Almost Human Tackles the Dangers of Robots in the Future

TV Guide
Karl Urban | Photo Credits: Liane Hentscher/FOX

Fringe's J.H. Wyman is heading back to the future - but instead of fringe science, Almost Human will tackle robotics.

In the action-packed drama, LAPD officers like John Kennex (Karl Urban) are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids such as Dorian (Michael Ealy). But this isn't your typical robot story, in which Dorian yearns to be human. Instead, he's a flawed model that exhibits compassion, which can be both a blessing and a curse in the police department.

Fringe's J.H. Wyman discusses series finale, teases new series Almost Human

"We wanted to do something that was a little bit different," Wyman said at the Television Critics Association fall TV previews on Thursday. "I think we've all seen the robot that longs to be human. It was better for us to have a robot that was more human than he can handle. He's trying to understand what he is versus wanting or longing to be something he's not."

But Dorian's partner John is not a fan of robots, for which he uses the derogatory term synthetics. The drama will come from the duo trying to find common ground since John blames the newer, less compassionate android models for the loss of his former human partner and his own leg. "In the long arc of the show, he's going to realize in Dorian - even though he's a machine - he's still a real living, breathing, sentient being," executive producer Naren Shankar said.

Unlike the mythology-heavy Fringe, Wyman noted that they're approaching this show through emotion rather than mystery. "This is a police drama," he said. "It's about hardworking, brave people on the front line of a future that's just a stone's throw away. We're hoping that people care about them. I'm more interested in knowing about these people's lives."

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However, the show will stray from the typical cop shows in other ways. "If you can see the case on another cop show, we're not going to do it," Urban added. That's the upside of setting the series in the not-so-distant future: finding a balance between reality and possibility.

"I just think it's the right time and people will give their imagination and suspension of disbelief to maybe see something that's not too far into the future," Wyman added. "It's such an incredible arena to tell great stories about the human condition. ... It points out why we're so flawed, but also so exceptional. Are we losing sight of these things in the future? Things change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse."

Almost Human premieres Monday, Nov. 4 at 8/7c on Fox. Will you be watching?

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