I'm kind of pretentious?). Rather than the robot being an expression of technophilia, it has evolved to be a simulacrum of the human. Not unlike Her or Ex Machina.
On that note, Arisa is amazing. They convey her robotness entirely through acting (the way she talks and moves) and one can so buy that this is a desperate attempt to simulate a human convincingly but just can't make it. I must male a note of the actor's name and put in another draft of this review to give proper praise, not that the rest of the cast isn't superb to including the little girl who is just...as adorable as a bunny cuddling with a kitten.
Arisa is a fascinating character for the way she hovers between feeling like a person and an object; where she exists to follow codefiable rules but that ironically allows her to fulfil certain human virtues like loyalty and honesty much better than...well, me for one.
It's as much Asimovianess as anyone could ask for.
The tone in the series is pretty serious when we aren't having fun with Arisa or Sonya (the little girl) but they manage to be impacting without being austere and some of the sheer bizarity of what we see keeps it all very interesting for the most part.
I will confess that after about episode 12 I was about ready to see things resolve. The show doesn't loose any quality in its writing but I cannot stress enough that this is not a casual watch. It demands patience and an attention span.
Overall I am impressed with this and encourage any fan of science-fiction to give it a try and even if you'r into into science fiction, the essence of this show is a story of a family members struggling to hold their own is a complex world.
If you're wondering how good the dub is: I don't know! Ha ha ha! Worship me!
I eagerly await season 2.
- May 13, 2021