Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Kid In Town


It’s a good thing I’ve given up on recording a couple of shows this season and cleared some space on my DVR, because just this week something new worth watching has come along. 

Almost Human, starring Karl Urban and Michael Ealy, is the latest in a long line of buddy shows to catch my attention.  And, these buddies are cops, which is just about the best.  The fact that it’s set against a futuristic backdrop is just icing on the cake. 

Of course it’s a little bit of an odd couple situation, which some might consider over done and cliché, but I’m a big believer in not fixing what isn’t broken.  Odd couples keep showing up for one very simple reason:  they work.  In this case, you’ve got a slightly damaged (physically and mentally) human detective (John Kennex, Urban) who doesn’t trust most people, let alone the robots, teaming up with an android—they call them “synthetics”—partner (Ealy’s character, Dorian) to go out and catch the bad guys.  Oh, and it’s just possible that the synthetic cop is more well-adjusted and likable than the human.  It’s a nice foundation.

FOX aired two episodes this week, the pilot on Sunday and then a second ep on Monday evening.  I thought the pilot was really strong, and it made me set up the DVR for the upcoming episodes.  The second episode was good, too, though already a little weaker, I thought, and it had a familiar flaw:  it moved a little quickly from the tension of two people learning their way with each other to partners who have mostly settled in.  One of my very favorite shows, Hardcastle and McCormick, did that, too.  I think they missed a lot of opportunity in skipping over those very early days (though that missing time period did give me some nice fanfiction idea starters, so it’s not all bad!), and I don’t like to see programs steal away those chances for natural character development.  Anyway, I hope maybe Almost Human will step back just a little bit and give us more of the uncertainty and edginess as the characters get to know each other.   Along those lines, there was one scene in episode two that was just about worth the price of admission, which ended with Kennex giving Dorian a directive to never scan his testicles again.   It was laugh out loud funny, and a new partnership moment at its best.  We definitely need more of that.

So, even though it’s early, I’m definitely on board to see where Almost Human takes us, and I have high hopes.  With the exception of Doctor Who (which isn’t currently airing), I don’t think I have any science fiction in my recording queue at the moment, so that’s definitely been missing.  And we all know there can never be too many buddy cop shows.