It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! I guess this late in the season it’s strange for any shows to be premiering, but Fox’s Almost Human just finished its first couple episodes—one on Sunday and one last night. How was this new sci-fi cop drama? Here are the particulars.
What I liked:
- The premise. We’ve seen the whole “not-so-distant future with android cops” thing, but here the whole story revolves around an android cop built to be as human as possible and a human cop recovering from an incident that has left him pretty bitter. There are times when the android seems more human than the actual human, and that’s an interesting concept to play with. Add in the fact that the human has an android leg, and “almost human” takes on all kinds of meanings.
- The chemistry between the partners. Though the relationship starts out pretty frigid, rash cop John (Karl Urban) gradually warms up to Dorian (Michael Ealy), the android that is basically forced upon him. Dorian’s effortless charm helps to smooth out John’s rough edges. Plus, there are some truly funny moments between them—especially in the second episode.
- Michael Ealy! Going into the show, I knew almost nothing about the actor (other than he has some of the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen), but he’s impressed me so far. As Dorian, Ealy gives a lot of life to a potentially bland character. He’s compassionate, sincere, perceptive, and even a little cheeky. And a smidge robotic, of course. It’s a surprisingly charismatic performance.
- All the cool technology. There’s plenty for sci-fi geeks to drool over—particularly in the beginning of the second episode. But no spoilers! Let’s just say the not-so-distant future (2048) is firmly established.
What I didn’t like:
- The main character…for the first 45 minutes. I know some tough cop characters can be hard to love, but I found John downright unlikeable for much of the first episode—which was confusing for me since I love Karl Urban. He becomes much less frosty, of course, in the second episode, but I just hope his initially surly demeanor didn’t scare away too many potential fans.
- There’s an annoying, meathead, very stereotypical bully cop. He talks smack about John and then bullies Dorian. So, let’s see—diss the cop who lost a limb and went into a coma in the line of duty? Rude. I guess you’re threatened by him? Whatever. Diss the android who’s going to have his back? Pretty pointless. I’m sorry, bully cop, are we in high school?
- The obvious romance brewing between lady cop Stahl and John. From the first look, that was completely predictable. Can we just do away with this typical cop drama plot point and not have them become an awkward semi-couple? Pretty please?
- Even with the cool technology and fairly interesting premise, it has the potential to become bland. You can sense some bigger things building through John’s history and references to a particular criminal group, but a lot more needs to be done with that and the crimes in general to make the show unique—though I will admit that the first two episodes seem to be taking the right steps.
The Potential: If I’d only seen the first episode, I might not think much of Almost Human thus far, but seeing the first two episodes has helped me kind of see what the show is going for, and I think it could be pretty good. The futuristic backdrop is cool, the buddy cop bits are funny, and Dorian has the potential to be an interesting character. So far, I’m on board.
My Grade: B+