Last Monday I was casually flipping through television channels in the evening. I was looking for any new tv series and any new movies which they might be showing on any channel. While doing so, my eyes got caught at the name ‘Devs’ which was to be telecast on Star World Premier channel from 10 p.m. here in India. Since I haven’t heard the name of this series earlier, I decided to watch it. And now after watching 6 episodes of the same, I can say I am bowled over. And I decided to share the same with you. Not doing so will be a shame.
The Chilling World Of ‘Devs’
When I say the chilling world of Devs, I exactly mean that, because that’s what I felt after watching six episodes of this brilliant television series created by the amazingly creative Director and Producer Alex Garland. If some of you are familiar with earlier works of Alex Garland, including Ex Machina and Annihilation, you will know what to expect. I have seen Ex Machina, but haven’t had a chance to watch Annihilation. But ‘Devs’ have heightened my respect for Alex Garland. He has created a truly masterpiece of a 7 hour long tv series, a superb science fiction tech thriller.
In the above image, you are seeing a tall statue of a child, rising over the forest, standing tall at 100 ft. In the serial, if you watch her eyes, you will have a cold chill run down your spines. The girl is watching over an entire office campus, a tech giant company called Amaya. Built in a remote forest in San Fransisco, in the Silicon Valley, this company was founded and run by Mr. Forest [played by Nick Offerman], the man who’s there in the picture above. The little girl called Amaya was his daughter whom he lost in a tragic car accident [the accident sequence is outright chilly], with his wife who was also in that car. He built this tech company Amaya [in his daughter’s name] in their memory, but with a secret chilling mission. To fulfill this mission, he and his team created a very powerful computer system, called ‘Devs’.
The Story, In Short, In Gist
Even though the main focal point of the story will always be the computer system ‘Devs’, but the humans around it played the main backbone of the story. The main story revolves around computer programmer Lily Chan [played by the brilliant Japanese actor Sonoya Mizuno], and her boyfriend, senior programmer Sergei [played by Karl Glusman]. Both of them are in the picture above. When Sergei mysteriously dies after going to work for Amaya and never returns home, and when Lily found out that he has committed suicide on his very first day of work at the tech company, she felt suspicious. She set out to find what actually happened to Sergei. And thus started a ride for us, viewers.
Since Lily worked in the same company, she uses the help of one of her colleagues to fish out the security footage of that fatal night when Sergei died. And to go through this footage, she takes the help of her ex boyfriend, Jamie [played by Jin Ha]. The footage clearly told them that Sergei was murdered. Because he found out about the secret of the ‘Devs’ project. And the CEO, Forest had him killed with the help of his security henchman Kenton [played by Jack Grenier]. In this endeavour, Forest was duly assisted by his assistant, head programmer Katie [played by the brilliant Alison Pill]. Katie also was the girlfriend and partner of the CEO.
This is only this much I will tell of the story to you. I will leave you to find out the rest by watching it. I am sure you can find the entire series on OTT platforms. Since, I never do reviews, I always share what I see and feel myself about the media which attracts me, I will go the same way in this one too.
Where This Serial ‘Devs’ Stands Out From The Rest ?
While many reviews have termed this thriller to be slow, very tight in a non expansive way, the entire story could have been elongated than just a 7 hour season, the lead actors not delivering to their potential and many such other opinions, I feel this is one hell of a brilliant tech thriller, a unique sci fi I have seen in many recent years. The story is set in our real world, not in a sci fi fantasy world of cars and trains flying in the cities, not in world of robots, humanoids and androids, not in space ships, galaxies, star worlds. It is set in the silicon valley in San Fransisco in real settings, some amazing shots and views of the bridge and the city skyline are there many times. Yet, the Amaya campus, the ‘Devs’ lab set in the forest seem to be a different world altogether. From outside a very non significant stone structure of a lab, once you go inside you will find a chilling, haunting sci tech world of floating lifts, cubicles, labs, with the amazingly cool ‘Devs’ machine fitted in the heart of it.
The parts played by each actor have been well knitted, and they effortlessly take you through the story line, in their emotions, in their sorrow, in their awe, in their mystery. The computer system developed by the Forest team is the most chilling of them all, as it can look into the past and future of our lives and events in the realms of quantum reality. Such a treading of science and tech has it’s dangers and challenges, as is evident that the CEO had to have his employee killed in order to protect the secret of his invention. But, even that story has a twist, that you will find out after watching it.
I will have to hand it to Alex Garland. It’s his show, and he has delivered a cool, classy, short 7 hour television series of sheer brilliance. This is not a fast paced run of the mill action flick. This one will make the viewers think, introspect and ponder about our lives, the cause and effects of various events happening every second in our lives, and how everything is part of a fixed pattern, everything is predetermined, nothing is random. And yet we still can’t get into that area where we can know our future through some computer program. We cannot play God. Because that comes with a price.
This is what Alex Garland said about his sci fi thriller.
The cast of this movie consists of known and lesser known faces, yet they mix and gel well, in a perfectly coordinated synchronization to make the show far more engrossing and chilling. Particularly standing out is Alison Pill as Katie, who gives a spine chilling performance as the lead programmer of Amaya, who seems to know everything, and yet playing the perfect partner in crime of Forest, the CEO and man behind ‘Devs’.
Alex Garland roped in Startled Insects, Ben Salisbury, Geoff Barrow, to create the haunting, eerie soundtrack of sheer brilliance for this series. You cannot avoid or ignore the same throughout the various scenes in the entire series. They complement every sequence so well. Not to be missed by any chance.
If you will ask me if I can give any rating to this television series, I will not hesitate for a second to say that I will give five stars to this one. And will highly recommend you all to watch it if you can. Alex Garland will make your binge watching interesting 🙂 Leaving you with some scenes from the same as below.
‘Devs’ is available on Fx Hulu, and I hope on other platforms as well. If you have already seen it or planning to, do let me know in the comments section below anything you might wanna share with me :). Till then, stay safe and healthy.