Almost Human is a futuristic show that explores the topic of technology (with an emphasis on artificial intelligence) via the crime drama format. It was put together with the help of Executive Producer J.J. Abrams (of Star Trek fame), and it features some great actors and high-production values. This show is both visually appealing and character-driven. Fans of science fiction found the show to be a pleasant surprise, but, unfortunately, Fox network cancelled the series after just one season. Fortunately, it is still possible to watch Almost Human online.
The Story of Almost Human
Almost Human is set in the year 2048. The world has become a dark and violent place. Crime rates have risen more than 400 percent. In order to fight back against the endless tide of bad guys, the police force uses advanced technology in the form of robot officers. Every human officer is required to have a robot partner in the field.
This series follows two main characters. The first is John Kennex (Karl Urban), a police officer who suffers an accident in the line of duty at the beginning of the series. His partner at the time is human, and a robot officer leaves his partner to die because his injuries are too extensive and his chance of survival is minimal. Kennex takes this to heart and develops a deep distrust and even deeper dislike of robots. The same accident that kills his partner leaves Kennex in a coma for seventeen months. After waking up, he eventually gets called back to duty.
Of course, returning to the force means that Kennex must have a robot partner. Kennex develops a habit of intentionally allowing his robot companions to end up damaged or destroyed. Eventually, his commanding officer, Captain Sandra Maldonado (Lili Taylor) assigns him a very unique robot. This metal companion is named Dorian (Michael Ealy), and he has an interesting habit of thinking like a human. Dorian is one of a particular model of robots that is known for having flaws in their logic programming which results in them developing the curious trait of considering themselves sentient. For this reason, these robots were deemed unstable in the field, and all remaining models were decommissioned. The Captain, seeing that Kennex needs a unique companion if he is ever going to follow police protocol, reactivates Dorian. Kennex dislikes his companion at first but over time learns to trust him even more than many of his fellow humans.
As the series progresses, Kennex struggles with his damaged memory that holds the answers to what really happened to him and led to the death of his partner. The show generally follows the “crime of the week” format but with a science fiction twist. The two cops must face serial killers, black marketers, drug traffickers, assassins, combat robots and all manner of science-enhanced criminals.
Although Almost Human is a procedural/buddy-cop drama in execution, the theme of the show deals with ideas that go beyond the simplistic tale of cops versus the bad guys. The underlining premise is that the world has become so advanced with its technology that things have gotten out of hand. Even as human beings progress and make new discoveries, these inventions and revelations are inevitably turned to evil purposes. Kennex and Dorian are constantly being forced to face the dangers of this futuristic world. Some of these conflicts consist of new and untamed technological changes while others are things that we face in our own modern world, albeit in a new and deadlier form due to advances in science. At its heart, Almost Human challenges viewers to examine the ramifications of rapidly expanding technology, human beings’ ability to control it and presents one scenario of what could possibly happen were that technology to be misused and abused.
One Good Season
Though Almost Human didn’t got picked up by Fox for a second season, what the cast and crew managed to do with the short time they were allowed was interesting and entertaining. Visually, the series has great production values without being too extravagant. The world is simple enough to relate to yet dressed up enough with details to give it the proper science fiction atmosphere. The action scenes are well-directed and compelling without being the main focus of the show. The various story arcs are typical of a procedural drama, making them easily relatable, even to those that do not normally watch science fiction. The characters are interestingly written, and they are well-cast.
Karl Urban is by far the star of the show. Having already gained science fiction fame by taking on such iconic roles as Judge Dredd and Doctor Leonard McCoy (Star Trek), he brings his expertise to the small screen with Almost Human. He comes across as comfortable in the role and within the world in general, adding an air of believability to the show. Michael Ealy (Sleeper Cell, FlashForward) does an equally interesting job with Dorian. The character is written in a way that allows the show to delve into the most common questions of artificial intelligence without being too heavy-handed. The result is thought provoking. The supporting cast, such as Minka Kelly, Mackenzie Crook, Michael Irby and Lili Taylor, all bring their own style to the show and flesh out the world of Almost Human.
Becoming a Fan
The show may have only lasted one season, but the vast majority of viewers loved it. If you are interested in finding out why, it is easy to watch Almost Human online from start to finish. There are only thirteen episodes in the first season, so it does not take long to watch the entire thing. Currently, fans are petitioning the Fox network to renew the series for at least one more season.