Author Topic: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show  (Read 9671 times)

surreal

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Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« on: March 11, 2020, 09:15:01 AM »
Finally got hold of this last night, first 2 episodes of a 7 episode mini-series.  Basic plot is around a programmer getting promoted into the top secret project his company are running, and from there it seems like it's going to be a hard sci-fi / espionage thriller.   

Very stylish with a great soundtrack.  Has a lot of Westworld / Ex Machina about it, definitely intriguing. 

Review here: https://www.vulture.com/2020/03/devs-review-alex-garland-hulu-series.html
« Last Edit: March 11, 2020, 11:51:36 AM by surreal »

Puce Moment

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2020, 02:57:56 PM »
Thanks for this surreal - going to give it a go right away.

surreal

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2020, 04:22:04 PM »
Cool - I think there will be some room for speculation on what is going on and what the secret project is actually doing.  I have some ideas but didn't want to post too much info for fear of either spoiling or inadvertently putting people off

kitsofan34

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2020, 05:18:07 PM »
Can’t you post them with a spoiler tag? I’d love to hear your theories.

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2020, 07:13:25 PM »
I saw the first episode, and it left me wanting to know more.

My theory on the secret project: Mathematical/scientific proof that we are living in a simulation, so actions don't really have consequences. Killing somebody doesn't matter if they weren't "real" in the first place.

surreal

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2020, 08:24:51 PM »
I saw the first episode, and it left me wanting to know more.

My theory on the secret project: Mathematical/scientific proof that we are living in a simulation, so actions don't really have consequences. Killing somebody doesn't matter if they weren't "real" in the first place.

Interesting - I thought something similar but as Forest said that we were living in a deterministic universe, that Sergei would always do what he had done, and they've found a way to calculate and "view" any point by extrapolating from where we are, hence "Christ".  Probably have something to do with his daughter too.  That huge statue is a bit too creepy.

Hoping they release the soundtrack, love it.

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2020, 10:31:27 PM »
Sorry, deleted my comment as it would be spoilery for people who haven't watched episode 2 yet.

Puce Moment

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2020, 01:49:50 PM »
[EP1 SPOILERS] Opening episode is very intruiging. I have to admit to not being much of a Garland fan - for me he just not seem to jive with my own tastes, although he comes very, very close. However, I was a huge fan of Annihilation and in some respects, this has a similar tone, albeit a completely different story.

I really like the way they have constructed a very believable and rational notion of the near future - no jetpacks or flying cars or robots doing everyone's bidding. It is much more restrained than that, which works well when contrasted with the Centre Parcs chic of Devs and its environs. I am only at the end of episode one but I can only assume that Sergei is dead by suffocation, dead by self-immolation, or he is fine and the CCTV footage is AI constructed.

In terms of what they are doing in there, I have little idea. I guess it has something to do with predicting the future, and possibly relates to this idea of determinism and the path of life being pre-ordained. Perhaps their research is about breaking out of that.

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2020, 08:02:19 PM »
First scene of episode 3, it is mentioned that one of the "rules" is only to look into the past - not the future. I'm guessing that's a rule that will be broken at some point.

Puce Moment

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2020, 12:14:00 PM »
My theory on the secret project: Mathematical/scientific proof that we are living in a simulation, so actions don't really have consequences. Killing somebody doesn't matter if they weren't "real" in the first place.

That was absolutely my first thought - I just felt that Sergei looking at the code was having an epiphany moment not so different to Neo, but I have come to doubt that.

Interesting - I thought something similar but as Forest said that we were living in a deterministic universe, that Sergei would always do what he had done, and they've found a way to calculate and "view" any point by extrapolating from where we are, hence "Christ".  Probably have something to do with his daughter too.  That huge statue is a bit too creepy.

I am finding that a difficult proposition, and the perspective on Christ was so close to a Rennaissance painting of the scene that I assumed it could not be even close to real. If that's the way they are going I am bound to find this a difficult watch in terms of credibility.

Quote
Hoping they release the soundtrack, love it.

