TV Review: Almost Human

Monday 12 May 2014 by

Almost Human, Fox, Watch I spotted an advert for Almost Human at a train station platform and, if I’m totally honest, I only really wanted to watch it because I’ve had a huge crush on Karl Urban since Lord of the Rings. It might have been cancelled after only one season, but it’s new to UK TV and I couldn’t resist. Almost Human – episode one – Pilot *Spoilers* It’s the not-so-distant future and thanks to the increased dangers of the streets, cops are partnered with androids. But Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban) isn’t a fan of androids, and when given a new AI partner, it’s not long before he throws him out of a moving car. Just two years earlier, Kennex and his (human) partner were ambushed by criminal organisation Insyndicate in a botched raid, where his partner died and he lost his leg and put in to a 17-month coma after an android abandoned them to save others more likely to survive. Dealing with the fallout of the bad raid and using a black market scientist called The Recollectionist (Hiro Kanagawa) to try to bring back his memory, Kennex’s issues are further compounded by a cybernetic prosthetic leg that he doesn’t get along with and the mystery surrounding his disappeared girlfriend. Kennex is basically a massive screw up. In the opening episode, you are thrown in to the centre of the raid that starts the whole ordeal, so you’re not really given much time to think. Once we have established Kennex’s background and why he dislikes androids, we follow Kennex as he returns to work, in a mission to hunt down Insyndicate. Having thrown his first android partner out of the car, Kennex is partnered with a “Dorian” (Michael Ealy), an earlier model of android that was abandoned for being too “human”. Together, Dorian and Kennex make an unconventional duo that are able to figure out what the criminals are up to – and get to the police station just in time to stop a raid on their evidence room… but what are they looking for!? You’re given a hint in readiness for next week. Clearly the Big Bad for this series is going to be Insyndicate (we haven’t really strayed from that path for the whole episode). But as a hook for next week, it felt a bit shoe-horned. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by Joss Whedon’s artful mastery of the teaser. The episode itself is guilty of falling in to a few sci-fi tropes and in places it was so clunky I physically cringed, but it also wasn’t shy about hitting you around the face with the story and racing for the ending with plenty of explosions. It was a powerful opener for a series, but it may rely too heavily on showing off with the effects than actually giving us depth of story. Mackenzie Crook’s appearance as techie Rudy Lom was an unexpected pleasure, and Ealy’s Dorian is a loveable and honest character that you instantly warm to. Kennex seesaws between just moody enough and slightly too brooding to be sympathetic. I love Urban, but feel that the “tortured soul” thing almost stepped in to panto and I found it hard to stay on board. For light and fluffy entertainment, Almost Human was pretty average – it won’t break any records, but it certainly went out of its way to keep you watching. If Urban can tone down the brooding, and Ealy is given the chance to stretch his legs with pithy dialogue, this will be a good programme. And yet, with that sinking feeling, knowing that it was cancelled after one season, doesn’t fill you with huge amounts of hope.

Did you watch Almost Human? Will you keep watching?

Rating, Review, Three

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