TV Review: 'My Holo Love' Offers Modern Love Story For AI Era

My Holo Love Na Hollo Geudae Yoon Hyun-min Go Nan-do Holo Ko Sung-hee Han So-yeon Netflix
Image by Netflix
What is romantic love? It is something that I have thought an awful lot about, and my current answer is that it is a mix of things: hormones, emotion, and thought. “My Holo Love” (“Na Hollo Geudae”) breaks down that central question while posing a few of its own for an AI romance that leaves no stone unturned.

Smart, funny, and savvy as all get-out, “My Holo Love” thoroughly excels at telling a unique story about humans, love, and AI. The series, which is currently streaming on Netflix, offers a refreshing take on all of these topics. Set in present-day South Korea, “My Holo Love” follows Han So-yeon (Ko Sung-hee).

So-yeon is a thirty-year-old woman hiding her own secret from the world when she comes to incidentally possess Holo (Yoon Hyun-min). A set of programmed glasses that basically act like Seri. Instead of being spoken to by a disembodied voice, Holo manifests as a visible entity.

Holo’s human appearance is entirely convincing until one goes to touch him, and the illusion is somewhat broken. To say more about the plot of “My Holo Love” would be unfair to the unraveling of such a brilliant and intricately-told story that encompasses what it means to be human and care for AI.

It is a breath of fresh air from the horrible attitude portrayed in “Better Than Us,” which featured humans taking a villainous stance against robots. “My Holo Love” makes a poignant argument for AI and its place in people’s lives. It also asks questions about the thin line between revering one’s robot and being attracted to it. If it is made by a human and acts like a human, is it human?

These are big questions, and “My Holo Love” weaves them into a canvas that is comprised of romance, themes of forgiveness, and suspenseful business dealings. The cast is excellent, and the special effects are stunning in their realism. It is a breathtaking show to watch based on its production values alone.

Thankfully, “My Holo Love” brings more than its visuals to bear. So-yeon is an exceptionally appealing central protagonist who is altogether lovely. She is a good person trying to do her best in a world she feels rejected by.

Actress Ko Sung-hee is so natural and enthralling to watch. A positive light shines out whenever she is on-screen. Together, Ko and her co-star, Yoon Hyun-min, have to anchor the show, and they do just that.

Holo and his creator, Go Nan-do, are fantastically portrayed by Yoon Hyun-min. A dual role is never easy as it leaves an actor open to identifiable scrutiny. Yoon gives a flawless portrayal of the series’ polar characters. Yoon’s performance as Holo and Nan-do is so notably opposite, it is easy to forget it is the same actor. Yes, Yoon is that good.

The chemistry and ensuing dynamic between So-yeon, Holo, and Nan-do, makes for a complicated love triangle that the audience is always kept wondering about. It is enthralling and intellectually compelling as viewers are faced with some tough questions about love and AI.

“My Holo Love” is a lovely look at love. One that delves into the different types that comprise the human experience and how they fit into the classical configurations that people feel comfortable molding them into. Adding in AI only furthers the scope of these lingering questions through an instrument many people have become so reliant on -- robots.

The inventive AI romance “Her” made its case back in 2013, while “Ex Machina” shook cinema as one of 2015’s best films with its chilling answer to AI’s presence. For its part, “My Holo Love” maintains an optimistic take.

The truth tends to be in the center, and the TV series acknowledges both sides so thoroughly, you cannot help being swayed due to its wrestling with different narratives to find its truth. A limited series, “My Holo Love,” navigates the answers in breezy 12 episodes that are effortless to binge.

There are a few developments that could have occurred earlier. However, the wait makes for one of the more charming in recent memory. Otherwise, none of the installments feel drawn-out. Nor do they cost the series any momentum.

It is easy to watch “My Holo Love” and think the world is not far away from witnessing such an innovation become a reality. The notion is certainly more lovely after watching it. Billed as a limited series, I cannot help hoping that a follow-up installment eventually arrives. While satisfying, its characters have more stories to tell.

Rating: 9.5/10

You can currently stream “My Holo Love” (“Na Hollo Geudae”) on Netflix, along with lots of other enticing titles.