I’ve loved sci-fi tv shows since I was a kid, but I’ve noticed it’s hard to make a truly good show that is sci-fi, but still relevant and familiar to non-sci-fi fans without dumbing down the material.
The TV show “Almost Human” does the job, just fine. This new series debuted this week with a two-part episode on Sunday and Monday (11/17-18), and it is definitely sci-fi, but at it’s heart, it’s a buddy-cop story. It’s also a very character-driven show, where the sci-fi parts help tell the story, instead of being the focus of the show.
If you missed it, “Almost Human” is set in the future year of 2048, where police officers are partnered with androids, called “synthetics.” These synthetic officers are useful in the field, with direct links to computer networks, programmed fighting skills, and built-in data recorders.
Enter Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban), who is returning to the force after an extended medical leave. He and his human partner were ambushed and he lost his partner after a synthetic left them to go fight elsewhere.
Needless to say, Kennex doesn’t work well with having a synthetic as a partner, until he is partnered with an older model named Dorian (Michael Ealy). Unlike current synthetics, which are emotionless and operate on logic, Dorian’s model was programmed to have all of the emotions and opinions of a human.
The first two episodes had some interesting cases for the duo to solve, but it also allowed for some growing room in character development. They were getting to know and trust each other as we, the viewer, were getting to know them.
Urban and Ealy have a lot of chemistry together, but they are also bolstered by a strong supporting cast. Captain Maldonado (Lili Taylor) is the supervisor who asks Kennex to return to duty, and she shows faith in him, even when nobody else does. Kennex and Dorian are also assisted by fellow officers Valerie Stahl (Minka Kelly) and Richard Paul (Michael Irby), as well as Rudy Lom (Mackenzie Crook), the department’s resident synthetic doctor, who’s borderline mad scientist (in a fun way).
It’s not a perfect show, but we are only two episodes in and already the show has much promise to be even better. Produced by J.H. Wyman (“Fringe”) and J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Fringe,” “Alias,” “Star Trek,” etc.), I have a feeling this show will have legs.
“Almost Human” regular timeslot is Mondays at 8pm (EST), providing a great lead-in to Fox’s other new hit, “Sleepy Hollow.”
Here is the trailer for the debut:
If you’ve seen the show, leave a comment as to what you think of the show. I’d love to hear your feedback.
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