Futuristic cop drama “Almost Human,” from J.H. Wyman and J.J. Abrams, premieres tonight on Fox.
The series stars Karl Urban as detective John Kennex, who wakes up 17 months after being caught in an ambush that took out his whole team. Unable to get along with his new, top-of-the-line android partner, John is paired with Dorian (Michael Ealy) a highly emotional discontinued robot, barely spared from the scrap heap. Under the command of Maldonado (Lili Taylor), the two work cases with help from lab rat and android guru Rudy (“Game of Thrones’” Mackenzie Crook).
Here’s four reasons to tune in:
Futuristic Carguments!: “Hawaii Five-0’s” Steve McGarrett and Dano have the modern market cornered with their amusing motor-bound bickering, but in the future-set world of “Almost Human,” John Kennex takes things to a new level. Put a synthetic cop in his vehicle and his quick temper leads to serious consequences for at least one machine in the passenger seat. But, combine John with the freshly booted emotional android Dorian and things turn into one unexpected ride. “It’s kind of like a barber shop for us,” Michael said when Warner Bros. took AccessHollywood.com up to the show’s Vancouver set recently, as the actors chatted with TV writers. “We get in the car and that’s where he can’t get away.”
Android Temper Tantrums: Dorian may be advanced intelligence, the kind that can figure out what poison an assassin has used by injecting it into his computerized neck, but he’s got some growing up to do. “I really enjoy the pieces where I get to play with Michael where his character sort of selects between being one of the most highly intelligent beings you’re ever going to encounter to suddenly flipping to like a 6-year-old child and you’re stuck in a confined space with him,” Karl said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Robot Mythology: Mackenzie Crook’s Rudy is the mad scientist of the bunch (with a truly marvelous lab built on the old “Fringe” stage). Rudy’s been involved in trying to give artificial intelligence something intrinsically human, and more about that and his connections to the androids will be revealed throughout the season. “He’s got a sort of complex relationship with these robots. He pours all of himself — his soul — into his work and he’s a craftsman and so he has this sort of very personal connection to all of his creations, but especially for the Dorian model, the DRN model,” Mackenzie said. “We’ll find out more about these relationships… and the creation of that — the synthetic soul programming he’s part of.”
Sexbots?!?: At least one of the upcoming cases the future PD tackles includes “sexbots,”a storyline that surprised Michael Irby, who plays Det. Richard Paul. “[It] was just like, ‘Are you serious? Wow! Wow!” he said of the case that hints that in their future, men and women are still no closer to understanding each other better. “Like, men, obviously we’re having this hard time figuring this out, in the future, still figuring this out,” Michael added. “[The sexbots] have human DNA and skin. … When you get into some of the more mythical aspects of our show, [the cases are] all interesting – every one of them.
“Almost Human’s” two-night premiere begins Sunday at 8/7c and continues Monday at 8/7c on Fox.
-- Jolie Lash