It looks as though J.J. Abrams is heading to the future with his newest batch of television programs. In addition to the near-future setting of NBC's Revolution, Abrams is set to re-team with newly appointed, sole Fringe season 5 showrunner, J.H. Wyman, for a futuristic buddy cop drama on FOX - with a robotic twist.
FOX has ordered the pilot for the Abrams/Wyman as-yet untitled drama dealing with a future in which every LAPD officer is partnered with an incredibly advanced android that closely resembles their human counterparts, but will undoubtedly be wildly different from humans in their still robot-like quirks and abilities far beyond that of a regular human being.
The program is being described as an "action-packed, buddy cop show," which suggests that the android police officers may have more than crime-solving/detection skills to offer their partners, and will probably engage in some high-level acts of daring-do. Because what's the fun in having a robot partner if he or she can't lift/throw incredibly heavy objects or chase after a perp at blistering speeds?
While details beyond the basic premise are scant, the topic is ripe for a multitude of popular robotic quandaries like: Do the androids enjoy the same rights as their human counterparts? Are they looked upon as individuals or are they the property of the LAPD? And, of course, will The Three Laws, popularized by Asimov, come into play? And if so, how does that affect the androids' ability to police? Sure, on one hand the LAPD would likely see a steep decline in the number of police brutality charges, but when the going gets tough, are the androids compelled to let the human's shoot it out?
Right now, it's all just fun speculation, but one can expect, with Abrams and Wyman on board, the potential series will probably have plenty of smarts to go along with all of its action-packed goodness. No doubt there have been plenty of popular interpretations of androids over the years, so this Abrams and Wyman series will have to contend with more memorable ones - namely, Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation and the obligatory androids of the Alien franchise – which can also count David (Michael Fassbender) from this summer's Prometheus among their ranks.
As is typically the case concerning niche ideas and the television industry, FOX is actually the second network to go after an android-centric program with big names attached. In late August, NBC nabbed a concept from Homeland and 24 producer Howard Gordon and writer Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) about a futuristic landscape where a detective is tasked with solving what looks to be the first robot-on-human homicide while investigating a possible robot insurrection.
After working on Fringe since season 1, and serving as co-showrunner for three seasons, Wyman was recently promoted to the sole showrunner for the series' final, 13-episode season starting later this month. Once that wraps, it appears the writer and producer will have his hands full getting yet another collaboration with Abrams off the ground. Abrams appears to be as prolific as ever - developing multiple television endeavors despite having monumentally large film projects like Star Trek 2 on his plate.
In the meantime, Abrams' production company, Bad Robot, is set to premiere its newest drama Revolution for NBC on September 17. Fans eager to see the teaming of Abrams and Supernatural creator Eric Kripke can check out the pilot episode in its entirety on Hulu, and most cable provider's On Demand feature, right now.
Screen Rant will keep you posted as more details on J.J. Abrams' new android cop show emerge.