Sonoya Mizuno (Lily) in Devs.
There’s a lot to process in Devs, Alex Garland’s new miniseries for FX on Hulu. Garland has created, written, and directed all eight episodes in this series about a tech company’s lack of moral boundaries and the consequences of its growing power. I would be lying to you if I told you that Devs is a guilty pleasure.You should be called Garland for his writing and directing that fable about the ethical implications of artificial intelligence called Ex Machina and for the psychedelic adaptation he made of Jeff’s novel VanderMeer, Annihilation. In Devs, which opens this March 5, Garland resumes his role as a tech watcher and thought provoker. Young engineer Lily Chan lives in contemporary San Francisco and has suspicions about the tech company she works for, Amaya, after her boyfriend disappears. Her boyfriend had just been offered a job in a section of Amaya known as Devs. Garland’s regular collaborator Sonoya Mizuno (whom you may remember for that dance sequence with Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina) plays laconic Lily here. Devs also stars Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman as Amaya CEO Forest. He is the type of billionaire in the tech industry with a beard and flannel shirt, the not-exactly-next-gen gadget, who drives a ’90s Subaru Outback and who likes to eat the salad directly with his hands. In Devs, it’s not so much knowing what happened to Lily’s boyfriend Sergei (Karl Glusman), but finding out what exactly Devs is. “Even the Devs team doesn’t know what Devs is doing. At least not all of them,” explains Forest.Sonoya Mizuno, Nick Offerman.
Raymond Liu / FX
Devs is the kind of lofty series dealing with subjects such as the Fibonacci sequence, the recitation of poems by W. B. Yeats and Philip Larkin, and the musical impact of Johann Sebastian Bach and John Coltrane on the story. There are references to quantum computing, the illusion of the existence of free will or what it means for something to be real. You will even end up knowing that parallel universes are one of the many interpretations of quantum mechanics. “The universe is deterministic. It has no god and it is neutral. It is defined only by the laws of physics. The life we lead, with all its chaos Apparently, it’s actually on a train track. It’s predetermined. We only have the illusion of having free will, “says Forest in a quote that encapsulates this series in many ways. Devs will make you reflect on the impact of technology on our lives in the same way that series like Westworld or Black Mirror do. This miniseries also has a lot in common with Ex Machina.When the series ends, the mystery is solved and Garland answers as many questions as he can, without ever being dogmatic. And you will have refreshed your knowledge of many philosophical, physical, as well as literary and musical concepts.It is hard not to see the vertiginous, hyperconnected and technologically dependent world in which we live reflected in Devs, even though this series has a frustrating pace. slow. And even though the characters in this miniseries use technology in a much more contained way than we do. They have phones, laptops, and AirPods but they are not continually glued to their devices.Karl Glusman (Segei), Nick Offerman (Forest).
Raymond Liu / FX
Silicon Valley is represented in the series with extreme thoroughness. The Amaya facilities, on the outskirts of San Francisco, force to establish instinctive parallels with the Googles, Facebooks and Amazons of the world. The University of California at Santa Cruz and the surrounding redwood forest serve as the Amaya campus. The city has been captured with love for everything San Francisco. There are numerous shots from the air that show us the bay during twilight and fog covering the many hills of a city bordered by nature. Landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge; the curvy Lombard street; the imposing Salesforce tower; or the main artery, Market, are photographed at night to show them in all their splendor. Devs lets the viewer appreciate every idiosyncratic detail of this city. Even the apartment interiors for the characters in the series look perfectly authentic. Beyond its languor, one of my biggest complaints to Devs is that it’s practically lacking in all kinds of humor. There are hardly any jokes, jokes or simple sarcasm. A series dealing with topics as serious as this could have included the odd moment for laughter (or at least smile) to assist the viewer in their cathodic digestion. Devs has all the ingredients to rally a loyal group of followers, even though seeing it is not exactly easy. It is not necessarily the type of program you are going to want to put on after a long day. But I have already warned you that this is not a guilty pleasure, even understanding how to watch this series can be difficult. Maybe you’re wondering what this “FX on Hulu” is. Hulu is the new streaming service for FX. On Hulu you can find past and current FX series, as well as exclusive titles. Devs is one of these exclusives, a series produced by FX but only available to people with a Hulu subscription. The first two episodes of Devs are available on Hulu in the United States on March 5. The series premieres a new episode every week. In Spain Devs premieres on March 6 on HBO. You can read our interview with Alex Garland to talk about his work at Devs here.
7 things about filmmaker Alex Garland that maybe you didn’t know