Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Almost Human so far

 Almost Human is another great science fiction series that might end too early if more viewers don’t give it a chance. Currently it is not in danger, but the viewers are in the decline. Honestly, I don’t know what the show is missing that keeps people from viewing. Maybe it’s because it’s a sci-fi show and not a teen drama or some sort of reality competition. But if you have not watched so far, here is what you are missing:

Almost human is essentially a buddy cop/police procedural (where police investigate something) that is set in the future. The increasing speed at which technology had advanced has given criminals an edge over law enforcement and now police are given androids as their partners. Most of these standard issue MX-43 androids, which act like you would expect from an intelligent robot assistant, only with a human face.

Karl Urban plays Detective John Kennex. I hope at this point people would recognize that Urban is the guy who has done a great job as Dr. Leonard McCoy on J.J. Abrams Star Trek Reboots. He was also great in Dredd. Kennex has recently returned to duty after suffering from traumatic injuries that happened when a sting operation went wrong. He lost a leg but it was replaced by a mechanical prosthetic that looks like the original one. After literally tossing his MX partner, Kennex was assigned a new one. Or rather, an older one. Kennex ends up with a DRN that goes by the name Dorian.

Dorian is played excellently by Michael Ealy. The DRN androids were designed to mimic humans in both looks and emotions. But apparently there were problems that have not been detailed yet. Before Dorian is reactivated, Kennex mentioned that he is one of the “crazy ones.” So far, Dorian has been anything but crazy. I would say Dorian is very similar to Data on Star Trek only with emotions and a good grasp of humor. Dorian is very thoughtful and kinda makes a better human than most humans. Given his intelligence and concern over how he and other androids are treated, there it feels like the series could delve into some really philosophical themes over what makes someone real and deserving of rights. A topic that was covered in Star Trek: The next Generation with Data.

Urban and Ealy have great chemistry. They could easily do an average buddy cop film together successfully. Fortunately for fans of this show, they are bringing Kennex and Dorian to life. Their in the car scenes are already providing gif fodder on tumbler with joked about tactical scans and the thoughtfulness given to the detail of android anatomy.

The rest of the supporting characters feel like they are beginning to be fleshed out. Lili Taylor plays Captain Sandra Maldonado, who it seems like there is potential for some interesting back story. Minka Kelly is Detective Valerie Stahl. Stahl is kind of the obviously going to be the possible love interest of Kennex. To me the character is a little flat though. And Detective Richard Paul, Michael Irby, is Kennex’s rival/antagonist. But not much has been given as to why he dislikes Kennex so much. The most fleshed out supporting character at this point is Rudy Lom, the department’s technician who is the techi/CSI guy on the series. Think the loveable nerd of the show. Lom is played by Mackenzie Crook, who some might recognize from Pirates of the Caribbean. He was the one with the wooden eye. There is room to grow with the supporting characters, but there is great potential in them as well.

What the series also has going for it, to me anyway, is how close it feels to another sci-fi series, Fringe. Which is understandable since it shares some of Fringe’s creators, including J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wayman. Although where Fringe was about our world starting to be affected by new science and technology, in the future world of Almost Human a lot of those cats are already out of the bag and are the responsibility of Police instead of a secret FBI unit. The special effects are good and the writing has been equally so. We’ll see if further hints are dropped about the mysterious Insindicate criminal organization as the series progresses. No mention of them, or of Kennex’s ex who mysteriously disappeared has been made since the pilot/premier.

There is some room for improvement, but all the parts are there for a great show. I think it’s good already and I hope the series can continue. To me, the question is do people even want these shows anymore? Fringe was an excellent show but it had to fight for survival every week during its five season run. Even if ti comes down to fighting for viewers and rating every week for Almost Human, I hope it lasts a few seasons. If for nothing else, the bromance between a cop and his android partner is worth an hour of your time on Monday nights.


  1. I love this show, and I don't understand why everybody doesn't love this show. It's well acted, well cast, well plotted and well written, and while there isn't the boatload of special effects that you'd see if this were a big-budget movie, those that are used are really well done - sometimes dazzlingly well done. You don't have to be a big sci-fi fan to like it, although there are sci-fi elements. And the thing is, it's very often very, very funny. Plus, there's Karl Urban. There have been 6 episodes so far, but it's now on a break until Jan. 6. So watch it! You won't regret it.

  2. DVR ratings prove we want these shows but the Nielson box owners are the same people who have never wanted these shows. Until that changes and FOX stops mucking up for scifi shows, it will always be a struggle. Regardless there is a lot of buzz for the show and social media seems to have taken to it, so I have my fingers crossed for this show because as you said, it's a great show and the potential is enormous.

  3. DVR shows people are watching this show but as long as the outdated Nielson box system remains it will be a struggle. And FOX putting it up against The Voice and Dancing w/ the Stars makes me scratch my head. Great review and I hope we get a second season.

  4. I love this show, but I am concerned that it will be a short-lived series. I hope it gets to season 2 at least. I guess a lot more people catch up on AH using their DVRs because they would rather watch The Voice or Monday Night Football live.