Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Culture Cafe

'Almost Human' premiere review: The Fox show is entertaining and intriguing

'Almost Human' leads Michael Ealy and Karl Urban have a good chemistry as an android and his human partner fighting crime. 'Almost Human' airs on Fox.

By Jason TabrysScreen Rant / November 18, 2013

'Almost Human' stars Michael Ealy (l.) and Karl Urban (r.).

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Enlarge

It’s taken a while for J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman’s Almost Human to make it to air, thanks to FOX’s post-season baseball obligations, but as the pilot arrives with the confidence and competence of a fully-formed product, the sci-fi buddy cop series side-steps a lot of the obvious growing pains that plague high-concept shows like this on their way out of the starting gate.

Skip to next paragraph

Screen Rant had a humble start back in 2003 as a place to rant about some of the dumber stuff related to the movie industry. Since then, the site has grown to cover more and more TV and movie news (and not just the dumb stuff) along with sometimes controversial movie reviews. The goal at Screen Rant is to cover stories and review movies from a middle ground/average person perspective.

Recent posts

Starring Karl Urban (Dredd, Star Trek) and Michael Ealy (Think Like a Man), as a cop and his android partner in 2048, the show’s shorthand synopsis sounds like an I, Robot clone – Urban’s Detective John Kennex is as robot-weary and haunted by his past as Will Smith’s Del Spooner was – but the comparison fades as Dorian (Ealy) comes onto the screen to join with the occasionally wooden Urban, providing enough chemistry to power the show.

It’s heartening to see that, despite a slight breaking-in period, Detective Kennex and Dorian won’t have to spend a large chunk of this season establishing their relationship and dealing with Kennex’s distrust of “synthetics.” Surely, the pair will have their differences – at the end of the day, this show’s “hook” is that it’s about a cop and his android partner, fighting crime in the future – but letting Dorian prove himself to Kennex early on as an android that is programmed to rise above his programming allows Almost Human to put its best foot forward.

And why wouldn’t they get along? Both Kennex and Dorian have troubling reputations as they come into their forced partnership. For Kennex, he spent 17 months in a coma after an ambush that cost him his leg and his team, and he now returns to a force that is less than welcoming. For Dorian, his model was discontinued due to “bugs” and replaced by less humanesque and less independent models.

The partnership is set up by Captain Maldonado, a tough but sensible authority type who, due to the presence of talented actress Lili Taylor, will likely develop more dimension over time. In this episode, though, Maldonado and her team (which also includes Friday Night Lights alum Minka Kelly and Michael Irby, who plays disproving precinct tough guy named Detective Paul) have little time for exposition as the department fights off an attack from The Syndicate – a large gang that abducted another officer early in the episode, and who were behind the attack that killed Kennex’s team.

Kennex’s pre-occupation with The Syndicate (and the somewhat surprising betrayal that he endures at their hands) is evidenced by his quest to restore his memories from the attack with the help of a recolectionist and a dangerous procedure that allows him to peer into his own mind. Will they be the big-bad throughout the series?

Possibly, but the mention of people making it over “the wall” early on in the restricted zone (and other mysteries subtly introduced into the pilot) points to the potential for larger social commentary and depth in the show’s future. Almost Human is seemingly aspiring to be more than the entertaining and visually pleasing sci-fi procedural that it already is, and right now, it seems like it will meet those aspirations.

Jason Tabrys blogs at Screen Rant.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of music, film, and television bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!