When I first read that Michael McDonald, the guy most famous for playing the man-child Stewart on ‘MAD TV’ had created a science fiction television show, I immediately wrote it off a drivel.

But, the more I hear about the show, I am becoming intrigued. It’s called ‘Beautiful People’ and is being developed by NBC. The plot revolves around a company that has created androids called “Mechanicals” and begs some of the age-old sci-fi questions of artificial intelligence: Are synthetic beings as real and as important as humans beings? Can they have emotions? Should they have rights? Sure… all of these questions have been asked before and had answers from all over the spectrum. But, as an avid fan of artificial intelligence in sci-fi, I always like seeing a fresh take on the subject.

Today, Deadline announced that NBC has cast its first actors for the show. British actor James Murray (‘Primeval’) will play the son of Lydia. Lydia is the widow of the head of the company that created the Mechanicals. Murray’s character is a priviledged kid who is now a lawyer who crusades for civil rights for Mechanicals.


Patrick Heusinger (‘Royal Pains’) has been cast in the role of a Mechanical who is a house servant for the family. The twist… Heusinger’s character, after losing one of his daughters in a car accident, begins to experience grief and loss. As emotions are forbidden for Mechanicals, he is declared “defective”. It’s also interesting to note that this synopsis seems to imply that Mechanicals can reproduce.

It sounds like Steven Spielberg’s ‘A.I. Artificial Intelligence’ with an extended cast of characters and more corporate/legal intrigue. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this one as it develops.