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Chris Fry Produces a New Kind of Being in Humans


LR-HUMANS1On an early summer evening, British-based producer Chris Fry can relax, because, as he put it, “We’ve completed our transmissions.” Indeed, the first season of his show Humans has ended its initial run with eight produced and aired episodes. Plus, “We’ve got a second series commissioned with AMC,” he noted.

Though production on new episodes is still a ways off, Fry noted, “I’m sitting with the writers on Mondays and Tuesdays. Sam [Vincent] and John [Brackley] are a writing partnership who adapted Real Humans. They wrote five of the eight.” Fry is speaking of the Swedish TV series written by Lars Lundström which was created by Matador Films in Sweden. Again, Vincent and Brackley will write five for the second season, and Fry will bring in two other writers to round out the episodes. “I can’t wait to get started again,” Fry revealed. “We’ve got so many new good ideas to take the series further. We are going to shoot in April.”

Humans _ Season 1, Episdoe 1 - Photo Credit: Des Willie/Kudos/AMC/C4
Humans (Photo by Des Willie/Kudos/AMC/C4)
Given its U.K. headquarters, Fry explained how it is harder to turn a series around as quickly as it might be in the U.S., even an eight-part serial such as Humans. “We don’t do writing rooms,” he explained. “We will shoot Apr 16 through August 16 to be aired in the beginning of June in the U.K. and late June in the U.S.”

After an operative in the U.K. saw Real Humans at a festival, a bidding war ensued over the rights. Executive producers Lundström and Henrik Wilder decided to take it to Kudos Film and Television in England who brought in Vincent and Brackley. “They would bring the right level of character and action and plots to the series,” said Fry. “They liked it and are sci-fi fans as well. Channel 4 [in the UK] green lit it, and AMC [in North America] became our partners are well.’

Of course, summer is not the most obvious time to launch a TV series in the U.S., much less one originating in England, so Fry was metered in his expectations. “When I knew that it was going to be aired in June, you do have some concern,” he expressed. “Are people going to be watching it? Channel 4 got some of the biggest figures — number of people watching. Overnight consolidated figure was 6.1 million, the biggest figure that it had for a drama launch in 23 years when there were only four channels. People will watch something good.”

Sope Dirisu as Fred - Humans _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Ed Miller/Kudos/AMC/C4
(Photo by Ed Miller/Kudos/AMC/C4)
With Humans set in a parallel present world, the show posits how artificially intelligent beings, called “synths,” would interact with people in the here and now. The synths have mysterious and possibly unethical origins. “I just love things that are original and different and not the normal procedural and drama,” Fry stated. “I like things a little bit edgy, bold and ambitious. I loved that it is a human story – emotional, but it’s got this edge of something else going on in the world. It’s set entirely now. We want you to buy in to the fact that this technology is around the corner.

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