If you were a child of the ‘90s and had cable, this episode of Almost Human was probably a nightmarish parody of one of your favorite Disney Channel original movies, Smart House, starring my Disney crush Ryan Merriman (not to mention a post-Married With Children, pre-Sons of Anarchy Katey Sagal). The film centers around a computerized house equipped with a vaguely suspicious (albeit efficient) cyborg maid who eventually goes off the rails, causing the whole house to spiral out of control. She locks everyone inside and torments the children. Don’t worry—Ryan Merriman gets out safely. Nonetheless, it is sort of a terrifying premise, especially now that an idea like a “Smart House” isn’t nearly as far off as it was in the ‘90s. “Disrupt” touched on this issue some, but it was also a timely nod to our fear-dominant culture. Is a security system that shoots a teenage boy for trespassing really worth the safety it provides its inhabitants? This episode brought up some dark themes, but it did manage to squeeze in a few good giggles here and there. But mostly it just made me want to re-watch Smart House. Is it on Netflix? I’ll check and get back to you.
Remember back when John was all surly and suspicious of Dorian, and he hated everything android-related? We got a little flashback to those days—before Dorian took him on a magic carpet ride and showed him a whole new world. This was because the episode was aired out of order. It was originally supposed to be the second episode, but Fox bumped it in favor of the sexbots episode. Because who needs plot continuity and character development when you can just show naked ladies? Being reminded of how much ornerier John was whenwe first met him actually made me appreciate how he’s developed since then. Although it’s hard to tell sometimes when the episode timeline is more confusing than the last season of Lost. I’m excited for everyone who will be watching this on DVD and hopefully with the episodes in their intended order. How special that will be for them! Anyway, it was still a good episode despite the noticeable earmarks of its incorrect order.
This episode should have been called “Healthcare and the Two Michael Ealys.” The central case was a black market organ extortion racket, which brought up issues of health insurance, robot doctors, and biomechanical organs. Dorian also adopted a stray DRN he found working as a mechanic and took him on a field trip. Dorian wanted to give the droid a chance to relive his glory days as a police officer, back before The Man decided that DRNs were too “emotionally unstable” to work in the field. Sure…because it’s not like humans ever break protocol or make irrational decisions or demonstrate emotional instability. It was a big Emotion episode, but without veering too far into saccharine territory. Maybe I’m biased because I kind of worship Joel Wyman, but he has a way of examining the complexities of humanity and the way we connect with each other in such a way that’s meaningful without being cheesy. Sure, there was plenty of talk of hugging and feelings, but this episode was still less sentimental than that Kohl’s commercial where the young couple sneaks into their elderly neighbor’s apartment and decorates it for the holidays. (I cry like a tiny baby every time I see that ad.)
Sometimes I feel like a TV-addicted leprechaun, and my pot of gold can only be filled with meaningful glances and smiles between John and Dorian. Luckily this occurs several times per episode—especially when that episode involves Dorian opening up about how John was his knight in shining armor who awoke him from an endless slumber. Before this recap devolves into some strange slash fairytale makeover of Almost Human (that actually sounds awesome…can someone please write that?), maybe I should start the actual recap portion. Sound good? Good.
This week’s episode was all about the ladies. After weeks of sitting on the sidelines, Detective Stahl (Minka Kelly) finally got her fair share of screen time in this week’s clone-themed episode. We can now add “likes soccer” and “good at getting kidnapped” to the short list of personality traits for Valerie Stahl. Also taking a turn in the spotlight this week was Captain Maldonado, who got all “this time it’s personal” on some wannabe Charles Manson psycho killer guy. All in all, it was a pretty good episode. I didn’t even mind the last scene where they kind of hit us over the head with the inevitable John/Valerie romance. (I’m not complaining, I just think it’s sad that John and Dorian have much better on-screen chemistry than John and Valerie, but I’m guessing we won’t see a same-sex human/android romance on network TV for at least ten more years.) Is it crazy of me to suggest that Maya the medium/psychic (petite psychic on a good day—ba dum tch!) become a recurring character who occasionally helps them solve cases? It could be fun to inject a little Long Island Medium into this show…especially if she keeps trying to talk to John about his aura. That was almost as good as John trying to talk to Dorian about his, uh, equipment. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First things first.
