Fox’s Almost Human has seen the future, and it is one rough-looking place.
By now, on the eve of the J.J. Abrams/ J.H. Wyman-produced drama’s two-night premiere (Sunday and Monday at 8/7c), you likely know the series’ premise: In the year 2048, Det. John Kennex (Karl Urban, Star Trek) awakens from a 17-month coma with a synthetic leg, a missing fiancée and a fuzzy memory about the on-the-job attack that nearly killed him.
He returns to a precinct in duck-and-cover mode, where the police are so inundated by dangerous criminals that each officer is partnered with an android. And to make matters worse, certain members of the force think Kennex shouldn’t have come back at all.
Still, Urban maintains, “At the end of the day, the show is about fun.”
Before you cock a dystopian eyebrow, hear him out. After all, when Urban’s traumatized detective is paired with Dorian, a decommissioned android with “flaws” like emotional reactions and a sense of humor, the mood of the series gets considerably lighter.
“We want to show stuff that’s a little bit different than what you’re going to see on other, regular shows,” he adds during TVLine’s visit to the set. “That’s the challenge.”
Urban’s partner in that challenge is Common Law‘s Michael Ealy, who plays Dorian with a mix of childlike wonder and self-assured calm. “For the most part, we fall into a pretty handy, useful duo, ” Urban says. “Which isn’t to say that we don’t have our issues, because we do.”
RELATED | Almost Human Adds John Larroquette
The premiere establishes Kennex’s desire to remember important details about his ambush, which killed a colleague and may have something to do with his MIA lover.
Future episodes will take on Dorian’s backstory (we’ll meet another android from Dorian’s line, “and I play him, as well,” Ealy previews), what Mackenzie Crook’s tech whiz Rudy might be hiding (“He has some information that would be powerful,” the Game of Thrones alum teases) and… sex bots like the one pictured at right (“They have, you know, human DNA — skin — and it’s just like, when will it stop?” Ealy muses. “Where does it stop? Will it ever stop?”).
In the meanwhile, Kennex and Dorian’s working relationship will continue to evolve, often as they spend time together in the car.
“We’re riffing a lot on Midnight Run and those characters, who are kind of at each other a bit, but need each other to get the job done,” Urban notes.
But does Dorian ever get to drive?
“I’ve only driven once,” Ealy says, laughing.
“I let him drive once,” Urban concurs.