In the opening moments of Fox’s Almost Human, we learn that crime in Los Angeles has risen 400 percent, criminal organizations run the city with impunity, and the police are so outnumbered that every human officer is paired with a combat-ready android.
If you’re envisioning something along the lines of RoboCop, Blade Runner and Minority Report, you’re on the right, dystopian track.
The futuristic cop drama’s two-night premiere kicks off Sunday, Nov. 17 (9/8c) and introduces us to John Kennex (the Star Trek reboot’s Karl Urban), a detective returning to the force after a life-changing injury.
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Kennex is paired with Dorian (Common Law‘s Michael Ealy), a retired-model android pulled out of storage to watch the brooding, uncooperative returnee’s back. (Let’s just say the pair aren’t exactly Starsky and Hutch from the start.)
There’s also Lili Taylor (Six Feet Under) as the precinct’s boss, Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights) as a fellow detective, some kickass action sequences, lots of gadgetry and an intriguing mystery surrounding Kennex’s missing ex-girlfriend.
TVLine chatted with Almost Human‘s key players, both in front of and behind the camera, for scoop on the upcoming series. Read on as Urban and Ealy, as well as executive producers J.J. Abrams (Lost) and J.H. Wyman (Fringe), preview what you can expect from the sci-fi procedural.
HOW FAR IN THE FUTURE ARE WE TALKING? | The series is set about 30 years from now, a time that Abrams, during a conference call with reporters, insists isn’t all doom and gloom. “It’s not raining all the time. The atmosphere isn’t completely ruined,” he notes. “There’s a sense of going forward” and that humanity is “resilient, and we’re going to succeed.”
HOW HUMAN IS DORIAN? | Unlike the newer model “synthetics” who accompany all of the other officers about their work, Dorian is indistinguishable from you or I. His emotional range, Ealy says during a visit to the set, “can go to very, very emotional to pretty stoic.” Yet let’s not forget: He’s hella strong and impervious to pain. “There are times, especially in action sequences,” Ealy notes, “where he’s just unstoppable.” Abrams adds that Ealy “is playing a character who is by design, literally, as brave and as knowledgeable and strategic as you would want your partner to be… But he’s also as altruistic and as considerate and empathetic as you would want.”
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ON A RELATED NOTE, HOW SYNTHETIC IS KENNEX? | As we learn early on in the pilot, the injury that sidelines Urban’s character leaves him with a robotic leg. “While he appreciates technology… he still has a problem with the line between humanity and robotics or synthetics,” Wyman tells reporters. “His well-being now depends on this technology that he holds in contempt.”
WHO’S IN CHARGE? | Taylor’s Maldonado is “not only our captain, she’s also like a big sister,” Urban says, adding that John’s relationship with – and respect for – her allows for a very honest back-and-forth between the two. “There’s definitely a personal connection there.” Fun fact: The precinct boss was originally conceived as a male role, but a casting director’s suggestion of Taylor changed everything. “We realized that the char of Maldonado would be far superior if it was a woman,” Wyman says.
WHO’S THE BIG BAD? | Though Wyman promises he’s “always interested in hiding certain things and planting certain things that will come around later,” don’t expect Almost Human to have Fringe-ian levels of mythology. “Inherently, the show is a week-to-week great action show with cases that you haven’t really seen before,” he adds.
WHERE’S KENNEX’S LADY? | In the pilot, the tortured cop recalls some very disturbing details regarding the love of his life. While her absence is certainly important to Kennex’s journey, Urban says, “We’re not letting the character be defined by that” — though it’ll be addressed in future episodes.