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TCA: Fox's 'Almost Human' panel talks robot ethics, android sex

Date August 02, 2013

By Tim Kenneally

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - The panel for Fox's upcoming futuristic cop drama "Almost Human" took on a number of topics at the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday. Such as what sort of ethical dilemmas an increasingly robotic future will present. And whether Dorian, the android lead played by Michael Ealy, will have intimate relations.

The series, which comes from executive producer J.J. Abrams and creator J.H. Wyman, envisions a not-so-distant future (35 years from now, to be precise) where police are partnered with highly evolved, human-like androids. Noting that the show had consulted with an expert in robotic ethics from MIT, Wyman aid that the show will tackle slippery moral situations that technology presents.

"If you tell the story about someone who's a pedophile, and he's using children, but robotic children, is it still wrong?" Wyman posited. "There's so many things we can talk about, and ethics is one of them."

That particular scenario may or may not be explored when the series premieres November 4, but Wyman went on to note during the panel that a love story for Dorian, who's partnered with human Det. John Kennex ("Star Trek" actor Karl Urban), probably isn't in the cards. (Yes, he was responding to a question. People are weird.)

"Personally, I'm gonna go on record and say, you know, I think that's not going to happen," Wyman noted.

The panel devoted a considerable amount of time to the fact that the show isn't set too far into the future, a deliberate choice that they hope will make the show's situations relatable to contemporary viewers, but still offer the opportunity to imagination-tickling futuristic situations.

"We're not presenting the dystopian vision of the future; this is a future that is immediately accessible," Urban said. "It's just that in this slightly futuristic version, society is dealing with elements and difficulties just a little but beyond the curve for us."

"It's super-important for the audience to see the present in the stories that were telling," executive producer Naren Shankar added.

That said, the panel emphasized that the human/android cop teams of "Almost Human" will tackle crimes that are definitely borne of the future.

"If you can see the case on another cop show, we're not going to do it," Urban noted.

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