‘Almost Human’ Premiere Review: Fox’s New Sci-Fi Series Hits the Ground Running

Published 1 year ago by , Updated November 19th, 2013 at 10:50 am,

almost human premiere review Almost Human Premiere Review: Foxs New Sci Fi Series Hits the Ground Running

It’s taken a while for J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman’s Almost Human to make it to air, thanks to FOX’s post-season baseball obligations, but as the pilot arrives with the confidence and competence of a fully-formed product, the sci-fi buddy cop series side-steps a lot of the obvious growing pains that plague high-concept shows like this on their way out of the starting gate.

Starring Karl Urban (Dredd, Star Trek) and Michael Ealy (Think Like a Man), as a cop and his android partner in 2048, the show’s shorthand synopsis sounds like an I, Robot clone – Urban’s Detective John Kennex is as robot-weary and haunted by his past as Will Smith’s Del Spooner was – but the comparison fades as Dorian (Ealy) comes onto the screen to join with the occasionally wooden Urban, providing enough chemistry to power the show.

It’s heartening to see that, despite a slight breaking-in period, Detective Kennex and Dorian won’t have to spend a large chunk of this season establishing their relationship and dealing with Kennex’s distrust of “synthetics.” Surely, the pair will have their differences – at the end of the day, this show’s “hook” is that it’s about a cop and his android partner, fighting crime in the future – but letting Dorian prove himself to Kennex early on as an android that is programmed to rise above his programming allows Almost Human to put its best foot forward.

And why wouldn’t they get along? Both Kennex and Dorian have troubling reputations as they come into their forced partnership. For Kennex, he spent 17 months in a coma after an ambush that cost him his leg and his team, and he now returns to a force that is less than welcoming. For Dorian, his model was discontinued due to “bugs” and replaced by less humanesque and less independent models.

almost human fox Almost Human Premiere Review: Foxs New Sci Fi Series Hits the Ground Running

The partnership is set up by Captain Maldonado, a tough but sensible authority type who, due to the presence of talented actress Lili Taylor, will likely develop more dimension over time. In this episode, though, Maldonado and her team (which also includes Friday Night Lights alum Minka Kelly and Michael Irby, who plays disproving precinct tough guy named Detective Paul) have little time for exposition as the department fights off an attack from The Syndicate – a large gang that abducted another officer early in the episode, and who were behind the attack that killed Kennex’s team.

Kennex’s pre-occupation with The Syndicate (and the somewhat surprising betrayal that he endures at their hands) is evidenced by his quest to restore his memories from the attack with the help of a recolectionist and a dangerous procedure that allows him to peer into his own mind. Will they be the big-bad throughout the series?

Possibly, but the mention of people making it over “the wall” early on in the restricted zone (and other mysteries subtly introduced into the pilot) points to the potential for larger social commentary and depth in the show’s future. Almost Human is seemingly aspiring to be more than the entertaining and visually pleasing sci-fi procedural that it already is, and right now, it seems like it will meet those aspirations.


Almost Human returns tomorrow night @8PM ET on FOX

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  1. I’ve been looking forward to this since it was announced. If the pilot is any indication, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

    • Good show! I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s kind of like a cross between Blade Runner and Starsky and Hutch (the television show, not the campy movie).

      I just feel they made Dorian a little too human, and not enough android. Either in appearnace or demeanor, they should have made him a little more robotic. Just my personal preference.

  2. I thought this was a good show. can not wait until tomorrow for the next one.

  3. i liked this, the chemistry of Urban and Ealy is good and i am glad they didn’t drag the distrust of his partner on too long, i’m sure it will become an issue later on but the pilot episode had a good pace too it.

  4. Great episode. Karl Urban is amazing and I can’t wait to see the next episode.

    • Urban is awesome and so is Michael Ealy who I’m a big fan off since way back when he did Sleeper Cell and FlashFoward The man is a great actor

  5. I haven’t watched the pilot yet but reading “restore his memories from the attack with the help of a recolectionist and a dangerous procedure that allows him to peer into his own mind. ” totally made me think about the tank in Fringe!

  6. Really enjoyed the pilot. Pretty much exactly what I was expecting and then some.

  7. A good start for the pilot. FOX might have another surprise to go along with Sleepy Hollow.

    The best part is there’s another episode tomorrow night so we get to see where they’re going to take it.

    • BROOKLYN NINE-NINE too…3 great shows frm FOX!

  8. Excellent series to pair with Sleepy Hollow. First the future then we return to the past.

    P.S. I also thought the group that Kennex’s ex-girlfriend worked for was called “The Syndicate”. However, the caption on my TV and Kennex said the group is called “Insyndicate”

    • I also heard *IN*Syndicate.

