Almost Human kicked off with a very strong pilot and promises of a truly interesting season. It had elements in place that was sure to make for an interesting season. In many ways, it held up it’s end of the bargain, but at the same time it didn’t. Almost Human took an interesting concept of a returning cop who recently received a cybernetic leg is paired with an android cop, who turns out to be a defunct model with a synthetic soul.
Almost Human came to us from the same team that brought us Fringe. As a result, one would hope that Almost Human would also treat us to the great serialization that Fringe offered. While Fringe had missteps, you felt heavily invested in the characters and tha was largely because of the way the story was handled. Going in to Almost Human, we knew that it was going to be a procedural with some serialized elements. Unfortunately, we we given a mostly procedural story. Almost Human would have benefitted if the interesting characters we had in place actually had stories to tell. In many ways I believe they were trying to avoid what happened on Fringe where their scifi procedural became serialized. The result however, is a last engaging story. While I come back for the characters, we aren’t given a whole lot of character drama.
While there may have been some missteps in their strict following of the procedural format, may have hindered the show a bit. But as I mentioned, the characters are great. Because of the procedural format, each episode had only limited time to develop the characters it was a slow build to get to know some of the characters. When we finally learned more it was great. Rudy and Stahl are really great supporting characters. There is a lot more to learn about Stahl and her rebellion against her own kind, the genetically engineered perfection, Chromes. While Rudy has proven to be a genius while also a bumbling idiot and lacking knowledge on personal boundaries. Overall these secondary characters have proven to be interesting additions. Unfortunately, Maldonado and Paul are far less developed.
John Kennex and Dorian are the heart of the show. Again and again we get to see their banter. One of the best things on the show is the banter between the two main characters. It doesn’t get much better than listening to the two go back and forth with insults or making amusing comments about the other. They know how to get under each other’s skin and do it regularly. Despite that, the pair also really cares for each other. It was a relatively quick build up to their friendship, but each offered something the other needed. Kennex made Dorian feel less like a defective outcast and Dorian helped Kennex cope with his cybernetic leg. It also helped that they kept getting themselves into tight situations.
My biggest issue with the show came not from anything the show actually did, but how Fox chose to air it. While some people may not have noticed inconsistencies in characters and followed it like any procedural, I was in it for the serial nature. I noticed the episodes very clearly airing out of order. You could see how Kennex and Dorian’s relationship altered in a way that didn’t make sense. It seemed that they wanted to air some of the episodes that had more punch earlier in the season. While it may not have been too jarring because the show is mostly procedural it was still annoying. It’s not the first time a network has chosen to air episodes out of order because they felt it was a better fit. Like I said, it isn’t a show killer for Almost Human because it is procedural, but it is still rather annoying.
My final issue with the show comes in the form of emotional impact. Time and time again there were episodes that were supposed to really hit home. Unfortunately, aside from the episode focusing on Dorian and his creator, many times it missed the mark. I think this comes from the procedural nature of the show. Every episode needed to be tied up and as a result the emotional ties of the characters were generally resolved as well. It would have served the show better if they had allowed internal conflict to stew and for a threat to continue as a way to raise the stakes. A few episodes featured criminals that had the potential to return and cause havoc for them in the future, but we got no inclination that it was going to happen. Now they could come back in the future, but the ties have already been dropped and there’s no indication in the episodes so far that little hints of their activity are being left behind.
Where will the show go next?
Almost Human is the first show this season that has ended before we knew the fate of the show. With The X-Factor gone, there is still a chance that Almost Human will stick around a bit longer. There’s also a chance that these 13 episodes will be all we ever get. My hopes are that Almost Human does return. If it does return, I think it would benefit if they included more serialized content in the episodes. We need to dig more into the characters for this show to really work. It’d also be nice if we got to see more of the awesome tech in the world. Heck, it’d be nice if we got to see more of the world in general, particularly the other side of the wall.
What did you think of the first season of Almost Human?