That fella from Portishead with that other fella - they did the Ex Machina OST. I love it too - particularly the repeated use of that sound from the start of Heathen Child by Grinderman.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKznZUtKntg



surreal

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2020, 01:37:17 PM »
I am finding that a difficult proposition

Just watched ep3.  Forrest mentions fucking the universe, and his security guy says they're still on his tramlines.  Possibly they are predicting future events and making sure things happen correctly to meet them?  Maybe why the rule about never looking ahead?

Puce Moment

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2020, 12:24:50 PM »
Episode 3

So they have pulled back the curtain somewhat on their project in as much as the Miller/Monroe scene displayed the potential for the machine to access previous events.

I am assuming that at some point yer man will attempt to jump onto different rails, where his daughter is not dead. I have to say that I like this show a great deal, and episode 3 was a real step-up for me in terms of how Garland is using sound and unusual camera angles to tell his story. But the idea that we see the past from a handy camera-man medium shot POV is annoying and in a show that is skirting around hard SF, also quite lazy.

surreal

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2020, 10:31:51 PM »
I can only assume that as they are using quantum technology to view the past they'd be able to watch it from any point of view, not just a fixed angle, hence the multiple angles in that scene you mentioned.  They do keep referring to it as a "prediction" also, which suggests a degree of uncertainty (Heisenberg?)

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2020, 02:24:25 PM »
The Jesus stuff was a real "oh fuck off!" moment for me that the show has struggled to get past since tbh.

This is a one season thing, right? Feel like it should be moving towards something a bit faster in that case

kitsofan34

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2020, 09:58:23 PM »
Well....episode 4 is a cracker. I'm a sucker for giving people like Garland (and though it turned out to be slightly too much of a good thing, David Lynch) this much creative freedom. No idea how he's gonna end this, but it's an increasingly improving show.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2020, 11:45:00 AM »
I'm enjoying this but also find it a little hammy and cliched.

Puce Moment

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2020, 12:51:11 PM »
I'm really liking some of the more experimental cinematography and use of sound in this. There is a lot to like, and it is getting into the area of hard SF by playing around with rails vs multiverses, and what we can see as genuinely OUR timeline. Complex stuff, but I wish it was hanging on more than a sad man's desire to see his kid playing (or prevent her death, or jump into an alternate timeline or something).

The main actor in this is a bit of a mystery. Has she been instructed to act like that? Or is her acting style to look like is reading the lines from a card?

As with peanutbutter I still haven't got over the Jesus stuff. I am assuming that this event that probably didn't happen, and if did, not like a Rennaissance painting, can be explained. If we are supposed to believe that the projection was an accurate representation of Jesus' crucifixion then this is kinda dead to me.

kitsofan34

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2020, 12:58:38 PM »
The main actor in this is a bit of a mystery. Has she been instructed to act like that? Or is her acting style to look like is reading the lines from a card?

https://youtu.be/Wj8AbaYXrIY?t=362

Have a look at this, Puce.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2020, 01:08:34 PM »
Just realised she was the chainsmoking doctor in Maniac as well.


Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2020, 09:45:02 PM »
I'm looking forward to finding out how this crosses over with Picard.

surreal

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2020, 10:23:10 AM »
As with peanutbutter I still haven't got over the Jesus stuff. I am assuming that this event that probably didn't happen, and if did, not like a Rennaissance painting, can be explained. If we are supposed to believe that the projection was an accurate representation of Jesus' crucifixion then this is kinda dead to me.

I think it's probably just the things you would naturally go looking for if you had that kind of power, and it does keep referring to it as "predictions", so there is some sense of doubt.

Puce Moment

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2020, 11:57:34 AM »
https://youtu.be/Wj8AbaYXrIY?t=362

Have a look at this, Puce.

Very helpful indeed - thanks! Actually, overall it was a really interesting interview and made me realise that this show has reeled me in. This really does go some way to explaining that character's blankness, and I find myself admiring that choice.

I think it's probably just the things you would naturally go looking for if you had that kind of power, and it does keep referring to it as "predictions", so there is some sense of doubt.

Yes, probably one of the first things I would go to after the Kennedy Assassination or the big bang (and earlier?). I just thought the representation of that scene was so ridiculously familiar that it detracted from the 'science' aspirations of this drama.

surreal

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2020, 03:33:32 PM »
Very helpful indeed - thanks! Actually, overall it was a really interesting interview and made me realise that this show has reeled me in. This really does go some way to explaining that character's blankness, and I find myself admiring that choice.

