Content Shifter: 7 Artificial Intelligence Series to Stream
The past few years have proven that human intelligence has failed us fucking big time. It’s an insult to the term intelligence to even call it intelligence. Does that sentence make any sense? I don’t know—I’m becoming increasingly dumber just being around y’all.
Maybe artificial intelligence is the answer, even though movies from Blade Runner to The Matrix to Ex Machina have served up mixed outcomes for humanity. Here are seven AI-focused TV series that also don’t offer easy solutions to The Human Problem, but at least you’ll be distracted from your meat-sack self while streaming them.
Westworld (Seasons 1–4, HBO Max)
An Old West-themed amusement park populated with lifelike android “hosts” to fulfill your every sicko human whim—spit on ’em, kill ’em, do whatever you want. They’re just robots. When they become sentient and escape into the real world, Westworld transforms into something far more complex than its robo-cowboy origin. Trust the science … until it comes for you.
Humans (Seasons 1–3, Prime Video)
In the near (and very British) future, “Synths” (human-like androids) are everyday household accessories, like microwaves, dishwashers and the Martha Stewart Collection Artisanal Bong™. Humans is less fantastical than Westworld but just as psychological, an androids-attain-consciousness thriller that’s also emotionally raw. It’s a sci-fi soap opera, upgraded.
Weird City (Season 1, YouTube)
Before he produced a Twilight Zone TV reboot, Jordan Peele co-created Weird City, a future-set anthology for YouTube Premium (yes, it’s a thing). The AI-driven burg of Weird City is divided in half: Above the Line (rich people) and Below the Line (poor folk). Weird City is smart, funny and, uh, weird, with a few hot jabs at Woke Culture—too bad it’s not on a real streamer.
Person of Interest (Seasons 1–5, HBO Max)
High-concept and plot-dense, Person of Interest somehow ran 103 episodes on CBS(!). Billionaire computer genius Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) creates an AI program that scans all—literally, all—electronic communications to predict crimes before they happen. He’s digital Batman. Person of Interest is a deep dive on tech, morality and the limits of Jim Caviezel’s “acting.”
Next (Season 1, YouTube)
CSI: Cyber set the bar for dumb cyber-crime dramas, and Next (or neXt, but I’m not playing that) cleared it in two episodes before being canceled by Fox in 2020. A rogue, quickly-evolving AI program is loose on the internet, and only the former CEO of the company that created it (John Slattery) can stop it—if a degenerative brain disease doesn’t kill him first. Yeah, Next is extra.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Seasons 1–2, Hulu)
Set four years after Terminator 2, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles finds Sarah and son John (Thomas Dekker) still on the run when another Terminator (Summer Glau) arrives from 2029, and the trio takes a time trip from 1996 to 2007 … whew. TSCC was a sharp, action-packed sci-fi series that could have spanned several seasons, but Fox canned it after just two.
RoboCop: Prime Directives (Season 1, Freevee)
A RoboCop TV series that retains the snark and violence from the glorious original movie? I’d buy that for a dollar. Canadian series RoboCop: Prime Directives is set 13 years after the film franchise, and RoboCop is now considered as dated and useless as an iPhone 4. But, when an OCP exec murders his board of directors and unleashes a nefarious AI on Delta City (formerly Detroit), Roboy’s back in action! Eh, the real Detroit’s seen worse.
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