I want to like the idea of a human and android duo fighting crime in 2048. It sits well with my tastes. But at the same time I have to ask myself: how invested am I willing to get in a show that doesn’t guarantee a big audience? Firefly aside, I have respect for FOX’s willingness to go out on a limb and give a show a chance to tell its story. Any other network I might wait until a few episodes worth of ratings are released but, here we go again, FOX, I’m trusting you!
Almost Human starts out with a bang…well, multiple bangs…as in explosions. It’s an edge-of-your-seat way to throw us into this future gone wrong and it introduces us to our human main character, John Kennex, played by Karl Urban (I know him as Eomer (LOTR) and Bones (Star Trek)). He’s a detective that’s been in a coma for much of the last two years and is struggling to remember the details of an ambush that killed everyone on his team and lost him his leg. This episode finds him return to the force where we get to understand he isn’t a fan of the MXs—the most recent android partners the force requires; they’re logical and pragmatic, effective but not much more machine than human, which, we discover, isn’t always the best. When his new MX “falls” out of his car he is given and older model of android a DRN named Dorian. He is an android with a “bleeding heart.” He is capable of comparable human emotion and reasoning and, although John fights it, the two fit too well for them not to accept one another.
The banter between our two main protagonists is great and tells us a lot about them separately. The title “Almost Human” is no-doubt meant to describe the broken—emotionally and physically broken—John and the android with human feelings. They’re both almost human. (Yes, I realize it’s the pilot and I might be jumping the gun on the whole characterization thing but bear with me.) I’m looking forward to seeing this two bond…and banter, I love banter.
As far as the pilot shows, the big bad of the season (or series itself) is a group called the Syndicate. This is the group that ambushed John’s team and he is more than a little determined to find them. They, likewise, are determined to find something that the police are holding as evidence. More or less that’s all we know. Normally I like baddies that walk the line between good and bad, forcing you to consider perspective and the writer’s ability to manipulate. (I’m an English major, I can’t help it.) But a big organization of bad guys works for me, afterall, most corporations are evil, it’s not a stretch. Here’s the kicker, as he tries to remember what happened, John sees his ex-girlfriend as part of this group. Oops. As if he’s not messed up enough. I’m interested to see if this plot line works; those set ups are always iffy but so far I’m in.
If you are/were a Fringe fan, I think this is going to be a show that walks a similar line. Maybe it’s JJ Abrams and JH Wyman’s connection to both or maybe it’s just the whole leap into the future thing or maybe it’s because the season preview did show some very Fringe-y death/attacks scenes. That makes me happy. Saying it could be like Fringe isn’t necessarily a good thing. Getting five seasons out of FOX was a battle so we will see. (Don’t forget that Abrams-backed Alcatraz and the widely advertised Terra Nova weren’t able to pull in enough viewers with their not-so-ordinary storylines.) As a general rule I try to make a decision around episode 4 or 5 so I will check back with you, dear readers, as we get farther in to this one. I’m not a big fan of the letter-grade system but I’m going to say I’d call this a high B. What were your thoughts? Did you catch episode two (aired/airs tonight 11/18 on FOX)? (NOTE: I tried to type as I watched but that didn’t happen so if you see errors in the details of the show –or in general–, please let me know.)