TV Recaps

‘Almost Human’ Review: ‘Simon Says’

ALMOST HUMAN: Cast L-R: Michael Irby, Minka Kelly, Michael Ealy, Karl Urban, Lilli Taylor and Mackenzie Crook. Photo Credit: Justin Stephens/FOX

For those unfamiliar, with Fox’s sci-drama Almost Human, the series is basically Lethal Weapon meets Total Recall. Almost Human takes place in the year 2048 – when being a cop has only become a more dangerous job than it is today. Following an unprecedented increase in the crime rate, every police officer must partner with an android.

Starring Karl Urban (Star Trek: Into Darkness) as Det. John Kennex and Michael Ealy (The Good Wife, Common Law) as Dorian, the series follows the week-to-week missions of John Kennex, a detective and sole survivor of a devastating police ambush, and his robot partner, Dorian, as this buddy-cop duo solves cases and fights to keep the lid on dangerously evolved criminals in this futuristic landscape.

Urban and Ealy have a natural, easy-going chemistry as the surly detective and the android with human emotions. It’s that chemistry that allows them to stand out as one of the highlights. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast doesn’t gel as well. Lili Taylor (The Conjuring) is great as Capt. Sandra Maldonado, but Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean) and Michael Irby (Law Abiding Citizen) unfortunately saddled with one-dimensional characters Rudy and Det. Paul, respectively.  Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights) is completely miscast as Det. Valerie Stahl. Though Valerie is Kennex’s love interest, there’s no chemistry between Urban and Kelly, whatsoever.

ALMOST HUMAN: Det. John Kennex (Karl Urban, R) and Dorian (Michael Ealy, L) in the "Simon Says" episode of ALMOST HUMAN airing Monday, Jan. 6 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2013 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Katie Yu / FOX
ALMOST HUMAN: Det. John Kennex (Karl Urban, R) and Dorian (Michael Ealy, L) in the “Simon Says” episode of ALMOST HUMAN airing Monday, Jan. 6 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2013 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Katie Yu / FOX

That’s not to say I don’t like this show, because I do. In fact, I think, the newest episode, “Simon Says,” is the strongest episode to date. The plot focuses on a psychopath (guest star David Dastmalchian) who attaches bombs to his victims and kills them for the acceptance from his online audience. It’s something akin to “doing it for the Vine,” a real-life trend that has some doing whatever just for the approval of their many followers. People seeking online validation from strangers is something very current, and I think the writers did a great job of putting a futuristic twist on it. When does “doing it for validation” cross the line? It’s a question many should ask themselves.

The show seems intent on not digging deeper into the mythology of the universe, so their stand-alones need to be action packed and fun. New shows usually start finding their way around this point, and if “Simon Says,” is any indication, I think it can only go up.

Best Aspect | Michael Ealy provided the laughs this episode as a low-charged Dorian’s mood oscillated wildly.

Worst Aspect | The mostly useless supporting cast of characters. Give them something to do and make Richard (Irby) something other than Kanye West with a badge. Why is he an ass? Why does he hate Kennex? You got to give him other sides to his personality before stop caring, and I’m pretty much there.

Best Line | “Where’s a psychopath to get a bank loan these days?” – Kennex

Antonio Shanks is the newest addition to the TVSource Magazine team. He’ll be covering sci-fi and supernatural dramas including Almost Human, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Being Human