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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Almost Human debuts: A Review

Almost Human - the latest J. J. Abrams' offering on television - debuted on Fox tonight.   No Robocop this sophisticated, crackling story of androids and human police.   Rather, Almost Human has the ambience of Bladerunner, which is to say, really good.

Michael Ealy (Sleeper Cell) plays the android Dorian, teamed with the initially dyspeptic about androids John Kennex (played by Karl Urban), the human cop.  Urban plays Bones McCoy in the new Star Trek, never a fan of high-tech, so this is a good fit.  Beautiful Minka Kelly of Friday Night Lights fame is also on hand as police.

Kennex's been in a coma about two years, after the syndicate in this town some 30 years up the road from us (2048 Los Angeles) all but took out his unit.   He's saddled with an MX - the latest kind of cop android, considered a step forward in that they operate solely on logic, not emotion - but Kennex throws his MX out of the car into speeding traffic and android death when it figures out that Kennex's been visiting a black-market cyber-shrink to recover his memories - one of the reasons I said Almost Human harkens to Bladerunner.   Still obliged to be partnered with an android, Kennex pays a visit to the android shop. All that's available is a de-commissioned older model - phased out because these models feel emotions and are in that and other ways unreliable.  Meet Dorian, who's awakened from four years in android limbo.

So we've got a nice set up for a continuing story.  By the end of the premiere episode, Kennex has come to respect and appreciate Dorian, and Dorian appreciates this appreciation.   Kennex also discovers, in one last and dangerous dredge of his memories, that his former girlfriend betrayed him.

The police force is suitably diverse - other than the MXs - with Michael Irby (of The Unit) playing the typically skeptical cop who views both Dorian and Kennex as wrecks who came back to the force, and Lt. Maldonado (Lili Taylor) seeing them both as "special" i.e., much needed.   I like the mix, I like the style, I like the storyline, I like the action, and I'll back tomorrow.


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