I recently had the opportunity to check out Fox’s latest foray into science fiction, Almost Human. Although The Black Geek Crew have all agreed to take the Chairman of the Board a.k.a. Geek Soul Brother’s golden rule to heart, by not passing judgment on a show before we’ve watched at least four episodes, I thought I should share my initial thoughts on the show. Please keep in mind that these are just my initial thoughts and I will continue to watch the show for at least the next few episodes.
At first take, I really like the premiss and found it reminiscent of Asimov’s I-Robot. Not the movie, but the book. Although the movie wasn’t bad, you’ll get much more from the book. Partnering human cops with android partners is pretty cool. I also like the integration of synthetic life forms into everyday society. You start to see the extent to which this has taken hold in the second part of the two part series premier with the introduction of the pleasure bots. The show has some flashes of brilliance as it introduces small aspects of technology that are taken for granted by the characters, but are tremendous leaps in technology for the viewers. Outside of the androids themselves, the toy giraffe from episode two stands out as a good example.
The show itself is bolstered by solid acting. Karl Urban of Star Trek fame is a solid actor. He’s yet to have a real opportunity to express his range, but I believe that’s coming. Michael Ealy is also a good actor. If you’ve never had the chance to, you really should check him out on Netflix in Sleeper Cell. Sleeper Cell was really a precursor to Homeland and it should have stayed on the air longer. In addition, Lili Taylor who plays Captain Sandra Maldonado is a veteran character actor with a solid pedigree. Some of the actors and characters are cliche, but I think the core is pretty solid. Moreover, I believe the mysteries they’ve introduced in the very beginning especially with regard to Ealy’s and Urban’s back stories will serve to cultivate some decent stories as the show moves along.
With that said, I think the show could use some tightening up in a few areas. First, the set seems like a more upbeat knock off of Blade Runner. Television borrows all the time, but given where we are now, from a technology standpoint, they should have used a lot of CGI and created a more imaginative world, especially since they over emphasize the rapid and uncontrollable proliferation of technology and its advances. Along the same lines, the guns look more like toys than futuristic weapons. I believe someone on twitter commented on how the guns look like painted Nerf guns. I’d have to agree. Also, the show takes place in 2048, human beings have successfully created artificial humanoid life forms that in many ways mimic not just human appearance but human behavior. While all of that has been accomplished, people are still driving around in what looks like dressed up 2013 Ford Fusions. It would be nice if that wasn’t the case. Under this scenario I would say it would have been better to steal from I-Robot, but the movie this time, Will Smith’s Audi was hot! On a slightly different note, I’m a bit concerned that the only black characters on the show so far appear to be androids, but I’ll hold that commentary for later in the season.
Lastly, I think the story telling needs to be sharpened. You’ve gotten us to watch, but the writers and producers have to be careful to keep us engaged in new and unconventional ways avoiding some of the more formulaic concepts that get shows in trouble. I would hate for this show to begin facing some of the issues Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is now being forced to contend with.
Well, that’s what I think so far. I’ll keep watching and let you know what I think. Please share your thoughts about the show in the comments or hit me up directly on twitter @Potbellysamurai.