SeriesFest Review: ‘Hive’ is Must Watch Anthology Series for Sci-Fi Fans

If you’re a fan of Black Mirror or of multiple themes consolidated into an entire collection, then you’ll love the feeling of this anthology series. Viewers will get a sci-fi meets dystopia feeling when watching the pilot of Hive, co-created by Stephanie Jeter, Tim Maupin, and Derek McPhatter. Get ready to embark on a journey where complex social issues are evolved through time and space. 

Episode 1, “Trace,” explores the “what ifs” while at the same time diving into the multiple facets of artificial intelligence. Four struggling artists live and work together at a creative residency that is managed by a questionable artificial intelligence system. When symbols begin to appear in some of the artworks, the AI takes matters into its own hands to control the issue, but will this ultimately make matters worse? 

Get ready to be filled with questions. The pilot episode leaves viewers with several unanswered questions but the kind of questions in which viewers will not be left frustrated and confused but eager to jump straight into another story and continue the anthology. At the beginning of Episode 1, it’s too early to come to conclusions about how AI will ultimately impact these residents. “Trace” appears to be a dynamic episode that channels the idea of multiple angles in a single episode. In “Trace,” we have the angle of combative characters with creative mindsets who are all competing in an art residency. There is also the angle with artificial intelligence as a threshold leading to fear of the unknown and AI as protecting what may become known. By these sub-angles existing simultaneously, viewers get a complex plot. On one hand, the pilot will get viewers focused on the tension between the characters, while on the other hand, the episode allows for curiosity to grow regarding what role artificial intelligence plays in the narrative and whether it is working for or against the residents.  

The “What Ifs”

If you’re into “what if” type theories or futuristic concepts that most sci-fi works seem to delve into, then Hive is a must watch. Artificial intelligence capabilities are endless, and it’s a new concept that is being explored in everyday life. The pilot episode takes AI to the extreme by utilizing AI as a tool to analyze and interpret people from a mental perspective. AI is used as a tool to analyze memory, thoughts, and to detect symbols. Like any sci-fi series, there’s always that “what if” theory that rests in the minds of viewers. The pilot “Trace” heavily focuses on the what if. When viewing the pilot, viewers have yet to find out whether the AI will be the enemy or the hero to the residents. 

What’s unique about the pilot is that there is already tension amongst the residents so it is difficult to decipher whether the AI will act as a helping agent or an enemy. When the first resident is summoned by the AI system, they are fearful and curious. The AI has power over the resident. How much power does the AI system have, and how much power is too much power? Those are a few questions that viewers may have when watching the pilot. In “Trace,” can technology continuously be used in the same manner to break down strong characters? As the pilot concludes, viewers will be left wondering about the character relationships and the importance each character plays to the narrative. Because it is a competition, viewers are left to decide whether the artist’s talent alone served as a means to determine elimination, or whether the AI system treated some residents with preferential reasons.  

Suspense-Driven

Most sci-fi fans are expecting suspense, thrill, or horror of some caliber, and in Episode 1, “Trace” delivers this. Episode 1 gives viewers the suspense aspect of sci-fi that does justice to this anthology. In other sci-fi series, the creator is more so consumed with the portrayal of an out-of-this-world type storyline by illustrating outer space. In the process, those same creators tend to lose or abandon the sense of thrill and suspense that’s needed in sci-fi. Extraterrestrial sci-fi stories often do this. They tell a compelling story on what’s out of this world but fail to deliver the thrill aspect to the story. Sci-fi focusing on otherworldly concepts tends to leave viewers with many questions during and after watching because the concepts focus on the unknown. Although utilizing artificial intelligence in technology is new, the creator still uses elements of suspense and horror to entertain and not make the series too difficult to interpret. Viewers are introduced to the suspense of how AI will affect the residents, the thrill of competition, and the horror of what if something detrimental happens next.   

At the moment you can only unlock the virtual screening now through July 11th using the link below. However, the Hive’s pilot episode will be featured in Drama Block Two of the independent pilot competition currently playing at SeriesFest. HIVE | Independent Pilot Competition: Drama Block 2 | SeriesFest: Season 7

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