TV REVIEW: Almost Human, Ep. 1.03 “Are You Receiving”

o-ALMOST-HUMAN-570 Review: Almost Human Ep. 1.03 “Are You Receiving”

Almost Human’s third episode is yet another strong showing – establishing the fact that the show appears to be playing out as a “future procedural” more than anything else. To quickly summarize, this episode revolved around a hostage taking, which proved to simply be a diversion for a bigger heist. And of course, Kennex and Dorian were right in the middle of it; channeling a strong “Die Hard” feel throughout the episode.

The show once again used the opening from the second episode – and I am still not a fan. This length of opening would be fine for new viewers jumping into the series, but for those who will watch the show regularly, I can see this getting really old, really fast; especially since the intro takes up quite a bit of time, that could otherwise be filled with new material. At least the scenes are no longer spoilers of what is to come – the footage appears to be mostly from the first episode.

A definite pro that the show has going for it is how seamlessly they are adding in the visual effects. For example, the opening scene with Kennex and his alarm clock is very well done. You can tell the scene was just filmed with a regular old alarm clock (minimizing green screen use), and the “projection” effect was added in later, to give the scene a bit more of a futuristic “pop”. Also, I thought the idea of holographic face changers was quite clever – you can sell the audience on the idea of future tech, without having to spend a fortune on CGI effects for the episode – just a little practical prop building for the hardware that they wear. Although, seriously, the phone thing is going to annoy me – despite lighting up in different colours and being more transparent, the phones of the future look like something Apple could be releasing in the next 5 years. Visually, I find it a little jarring, and I could deal with it in small doses, but the shot of multiple phones on the table had me cringing.

Something else I found interesting was the scene where Dorian was shot in the head. As Kennex was splicing him back together, Dorian was concerned with whether or not the implements he was using were clean; why would a machine be concerned about germs? Also, the portion of the injury that we could see did not look particularly electronic – there was a definite organic feel to the skin at least. I really hope this is explored in later episodes – are the androids in fact part biological? Are they in any way grown, rather than made?

It is also nice to see that the writers are touching on previous episodes – Kennex lathering olive oil on his synthetic leg was a direct follow on from last week. However, the writers cleverly had Dorian reference it again, which would have been a nice heads up for new viewers, but subtle enough to not annoy viewers who caught the last episode. What I am finding interesting, is how much the writers are delving into the “life after death” and “where do androids go when they die” discussion. I sense this is going to be a continual theme in future episodes, and I’m speculating on just what the writers are setting us up for. They obviously want to humanize the androids (hence, the show’s title), but I wonder if they’re setting us up for a reveal that not everyone is who we think they are?

The show continues to actually be pretty dark, once you get past all the spit and polish. The fact that the gunman asked the guard’s name before shooting him was outright cold – it turns out later on that he just doesn’t like killing people he doesn’t know.  Also, when they tossed the body out of the window most shows would cut away and then cut back to the dead body – but I totally caught a bounce. That was unexpected, and graphic. It may have just been a dummy that they used for the effect, but it came across as quite realistic, and I imagine it was a deliberate choice in the editing room.

Random Thoughts:

  •  Once again, the overhead shot of the City looks a LOT like Vancouver. When you basically have free reign on what a futuristic city is going to look like, couldn’t you try and hide it a little bit more?
  •  For a city supposedly rife with crime, everything still looks pretty clean and sparkly.  Maybe they just haven’t headed to the ghetto yet.
  • Surprisingly, I didn’t recognize any of the guest actors – Vancouver usually draws from the same pool, so you see the same faces crossing over from one show to another. We’ll have to see how this goes in the future.
  • No futuristic fire trucks? They’re still using ladders? I would have figured there would be some sort of cool advancement in firefighting.
  • Kennex hanging up on the Captain, saying he “got bored of the conversation anyway….” – were the writers putting a Star Wars shoutout in there?
  • What is happening with the Syndicate, from the first episode? Has the show decided to make this a secondary plotline, or will this be coming back in a big way in later episodes?
  • The supporting cast didn’t have much to do this episode. Maldonado had the most screen time, and I like the character so far (having just read that the character was originally supposed to be a man[1], this makes sense, because the writing seems different than you would typically have for a female character in this situation). Stahl had very little to do this episode, other than stand around and provide eye candy.

Rating: 3.5/5


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