“Almost Human” isn’t just a futuristic cop drama, it’s also about hope. That was the message the show’s cast and producers brought to the stage Thursday during the Television Critics Assn. press tour.
Set in Los Angeles 35 years in the future, “Almost Human” tells the story of a troubled police officer named John Kennex (Karl Urban), who is partnered with a human-like android named Dorian (Michael Ealy).
“We’re not presenting a dystopian vision of the future,” said Urban. “In this vision, society is dealing with difficulties that are just beyond the curve. And the wonderful thing this show does is make us as an audience ask what it means to be human.”
Some of television’s favorite characters have been androids (or android-like): think Spock and Data. Dorian is cut from that same cloth. Smart but oddly childlike when it comes to understanding human response and emotion. He is also an older-model android that seems to possess a heightened sense of being (this was considered a flaw by his makers).
“We wanted to do something that was different -- we thought it would be good to have a robot that was almost more human than he can handle,” said the show's creator, J.H. Wyman.
In the show’s mythology, crime has dangerously escalated. Kennex survived a particularly terrible attack that cost him his leg and put him in a coma for 17 months. So androids were created for added protection -- machines that literally take bullets for humans.
“This is a police drama about hard-working, brave people on the front lines of a future that’s just a stone's throw away,” Wyman said. “On a week-to-week basis we’re telling exciting cop stories, stories that nobody else can tell on TV.”
If the crime isn’t committed by something futuristic or solved by something futuristic, the story won’t be told.
“Last week they implanted a false memory in a mouse. We’re really close to this stuff,” Wyman said. “Technology will change how criminals work -- as smart as our technology gets to keep our people safe, criminals will have that much more to use against us.”
In "Almost Human's" world, though, the good guys can still win.