The FOX network’s science fiction show Almost Human could be heading for the TV scrapheap according to some media publications. This Canadian-based treat starring Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Lili Taylor, Minka Kelly and Mackenzie Crook delivers a weekly dose of future cops and robbers, and other various baddies who need catching, that should be coming back for a second season. It does look, however, that its finale on March 3 could be the show’s swan song.
Almost Human showed a lot of promise with a first season that had good storylines and enough dangling threads of backstory as well as underlying issues that need resolving to keep it moving into future seasons. Just the aspect of Urban’s character Kennex and the genetically enhanced Detective Valerie Stahl, played beautifully by Minka Kelly, in a “will-they-won’t-they scenario is one that could go on for quite some time.
Dorian, played superbly by Michael Ealy, is the best characterization of an “android” seen on television and his casting was genius. This actor plays the object of the show’s title brilliantly and with deft humor that not many can pull off at all, let alone weekly. Lili Taylor, apart from that horrendous hairstyle she’s been given, exudes authority, compassion and, like Ealy, humor.
Karl Urban loses nothing on TV and his portrayal of the damaged detective in Almost Human, proves that there really is nothing this actor cannot do. The character of John Kennex is damaged individual, not in the sense that he is ready for the scrapheap, but, he does need the compassionate robotic partner he’s been given. Kennex’s internal recovery needs this robotic semi-human support.
The futuristic setting looks convincing enough, although there are those that complain that the vehicles do not look very from what is being driven today. It should be pointed out to those naysayers that 2014 is considered “in the future” to people who were born in the right time period; asking any of them would evoke a response indicating that current vehicles on the road do not look futuristic enough either. No Jetsons’ flying cars here.
Vehicular complaints aside, the show has been favorably compared to the 2008 five season sci fi show Fringe. Featuring another actor from “down under” this show also has J.J. Abrams in common as executive producer. Neither Fringe nor Almost Human broke records with audience figures. What these two programs have done is provide entertainment where, in terms of plots and devices, the sky is the limit with creativity.
Thus far, Almost Human has delivered on all fronts. Plots and subplots are more than satisfactory and all the actors do their characters justice. On a side note, Mackenzie Crook does a brilliant job in the smaller, but crucial, role of technical expert Rudy Lom. His performance is as deft and light as his work in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
Another actor who deserves props here is Michael Irby as Detective Richard Paul. It is the rare performer who can make his/her character so unlikable one instant and slyly funny the next. Granted the writers do have a lot to do with this, but Irby brings his egotistical cop with “short man attitude” brilliantly to life. This show is not an ensemble piece per se, but each actor involved breathes enough reality into their performances to make it seem so. Perhaps if it is renewed it may evolve into such a show.
Karl Urban is certainly a busy enough actor that he will not miss out if Almost Human is cancelled. In fact, none of the actors involved in principal roles need worry. Such is the high caliber of talent working in this series that all will be busy enough that they do not need to rely upon fickle Fox to renew. Still, it is a shame that this TV show may end up in the scrapheap just because it is not the next X Files or Fringe.
By Michael Smith