Television: Almost Human, "Pilot"

Um, okay, well . . . I like Karl Urban. Usually. But at the start of this show I didn't. Maybe I wasn't supposed to? He was kind of doing the cranky Star Trek Bones thing (without the cute Southern drawl). But out of the gate, his character John Kennex is totally unsympathetic.

And then Michael Ealy showed up as Dorian, and I really do like him in this (and did back when he was on FlashForward, too; now there's a show gone before its time). And again, maybe I'm supposed to. Because he is sympathetic. He's basically an android with emotions. And the only surviving one of his kind (that is, make and model), having been replaced by units that are rule-, logic-, and data-based. Ones that have no emotions because that, I dunno, subroutine or whatever, caused problems.

So now we have the makings of an Odd Couple buddy cop thing, only not funny. Which is a shame because I think some humor might have helped here. Instead we were given a plot that, honestly, I couldn't have cared less about. Some "Syndicate" (whose members wear masks, so they are not quite Anonymous, and also clearly don't have any noble intentions) . . . And John's memories revealing his ex-girlfriend was in with the bad guys . . . And the bad guys want something from the evidence room (sort of like that time Voldemort wanted something from the Hall of Prophecy) . . . ::shrug:: Who cares? These writers haven't made me care a lick about any of these people or what's going on. Just poorly, poorly done there.

Anyway, my initial impressions were: (a) Well, they spent some money on this, so I guess they better hope it succeeds; (b) The police set is pretty slick; (c) Who is that guy again? Why do so many of these people look alike? Why are they putting too many of them under my nose so quickly? I can't care about any of them at this rate; (d) Jesus, can't J.J. Abrams not cast British people? He has to have at least one in every goddamn* . . . ; (e) This bit reminds me of Blade Runner.

And that was when I kind of liked it. When John and Dorian were seated at the noodle bar, in the rain, and they were finally making a connection. It came late in the episode, almost too late, but that was the moment of hope for this show. That was the moment it connected with me, however tenuously. I don't know if the show can sustain it, and yeah it was all pretty cliché there at the end when John quit calling Dorian "synthetic" and all that (making him more likable), but it ended better than it began, so there's that at least.

(BTW, the whole prejudice angle/metaphor . . . Please don't beat us over the head with it. I'm hoping we managed to mostly clear it here in the pilot.)

The next episode airs tomorrow night (Monday) at 8:00, which will become its regular night and time. (Bones, for those who still watch it, moves to Fridays.) I'll probably go ahead and watch the next Almost Human, just to see how it holds up. And since I'll be watching Sleepy Hollow anyway . . .

*We all know I love England and the Brits, but seriously. They get enough of the acting and writing and production jobs these days and haven't been particularly kind to me what with their boys' network. So, yes, I'm a bit bitter. But at least I'm honest enough and willing to admit it.

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