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Lifestyle

November 13, 2013

Fox's 'Almost Human' explores what it means to be human

LOS ANGELES — Actors rely heavily on their instincts — based on life experiences — when playing a role. Michael Ealy has to do just the opposite to play the android partner of a cranky cop on the new Fox futuristic drama “Almost Human.”

The series, premiering Sunday, is the last launch of new network programming for the 2013-14 TV season.

“As an actor, you tend to draw on your human instincts and your background, what you’ve gone through as an individual. And the hardest things in terms of playing Dorian is to act like I don’t have that and to bring that kind of innocence to him that he doesn’t have,” Ealy says. “He observes it, and he learns from it.”

The series takes place approximately 30 years in the future and being a cop has become even more dangerous, which is why every human officer is assigned an android partner. Karl Urban — best known for grousing his way across the cosmos as Bones in the updated “Star Trek” films — plays John Kennex, a cop who finds having an android partner as appealing as being given a blender to fight crime.

Kennex is forced to take on a partner and is teamed with Dorian (Ealy), an android from a discontinued line. Unlike all of the other robot partners, Dorian has the ability to feel emotions.

Ealy, last seen on the USA Network series “Common Law,” had fears about playing an android — he would never have a love interest. He got past his misgiving by looking at the role in a larger spotlight. He realized he would be pushed in other areas — such as the buddy cop elements — and that would make the character fun to play.

“Almost Human” is the latest series to launch on network television dealing with sci-fi and fantasy elements. The others have featured vampires, fairy tale characters and headless horsemen. “Almost Human” executive producer J.H. Wyman explains that the android element isn’t new but every effort is being made to be different.

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