Almost Human (season 1)

Main Cast: Karl UrbanMichael EalyMinka KellyMackenzie CrookLili Taylor

almost-human

A procedural cop show meets Caves of Steel, with some blatant allusions to Blade Runner and more subtle innuendos to Star Wars to tantalise the highbrow sci-fi geeks and attract the uninitiated. In 2048 human policemen are paired off with androids to face criminals armed with cutting-edge technology. Our hero is John Kennex (Urban), a maverick cop with a tragic past (of course!). He, naturally, doesn’t like following rules and conforming to departmental regulations so, in her infinite wisdom, Captain Maldonado (Taylor, and, seriously, who came up with the name?!) pairs him with Dorian (Ealy), a DRN i.e. a robot with a “synthetic” soul, layman explanation for a nifty bit of coding that replicates human emotional response (yep, the Nexus-6 model was a bust in comparison, no Voight-Kampff test necessary for this one). We have also Rudy (Crook), a geek for all seasons, who is not only tech-expert extraordinaire but also pathologist, chemist and, well, the go-to guy for everything that is related to science. Good job at saving money on personnel, “Unidentified City” Police Department! Last but not least the token eye-candy and possible love interest, agent Valerie Stahl (Kelly), utterly uninteresting and probably added by the creators just to pass the Bechdel test* for at least half of the episodes. The show doesn’t have a clear direction, it opens up too many story-lines but it rarely follows through. The only thing that works really well is the dynamic between Kennex and Dorian, mostly due to the fact that the actors have good on-screen chemistry and they are good at their craft. So even with neat special effects and technological ideas, this show can go only so far without a well-thought plan for a cohesive story. It is a pity because some of the topics brought up in a few episodes could have been innovative and unusual TV. So if it’s a rainy Sunday and Law & Order or CSI re-runs are not enough, you might think of giving it a shot. Unfulfilling  —5.5/10

*i.e. if a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man

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