A lot of the reviews I’ve seen for Fox’s new sci-fi show Almost Human have headlines like “Almost Human is almost good.” And, as much as that seems like lazy headline writing, it’s actually … kinda true.
Now, I missed the two-hour premiere on Sunday because 1) I kept forgetting this was a new show, and thought it was Fox airing reruns of BEING Human (The Syfy version, not the BBC version, I assumed), and thus kind of forgot about it; and 2) have a family member who is addicted to The Amazing Race, so I couldn’t have gotten near the TV anyway.
But, like Sleepy Hollow before it, I did manage to watch the second episode. Unlike Sleepy Hollow (which I keep hearing is awesome and great and not anything like what I thought of it), I watched the entire episode, so I can tell you all about the second episode of ALMOST Human, which isn’t the same as BEING Human at all.
First off: Almost Human is set a few decades in the future, where androids are a total thing because, in the future, no remembers the life lessons of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (the life lessons are ANDROIDS WILL KILL US ALL, AND ARE HOT). Karl Urban, aka another guy from Evil Sherlock Holmes in Space: The Movie, stars as Detective Boring White Guy With a Fake Leg. Michael Ealy is His Partner, A ROBOT , and Lili Taylor is Their Captain With Bad Hair.
Minka Kelly is also in it, but her character is completely unremarkable so far, and then there’s a crazy scientist guy that I don’t know the actor’s name, but is way more interesting than our lead, Bland White Detective.
Anyhow, from what I can gather from reviews of the first episode, Det. White Dude was betrayed by his girlfriend, couldn’t save his partner, lost his leg and for some reason blames this all on robots. But cops in the future are required to have robot partners, because the future is awesome, who doesn’t want to hang out with robots all the time?, so he teams up with Detective Robot With Feelings, Michael Ealy, and his pretty, pretty eyes.
So, Episode No. 2: Features a plotline where human ladies are being used to provide skin for sexbots, because human skin feels better than whatever the heck they’ve been using instead. Deerhide, maybe? Anyway, this process is illegal, because 1) robots aren’t allowed to have human DNA; and 2) it kills the human ladies.
Anyway, it’s actually kind of boring and I didn’t care whether any of the human ladies were going to live or die, but there was one particularly intense scene where Det. So White It Hurts is interviewing the beautiful sexbot while his partner looks on, asking her repeatedly: “Who owns you?” The reason this scene is so intense, and possibly it’s on purpose, is because there’s only one white person in the room, and he’s not a robot. So possibly some sort of commentary on race relations? I hesitate to proclaim that for certain, because the rest of the episode really is very overt about everything else, and this was a bit more subtle (read as: possibly accidental).
The award for best line of the night goes to: “Don’t scan my testicles,” which I guess is a reason not everybody wants to hang out with robots all the time, what with all their testicle-scanning. There’s also a fun sequence where Det. Awesome Robot shows some kids his glowing face circuitry (it shows up through his skin) and is one-upped by Det. White Guy, who stabs himself in the fake leg and sends the kids running off, screaming.
So, yeah: Almost Human is almost good, like everybody says. But remember: Fringe started slow too. So there’s hope. There’s hope.