If you’re a fan of watching smart, rewarding, deep-thinking science fiction, then you’re probably a fan of Alex Garland’s. Originally an author, he initially came to fame as the writer of 90s bestseller The Beach, before moving into screenwriting with the script for 28 Days Later. More screenplays followed, including Sunshine, Never Let Me Go and Dredd — but it was his 2014 directorial debut Ex Machina that showed the extent of his filmmaking prowess. Annihilation proved a highly worthy addition to his resume in 2018, too, even after it was shuffled onto Netflix rather than screening in cinemas in much of the world.
Given his track record so far, any new project by Garland is cause for excitement. This year, direct your enthusiasm towards new series Devs. The writer/director has made the leap to television with a cast led by Nick Offerman, Ex Machina‘s Sonoya Mizuno, Love‘s Karl Glusman, American Horror Story‘s Alison Pill and Bad Times at the El Royale‘s Cailee Spaeny — and, as currently streaming on Foxtel Now in Australia, it’s a trippy ride into cerebral sci-fi territory. The eight-part show also radiates unease from its very first moments, all while sporting both a mood and a futuristic look that prove simultaneously unsettlingly and alluring.
The setting: Amaya, a US technology company that’s massive in size yet secretive in its focus, especially when it comes to its big quantum computing project. When Sergei (Glusman) is promoted to its coveted, extra clandestine Devs division, his girlfriend and fellow Amaya employee Lily (Mizuno) is thrilled for him. But when Sergei doesn’t come home from his first day, Lily starts looking for answers — including from the company’s guru-like leader Forest (a long-haired, very un-Ron Swanson-like Offerman).
As intriguing as it is involving — as both Ex Machina and Annihilation were, too — Devs is the kind of series with twists and turns that are best discovered by watching; however as each second passes by, the stranger and more sinister it all appears. Expect conspiracies, tech thrills and big questions, in a series that does what all the very best sci-fi stories do: tackle big existential questions and intimate everyday emotions in tandem, all while asking ‘what if?’.
Also a highlight is Devs‘ spectacular set design and overall look, with Garland bringing striking, dark yet vivid images to his first small-screen project. Giant woodland areas, floating cube-like workspaces glimmering in golden hues, shimmering fields, a towering statue of a small child — they’re all part of the show’s appearance, and its mysteries.
Check out the trailer below:
The first three episodes of Devs are available to stream on Foxtel Now, with new episodes added each Sunday.
Images: FX Networks.
Published on March 22, 2020 by
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