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SYFY WIRE reviews

'Mrs. Davis': Critics say Lindelof's wild sci-fi series puts anything ChatGPT could come up with to shame

The first four episodes of Mrs. Davis land on Peacock April 20.

By Josh Weiss
(l-r) Jake McDorman, Betty Gilpin in Mrs. Davis

So long as writers continue to deliver original and out-there content — like Peacock's Mrs. Davis, for example — Hollywood has absolutely nothing to fear from the rise of A.I. software like ChatGPT. It's rather fitting that a show centered around one woman's epic journey to destroy a powerful, machine-based entity before it can take over the world serves as concrete evidence that technology is no match for the near-limitless processing power of the human imagination.

Critics are pretty much in unanimous agreement: the entertainment landscape needs more wild swings in the vein of Mrs. Davis, which hails from co-creators Damon Lindelof (LostWatchmen) and Tara Hernandez (The Big Bang TheoryYoung Sheldon). Following its world premiere at SXSW last month, /FILM declared the project to be "the most audacious science fiction since Westworld."

Emmy-nominee Betty Gilpin (GLOW, The Hunt) headlines the adventure as Simone, a nun hellbent on destroying the titular artificial intelligence embraced by nearly every human around the world.  

Jake McDorman (Limitless), Andy McQueen (Station Eleven), Ben Chaplin (The Nevers), Margo Martindale (Cocaine Bear), David Arquette (Scream), Elizabeth Marvel (Helstrom), Katja Herbers (Evil), Chris Diamantopoulos (The Twilight Zone), Ashley Romans (Y: The Last Man), Tom Wlaschiha (Stranger Things 4), and Mathilde Ollivier (1899) co-star.

Lindelof and Hernandez are executive producers alongside series directors Owen Harris (Black Mirror: San Junipero) and Alethea Jones (Rise of the Pink Ladies). Hernandez also serves as showrunner.

Head below to see what critics are saying before the first four episodes hit Peacock this Thursday...

"Mrs. Davis could never be mistaken for something engineered by computers, or even by committee. No, this feels like the work of people determined to show what they can do that algorithms still can’t: take all those storytelling tropes we’ve heard a hundred times before, and find a way to refashion them into something daring, ambitious and entirely new." -Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter

"Mrs. Davis acts as an antidote to the programming-by-numbers and algorithm appeasement that’s becoming common in the streaming age — even when such lunacy sometimes outstrips its ability to tell a totally cohesive story ... [It] lacks the sanctimony and self-seriousness that can weigh down Black Mirror, the dystopian anthology that makes for an obvious point of comparison. Instead, the series combines the gleeful blasphemy of The Young Pope with the screwy science fiction of Made for Love." -Alison Herman, Variety

"Mrs. Davis is practically a live-action cartoon, filled with colorful set-pieces and a never-ending slew of zany characters, all set in a world where humans willingly subject themselves to the demands of an AI via wireless earbuds. None of Mrs. Davis would work without Betty Gilpin (GLOW, The Hunt) as its heart and soul. As Simone, the nun being targeted by Mrs. Davis, she effectively juggles a hard-edged cynicism with an openness to pure devotion." -Devindra Hardawar, Engadget

"The first four episodes of Mrs. Davis are an absolutely wild ride, bringing heaping amounts of absurdist meta humor to a twisty science-fiction plot that takes some of co-creator Damon Lindelof’s favorite themes and plot elements to their extremes. It feels too early to tell where the show is really going, especially given its insane twists and reveals so far, but it’s worth joining Simone’s surreal and occasionally profound quest just to see what happens." -Samantha Nelson, IGN

"Those looking for immediate gratification in their television would be better off looking elsewhere since it really does require fully watching through the season to truly understand what Hernandez, Lindelof, and co. are getting at. However, those who are willing to settle in and enjoy the ride — wherever it takes them — will discover that Mrs. Davis, for all that seems messy and bewildering at first, is making a name for itself nonetheless, and the result is compelling, fearless television." -Carly Lane, Collider

"If Everything Everywhere All At Once’s recent Oscars sweep has proven anything, it’s that we’re living in an age of maximalist entertainment, when the barriers are crumbling between so-called “serious” screenwork and weird, trippy fun. And if that brings us more shows like Mrs. Davis, thank algorithmic god for it." -Jenna Scherer, The A.V. Club

"I would argue the series offers stronger commentary about technology’s impact on consumers than it finds novel ideas about religion, but the text is dense enough where interpretations should prove plentiful. More than anything, it’s incredible fun — a story acknowledging the power of storytelling, and a jubilant means of engaging with contemporary fears." -Ben Travers, IndieWire

"In the wrong hands, these creative decisions could come across as anything from overwrought to mean-spirited, but Mrs. Davis refuses to let cynicism creep into its storytelling. Even accounting for the sheer volume of Douglas Adams-adjacent gags that end up on the screen, this is a surprisingly sincere show." -Matthew Monagle, The Playlist

Episodes 1-4 of Mrs. Davis debut on Peacock this Thursday — April 20.

Looking for more sci-fi content? Check out shows like The Ark, Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, Eureka, Heroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock.