Almost human premiere review

Steve Perotti, TSV Staff Writer

With a season opener stretched out over two nights “Almost Human” brings back the futuristic cop genre with an amazing premiere.

J. J. Abrams is a man known for his science fiction flicks. With the help of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, Abrams was able to make “Star Trek” accessible to younger audiences and, in all honesty, he made it cool to like “Trek” films again. Now Abrams has cast his hat into the television field, and he’s brought one of his “Trek” stars with him.

Karl Urban, known for playing “Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy” in Abrams modern “Trek” franchise, is center screen as one of “Almost Human’s” protagonists. Urban plays “Det. John Kennex,” an officer who comes out of a 17 month coma after being the lone survivor of an assault on the squadron of cops he was leading. Alongside Urban is Dorian, played masterfully by Michael Ealy, and it’s with Dorian that the interesting stuff begins.

The overall premise of the show is nothing new. It’s a typical “buddy cop drama,” very much like “Lethal Weapon” with a futuristic twist, but the difference maker is Ealy’s character Dorian. The setting of the show takes place in a future that is plagued by technological advances that force the authorities into a constant losing battle with the criminal elements that is taking advantage of daily changing technologies. All cops in the show are required to be paired with a “synthetic partner,” an android, to watch their back and be their link to the department. Dorian is Kennex’s partner.

The pilot episode of the show aired on Oct.17 while the second episode, “Skin,” played the following night. Of the two, the pilot episode was better, but not by much. The characters are well established and the tone of the story is one that is familiar, but not to the point of being a boring rehash of elements we’ve already seen a dozen times in other edgy cop dramas. Urban, who also portrayed the title character in the under appreciated “Dredd” from 2012, is an expert at playing the introverted tough guy. It’s in Ealy’s role of Dorian that the surprise hits us.

Dorian is a synthetic, but one that is outdated. His generation was built to mirror and understand human emotions, making him less of a logic engine and more of a facsimile of a human being. Dorian is the only model of his generation in use at this point during the show, surrounded by the cold and calculation “MX” series being used by other officers. The contrast between these logical and calculating models and Ealy’s emotional and pensive Dorian is astounding.

“Almost Human” airs every Monday from here on out, and I can’t wait to see what this show has in store. With actors the likes of Urban and Ealy, and a producer like Abrams, it should make for an interesting show to say the least. I can’t wait to see what happens.