Microsoft takes on Netflix with new sci-fi robot series Humans to premiere on Xbox

The new drama will premiere on the Xbox games console and Channel 4

Microsoft is taking on Netflix by launching a major new sci-fi drama series which will premiere simultaneously on the Xbox games console and Channel 4.

Humans, a thriller about robotic domestic servants who rebel against their human masters, will be brought to the screen by Kudos, the company behind Broadchurch and Spooks.

Microsoft hopes the series, based on a hit Swedish format, and co-produced by its Xbox Entertainment Studios, will help transform the Xbox from a gaming platform into an entertainment “hub”, luring consumers with on-demand programming.

The computer giant is prepared to spend heavily on original productions to drive subscriptions to its Xbox Live platform, following the success which film and television streaming service Netflix has enjoyed after investing in acclaimed series including House Of Cards.

Future Microsoft television projects include a series based on the Halo game series, produced by Steven Spielberg, a Sarah Silverman sketch show and a football-oriented programme set to debut ahead of the World Cup.

The partnership with Channel 4 helps the UK broadcaster bring more ambitious, high-end drama to viewers. Humans will be written by the British writing partnership Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley (Spooks). An English language adaptation of a Sveriges Television thriller, the eight-part series will premiere next year.

The series is set in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a “Synth” - a highly-developed robotic servant that is practically a replicant of real humans.

When a father of three buys a refurbished second-hand Synth to relieve domestic pressure, the introduction of the machine has “far-reaching and chilling consequences”.

Jane Featherstone, Executive Producer  at Kudos, said: “Exploring themes of love, discrimination and integration, this thrilling, beautifully written series allows us to get under the skin of what it means to be human in the most compelling way. The bold, innovative storylines and subject matter lend themselves perfectly to this pioneering collaboration with Channel 4 and Xbox.”

Nancy Tellem, President of Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios, said: “Humans not only questions personal relationships, but we loved how this sci-fi show toys with reality and our connection to technology.”

She added: “This deal with Channel 4 and Kudos underscores Xbox Entertainment Studios' commitment to programming premium TV series with global partners and creating engaging interactive experiences – and sits alongside other original commissions including a Halo TV series executive produced by Steven Spielberg.”

Piers Wenger, Channel 4 Head of Drama, said: “In Humans, Sam and Jon have not only crafted an ingenious and imaginative thriller, but they’re also asking big, thought-provoking questions about how we live.”

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones