Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Almost Human

This review is going to be a bit shorter than most. First, because it is such a gross, rainy, cold day and all I want to do is crawl into bed and pull the covers up over my head. And also, I don't think it's going to take a lot of words to get the point across.

Almost Human is a fun buddy-cop sci-fi drama series. It's I, Robot meets Alien Nation with a pinch of Lethal Weapon thrown into the mix. It's great-looking, from the actors to the sets, and you can tell FOX really wants it to be a hit.

From the FOX website (so watch out for hyperbole):
Almost Human is an action-packed police procedural set 35 years in the future, when police officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. The year is 2048. Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban), is a cop who survived one of the most catastrophic attacks ever made against the police department. After waking up from a 17-month coma, he can't remember much – except that his partner was killed, he lost one of his legs and he is now outfitted with a highly sophisticated synthetic appendage. Suffering from PTSD and the “psychological rejection of his synthetic body part,” John returns to work at the behest of longtime ally, the police captain (Lili Taylor).
By mandate, every cop must partner with a robot. And despite his passionate aversion to androids, John is paired up Dorian (Michael Ealy), a discontinued android with unexpected emotional responses. Although such responses were deemed flaws, it is in these “flaws” that John relates to Dorian most. After all, John is part-machine now, and Dorian is part-human. John and Dorian's understanding of each other not only complements them, it connects them.
Almost Human will follow the week-to-week missions of John and Dorian, as they fight crime across this futuristic landscape, while the mysteries surrounding John's attack and the larger mythology of this new world unfold. 
See? Get it? They're both ALMOST human. So we can explore all these hard-hitting questions about what it  means to be human, and what makes a person, and can an android truly feel.

Or we could also just blow a lot of shit up. I am particularly fond of that part.

There's nothing particularly earth-shattering about the premise here. Future cops, mismatched partners, blah blah blah. But what Almost Human has going for it are the lead actors. Karl Urban has gone from a little known New Zealand actor who popped up in Xena: Warrior Princess....

Hey there, I'm Cupid.

....to a full-blown movie star whom you probably recognize from Lord of the Rings and JJ Abrams' Star Trek movies. I've liked Urban for a while, but Michael Ealy, who plays the android partner, Dorian, was unknown to me.

I am happy to report that they are both great in this, especially Ealy who has the difficult task of playing an android who can feel. He has to walk a fine line between robot and human, but does it seemingly without effort. When watching the show, I actually believe that he is an android, and for a tv-watching cynic like me that's a hard feat to pull off. The two actors have great chemistry together and when you toss Lili Taylor into the mix, you have a first rate cast.

Three episodes have aired and while I haven't found the plot particularly riveting, it's the actors that are the real draw here. Oh, and the previously mentioned explosions. Hurray for blowing things up! I am also hopeful that we'll learn more about the "futuristic landscape" the characters inhabit since that seems pretty interesting, but a focus on the relationship between the characters is ok by me too.

In short: I recommend the show, especially for fans of sci-fi and buddy cop movies. Ratings have been solid, (not spectacular), but I am reasonably certain that we'll at least get a full season out of it. So if you are afraid of commitment to a show that might get cancelled, I think you're safe with these guys. You can also watch the complete episodes on the FOX website so catching up will be easy.

Almost Human airs Mondays at 8pm EST on FOX.


Scienter said...

I LOVE this show so far! Though I think that you should have mentioned that Karl Urban was also Lord Vaako in the best cheesy sci fi movie ever: The Chronicles of Riddick. ;)

Caroline said...

I wrote sixty-three songs this year. They're all about androids.