Almost Human is a futuristic buddy cop drama where one of the partners is more human than the other (and unsurprisingly, the one showing more emotions is also an android). While the pilot suffers from the same problems the vast majority of pilots do, once it gets going, no amount of exposition can slow it down.
The show starts with a bang, quite literally, as we are thrown in the middle of shoot-out where John Kennex (Karl Urban in all his gruff glory) is trying to save his human partner. One dead partner and one missing leg later, we transition smoothly to a sexy lady that will be important later on. And then Kennex wakes up from the tech induced dream and the viewers get a lot of exposition delivered in an angry voice and we learn that our intrepid hero is like every other hero on today’s television, complete with his very own Backstory of DOOM (phrase that is twice as funny as it probably should be in this particular situation).
Before the plot moves on, we are treated to some of the best marketing strategy FOX could dream of: Pantsless Karl Urban. You might think it’s to show his synthetic leg and to establish that he has problems with it, but you’re WRONG. Ask anyone on Tumblr.
Lili Taylor, who plays John’s Captain, introduces us to the Syndicate and to what will no doubt be a season long fight. She also assigns Kennex an android partner (that he promptly throws out of a moving car), because while John was in the coma, MX partners became obligatory.
After the failure that is the MX partner, Kennex gets assigned a different unit. DRN (or Dorian) that was designed to be as close to humans as possible (complete with emotional responses and a colloquialism routine, man). Fortunately for Dorian (and Michael Ealy, who plays him brilliantly), he doesn’t express desire to report John’s less than by-the-book way to interrogate a suspect; which means he doesn’t suffer from the same software malfunction his predecessor had.
Together, they go on to fight crime; Kennex with a permanent scowl on his face and Dorian with an eagerness of a puppy. And apart from a brief clash, they seem to work together well. When one of the police officers gets kidnapped, they get the information needed to find him (and, ultimately, watch him die). They bond over food and share an Eureka moment to, finally, arrive to the conclusion that it wasn’t just about that one blond cop.
Later at the precinct, bad guys use SCIENCE to disable the MX androids. Their tech doesn’t appear to be working on Dorian, who says that sometimes newer technology isn’t better. And I am provided with another reason not to update my Windows. Sci-fi tells us time and time again that updates are evil and you’re better off with old stuff. Old stuff saved humanity in Battlestar Galactica, old stuff cancelled the Apocalypse in Pacific Rim, and I’m pretty sure that if some overeager IT guy didn’t install that last update on that one military base, there would be no Skynet.
As it is, old stuff helps human cops save the day. Though it’s not that difficult since Almost Human apparently subscribes to the trope that Bad Guys Shoot Blanks and none of the remotely important characters get hurt in any way. But the entire action sequence is intense enough for me not to care about small details like that.
After the smoke clears, our intrepid heroes try to locate the mysterious evidence that the bad guys wanted so much, but it won’t be as easy as the database is a complete mess. And as the camera pans over all the shelves and boxes we see one of the androids that’s apparently in evidence activate and a red swirls lights up on her cheek. Uh-oh.
– Dear uniformed cop who let the suspect go to the toilet on his own: DON’T LEAVE THE SUSPECT ALONE IN THE TOILET! HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING FROM 12653 PROCEDURAL DRAMAS ON TV?????
– Love the way Dorian just injected himself with the substance they needed analyzed in the lab. And I can’t wait till it bites him in the butt and he injects himself with something that will hurt him.
– There were enough hints dropped through the episode about Dorian being “crazy” and having some “bugs” that I’m looking forward to the writers exploring those issues some more.
– John’s mysterious ex girlfriend, who’s apparently connected to the Syndicate, seemed unnecessary. I have very little doubt that her sole purpose on this show will be to further John’s manpain… Do we really need that?
– Minka Kelly is surprisingly likable for someone who’s there to establish the immortal “will they, won’t they” dynamic. Hopefully, they will give her some more material to play with later on.
– Shiny tech is shiny. Let me tell you. They might be two generations of androids away from Cylons, but wow; Almost Human has some really pretty tech.
Did you enjoy the season premiere of Almost Human? Was it everything you hoped for? Leave the comment below or join the conversation on Twitter.