Television: Almost Human, "Simon Says"

Okay, so I mostly find Almost Human very uneven. The last new episode to air I turned off after ten minutes or so because I just didn't care about what was going on. For me, Almost Human is on the bubble; I can take it or leave it. It's not appointment television, and I'm not sorry if I miss an episode. But I still turn it on to see whether whatever episode is playing catches my interest.

This one was pretty good. Sort of a futuristic snuff YouTube in which people go on the "dark net" to watch the kind of stuff that's pretty much illegal. When you think about it, this isn't so far from true. Look at reality television, look at the horror movies that make big box office, look at how desperate everyone is for their mini movies to get thousands of hits online . . . Put it all together, and this is pretty much the result.

Anyway, in this instance one Simon Lynch (let's just give him one of those on-the-nose names, shall we?) has opted to revenge himself upon those who have rejected him by fastening bombs around their necks and broadcasting over the [dark] Internet as he forces them to follow a series of instructions . . . And then die anyway. He does this to a bank manager who refused to give him a loan, and then to a woman who turned him down for a date. Alas, Kennex and Dorian are able to save the woman, causing Simon to lose viewers. He is decidedly pissed off about that.

Turns out, too, that Simon had been a police recruit training with the bomb squad before being booted after failing a psych evaluation. (Ya think? Maybe they should screen them before teaching them stuff about bombs?)

Simon takes his frustration out on Kennex by—you guessed it!—fastening a bomb around Kennex's neck. Guy's a one trick pony, really. Wouldn't be much of a show if Kennex didn't get out of it, so I really lost interest at that point.

The B plot was actually quite entertaining, however. Due to rolling brownouts, the androids couldn't all be charged and Dorian was given even lower priority for charging than the MXs. This caused Dorian to act out a bit, in part out of frustration that the MXs received higher priority and in part because not being fully charged wonked out his emotional circuits. He asked Kennex whether he could come stay at Kennex's place rather than have to share a charging area with the MXs, but Kennex was keen to keep his trophy room. The episode ended with Dorian going to room with Rudy . . . But is that better or worse than living in MX housing?

Lots of shows go with the buddy living situation, at least for a few episodes. Wilson and House on House M.D. Remember that? That was a show I wanted to see, more even than the actual show I was watching (and I gave up on House a couple seasons prior to it withering and dying anyway; the Cuddy thing was just too no). Writers use the buddy living thing as a way to thicken the soup, give them something else to write or play with when the main story is light. Done well, it can be fun. Done poorly, it's a disaster. I mean, The Odd Couple is one thing. That's a sitcom, meant to be funny. In a drama, one uses the funny to lighten what one hopes is dramatic tension. Not wanted: an hour-long sitcom. Unless it's House and Wilson. Cuz I would've totally watched that.

I liked seeing more of Paulie this week. He and Dorian had some good moments. I'll keep test driving Almost Human in the hopes of more such moments in the future.

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