a story-obsessed epistemophiliac

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Meredith gladdecease
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Almost Human 1.01
Overall, I liked it! I have some reservations (god, do I ever), but I really enjoyed the near future scifi elements, the buddy cop rapport developing between John and Dorian, and the hints at an ~arc.

(I liveblogged a bit on twitter, which I link to throughout this post because why not.)

Okay, reservation number one: Karl Urban's character, John Kennex, has a voice that grates on me. I like his voice fine au naturel, didn't really notice anything weird about his Vaguely British Fantasy accent, and enjoy his Southern US accent, but Standard American is not working for me.

Reservation two is race-based. Our cast's POC consist of:

  1. Dorian's predecessor as John's partner, an East Asian MX-43 that John shoves out of a moving car when it starts to learn about his black market medical treatments.

  2. The predecessor to that partner, a Hispanic a/o Latino cop who died as part of John's backstory.

  3. John's missing (later revealed to be part of Insyndicate, the ~arc bad guys) ex-girlfriend, Anna.

  4. An ambiguously brown (probably Hispanic/Latino?) cop whose name I didn't catch who Totally Hates John. (For decent reasons - John lost that first partner on a raid he led that went FUBAR, everybody on it died except him, and yet when he comes out of his coma he's allowed to come back to work as soon as his synth leg is working - but he's generally characterized as a jerk, so the legitimacy of his hate-on is kinda poor.)

  5. An East Asian doctor performing illegal memory-based medical treatments on John, who says he's from Sub-Asia. Sub-Asia, jesus christ on a tap-dancing crutch.

  6. An East Asian sergeant by the name of Patel (more typically a South Asian surname, but okay). She dies two scenes after her introduction.

  7. One or two background MX-43s and cops.

  8. Dorian himself.

In summary: dead, dead, probably a serious antagonist, definitely a minor antagonist, a racist, racist stereotype, dead, unnamed and unimportant, and the Other in our buddy cop duo.

I hope I don't have to tell you what's wrong with that. Or with the fact that, by the numbers, there are far more androids of color than humans of color in the show.

Reservation three is ladies related. Our list is much shorter here, and the WOC numbers are both better and worse than expected.

  1. Anna, the aforementioned ex-girlfriend. Probably evil? Maybe with the baddies because their cause has merit? Maybe maybe coerced. I doubt it.

  2. Patel, the aforementioned dead cop.

  3. Behavior analyst (??? some kinda analyst) cop whose name I didn't catch? Has a Thing for John.

  4. John's boss. Has faith in John that is really not reflected by pre-pilot events or psych evals, but which he does live up to over the course of the pilot. Seems convinced both he and Dorian are "special", in a way I find both creepy and foreshadowy.

  5. One android? I'm not sure, it was a very brief moment and one I didn't catch. I'll have to watch again tomorrow to be sure.

Two white main characters, one dead WOC, one possibly recurring, possibly evil WOC, one ~arc-related android.

Okay, reservations over! On to the positives.

I really really really like the near future scifi elements. The androids themselves are less clear to me, and that might be because they were vaguely described (which was probably purposeful), but other things - projected, holographic computer screens and surgical/scientific tools? The lights that run down Dorian's face while he's doing a scan? The references to programmable DNA among the things stolen by Insyndicate? Fuck yeah, give me more of that.

I'm neutral towards John for the moment - I'd like to know more about his dad, since the guy got brought up twice in this here pilot, but that's about it. Same for most of the cops - they didn't really make much of an impression. (Hence my lack of recall for names of any but the main one and the dead ones.) I adore Dorian, though, and am really excited for the show to explore the human condition with and through him, and his interactions with John and others.

(I really hope his specialness isn't, like, "his design is based off a real person, so he's more human than all the other androids because of that". That would really take away from his character, for me.)

I'm withholding my opinion on the potential ~arc until more is shown. Hopefully single episode plots won't all be on the level of sex worker androids that the first preview scene was, but given this is a Bad Robot production... well. I'll just hope really hard.

I'm enthusiastically, if a little warily, keeping up with the show, all told. Maybe you should check it out too?</lj>

I harbour many of your reservations and I'm really hoping they'll be struck off my 'eek' list one by one as the show develops.

I am also neutral towards John. I was really, really put off by what he did to the MX-43 who was assigned as his partner before Dorian.

And I also would be saddened if Dorian were based off a 'real person' (but possibly wouldn't if he had a 'real person's memories? I am fickle.)

I think this show's gonna be good for "what makes a 'real person' real, compared to androids?" type questions. Dorian saying the MX-43's don't have free will, in contrast to himself, that's an interesting point to start from. (And there must be so many other types of androids! I hope android science gets elaborated on a lot, I want to know what's possible vis-a-vis your "based off one" vs "has the memoories of one" distinction. If there are different levels of awareness, of sapience if not sentience, etc.)

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