By Martin Brown,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Slow sci-fi puzzle box requires investment, has violence.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Like any good science fiction, Devs poses ethical and moral questions about the nature of technology. Characters don't always act for the greater good, but some are driven by a sense of what is right.
Positive Role Models
A deep cast of diverse actors in nonstereotypical roles makes this series unlike many other sci-fi shows. Lead Lily is Chinese American, and staff of Devs department includes a gender nonconforming character and an elderly African American man.
Violence & Scariness
Flashes of graphic violence: A man is suffocated with a plastic bag; someone dies by suicide by lighting themselves on fire.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters kiss in bed.
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Profanity includes "s--t," "f--k," "damn," etc.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol in bars and at home.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Devs is a sci-fi drama about a tech company employee (Sonoya Mizuno) who's trying to unravel the mystery of her boyfriend's death. The show explores quantum physics and computing, and what the grieving CEO of a tech company (Nick Offerman) will do to get his daughter back. Frequent swearing includes "s--t" and "f--k," and characters are shown in bed kissing (no nudity). There are moments of graphic violence -- a man is forcefully suffocated with a plastic bag; a man dies by suicide and sets himself on fire -- but mostly the show is slow and contemplative, more interested in the futuristic world that has been built than what is happening within it.
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Videos and Photos
Based on 3 parent reviews
Complicated Sci-Fi Thriller has Brilliant visuals & sound.
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Commonsensemedia failed to mention sex scene!
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What's the Story?
Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno) and her boyfriend, Sergei, are computer engineers at a company called Amaya. Sergei gets promoted to the mysterious "DEVS" unit, but disappears after his first day with his new team. Lily, suspicious that Amaya's CEO, Forest (Nick Offerman), has something to do with his disappearance, begins to investigate him and the company.
Is It Any Good?
This intriguing but sometimes plodding sci-fi series requires a bit of patience but can be rewarding. This is mostly hanks to creator Alex Garland's (Ex-Machina, Annihilation) ability to make a very complicated concept (quantum physics) more accessible. That said, not everything about the show is fresh. It's got many of the hallmarks of other modern sci-fi shows (cough, Westworld): textbook cinematography that looks nice but ultimately adds little to the story, and a super-slow pace that often comes from trying to stretch what could be a 90-minute premise across eight episodes. Both traits are great for the streaming business -- especially if viewers are pre-invested in the creators or the subjects -- but the storytelling doesn't often hold up under them. Devs' surfaces (and there are a lot of them) look shiny enough, and the future-tech world and ethical discussions hint at a distant payoff, but without a true investment in Garland or the relatively thin plot, it takes a lot of patience to make it there.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the technology shown on Devs. Does Amaya remind you of any real-life tech companies? Do you think Devs' level of technology is realistic? Is it moral?
Offerman's character Forest is grieving the death of his daughter. Does his sadness warrant the choices he makes? Why or why not?
What do you think about the diversity of the main cast on this series? Have you ever seen someone that looks like Lily as the lead in a TV show?
- Premiere date: March 5, 2020
- Cast: Sonoya Mizuno, Nick Offerman, Allison Pill
- Network: Hulu
- Genre: Science Fiction
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: October 13, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate