Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.
I’ve just finished watching the first episode of Almost Human, an American science fiction / crime drama series which premiered on Fox yesterday evening. The series is set thirty-five years in the future when humans in the Los Angeles Police Department are paired up with life-like androids. John Kennex (played by Karl Urban), a detective who has a dislike for robot partners, is paired up with an android capable of emotion called Dorian (played by Michael Ealy).
Clearly drawing upon science fiction film precedents such as Bladerunner and I, Robot, what makes Almost Human interesting from a Counter-Racist perspective is that the principal human protagonist, detective John Kennex, is a white human male, while his android = robot partner / side-kick is a non-white “almost human” = sub-human ‘male’. Stated slightly differently, the white male protagonist is a man, while his non-white ‘male’ sidekick is a ‘man’. In addition, it transpires that the white male protagonists former ‘love interest’ / girlfriend is a non-white female who has since left him on account of her being connected with a criminal organisation called The Syndicate. Interestingly, both non-white ‘surround’ characters, ‘male’ and female, are played by relatively light-skinned black actors with European features – blue eyes in the case of the ‘male’ and a very straight nose in the case of the female.
During the episode we learn that the “almost human” android ‘male’ belongs to a line of robots that were taken out of service on account of them being capable of emotion / feelings and some of them turning ‘crazy’. So what do we have here if not the figure of the sub-human / “almost human” non-white / black man who has a tendency to “go crazy”, i.e. turn ‘wild’, ‘uncontrollable’, ‘volatile’ etc. Frantz Fanon would have a field day analyzing this series and I intend to attempt to do the same.
In closing, I should like to point interested readers to the following two reviews of the series available online:
Almost Human and Sleepy Hollow: Two new Fox dramas are silly enough to be serious about race by Willa Paskin
Robo-racism abounds in the new Almost Human trailer
Here is the trailer on YouTube:
Official Trailer | ALMOST HUMAN | FOX BROADCASTING