J.J. Abrams spills the gears on Almost Human

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Almost Human
John Kennex is a human who’s part machine and Dorian is a machine who’s part human. No wonder they get along!

Warner Bros. Television and Bad Robot Productions have teamed up to create Almost Human, a show set 35 years in the future when the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) fights crime with lifelike androids. In case you’re not a sci-fi junkie, an android isn’t just the name of the anti-iPhone – it’s a word that refers to robots with humanlike qualities.

Recently, executive producer J.J. Abrams shed light on his latest creation, as well as his own sci-fi-tastic views on life. In Almost Human, John Kennex (played by Karl Urban), barely survives one of the worst attacks made against the police department, entering a 17-month coma.

When he wakes up, Kennex discovers his injured leg was replaced by a robotic one, and that every cop is now required to buddy up with an android. Kennex, who really doesn’t like artificial humans, destroys his first robo partner, the MX-43, by “accidentally” kicking him out of the car. He’s then given a friendlier android replacement named Dorian (played by Michael Early), that has human-like feelings. Dorian is an earlier version of the police bots that is no longer made, since emotions were seen as something that got in the way of following the rules 100%. Because Kennex is technically part-machine and Dorian is part-human, they soon end up getting along and solving crime together, learning from one another along the way.

Almost Human 2048
By 2048, will we have androids walking the streets in real life? It’s entirely possible, and that believability is why J.J. Abrams is so good at drawing us in!

Abrams is excited to explore this machine-human relationship in Almost Human. He says, “One of the opportunities about this show is it not only has characters that make you smile and laugh, and relationships that feel as unique as they are familiar, but its uniqueness comes from something that isn’t necessarily possible right now. Like any story-out-of-time, you want characters and situations where you go, ‘I know what that is. I know what that feels like. I know someone like that’ — even though the person might be a different species.”

It’s that blend of new and familiar that really connects audiences to a story, and Abrams explains, “In this show, not only are the relationships unique, but the situations the characters find themselves in are equally unique. The paradigm is familiar, but the specifics are different. If there’s a new weapon on the streets, it won’t look like a weapon you’re familiar with, but you can understand it’s a dangerous thing that shouldn’t be in the wrong hands. It might be a bullet that doesn’t shoot the way you expect. It might be a drug that does something to you that’s insane and horrific. It might be something about harvesting organs that isn’t like anything in present day.”

This command that Abrams has over reality and the future is part of his sci-fi charm. The Star Trek and Star Wars: Episode VII director has a long list of sci-fi TV shows he’s successfully turned into popular series, like Fringe , Lost, and Revolution. So, get excited for Sunday’s debut of Almost Human on Fox!

Images courtesy of Almost Human Facebook.