COMMENT:

If you've ever lamented over the dumbing down of television then Devs is the show for you. This gritty, glitzy tech-thriller isn't just smart it's positively boffinish. It's so clever that it often leaves you feeling like a bit of a dunce. So it's a good thing there's plenty of cringe-inducing, dumb violence to balance everything out.

It's a potent mix. The ideas Devs presents, and wrestles with, are universally huge; life, death, science, religion and free will. Or, more accurately, the illusion of free will.

Underneath all the hard scientific theories, quantum physics and futuristic computer jargon that the show dazzles you with is a simple albeit terrifying hypothesis: every single action you make has already been pre-determined.

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That seems rubbish but that's just your ego talking. We like to think we're in control of our destiny but, Devs argues, we're not. I had no choice in writing this and you had none in reading it. These two sets of actions were decided well before we even considered fulfilling out part in them. I was always going to write this and you were always going to read it. And, yes, you were always going to start to feeling bemused disbelief at this point...

But once you remove the multiple universe theories, the quantums and the qubits and the scientifically proven particles that somehow exist in two different universes at once then the argument for this is rather simple and basically boils down to cause and effect.

I wrote this because I was up against deadline and had run out of time to watch the new episode of Tiger King like I'd planned because last night I was too exhausted to do anything other than climb into bed after putting in eight hours at my desk and those same eight hours looking after a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old in lockdown and then another two hours after that enduring their dinner, bath and bedtime routine.

You read this because maybe you'd heard about Devs or perhaps you liked something I previously wrote. If you think about why you're reading - thanks, by the way - you'll be able to fairly easily trace back the chain of events or actions that led you to this paragraph.

It's admittedly a big idea. Kind of horrible as well. We all want to think we have free agency. But ... what if we don't?

Thankfully Devs presents these mindbending ideas in a hugely entertaining and thrilling fashion. For a show based around hard science and set largely on the campus of a Google or Apple sized tech company there's an abundance of chase scenes, shoot outs, limb breaking, and grim death. Russian spies even show up at one point. Who knew computer engineering could be so fraught with danger, right?

Devs follows engineer Lily Chan who begins investigating Amaya, the company she works for, when her engineer boyfriend gets murdered right after being anointed into the secretive and mysterious Devs team. But there was a lot she didn't know about him and even more she doesn't know about Amaya, specifically the part where they're attempting to build a computer that utilises quantum mechanics to accurately predict the future and show you the past.

It's a lot. But it's quite nice to find yourself challenged by a TV show and forced to use those dusty parts of the ol' noggin while sitting in front of the box.

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The show, which is on Neon and Soho, is written and directed by Alex Garland who made last year's brilliant film Annihilation and, before that, the dark AI thriller Ex-Machina. So fans of his know the dark cerebral territory they're venturing into.

I was fortunate enough to interview him about Devs and during our chat he admitted that wrestling with the factual science behind the show's big concepts had indeed hurt his brain. So it's nice to know you're in good company when you're sitting there scratching your head trying to keep up.

But even if you let the science wash over you I reckon you'll still enjoy the show. Garland has bought his unique directorial style and vision to the small screen to make one of the best looking shows of the year.

The visuals are frequently jaw-dropping and utterly memorable - the golden magnetic cube that the Devs team work in for instance, or the towering statue of Amaya, the deceased young daughter of the company's founder, that's visible from every angle of the campus, and the Kubrick-esque slow pans in, out and around the danger zones.

And boy does it get intense as Lily digs deeper and the cover-up begins to go murderously awry ...

So there you have it. I've done my part in highly recommending Devs. From here the choice to watch it or not is yours.

Or is it?