When her boyfriend Sergei (Karl Glusman) goes missing, computer engineer Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno) investigates the forward-thinking tech company they both work for, Amaya, founded by uber-rich CEO Forest (Nick Offerman).
Episodes viewed: 7
A gigantic, creepily hyper-realistic statue of a young girl stands at the centre of a tech corporation’s sprawling campus. In the company’s secret research lab, staff get transported around via a kind of hovercraft in the shape of a golden cube, held afloat by magnetic fields. The building is also guarded by dozens of gold obelisks, like glitzier, miniature versions of the black one in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Devs, the first adventure in TV drama from writer/director Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation), is full of this kind of beautiful, weird, frequently breathtaking imagery, the like of which we’d have only seen in big-budget fantasy movies just a few years back.
Garland’s plot is just as eye-catching. Karl Glusman plays Sergei, an employee at tech giant Amaya, named after the late daughter of its super-rich founder, Forest (Nick Offerman). Sergei is promoted to working in Amaya’s ultra-secret “Devs” lab, and when he finds out the nature of the project being developed there — something to do with quantum physics which we don’t really understand – his mind is almost literally blown. His girlfriend Lily (Sonoya Mizuno), who also works at Amaya, is left to investigate what happens to him.
The mystery that Lily obsessively explores runs parallel to the bigger question of what the hell is going on in that Devs lab, and both are handled in superbly assured style by Garland, who directs every episode.
Indeed, if you can forgive the cliché, Devs really is like an eight-hour Garland movie, in which his signature obsessions with advanced technology, artificial intelligence and human free will are very much to the fore. If you can fully embrace the deliberate oddness, it might also be the best series about freaky shit happening since The OA.