The Fox Network must hate good scripted science fiction programs. First, the cancelled Firefly, one of the most beloved shows of geekdom. Now, they’re cancelling the excellent futuristic buddy cop show, Almost Human. It’s a shame, really, as Almost Human is not just one of the better science fiction programs on recent television; it’s one of the best television shows, period!
Almost Human takes place several decades in the future. Because of all the rapid technological advances, the world has become extremely dangerous and crime rates have hit a all-time high. The police, overwhelmed by the increase, each police officer is partnered with an android to help combat the lawless elements.
John Kennex (played by Karl Urban) was one such police officer. His human partner and his right leg was blown off during a botched police operation. He grew to distrust the regular android partners as their logic based thought process led to the death of his original partner as the robot chose to save Kennex and leave his dying partner behind. After two years (and a cybernetic limb later), he returns to the police force.
After he “misplaces” his new android partner, his police captain assigns him one of the decommissioned robot models, the DRN unit named Dorian (played by Michael Ealy). The DRN line have been programmed with something called Synthetic Soul which allows them to have feelings and emotion but also causes them to become unstable.
Honestly, the two leads carry the show for the most part. The interplay between the pair is brilliant! The scenes where they’re just driving around and talking about day to day stuff are fun to watch. Most of the time they’re just shooting the breeze and generally ribbing each other. But the more powerful scenes also involve them talking to each other in the car about really deep philosophical thoughts. It definitely helps that the chemistry between Urban and Ealy is so good! Either they really like each other in real life or they’re really, really good actors. I prefer to think it’s the former.
The rest of the supporting cast aren’t slouches as well. I especially like Mackenzie Crook as the slightly eccentric technician Rudy Lom. It does take a while to get used to his accent since it’s so different from the rest of the cast (very British). But once you do get used it, he has got some funny lines! Lily Taylor as Captain Maldonado and the guy that portrays most of the MXs (the logical androids) are pretty believable as well but just not as interesting. The character I felt to be extremely underdeveloped is Valerie Stahl, Minka Kelly’s character. She’s a Chrome, a genetically engineered human who was designed to be perfect. This is interesting in itself but it only becomes a factor (and introduced) in a much later episode.
The series also made good use of setting the show in the future. While most of the crimes they investigate have a definite and clear basis on popular “fictional” criminal activities (serial killing, kidnapping to get organs, a Die Hard-esque staged hostage crisis), the writers managed to put new and unique twists to them. Half the fun is trying to figure out what kind of modifications they’ll do to keep the crime fresh, even though we’ve seen it done before.
The universe Almost Human built is also incredibly detailed and, in fact, makes the world it’s in like a character in itself. There are many new bits of technologies that are commonplace in their time or even strange landmarks (The Wall surrounding the city is something I wish they explored more) that it makes the world seem lived in. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the special effects are really well done and blends with the world seamlessly.
Honestly, I’m very disappointed that Fox decided to cancel another great sci-fi show like Almost Human. The characters were incredible, the dialogue witty and smart and the stories were always fresh and exciting. I hope another network picks it up and make a second season for the show… just to show up those chumps at Fox what they passed up on.
Have you seen Almost Human? What did you think of the show? Whatever they are, please write them in the comments section below!