TV shows set in past, future can illuminate present – if they dare

Awhile back, I engaged in a chicken-or-egg-style argument with a co-worker about mid-20th-century civil rights legislation: Were the laws piggybacking on public sentiment, or did they shape public sentiment? The more I think about it, neither extreme is correct. Many citizens were ahead of the law (they believed blacks and whites should have equal rights, and hoped someday that laws would reflect that) and many other citizens were behind the law (once legislation was in place, they accepted that people should be treated equally). Simply put, law is not the sole cause of behavior, but nor is it irrelevant in shaping behavior.

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First episode impressions: ‘Almost Human’ (TV review)

I decided to wait until after the second episode to give my impressions of “Almost Human” (7 p.m. Central Mondays on Fox), because Sunday’s pilot was simultaneously confusing and lacking in new (or even new-ish) ideas. Fox’s latest attempt at an expensive sci-fi franchise — following the likes of the quickly canceled “Terra Nova” and the longer-running “Fringe” — starts with a voiceover that says the crime rate has increased by 400 percent between now and 2048, when the series is set.

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