  9. I really enjoyed this show tonight. Karl Urban is awesome. I thought several times while watching the show that HE should have been cast as the next Batman! I hope the show continues what it started tonight because this looks VERY VERY promising! I added it to my DVR queue right after watching it tonight so I don’t miss ANY of it!

  10. I loved it. has a blade runner feel to it, and it’s Wyman and Abrams so I’m already hooked. can’t wait for tomorrows episode.

  11. I’m liking it, hopefully it can stay up to the quality of Continuum.

    • yes it has the feel of continuum, damm that reminds me i need to catch me up on some Kiera

  12. Well I had low expectations but I actually liked it.

  13. I had really high expectations for this show, and lemme tell ya, I was not disappointed at all. Loved this episodes, well written, superbly executed, intriguing, suspenseful, and obviously so visually stunning. Can’t wait for the next episode (which fortunately enough is tomorrow night!).

  14. Could be worth a watch.

  15. Marvel Studios needs to seriously think about a TV series that has nothing to do with the cinematic universe, so it too, can establish itself without the baggage of a billion dollar movie franchise. Almost Human has shown them the way.

    • “Baggage of a million dollar franchise”. What baggage? The ratings for the first few episodes were so high because of a billion dollar movie franchise. There are a million problems with that show and none have to do with the universe they’re in.

      Back to Almost Human…..

  16. I was fortunate enough to catch the premiere tonight and it did not disappoint me one bet. I loved the chemistry between the two leads and I think there is going to be some great by-play between them. Since it is the first episode, not much was done with setting up the supporting characters, but I think they have potential. The robotics support guy, captain, and female detective (possible love interest for Urban?) all look to be played by strong actors/actresses. I cannot wait for the next episode.

  17. Good first episode… funny how DRN almost has more emotion than Kennex.

    I kept thinking he was going to say “I’m a doctor not a detective!”

    Was looking for Fringe references… there was trailer of a newscast that had “Dr. P. Bishop” in the scroller.

  18. Simple enough premise executed well, the effects work well for the setting and the actors actually have great chemistry.

  19. BTW, check out the swedish “Real Humans”, a really great series about humans living with robots. Goes to places many American shows would never dare.

  20. For a pilot episode I must say it hit the mark spot on.
    They managed to tell the background of 1 of the main leads, introduce the series villain with the Syndicate, have the team-up issues resolved and to top it of a pretty good single episode starter story.
    So yeah this series based on its pilot gets 2 thumbs up and will watch the next episode in the hope it is as good as the first.

  21. Am I the only who can see this as a prequel to Dredd? :)

    • That would be friggin’ awesome!

  22. Wow, who would have thought that with all these new suspense/crime/sci-fi series, the one that has the lowest quality would be AOS. Sleepy Hollow at the beginning I thought would be a big fail but I was glad I was proven wrong and has been very strong so far. Dracula, which I thought would be rather boring is really picking up and has been rather interesting. Now you have this series, Almost Human, which got my attention within the first 5 minutes. Everyone who saw the screening a while back has been saying it had the “Dredd” feel and I am glad it turned out to be true because I loved the episode last night. They delivered a “can’t miss the next episode” in the pilot. Mondays are going to be great

  23. Some obvious things this article got wrong include it’s no longer 2048 since its takes place 17 months + the original attack. So somewhere in 2049 or 2050. Or you can argue its even later since your main character is familiar with the robots if not just the newer MX models. The bad guys in this first episode are called InSyndicate, not The Syndicate. And the ‘doctor’ who helps John Kennex with his memories is called a Recollectionist.

    I have a hard time accepting the opinion of an author who can’t get even these simple basics correct that I picked up after one viewing. Jason, may I recommend a good editor?

    But otherwise, it is a good pilot, the show has potential. It will be interesting to see where they go with it.

  24. And you guys thought Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. sucked, Almost Human makes AOS look like 24.

    • But they won’t get product placement money if they try to make it believable.

  25. Twas good
    Now I got this and sleepy hollow as new shows to watch

  26. I really enjoyed it (I even put off watching OUaT for it!)

    I thought it was also clever the DRN model was “older” instead of pairing the cop with the latest and greatest test model (which is what I thought it would be)

    • I saw this exact comment on another article. How many times are you going to post it?

    • Check the ratings next time, the show is clearly listed as TV14. And if you got that far into the episode your daughter already saw someone get shot, at what point did you make her leave the room or turn it off ?

      • Yep that is some dumb parenting right there.

  27. Ghost In The Shell anybody? lol