If you saw the trailer for the new FX-Hulu series Devs and thought, “This is like an extended version of a Black Mirror episode, but with creepy Ron Swanson,” then you’re basically on the right track. Created, written, and directed by Alex Garland, Devs — an FX series that premieres on Hulu March 5 — is a miniseries that follows computer engineer Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno), who believes her employer Amaya has something to do with the disappearance of her boyfriend and co-worker, Sergei (Karl Glusman).
The tech thriller also stars Nick Offerman as Forest, the company’s CEO; Alison Pill as Katie, a physicist and Forest's right-hand woman; Jin Ha as Jamie, a cyber security specialist and Lily’s ex; Stephen McKinley Henderson as Stewart, one of Amaya’s top employees; and Cailee Spaeny, as Lyndon, a junior Amaya employee.
Devs comes to us at a pivotal point in history. While people have lost trust in tech giants that turned out having far more access to our personal information than we knew, it’s the same companies that give us products we’ve come to depend on. When our lives seem to be dictated by algorithms, computers, and data, how much free will do we really have? At the end of the day, Devs is a show that makes viewers think critically about their existence and how much control they actually have over it. Sound heavy? Let’s break Devs down a little more.
What Is Devs Really About?
In Devs, Lily embarks on her mission after her boyfriend Sergei dies from a suspicious suicide. Tracing back his steps, she sees everything he’d been working on ties back to Amaya and Forest. The deeper Lily looks, the more she discovers that Amaya isn’t just a tech company — it’s a dangerous corporation that could negatively impact the planet.
Devs is ultimately a show about cause and effect and what “free will” means, which is a pretty big theme in Garland’s previous work (Ex Machina, Annihilation). “[The idea of Devs] started with two things. One was getting my head around this principle of determinism, which basically says everything that happens in the world is based on cause and effect," Garland told IndieWire. "That has all kinds of implications of us: It takes away free will. And if you had a computer powerful enough, you could predict the future and understand the past."
If you like Westworld, about an amusement park androids that gain sentience and declare war against their human overlords, then Devs is a logical next step.
What Is Amaya, Exactly?
Amaya is an enigmatic tech company based in Silicon Valley. Garland has said that Amaya is a center that builds quantum computers and holds a super powerful computer system.
Amaya HQ is isolated from the city, and surrounded by trees. Its technology and its employees are basically detached from nearby civilization, and whatever Amaya holds is incredibly important, and as such, the security around it is, in a word, intense.
One thing is for sure: If you were already suspicious of AI and data-gathering tech, Devs will make you want to unplug from your screens for awhile.