Fox’s ALMOST HUMAN is a surefire recipe for success on paper if you ask me. It’s a sci-fi action cop drama set in the not-to-distant-future where man and machine must team-up to foil tech savy criminals. Cool right? It’s created by J.H. Wyman (the man responsible for FRINGE), and is executive produced by none other than J.J. “dippin’ my balls in everything” Abrams (STAR TREK, STAR WARS EPISODE VII). Still pretty cool right? It stars Karl Urban (STAR TREK, DREDD, THE LORD OF THE RINGS Series) as a down and out cop who doesn’t play by the rules and has a chip on his shoulder when it comes to robots (even though he has a robotic leg thanks to a mission gone foul). Hell, I even like co-star Michael Ealy (UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING) as the recommissioned robo-partner Urban’s character is mandated to pair up with. Again, cool right? Weeeeeeell, even after the aforementioned awesomeness, this show ended up being a bit of a disjointed stinker poo. And this is coming from a guy who highly enjoyed the show’s pilot as can be evidenced by my full review HERE.
First, let’s start with some of the good. As mentioned, I really love the whole team involved in this production, but that does not always mean success (I’m lookin’ at you THE COUNSELOR!). Karl Urban as detective John Kennex is by far my favorite part about this show. He is a classic grizzled hero who has a bad habit of breaking the rules and getting away with it. His dry wit and sarcasm is a pure joy to watch and it’s balanced ever so perfectly with his more action-oriented badass side. A cool character in the vein of Bruce Willis (who he co-stared with in RED!). Which brings me to Michael Ealy, his robo-partner in crime…literally! Ealy as Dorian is the peanut butter to Urban’s Jelly. These two have epic on-screen chemistry and bitch and moan at one another like they’ve been married for decades and slept in separate beds the whole time! It’s something to behold and is most notable in the show’s many car riding segments. Reminds me a bit of the Sam and Dean Winchester brother on brother moments in SUPERNATURAL. And that’s about where the enjoyment ends and the trouble lurking in the shadows begins. While I love the two main leads, everyone else in this show just seemed bland and boring. Not saying they are bad actors, but it’s just that they don’t get much time to do anything. Sure we see quite a bit of the tech wizard Rudy played by Mackenzie Crook (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN Series), Lili Taylor (THE CONJURING) as the female police Captain, and even a love interest (maybe?) in the form of Minka Kelly (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS), but I honestly can’t think of a memorable moment between them or all the other side characters in this show. Again, I like all the actors well enough, they just don’t seem that developed or important. Make no bones about it (is that a saying TREK fans!?), this show is all about Kennex and his robo-partner Dorian.
Once we start getting toward episode 8 or 9, my fears for this show rear their ugly head. Not even a cameo by NIGHT COURT alum John Larroquette could save the day. Should have gone with Bull (too old a reference!?). I was worried that the plot line introduced in the pilot would take a back seat to a “crime of the week” structure and that is exactly what happened here. Sure there were small references here and there to a larger plot line, but it never got fully revisited and it surely never came full circle. In fact, a lot of these 13 episodes seemed disjointed and possibly out of sequence. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t getting bored, and I hate to admit that when I heard this first (and now only) season only consisted of 13 episodes (instead of the 20 something of most shows of this ilk), I was a bit relieved. It was piling up in my DVR, and when I finally watched all the episodes, my body let out an underwhelming “meh” sound that would wake the neighbors tired old cat. Again, in the show’s defense, there were a few moments sprinkled about that shined and hinted at more interesting things to come. Dorian unexpectedly flipping a van with his bare hands and a plot involving the true origin of the Dorian robot model come to mind. But alas, those mysteries were only hinted at and then let go never to be revealed.
Trust me when I say that I’m the guy that really wanted this show to be good. Everything about it screams “like me”. The creators and behind the camera staff are grade A quality, the 2 main leads in the form of Urban as Detective Kennex and Ealy as Dorian are a match made in heaven, and the overall universe and atmosphere is cool and fun in that nerdy sci-fi kinda way that I love. But, at the end of the day (and this first season) all the parts just didn’t come together to deliver the show I was hoping for and expecting. The disjointed plot and missed story opportunities are just too glaring to ignore, the side characters are bland and uninteresting, and the show suffers from boredom and the all too common “crime of the week” syndrome I have seen so many times before. Sure there are a handful of likable moments and some priceless banter between the two main leads, but it’s just not enough to get me to recommend this show to anyone. I admit that when I heard there would be no season 2, I was a bit relieved. You could have been so cool.
Final Score: 5 out of 10