Is there anything JJ Abrams hasn’t got his fingers in lately? If he’s not working on films (as we geeks all know he’s the man behind the next Star Wars), his Bad Robot production crew is pumping out television series as well. (Revolution and Person of Interest for example). Almost Human was one of those projects, along with creator J.H. Wyman. For what my opinion is worth it was a good series with lots of potential, if you aren’t familiar with the series here is a brief intro. In 2048 the crime rates are so high that each human officer is paired with an android counterpart, called MX-43’s (futuristic, androids, good start right). Our protagonist John Kennex, played by Karl Urban (LOTR and Star trek), is an officer that ends up in a long coma after an accident. When he returns to duty after a series of “accidents” with Mx’s he is teamed up with an older model DRN model named Dorian, played by Michael Ealy (Underworld- Awakening, Seven Pounds). So we have a good start with a good cast, so that’s great, right? Doesn’t this sound like something that you could sink your teeth into? Maybe not, because if you noticed, I used the term ‘was a good series’ earlier, because after 13 episodes (unlucky for some, Almost Human being one) Fox decided not to renew the show. Why you may ask? Well maybe it was due to viewing figures in the
U.S, which dropped from 9.1m when it piloted, to 5.63m at the last episode. It didn’t help that the episodes were aired out of order in the U.S, well done Fox for some clever work! Maybe it was the budget? After all, the special effects were stimulating in every episode, from shields that you put up around bombs, to the colorful lights that appeared on Dorian’s face when he was working his mojo. The action when it was there was face paced also. The connection between Dorian and Kennex was starting to gel better as well, with some humorous and touching moments (even though it was between a human and an android). While the potential relationship between Kennex and Detective Stahl (played by the rather attractive Minka Kelly) was coming to front. On the negative side maybe lacking depth between the action scenes would have lost a lot of viewers ( you could leave the room and come back without losing too much), while at times you may say the stories, as one critic described, were weak and while you struggled to engage with the characters. Also a friend of mine described Karl Urban as a little ‘wooden’. But nothings perfect! Now I will agree that sometimes the story did veer off unnecessary and at times it could have got to the point sooner, but for me that didn’t really spoil what the show was trying to do, which was entertain. I mean, can anyone actually just enjoy a program anymore. Or is it just me!? Well I had the chance to speak to one of the actors, who played the MX-43 officer. In fact he was the one who was epically ejected from the moving car by Kennex in episode 1, but don’t worry, there was more than one model of him. His name is Darren E Scott, and I had the chance to ask him few questions recently and gain some of his insights. I asked him about what he thought of the concept of Almost human.
- “I think the concepts and ideas behind the show were amazing. It was a very ambitious show for network TV. But I really like this world that they had created. A vision of the future that was not so far fetched.”
I have to agree with this, maybe a little bit too ambitious but surely we want programs to push boundaries. I then decided to see if the cast had any idea that the show wouldn’t be renewed, as i thought that maybe rumors may have gone around the set.
- “We had no indication at that time we were not being renewed. During the filming of the last episode it was close to Christmas so everyone was exhausted from 6 months of shooting with long hours, which is normal.”
So, the cast had no idea that Fox planned to end the show after a single season. Almost Human isn’t the only show that viewers had taken to but was cut after the first series, since it joins the likes of Firefly and Terranova, which I will admit isn’t bad company to be in. Then I had to see if Darren would ever get involved in the series if it was snapped up by another network.
- “If the series had been picked up again I of course would have jumped on board. I can’t say for sure but I think they were considering getting the MX’s more involved with the storyline. There seemed to be some hints dropped in the last few episodes. But for now I consider it a closed chapter until it resurfaces. I know the fans have compared us to “Firefly” and would like to see a movie someday.”
So if they can produce a series with that quality of effects and action on a TV budget, then on a major film budget surely the skies the limit. I couldn’t talk to Darren about Sci-Fi without asking him about his own influences growing up, and I will admit, the man has taste after my own heart!
- “Growing up I enjoyed films like Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, Indiana Jones and of course Bruce Lee films. TV wise i was a huge fan of shows like Monty Python, Faulty Towers, Miami Vice, Knight Rider, Six Million Dollar Man & Battlestar Galactica (the original series).”
Personally, like Darren, I had high hopes for a season 2, we haven’t even finished season 1 over in the UK! But in the end Almost Human was almost a hit, as it won over as many fans, me included. So another series has left our screens promising much but under performing and leaving us a little empty. But not to worry, I doubt it will be long before our taste buds are tingling over something else, exciting the geek inside us all, yes even you! Darren E Scott, Garfield Wilson, and Anthony Konechny of Almost Human will be joining us for the July 2nd recording of our Geeks With Wives - Popcorn Podcast, where we discuss all things Almost Human, and much much more.