Almost Human opened up this past weekend with two episodes. The pilot aired on Sunday night then another episode aired Monday night. It was not a typical two part series opener because the stories for each episode did not connect, but it did allow the viewer more time to get acquainted with this new world. Going in to this show I was super excited because it stars Karl Urban and I think he is an under-appreciated actor. If you have seen him in Dredd you will understand.
Almost Human opens up showing us Detective John Kennex during an operation. During the operation things are going badly. The androids working with the police keep telling them that rescuing certain cops is a bad move and expending resources to rescue one person is not worth the risk. We find out that the person Kennex was risking his life for was his partner. In the opening we see that the android runs off because Kennex’s partner is considered too far gone to save. When Kennex tries to pull him out himself the partner is killed and Kennex’s leg is blown off. We start out with a pretty good idea of why Kennex would not want to be partnered with an android.
My short reaction is that I am really enjoying the show. They spent a good amount of time giving us some background into the main characters and giving us background in to the world that the story is happening in. There were a lot of elements that had to be brought in and done in a way that makes sense to the audience. I think they pulled it off.
One of the big things I did love about the show is Karl Urban. I really like him as an actor and he did an excellent job. His character is supposed to have been in a coma for 17 months after the incident where he lost his leg. He is trying desperately to figure out what happened and dealing with the trauma of having his partner and entire team die. We are catching Detective Kennex on his first day back after the coma and then rehab. He is struggling with his prosthetic leg and is particularly annoyed when his boss tells him it is mandatory for him to partner with an android. Karl Urban brought depth to the character that could have been brought across as very one dimensional.
Once Detective Kennex destroys his first partner, he is assigned a former model DRN that goes by the name Dorian. Unlike the newer models the DRN was made to be as close to human as possible. This ended up with some quirks, that made some people think that they were crazy, or defective. In reality they end up being more like humans. They have been programmed to analyze situations and extrapolate instead of simply recording. Dorian is different than the other androids, he actually thinks about things and is programmed to speak in generalities, while still being able to know the specifics. The character is extremely fascinating because he is more than simply a machine because he shows signs of frustration, irritation, sympathy, and more.
One of the big things that could have made this show fail is if it does not feel like it is a city of the future. It is important with the story being told that this be a city of the future. The premise is that we get to a point that technology is so accessible that people are inventing things faster than they can be regulated. This in turn creates a huge problem with crime. So they have future tech, future bio weapons, and future defenses. They have done a great job of introducing quite a few new technological ideas, particularly ones that criminals are using, to show the technological changes that have occurred. It makes for a very interesting world to see the story played out in.
So if you cannot tell I am going to keep watching this show. I am enjoying it immensely for all the reasons listed above and more. One of the great things is that even though it has the gritty crime drama, it also has some of the humor of a buddy cop show. Dorian and Detective Kennex joke and laugh with each other. When Dorian does not understand the human protocols of a situation Kennex will actually try and explain it. There is a camaraderie presented which is interesting because it is with a human and a android. The show is a good story, but also presents a larger question of humanity in general.