Almost Human – Tim Plays Catch-Up

 

I remember being very excited that Karl Urban was going to be starring in a new sci-fi show, and I was rather happy that J.J. Abrams (I tend to like Abrams work. I know its not for everyone, but I enjoy it for what it is, entertaining) was serving as executive producer alongside J.H. Wyman, the show’s creator. I was ready for it, and then, thanks to the fact that I don’t have even basic cable, let alone a PVR, I missed it’s inaugural broadcast.

It wasn’t until I was working on an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. checking guest cast names when I saw the IMDB page recommendation that if I like S.H.I.E.L.D. I might want to check out Almost Human.

It had started?!?! When did that happen??!?!?! On November 4th apparently as the above poster suggests, but I didn’t even see any of those.

So, the downside is, I’m 3 weeks behind, but the upside is, I’m 3 weeks behind, meaning I can watch 3 eps back to back and get a really good feel for the show. After the first episode, I’m thinking I am going to like this show.

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Within moments of it starting the show made me think of Judge Dredd, Blade Runner, RoboCop and In the Heat of the Night, and I quite liked the world it exists in, though I do have this little stickler… if crime has risen 400% due to science and tech advancing and spilling out in forms of drugs and weapons… why does everything look so clean? Is part of the new tech stuff that keeps things looking spotless and pretty?

The always welcome Karl Urban plays John Kennex, a human cop, who while not a fan of the fact that his assigned partner is an android of the MX series, always gets the job done, even if it involves bending the rules, and occasionally ignoring his captain, Sandra Maldonado (Lili Taylor). That right there tends to make him just another in a long line of TV cops, almost to the point of being a cliché (in this case it seems more or a leaping off point), and yet, with the look of the show, and Urban’s charm, he makes this character his own.

After a brutal incident in the series opener that sees him losing his human partner, and his right leg (later replaced by a synthetic one), his distrust of MX are at an all time high – they base all their decisions on laws and logic, they lack that intuitive and emotional instinct…

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So when his latest MX has a roadside ‘accident’, Rudy (Mackenzie Crook), digs out an older model, a little twitchy because of their emotions, but the only android available…

Enter DRN or Dorian (Michael Ealy), an emotional android, who, while not happy about being called a ‘synthetic (there’s that word again), is very eager to be a police officer. So an unlikely partnership is formed.

The first episode, Pilot, sets up what looks to be a season arc, as the gang behind a biologically targeted attack on the police may have a personal connection to Kennex. I like the tech we’re introduced to, just a hop, skip and a jump beyond what we’re using today, but totally believable that such a thing could exist some 30 odd years down the line.

One of the things I love is the holographic police tape, that reads, projects and logs officers’ identities as they pass through it. It’s the little things, and details that for me, will help make this show.

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The second episode, Skin, takes on the abduction of women to harvest their skin and DNA, to make sex machines or the equally distasteful term, bang-bots more life-like, with this DNA and skin, they feel more real, are able to emit pheromones. I’m glad they got this episode out of the way early in the series, they dealt with the issue of sex with machines, quite well. They also dealt with death, whether for human or android, as Dorian watches one of the androids get deactivated.

In the third episode, Are You Receiving?, we get a bit of a Die Hard scenario, some great lines, especially letting Kennex use a classic Star Wars quote, and the continuing development of the relationship between John and Dorian. It’s evolving into one of respect, teasing (the dating profile stuff is hilarious) and loyalty, and it’s enjoyable to watch Urban and Ealy work together.

The series has lots of humor, is a fun police procedural, with some great future tech, and strong performances from some fantastic actors.

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Rounding out the cast alongside Urban, Ealy, Crook and Taylor is Michael Irby and Minka Kelly, all looking like they are enjoying themselves.

So far the only thing I would change would be to make it a little more gritty and lived in, the world, as mentioned, looks too pristine, especially with crime supposed to be so high, but overall, I am enjoying everything they’ve presented so far, and will be tuning in for the rest of the season.

Have you watched it? What are your thoughts?

Almost Human airs Mondays on Fox.

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