Tag Archives: Viktor Toropov

BETTER THAN US (2018) – My rating: 8/10

Better Than Us is a Russian science fiction television series created by Andrey Junkovsky. It was produced by Yellow, Black, and White in cooperation with Sputnik Vostok Production for the Russian state channel C1R. Netflix purchased the series under the English title “Better Than Us” and it is the first Russian series presented as a Netflix Original. On August 16, 2019, the first season was available to stream on Netflix markets outside of Russia and China. While the “stay at home” has been in effect, I’ve gotten to see many, many television and cable series — this was one of the better ones, even though it’s been voiced over from Russan to English. I hope there’s a second season.

Better Than Us opens in Russia, in the year 2029. Advanced androids are sold to help serve humans in various work positions. These AIs are also replacing humans in many menial jobs. China’s one-child policy has led to a critical shortage of marriageable women, so an engineer designed an advanced AI and named her Arisa (Paulina Andreeva). She is programmed to be a wife to a man and mother to adopted children. Arisa does not abide by Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, she is designed to protect her family, which includes herself. Since her creator died, Arisa is sold to the Russian robotics firm called CRONOS, in England. Her first day there, Arisa accidentally kills a man who tried to use her as a sex robot. Robots are not supposed to have the ability to kill, so she flees from CRONOS. Having gotten very far, she encounters a little girl named Sonia Safronov (Vita Kornienko) and automatically bonds with her and makes herself the child’s guardian. Later Arisa meets more of Sonia’s family, which includes her father Georgy Safronov (Kirill Käro) a pathologist as well as a former surgeon and Sonia’s brother Egor Safronov (Eldar Kalimulin).  

The series follows three storylines: that of Arisa and the family whom she adopts; the family’s son Egor Safranov and his girlfriend Zhanna (Vera Panfilova) who is part of the anti-droid militant group called the “Liquidators”; and the secrets of Viktor Toropov (Aleksandr Ustyugov), the head director of CRONOS, as he tries to hide the fact that they cannot make another Arisa.  The story also features the children’s mother and Georgy’s ex-wife Ella Safronov (Olga Lomonosova).

Better Than Us was a delightful thrill ride and a quality series.  I was especially excited over the fact that Arisa was so human that no one would think to accuse her of all she was capable of doing.  Arisa would not lie or hurt anyone who she reported to as her family.  She is also quite the eye candy as she is very pretty.  Things got so complicated as Arisa became more and more human and empathetic toward her family.  This series takes us on an adventure that is hard to forget.  Better Than Us is streaming on Netflix.  There has been 1 season of 16 episodes aired.  I can’t wait for season 2, Check It Out!