Yes, probably one of the first things I would go to after the Kennedy Assassination or the big bang (and earlier?). I just thought the representation of that scene was so ridiculously familiar that it detracted from the 'science' aspirations of this drama.

Agreed - didn't they mention the Grassy Knoll, and that it was Oswald?  Or am I mixing it up with something else.  I agree also that having Christ (or whoever) in there does detract from the science somewhat.  I loved Forrest having a meltdown about the multiverse, insisting that they stay on his rails, even a hair out of place is not his daughter any more.  I assume that is why the rule about no looking ahead, as if you see what should happen and either prevent it from happening or do something else that means it still happens but in a different way, could mess things up.  My head hurts thinking about it.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2020, 12:05:40 PM »
Thought this last episode was a load of meandering wank tbh.

surreal

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2020, 09:54:24 AM »
I loved episode 5.  I think Nick Offerman is perfect in that role, and the visualisation of the other realities with small changes was perfectly done.  It seems he's doing this to find out if he's in some small way to blame for his families death, maybe he's looked ahead and there is a punishment he's expecting to happen and that is why he wants things to stay on his rails?

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2020, 07:41:13 PM »
free will and determinism have been a part of my framework for the majority of my life so far, so its interesting seeing someone much smarter than I am tackling the subject in a story. enjoying this so far, wish the characters motivations were abit more opaque by now but, thank you Garland for being the only mass of original sci fi these days.

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2020, 08:17:30 AM »
Just caught up with this (to episode 6) over the last few days. It’s odd because I think I hate it, or at least find plenty to dislike or ridicule, but I’m intrigued enough to see a resolution to its fairly bold premise. I expect it will be underwhelming, especially given tonight’s episode, but I’m on the hook regardless.

For a limited series (as far as I know) it doesn’t half meander. I understand that it thinks it’s being “art”, but it’s hard not to see some of those long montages as filler, and some other scenes are either repetitive, redundant or simply take far too long to achieve what could reasonably done in half the time or less. I also feel like some of the characterisation is poorly-drafted and inconsistent, and while it’s obviously a necessity when dealing with relatively complex sci-fi concepts, some of the exposition is incredibly incongruous (how many times has the inventor of this technology had it explained to him like he was 12?)

The acting from Lily (and Jamie, for that matter) is some of the worst I’ve seen in a proper contemporary TV show. Along with some really duff deliveries from Offerman, it makes me wonder if the directing or the script is responsible rather than any inherent lack of talent on the actors’ part.

And to jump in on the Christ stuff, I’m hoping there’s some clarification on that as it seems like one of the worst choices of “historical event”. Even forgetting the theological implications, there’s no documented evidence of a single “Jesus Christ”, and certainly nothing close to an exact year or location of his death. Baffling that they’d choose that out of all other things if they’re not going to expound upon it.

Anyway, thoroughly enjoying this, A+

Puce Moment

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2020, 02:10:34 PM »
And to jump in on the Christ stuff, I’m hoping there’s some clarification on that as it seems like one of the worst choices of “historical event”. Even forgetting the theological implications, there’s no documented evidence of a single “Jesus Christ”, and certainly nothing close to an exact year or location of his death. Baffling that they’d choose that out of all other things if they’re not going to expound upon it.

It's baffling that they would drop something so obviously unscientific into a show that wears its 'research' on its sleeve. It's entertainment, but it seems against the ethos of the drama to feature something so bound up in Christian imagery.

I'm going to assume it gets explained.

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2020, 06:33:15 PM »
I'm going to assume it gets explained.
I wonder how many people are sticking with it in large part to see if that was as dumb of a scene as it seemed

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2020, 08:35:40 PM »
I had a look on the subreddit (never know where to look since IMDb forums closed) and very few people seem to have raised any issue with it, which was surprising. Both me and my wife “oh fuck offed” it as soon as it became clear what it was supposed to be. I think Garland’s a little too married to his God analogies, at the expense of the credibility of his stories.

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