Thursday, March 19, 2015

Season One Shows: Almost Human

Ah sci-fi cyberpunk. I will never tire of it in whatever form of media. Welcome back to Day 3 of Season One Shows. Not certain what it is about a sci-fi crime drama but it doesn't seem to get the love to last more than a handful of episodes. With the establishment of the evolution of technology and not enough morality to combat it cyber augmentation for limbs, bones and organs giving humans near immortality and enhanced, speed, agility and strength. To battle this, the police forms the necessary addition to the force. A combat android. This is Almost Human.

Okay buddy, here's your sex robot and he's fully capable in multiple techniques.

The year is 2048 and the full creation of mega corporations, fringe gangs, cyberpunks, combat droids, matrix hackers and hired guns roam the streets. Genetic manipulations, surgerical augments and cyberlink to the hypernet.

Similar to the worlds created by Issac Asimnov, Phillip K. Dick, William Gibson, William Shatner and such kindred worlds we follow Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban of Xena: Warrior Princess, Ghost Ship, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Bourne Supremacy, The Chronicles of Riddick, Doom, RED and Dredd) a cop that commanded a squad two years prior to raid a vicious gang known only as The Syndicate but were outnumbered, outmaneuvered and outgunned. Kennex tried to save his partner's life but the android officer attached to Kennex's command drug him out instead of his partner due to the survival expectancy was higher for Kennex.

17 months later Kennex wakes from a coma to find he has a cybernetic leg to replace the damaged one and enormous gaps in his memory. Once released, Kennex chose to go to the black market and have his memory hacked to recall anything of that night, The Syndicate and how it all went horribly wrong, coupled with the fact his girlfriend Anna (Mekia Cox of I Kissed a Vampire, 90210, Crazy, Stupid, Love., Undercovers, Mob City and After Dark) had left him.

You broke our spoon quickly... No cuddling anymore?

Back in the world, Kennex has been brought to active duty by his superior Captain Maladonado (Lili Taylor of Mystic Pizza, Say Anything..., Arizona Dream, Ready to Wear, Four Rooms, The Haunting, High Fidelity and Six Feet Under) who teams him with an identical logic based android MX-43 android as his partner/back-up. The MX-43 records Kennex's actions and deems he must alert the captain of his behavior so Kennex "accidentally" released him out of the moving vehicle. Given this loss of hardware, Kennex is issued an older model android call a DRN unit that is as close to humanity as possible. Called Dorian (Michael Ealy of Bad Company, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Sleeper Cell, Seven Pounds, The Good Wife, Underworld: Awakening and About Last Night), Kennex notes Dorian exhibits a unique personality, wit and even hints of sarcasm. Can these two be able to work together in spite of their differences? Is a budding bud cop story arc possible in this distant future?

A few comments about the show now. Reminiscent of shows like Alien Nation, Tek War and Total Recall 2070, this show has all the hallmarks human drama, humor, suspense and mystery. Giving the feel of a timeline all its own using slang, concepts and attitudes mirror the early 1990s and the current time. With a hybrid of CGI and prosthetic makeup this series gives sci-fi effects combined with cop drama/mystery. A nice use of narrative gives you almost a detective pulp novel from the 1930s with a view of a technophobe unable to fully except the new world and prefer simpler times.

I especially liked the Detective Valerie Stahl (Minka Kelly of Devil's Highway, State's Evidence, The Kingdom, Friday Night Lights, The Roommate, Charlie's Angels and The World Made Straight) character do to the genetic engineered creation. Unlike the Eugenics War characters of Star Trek like Khan, this young woman is sharp, keen and capable that moves with the grace of a dancer but the attitude of a warrior. Why would she ever go into law enforcement is as baffling as it is to her species of human known as Chromes. I assume that is based of the flawless skin aspect.

Writer J. H. Wyman (The Mexican, Keen Eddie, 13 Graves, Fringe, Dead Man Down and Warriors) working with along writer/director/producer J.J. Abrams (Regarding Henry, Armageddon, Joy Ride, Felicity, Mission: Impossible III, Alias, Lost and Undercovers) they manage to create a world with hope in sight versus the typical dystopian and bleak futures to the like of Minority Report or Bladerunner.

J. J. Abrams personally recommended Karl Urban for Kennex's role after working with him on Star Trek and Star Trek Into the Darkness. Not a bad plug there, huh?
I'll avenge you, man... guess I should have backed up better.