Wednesday, November 20, 2013

TV Snap Judgment: Almost Human

This week, "Almost Human" premiered, and I must admit that I was incredibly pumped. I was waiting for what seemed like decades for this show. 

OK, yeah, it was only a couple of months, but "Almost Human" was one of the shows I was most looking forward to this TV season. And I'm happy to say, the show really lived up to my high expectations.

"Almost Human" is a near-future sci-fi cop procedural. The show follows Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban), who returns to the force after an on-duty accident. He must be paired with an android partner, but instead of the normal, emotionless kind, he pairs up with Dorian (Michael Ealy), an older model with software that makes him react more like a human. 

The first episode, which aired Sunday, set up the concept of the show and the second episode, which aired Monday, featured the cops going after guys who were in the business of making sexbots. Let's face it, any show that goes for sexbots in episode two, and does it well, deserves a lot of accolades.

Kennex is a damaged man, both physically and emotionally, and he's played excellently by Karl Urban. One of the things I absolutely love about Urban is that he is really good at being charmingly disgruntled. He was a perfect Bones McCoy in the "Star Trek" movies because of his ability to be both adorable and grumpy, and that is a talent he is already using to great effect in "Almost Human." 

I love Urban's chemistry with Michael Ealy, too. Ealy is great as an android with emotions. There are moments where he's obviously an android, and he always downplays his emotions, but there's definitely a core of emotions, there, too. But what's really great is the interplay between Kennex and Dorian, especially in the second episode. They're both "damaged" and different in some way, and they don't fit in with their peers. They have an almost instant connection and it's obvious in the show in a million different ways. I'm excited to see what happens next with their friendship!

There's just a great chemistry between Urban and Ealy, and it's amazing that it's so great already. So often, it takes at least a few episodes to get characters to really connect - it was at least three or four episodes for "Sleepy Hollow," and I've only just started to feel real connection on "Agents of SHIELD" - but there's just an almost instant connection between these two guys. That bodes very well for this show!

"Almost Human" takes place in a near-future world. It kind of has a hip '80s sci-fi feel, like "Blade Runner" and "Total Recall," but with a slightly updated flair. It's a super cool world that I look forward to exploring. The technology is also incredibly cool, and I suspect that the show will bring up the question of whether a machine can have a soul. It's not a new sci-fi concept, but it's not one that has been explored much lately. So much of "sci-fi" doesn't really have much of a science core, but I feel like "Almost Human" has it. 

But "Almost Human" is also already tackling some other sci-fi concepts. Both episodes had plot points that had to do with the manipulation and use of human DNA. In a world where science is making leaps and bounds toward unlocking human DNA, this is a timely concept, and a great one for a sci-fi show.

Above all, though, "Almost Human" is entertaining and fun to watch. I'm really excited that it's on TV, and I'm already jonesing for Monday when I get to watch the next episode! The only thing I'm concerned about is if it will last. Ratings on the first night were good, but they tumbled a bit on its permanent home on Monday. The show is great, but it's also a bit more high-concept than your average show. Despite the fact that they're in two totally different genres, I do think it pairs well with the goofy gonzo "Sleepy Hollow" - Fox has suddenly become my favorite Monday night destination - but it might work out better if the well-established "Sleepy Hollow" led into the newbie "Almost Human." J.J. Abrams' name being attached to it, even as a producer, certainly helps its chances, but sci-fi fans are naturally skittish about their shows getting canceled, especially when they air on Fox. Maybe this could be the time that the network finally makes some amends for canceling "Firefly" 10 years ago. Hopefully Fox will let it build an audience in a good time slot (don't move it to Friday, please!) and build up a pretty decent following. It certainly has the potential to be a great show with good ratings.

What did you think of the first two episodes of "Almost Human?"

No comments:

Post a Comment