Entertainment

Everything We Know About Alex Garland's 'Devs'

devs, fx, sonoya mizuno, lily
Sonoya Mizuno in 'Devs' | FX
Sonoya Mizuno in 'Devs' | FX

Devs, a limited series set to run this spring on Hulu, is still shrouded in mystery. Written, directed, and executive-produced by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation), the series bears its director's speculative touch, diving into concepts like quantum computing and artificial intelligence while also juggling a conspiracy with a fictional cutting-edge tech company at the center. While we await the series premiere, here’s everything about Devs we know so far.

When does Devs premiere?

Devs premieres on Thursday, March 5 on FX on Hulu, dropping two episodes right off the bat. According to TV Line, it'll be the first FX show to air on the network's new hub on the streaming service -- meaning you can't catch it on cable, but you can with a regular Hulu subscription.

How many episodes are there?

Devs is an eight-episode limited series. Showrunner Alex Garland has stated that the series is more like "one long movie" than a traditional TV series.

Is there a trailer for Devs?

FX dropped a full-length trailer for Devs in early 2020. In typical Alex Garland fashion, the series looks futuristic, visually striking, and like an intense sci-fi thriller. In the trailer, we get our first glimpse into the mysterious, out-of-this-world facility known as Devs run by Nick Offerman's character, Forest, and it sets up the plot as one woman's mission to find out what happened to her missing husband. At the end of the trailer, Sonoya Mizuno asks a man "what’s inside" the facility and he says, "Everything"... and it looks like that sounds about right.

There's also a teaser that FX released at the 2019 New York Comic Con. It features a voiceover from Offerman saying, "It's an amazing thing, where love will take you, the road you'll travel, the lengths to which you'll go.” It's very creepy and foreboding, potentially echoing all that he's put into his strange company, as well Sonoya Mizuno's character Lily Chan's commitment to discover her husband's fate. (More on that below.)

Who's involved creatively?

Devs is essentially the brainchild of film director Alex Garland, who is best known for films like Ex Machina and Annihilation. This is his first foray into episodic television; he wrote and directed all eight episodes of the series. At the show's New York Comic-Con panel, he alluded that distribution issues with some of his prior films were part of the reason that he chose to turn to TV at this point in his career. "There's something about the construct of cinema at the moment, of the nature of opening weekends, and I just thought, 'Maybe… maybe this isn't the right space for me because the stuff I do is too odd and it's not mainstream,'" io9 reports Garland saying. "So I thought maybe TV is a better home for me."

Considering the trailer features shots of giant, menacing dolls outside Devs and floating workspaces set against the mind-boggling plot, an eight episode arc does seem like the right form for Devs. Garland again spoke about this and the series' oddity at an early 2020 TCA panel saying, "You can’t reuse these ideas to soundbites … It's about drip feeding, rather than front loading it, but also having an underlying faith that audiences will be interested in this." Based on everything we've seen thus far, we're in.

devs, fx, nick offerman, sonoya mizuno
Nick Offerman and Sonoya Mizuno in 'Devs' | FX

Who's in the cast?

Devs stars Sonoya Mizuno (Ex Machina) as Lily Chan, a software engineer chasing the reasons behind her husband's death. Opposite her is Nick Offerman, who plays tech company Amaya's mysterious CEO, Forest. Also rounding out the cast are Karl Glusman (Nocturnal Animals), Jin Ha (Jesus Christ Superstar Live), Zach Grenier (The Good Wife), Stephen McKinley Henderson (Ladybird), Allison Pill (American Horror Story: Cult), and Cailee Spaeny (Bad Times at the El Royale). 

Glusman plays Sergei, Lily's boyfriend; Jin Ha plays Jamie, a cyber security specialist, Grenier plays Kenton, Amaya's head of security, Stephen McKinley Henderson plays Stewart, one of Amaya's top technical minds; Pill plays Katie, a quantum physicist and Forest's second in command; Spaeny plays Lyndon, a young but stubborn member of Amaya's secret devs group. 

What's the plot of Devs?

Broadly, Garland told Indiewire that Devs was inspired by two ideas. He said, "One was getting my head around this principle of determinism, which basically says everything that happens in the world is based on cause and effect… That has all kinds of implications for us: It takes away free will. And if you had a computer powerful enough, you could predict the future and understand the past." So, figure those large concepts fueling the entire series.

But more specifically, the show focuses a young software engineer named Lily Chan working for Amaya, a Silicon Valley-based tech company. After her boyfriend dies from an apparent suicide, Lily begins to investigate the circumstances of his death, suspecting that something else is going on. She quickly realizes that all of the clues lead back to Amaya's CEO, Forest, and Devs, the company's secret development division. In researching her boyfriend's death, Lily ends up uncovering a tech-based conspiracy with the potential to change the world. 

Io9 reports that, based on information divulged at the New York City Comic-Con panel, the show dives deep into heavy technological concepts like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Garland said that he originally got the idea for Devs while thinking about determinism, and the theoretical belief that a super powered computer that could theoretically predict the future. Sounds fun!

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