Cockroach cameras, algae narcotics, and chess jokes were pivotal points of this week’s episode, which finally gave one of the secondary characters a chance to shine. Don’t get me wrong—I’m perfectly happy to have every scene revolve around John and Dorian, but it was nice to see Rudy as more than just the comic relief lab geek. Maybe now I can finally stop thinking of him as “the guy with the wooden eye from Pirates of the Caribbean.” I have to wonder if we would have gotten more development of the supporting cast by this point if Fox had aired the episodes in the correct order. (This was supposed to be the seventh episode, not the fourth.) Good call, Fox. It’s not like airing episodes out of order has ever ended badly for your or anything. That does explain how John and Dorian’s dynamic went from chilly-at-best to “get a room, you two” between the first and second episodes. Also, should I just assume that Agent Stahl’s (Minka Kelly) personality got lost somewhere in one of those early unaired episodes? Anyway, enough of me rolling my eyes at Fox. Let’s get back to Rudy—or should I say Callum Waits: wearer of fedoras and expert narcotics chef?
Leave it to Fox to pull the sex card in the second episode of a new series. If the pilot assured viewers that they were in for a thrill ride of action, violence, and futuristic special effects, episode 2 was a not-so-subtle reminder that Almost Human also offers oodles of sex appeal. Personally, I was just grateful they didn’t go the other predictable route and find some excuse to have Minka Kelly go undercover as a prostitute or something. If you’re going to portray women as nothing more than sexual objects, at least make them actual objects. Of course, this show operates on the idea that some robots have the capacity for human emotion, but nonetheless, I’d rather see actual robots than female characters who act like robots. But enough about the morality of using sex bots as a ploy to garner ratings… Read the rest of this entry
Joel Wyman (one of the brilliant minds behind Fringe) has a new show on Fox, which means my life finally has meaning again! At least until this one gets canceled. (Just kidding…I hope.) Almost Human puts a futuristic spin on the buddy cop genre by pairing a surly detective with an android partner who has been programmed to be as close to human as possible—complete with a sense of humor, a temper, and all kinds of other fun side effects of humanity. Karl Urban (Star Trek) plays John Kennex, the robo-phobic cop who wears his scowl like it’s part of his uniform. His android partner Dorian is played by Michael Ealy (The Good Wife), who might actually be the most beautiful person to ever live. If any of you watched Ealy’s buddy cop series Common Law on USA last year, this is pretty much the same premise, but one of them is a robot. Of course, no one watched Common Law, which is why it was canceled. But enough about my poor track record with TV shows…
Before we dive into this recap, let’s get a few things straight: 1) Michael Ealy has the face of an angel and the body of a Britney Spears backup dancer, and I will be commenting on his unearthly beauty with extreme frequency. Get used to it. 2) There’s a pretty good chance that I will be operating under the assumption that John and Dorian should be/are in a romantic relationship. (Don’t blame me for their sizzling onscreen chemistry.) Lastly, 3) Please be advised that approximately 80% of the content of my recaps is sheer nonsense. The other 20% is probably stray observations that no one cares about, references to Fringe or Lost, and shameless appreciation of Michael Ealy.
Well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Let’s get started!
In just a few short weeks, a new TV season will begin filled with tears, cheers, squeals, and every other emotion fandoms are known to have. Are you ready? Pop Culture Nexus is preparing by exercising: 3 miles a day to run to the TV faster, thumb crunches to flip through channels, and yoga to relax those nerves during sweeps period. Check out our TV schedule below and for those who were wondering, Mary’s Castle photo captions and Louise’s photo recaps will return. We hope you join us this season!
*New shows are linked to their previews.
