When I saw the first trailers for Devs, I was intrigued by the visuals alone before seeing that it was created by Alex Garland which immediately got me hyped to stream this show because FX makes you watch their shows on Hulu but it’s still FX(??)
Anyway, Alex Garland has made two of the best movies of the 2010’s: Ex Machina and Annihilation. There is no one better right now at creating tense, silent, thoughtful and horrific scenes than Garland. And on top of everything, Garland’s movies look absolutely amazing.
Here is the massive difference between his movies and Devs: his movies don’t require him to build characters for 8 episodes.
You can watch Annihilation without even learning any of those women’s names and it doesn’t affect the quality of the film at all. The events of Ex Machina take place like, in a 24-hour window. There is no character development and it doesn’t really matter.
Unfortunately, a TV show can’t rely so heavily on its ideas and visuals. They do not outweigh the fact that we have to sit and watch 8 straight hours of a one-dimensional main character who in one scene is smart enough to trick her coworkers and the security guard at Amaya by pretending to have an emotional breakdown and having her friend lie and say that she has a history of mental illness and then in every other scene she is the dumbest character in the room.
Lily is an engineer that works at a tech company called ‘Amaya’ named after the CEO’s, Forest, mega dead daughter. Lily’s boyfriend, Sergei, also works for Amaya and gets assigned to the top secret ‘devs’ department where he is then brutally murdered and blah blah I didn’t care.
Every character is an emotionless robotic weirdo which works in a 2-hour movie about an eccentric tech genius and his ACTUAL robot in Ex Machina but we’re asked to care about a murder mystery in which we see the murder and it’s not a mystery to the audience at all so it’s only a mystery to the characters and the characters are nothing but vessels for Garland’s heavy-handed dialogue about determinism.
There are some really interesting and unique ideas presented in Devs. Well, unique unless you’re watching Westworld on HBO every Sunday where a tech company creates a program that can predict human behavior just like in Devs when Forest creates a program that can predict human behavior. Oh no…
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the two most bland shows on TV right now are about boring emotionally vacant characters in a world where all of their actions are already pre-determined.
I don’t want to make this about politics but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in a Post-Trump world where people still can’t wrap their heads around how Hillary Clinton lost that there exists two shows that claim humans don’t have free will and everything that happens is out of our control and Russians are involved somehow.
You can also look at it from a perspective that we are all helpless to the whims of the powerful Silicon Valley tech lords that have all of the information and all of the money and we’re just ants trying to get by in our meaningless lives before we randomly die in meaningless ways.
And I’m totally okay with art drawing inspiration from life but man, it was impossible to give a shit about any of the characters in Devs.
If you haven’t watched this show yet, save yourself 4 hours and just go watch Ex Machina and Annihilation instead. Thank me later.