Fans of J.J. Abrams, rejoice! Almost Human is here to fill the void left after Fringe's end - and it promises to deliver.
Almost Human Season 1 Episode 1 introduced viewers to Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban), an officer with the LAPD who recently woke from a coma. Upon returning to the force, he is assigned a new partner, an android. In this crime-riddled, dystopian society, synthetic partners are a requirement. And Kennex isn't pleased.
That is, until he meets Dorian.
Set in the year 2048, Almost Human feels like it could be a part of the Fringe-verse. This world could be an off-shoot of one of the many parallel universes in that amazing series.
In fact, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that sets and props and verbiage are shared between the two shows. There's biotech talk and futuristic crime. There are flying cars and self-aware machines. All of the technological trappings of a modern science-fiction show.
But then there's a J.J. Abrams' hallmark--the damaged man who needs people despite his best efforts to convince himself otherwise. Not unlike Peter Bishop was once upon a Season 1 con.
17 months prior to the pilot, John Kennex led a team into an ambush by a crime group known as Insyndicate. He lost his partner and his leg, and he blames that loss on an MX-83, an android officer assigned as back-up.
Had the machine listened to him, he believes he would have been able to save his partner's life, but because the machine works in data and statistics, no one survived. And the worst part is that Kennex can't remember what happened.
Kennex is a man struggling to piece together memories of another time. To do so, he visits a Recollectionist who eventually, and dangerously, helps him remember that his ex-girlfriend, who mysteriously disappeared while he was in the coma, was involved somehow in the ambush that cost him everything. Was she really there? Or are his memories messed up? He can't be sure.
As a result of surveying all he's lost, he's distrusting of the machines and believes he works best on his own. The reality is that he's scared of losing, and that much seems clear. If he doesn't let anyone in, he doesn't have to get hurt. If he trusts no one, he has no one to blame but himself when things go wrong.
Upon returning to work, he's assigned an MX-83 partner, and when the machine questions him, he tosses it out of a moving vehicle. Then he's partnered with Dorian (Michael Ealy), who he also distrusts.
But Dorian is different, and Kennex learns this lesson quickly. Where the MX-83 machines are designed to calculate and react according to best possible outcomes, Dorian reasons. He feels.
[to John] I'm not like them. MX units are logic-based and rule-oriented. They have no free will and they are designed to feel nothing. I can't say that I was born, I can't say I grew in a womb or had a child, but I was made to feel. And I do. As much as you.Dorian
Dorian is self-aware.
Where the other machines hold back when attempting to rescue a kidnapped officer because their math tells them that advancing is unsafe, Dorian charges forward, taking a calculated risk.
But there are risks to trusting Dorian. His entire line was decommissioned because, like humans, they have emotional breaking points.
Together Kennex and Dorian devise a plan to determine what it is Insyndicate is after, which is a piece of evidence attached to Casefile 6663. We know that it's another DRN like Dorian, and what we'll see over the next several weeks is their attempts to figure out the same.
Kennex might be the human component, but Dorian is the heart of the show. While his interactions with other people, especially Minka Kelly's Valerie Stahl, will no doubt prove beneficial to Kennex, his partnership with Dorian will be what ultimately saves him.
I, for one, am ready for the adventure.
What did you think of Almost Human Season 1 Episode 1? Are you excited for a new sci-fi show? Grade the Almost Human pilot and let's talk about this new series in the comments!
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.