These days, it seems like all the cable channels have the good dramas while the commercial networks are constantly broadcasting new, short-lived dramas that are full of cheesy dialogue and terrible character development. Good stories are thrown together with seemingly little thought, ruining their chances of ever truly developing into good dramas. Do you remember “FlashForward” or “Terra Nova”? These shows had great storylines but seriously lacked good writing. This kind of show doesn’t last. We don’t have to watch these awful shows because we have the Internet and Netflix through which we can watch good shows like “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones.” It’s time for these networks to step up their game, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you about “Almost Human.”
The year is 2048 and technology has evolved to an uncontainable level and the crime rate has risen 400 percent. To deal with the astounding amount of crime, law enforcement decides to partner each police officer with a combat model android. The setting is interesting enough to get viewership — it tickles our underlying fear of technology being taken to the extreme.
Then we meet our protagonist Detective John Kennex, played by Karl Urban (“Star Trek”), who has recently awaken from a 17-month coma after being in an explosion during an ambush. He is missing parts of his memories from that day, but believes someone from his team tipped off the ambushing gang. Kennex turns to a doctor, who, using illegal methods, helps Kennex recall what happened. The memory loss aspect is a little cliche, but it is something that adds character to our protagonist. It’s something he is struggling with and something he will work through during the season.
The delivery of the show is what bothers me. The show is full of one-liners and way too much foreshadowing. The exchanges between Kennex and Valerie (Minka Kelly) make it obvious that the two will fall for each other.
Kennex’s android partner, Dorian (Michael Ealy), is an older android model that has the capacity to feel and be, well, almost human. When the partners first meet, they don’t get along. However, by the end of the first episode, the fighting between Kennex and Dorian has ceased, drastically cutting short what could have been a season-long quarrel. Instead, the partners are already strengthening their friendship, a development that happens much too quickly. Kennex is supposed to be this hard, unfriendly character that is so depressed that a psychiatrist recommended he never return to work. Despite this, he is making friends with the android he didn’t even want as a partner.
This may all sound harsh but I think the key to making a good drama is to take it slow. Characters and their various relationships can develop throughout the entire season — it doesn’t all need to be done in the pilot. The show has good action and can definitely be creepy and weird — I even gasped once or twice. If the show would just slow down and focus on the little things, it could be really fantastic. You can see it for yourself Mondays at 8 p.m. on FOX.