'Almost Human' Season 1 Episode 8 Review: Guided Bullets
Ever since guided missiles appeared on the scene as super-weapons - beginning with the German V-2 rockets in World War II - science fiction has wondered about the possibility and deployment of guided bullets. As deadly as the guided missile, now drone, can be, there's something exquisitely deadly about a guided bullet. Were it possible, the guided bullet would be the ultimate weapon of assassination, capable of taking out any individual in its range for whom the guided bullet was given the proper coordinates.
Almost Human ratified its status as the best kind of near-future science fiction on this planet with episode 1.8, which gave the guided bullet a good workout, in terms not only of the damage it could do, but how a target could be protected from its onslaught. Unlike larger areas in our current world of the early 21st century, which can be protected from guided missiles only by anti-missile defense systems which are expensive (one anti-missile needed to take out each missile) and not completely reliable, the individual target in the future could be protected just by putting him or her in a titanium vehicle which would block the telemetry necessary for the guided bullet to fix on its target. A titanium or any kind of small structure would be easier to construct than a titanium or any kind of shield to protect an entire neighborhood. That would require a barrier the size of the dome in Under the Dome, which is as much fantasy as science fiction.
And what makes Almost Human so appealing is that it accompanies its careful science fiction with humor and humanity. Some of it - like Kennex killing MXs, and Dorian speaking foreign tongues when he's damaged - have become trope points that we can look forward to for a laugh. Others, like Kennex deliberately mispronouncing Anil, are just out-of-left-field funny.
And the series still has crucial plot points percolating close to the surface. We get glimpses of Kennex's feelings for the woman who apparently betrayed him, and nice flirtation between him and Det. Stahl (as well as an interesting crack from Det. Paul that Stahl looks so good because her parents could afford to pay for superior genetic engineering). When Almost Human starts to bring a little more of that into play, it could lay claim to being in the highest echelon of science fiction on television.