Fox hedges its bets with a combination sci-fi police buddy cop procedural in their new series “Almost Human”. I have to commend Fox for their stance on science fiction (which to many out there might seem like an outlandish statement). It is Fox alone for the most part that will risk green lighting sci-fi pilots. The problem is that often times, Fox isn’t willing to accept a slow ratings draw and quickly kills of these great shows long before they have a time to cement a steady audience. With “Almost Human”, Fox seems to want to hedge their bets a little bit by creating a sci-fi that employs the buddy cop drama format that has gained popularity in the last few years.
“Almost Human” is set in the mid 21st century Los Angeles. The police forces have struggled against the crime lord’s advanced firepower and technology. To combat this, they created android partners to help bolster their forces. Karl Urban ( Lord of the Rings, Dredd ) stars as Detective John Kennex, an old school multi generation cop with a deep dislike for the cold unfeeling nature of the androids. After a raid goes wrong and the crime syndicates kill his entire team, John falls off into depression but returns to the force after his captain Sandra Maldonado (Lili Taylor, Say Anything) hints at a new syndicate case comes up.
His new partner (after an “accident” with his assigned android) is Dorian played by Michael Ealy. This is the second crime procedural for Ealy, previously staring in USA’s Common Law. Dorian is a decommissioned earlier generation police android, a generation noted for being “too human-like” with their social and emotional programing, often leading to mental breakdowns in the high stress environment of police work.
Together the two form a reluctant team that’s not unlike every single other crime drama. It’s almost identical to the aforementioned Common Law motif (and of course even using one of the same actors). The buddy cop drama where the two cops don’t really get along but are both broken in a way that works together is not new, even for Fox. (For example, Fox’s The Good Guys). It’s a formula that works for specific audiences, and fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your view), the sci-fi aspect is minimal.
It reminds me a lot of the movie I, Robot actually, where our lead protagonist has a deep disdain for the robotic counterparts, including his own synthetic limb replacement.
Overall, “Almost Human” is definitely watchable if you are interested in cop dramas. Produced via Bad Robot, you can easily see JJ Abram’s touches onto the styling of the show. As Abrams has struggled with is recent television endeavors, it feels like he has taken a step back to a more established motif that works better to gain a wider viewership. In the end though, it does feel like just another generic cop drama with a coat of “futurism” to give it a new look while still being the same show we’ve seen time and time again.
- Oh Michael Ealy. You were just born to play a detective.
- Those MK police droids have a heavy Robocop vibe from their armor styling, and it’s very unnerving.
- The hashtag for this show should be “BroBroCop”