- The Good Wife, CBS, Sep. 29 at 9/8c
- How I Met Your Mother, CBS, Sep. 23 at 8/7c
- Castle, ABC, Sep. 23 at 10/9c
- Hostages, CBS, Sep. 23 at 10/9c
- Almost Human, Fox, Nov. 4 at 8/7c
- Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC, Sep. 24 at 8/7c
- The Originals, The CW, premieres Oct. 3 at 9/8c, then moves to Tuesdays on Oct. 8 at 8/7c
- The Mindy Project, Fox, Sep. 17 at 9:30/8:30c
- Lucky 7, ABC, Sep. 24 at 10/9c
- Survivor, CBS, Sep. 18 at 8/7c
- Arrow, The CW, Oct. 9 at 8/7c
- Back in the Game, ABC, Sep. 25 at 8:30/7:30c
- Modern Family, ABC, Sep. 25 at 9/8c
- Super Fun Night, ABC, Oct. 2 at 9:30/8:30c
- Nashville, ABC, Sep. 25 at 10/9c
- Parks and Recreation, NBC, Sep. 26 at 8/7c
- The Vampire Diaries, The CW, Oct. 3 at 8/9c
- The Crazy Ones, CBS, Sep. 26 at 9/8c
- The Michael J. Fox Show, NBC, Sep. 26 at 9/8c (moves to 9:30/8:30c on Oct. 3)
- Reign, The CW, Oct. 17 at 9/8c
- Raising Hope, Fox, Nov. 8
- Dracula, NBC, Oct. 25 at 10/9c
Tell us what you will be watching in the comments section.
It’s been a while (sorry!). Time for another dose of Fringe photo captions and first time viewer reactions. The last time I did this, I wrote about 3×14 “6B”. Just thinking about that episode makes me smile. So much Polivia goodness. Olivia forgives Peter and then, they go upstairs to the bedroom to read a book together. They probably continued reading the Harry Potter series…you know, grown up stuff. One would expect 3×15 to start where 3×14 ended (with Polivia fluff) but we all know Fringe doesn’t operate in a traditional manner. Instead, 3×15 transports us to 1985. It’s another retro episode!!!! It’s titled “Subject 13,” a reference to Olivia’s test subject number, but the episode is more about Peter than the cortexiphan trials.
“Subject 13” begins with one of the SADDEST scenes in the series – Peter breaking the ice to go home. The suicidal act and Elizabeth’s desperation to stop him produce a distressing scene. Peter is experiencing unimaginable homesickness and it’s painful to witness the danger he will risk to return home. He’s just a boy. He shouldn’t have to go through this turmoil. Elizabeth does her best to convince her son he belongs, but in the end, it’s up to Peter to make that decision of believing or not. Either way Elizabeth loses. She suffers seeing her son unwilling to stay and when he chooses to remain in this world, she is tormented by the fact that she must continue lying to her son. It’s a broken world where universal fulfillment is not possible. This is why I love Elizabeth’s words at the end. Her line is applicable to the Fringe world and the world we live in. It’s one of my two favorite quotes in the series (the other being in “White Tulip”) and I hope you find as much hope in it as I do.
Sometimes the world we have is not the world we want. But we have our hearts and our imaginations to make the best of it.
Joel Wyman Discusses ‘Dead Man Down,’ the Final Season of ‘Fringe,’ & His Upcoming Show with J.J. Abrams
Joel Wyman doesn’t sleep. That’s how he managed to oversee the final season of Fringe, write and produce his new film, Dead Man Down (in theaters Friday, March 8th), and work on his upcoming series with J.J. Abrams, all within the last year. But don’t worry—he took at least one day off.
The writer/producer says that after the Fringe finale aired in January, he needed a little time to process it all. “It really affected me to finish [Fringe] and put these beautiful people to bed, for the time being, anyway… It really was hard for me, so I needed to take a break and sort of step back and let everything be.” After giving fans (and himself) a day to ruminate on the finale, Wyman says he returned to Twitter and read, “literally every tweet” about the episode, which marked the end of the sci-fi underdog’s five-season run. Since then, Wyman has been keeping busy. His new film Dead Man Down hits theaters this Friday, and he’s got a new series in the works with Fringe creator (and newly appointed Star Wars director) J.J. Abrams that starts filming next month.