Monday, November 18, 2013

Almost Human 1.01 Review: What Makes Us Human

Anyone that has yet to watch last night’s series premiere of Almost Human, this is where I suggest that you do that before proceeding ahead. For this is not a spoiler free blog. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.
So, this week’s pilot episode of Almost Human set the scene for a not-too-distant future (it is only the year 2048) where technology has advanced to the point where crime has skyrocketed 400%. This means there are not enough cops to dissuade criminals, and thus each cop must be paired with a synthetic partner – basically a robot.
We meet up with our damaged hero of the piece, John Kennex, played by the wonderful Karl Urban. After seventeen months in a coma caused by the evil crime unit known as Syndicate that wiped out the rest of his command, he has spent the last seven months rehabilitating. But now it’s time for this detective to get back to work, and that’s where this series begins.
While I have never seen Blade Runner and thus cannot make the connections with that film, this series does appear to have equal parts I, Robot as well as the recent remake of Total Recall. The special effects were masterful, which is what I related to the latter of the two films, and the MX’s were brilliantly designed, and also had an air of the former film. That being said, there wasn’t much I saw in this pilot that could be deemed original, but it was fun to watch nonetheless.
Although I’m a big fan of Karl Urban from both The Chronicles of Riddick film, as well as the two latest Star Trek films, it was not he who shined in this series. It was Michael Ealy’s turn as the emotional synthetic known as Dorian, based on the model name DRN. His ability to play a robot with emotions, but still jilted in his acting was phenomenal, and will likely be one of the bigger reasons I come back next episode. The man did amazing, I’d almost believe he actually was a robot, and that is the mark of a truly talented actor. It’s good to know that this guy has the chops to bring to one-half of a crime fighting team.
That leads me to another thing. One of my favourite things about this episode, aside from the character Dorian and my natural-born curiousity when it comes to the Syndicate, was the relationship that has just barely had its surface scratched, in way of the cop-synthetic team of Kennex and Dorian. The way Kennex had a strong adversity to all things synthetic, and then he is eventually (that is, after throwing his MX out of his car into highway traffic) paired with one that has emotions and is as close to human as possible, especially in the way that he makes his own choices and his intuition leads him to make those decisions. These two are perfectly paired for one another, and I look forward to watching their relationship evolve. I’m sure, while they did seem to come to some sort of understanding in the end, that there will be difficulties and obstacles to overcome, and that is a rather exciting endeavor for myself as an audience member.
All in all, this wasn’t a disappointing premiere. There wasn’t much in the way of originality like I said, but the cast that has been brought together seems promising. I do look forward to learning more about John’s ex-girlfriend, as well as seeing the development of Minka Kelly’s character. There is no shortage of cop dramas on television, but this does have a slightly different spin on that, at the very least. I’m not sure if I will stick around for the entire season, but this episode does have my curiousity peeked. Also, Segway!
My rating: 7 out of 10.

Best Lines:
“Well, that last part is true.” – Kennex agrees with his psychologist defining him as hating his synthetic body parts.
“Amy, Audrey, Aquamarine…” – Dorian lists off possible A names.

Okay, folks, that’s all for tonight. Check back in tomorrow for my reviews of How I Met Your Mother, Sleepy Hollow, and Almost Human, which moves into its Monday night timeslot.

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