Almost Human “Pilot” Review

Almost Human LogoLast night the new sci-fi drama Almost Human from Fringe writer/director J.H. Wyman, and the Bad Robot himself, JJ Abrams, aired its first episode on the Fox network.

I can admit I was excited to catch the premier. Trailers seemed promising and the cast Karl (I’m a detective, not a doctor) Urban, and Michael Ealy (Californication, The Good Wife), along with Lili Taylor had me rather intrigued. I mean, when was the last time you saw Lili Taylor? A stand-alone X-Files episode from 1998?*

Model MTX combat android.

Model MTX combat android.

The show takes place in the year 2048. Title cards at the beginning tell us that technology is significantly advanced, and therefore crime is as well. Police departments have issued combat-ready androids to each human officer for their protection on the mean streets of the future. The current model is the MTX, a purely logical machine that obeys and enforces the law to the letter.

John Kennex (Karl Urban) is back from a 2-year recovery after he sustained major injuries during a raid on a criminal organization, The Syndicate, goes sour. He blames the death of his then human partner on a stingy android who wouldn’t provide cover. (I smell trust issues). DRN or Dorian (Michael Ealy) a decommissioned model known for emotional outbursts deemed “one of the crazy ones” is issued to Kennex and boy he is not happy.

Android Model DRN or "Dorian"

Android Model DRN or “Dorian”

The story goes on from there and frankly it wasn’t that memorable. Needless to say I wasn’t 100% pleased with what I saw tonight, but let’s start with the good stuff.

The future tech they show off is cool. When androids run through their memory banks they have conduits that light up blue underneath their skin, and when they get shot they look all Terminator-y. Police tape is digital and scans officer credentials as they walk through it. Plus, flying cars! Neat, right?

I enjoyed the conversations between Kennex and Dorian. Their dynamic reminded me of the relationship between Sikes and Francisco in the short-lived TV series, Alien Nation. In one exchange, Kennex repeatedly refers to Dorian as a “synthetic.” Dorian very humanly responds, “I’m not a huge fan of that term.”

Kennex and Dorian on the case!

Kennex and Dorian on the case!

Overall though, despite a few entertaining moments, the story concept, character backgrounds, and even the relationship between Dorian and Kennex, were extremely predictable and totally cliche. Bad cop with a troubled past and a hatred of “insert group here” gets partnered with a member of said group and he learns a little something about trust. Yep. That sums it up I’d say.

I wanted to like it, I really did! Unfortunately even with the big budget, flying cars, and a name like Abrams in the credits I don’t have much hope for this show. But I could be wrong, and my opinions will be tested when the SECOND premier episode airs tomorrow night on Fox at 8 PM. Not sure why they need a second premier when they pretty much wrapped up the entire show in one episode, but hey, like I said. I could be wrong.

And I kind of hope I’m wrong.

What did you think about the premier episode of Almost Human? Two synthetic thumbs up or down?

*Fun Fact: After googling Lili Taylor, mostly to ensure my X-Files episode reference was accurate (which it totes was), I also learned that she and I share a birthday. Perhaps I should call her up to schedule a Mystic Pizza party? I know way too much about Lili Taylor.

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