Fall TV First Impression: Fox's Almost Human

Almost Human PreviewThe broadcast networks have almost 30 shows debuting this fall, including new sitcoms from Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes, a new CW showcase for another Amell and Marvel-ous adventures for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

THE SHOW | Fox’s Almost Human (Mondays at 8/7c; premieres Nov. 4)

THE COMPETITION | NBC’s The Voice, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, CBS’ How I Met Your Mother/We Are Men (new), The CW’s Hart of Dixie

THE CAST | Karl Urban (Star Trek), Michael Ealy (Sleeper Cell), Lili Taylor (I Shot Andy Warhol), Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights), Michael Irby (The Unit) and Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean)

RELATED | Fall Preview: TVLine’s Grid Showing What’s On When and Versus What!

THE SET-UP | In the year 2048, technology has run amok and spun crime out of control, leading the police department to partner each human cop with an MX-43 android (or “synthetic”) — but Detective John Kennex (Urban), upon waking from a 17-month coma, is having none of that. Still, rules are rules, so he is paired with a decommissioned, “more human” model, the DRN (Ealy) — but just call him “Dorian.” Taylor plays police captain Sandra, Kelly and Irby fellow officers and Crook is the PD’s tech wonk.

ALMOSTHUMAN-1.final.group_5

RELATED | Fall TV Preview: TVLine’s Snapshot Guide to All the New Shows

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | This tale of a “good robot” is brought to you by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, so let’s get that joke out of the way. Among the cast, Urban is perfectly gruff as Kennex, who is haunted by a larger mytharc involving a suspicious ambush that cost him a leg and almost his life; Ealy is solid yet saddled with A) bringing something fresh to a role we’ve seen many times before in every medium and B) single-handedly lightening up the bleak mood; and Taylor is far better than she has to be. The look and feel of the pilot is Demolition Man meets Blade Runner, yet it offers no real “gee whiz” flashes of never-seen techno-coolness. There is a TV series here — and former Fringe boss J.H. Wyman is certainly the one to deliver it — but even a Michael Giacchino-style quivering of strings can’t save the pilot-ending twist from being more “What?” than “Whaaaaaat?!?!”

RELATED | Read Our Fall TV First Impression of CBS’ The Crazy Ones

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE Fox in recent years has not had an easy time launching sci-fi on Mondays (see Terra Nova, Alcatraz), yet is ambitiously looking to double down come November when Almost Human displaces Bones to tee up the supernatural Sleepy Hollow. Yes, those Dancing stars have lost a step, but The Voice is ever-strong (especially if it can steer away from Nashville Star territory) and How I Met Your Mother’s buzzy farewell tour promises no easy pass for Abrams’ latest TV product — unless it can quickly gain momentum with a compelling mythology.

Watch a video preview for Almost Human, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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50 Comments
  1. HernaniSP says:

    If it wasn’t on Fox i would probably check it.
    Being on Fox is canceled at the start so why watch it?

    • avril_lee says:

      Totally agree… FOX has let viewers down so many times by not promoting/supporting their shows… but a chance to see Karl Urban on my screen every week? Just can’t pass that up!

      • John says:

        Fringe got way too much support and I’m thankful for that!

        • AC says:

          From the fans, critics, and people who loved it, which thankfully included Kevin Reilly and Peter Roth. But its outside and on-air promotion was pretty sad. Fringe was very much an online social media show.

        • Temperence says:

          Fringe, being a totally brilliant show, got all the support it so richly deserved. :)

      • Donna says:

        Nonsense… Fox supported Fringe. They were enthusiastic and creative, and the fans responded to that. Ratings realities being what they are, five seasons was the best possible outcome.

        • James R. says:

          This. Fringe never really pulled all that great ratings yet Fox kept it going for Five seasons, and allowed it to have a some what fulfilling ending.

          • Jooshua says:

            ‘Fringe’ was definitely Fox’s ‘Chuck’.. they knew how amazing it was so they let it keep going.

          • Farley says:

            Fringe – Fox
            Chuck – NBC
            Nikita – CW

            at the very least, we should be thankful for having this kind of shows.

    • J. K. says:

      Orell (Mackenzie Croo) is back!

      That makes me stick to the show, if only for Game or Thrones nostalgia.

    • Alex says:

      LOL, most new network shows don’t last past season one (if that far) on any major network, not just Fox. You’re the one who loses out if you refuse to watch programming.

    • Renee says:

      HernaniSP I agree with you 100%. If this show wasn’t on Fox I would be there for every episode, but Fox won’t give it a season 2. If by some bizarre chance Fox actually grants a season 2 I’ll watch on DVD. Too bad because I adore Karl Urban. But Fox just can’t be trusted.

    • Sam says:

      Fox is basically the only show that supports sci fi these days if you discount weak NBCs attempts on Friday to do it (Chuck and Grimm are the exceptions) – although in a way ABC with its Marvel connection is doing a more sure thing with “Agents” on Mondays this Fall. Fox did support Fringe which barely had ratings to keep it going as long as it did (the last season were not because of ratings – they were to get to 88 episodes to get to syndication which it did – you can catch Fringe on the Science channel these days.

    • MEHay says:

      Oh, check it out anyway! Fantastic show well worth giving a shot and even FOX renews some shows worth watching!

  2. Susie says:

    Can’t wait for this one. Hope it can live up to the preview.

  3. J. Norman says:

    I think this will bomb harder than last years NBC comedies

  4. Midori says:

    “Fox has not had an easy time launching sci-fi on Mondays”

    Fringe started out on Monday and the ratings were stunning.

    Then Fox was dumb and moved it to Tuesdays t 9 and the show fell like a rock.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Yes, I meant “as of late”; the story has been amended for clarity.

    • John says:

      But it still got 2 more seasons than anybody was expecting.

      • BGD says:

        Could still be on the air if Fox wasn’t stupid and moved to from Mondays.

        And even after other shows failed, they never bothered moving it back to Mondays like they should have.

        • Amanda says:

          AGREED. Except of course it started out on Tuesdays rather than Mondays, but the point remains.

          Everyone seems to forget that little tid bit whenever they’re talking about how “it got way more seasons than it should have considering the ratings”. Fringe averaged around 9 mil viewers it’s first season on Tuesdays. Then it was moved to Thursdays and dropped drastically to 5-6 mil viewers. You’d think at this point Fox would say, “hey, that was a bad move, lets send it back to the time slot it was doing awesome in”, but no. In a brilliant move, Fox moves it to Fridays, the “death slot” in season 4 and surprise, surprise, it drops even more viewers. Shocker.

          Fox knew what they were getting into with Fringe. You can’t bounce a show like that around and expect that the fans would be able to stick with it. Even myself, a die-hard fan, had to resort to watching it online most of the time. I’m sorry, but that’s not Fox showing support.

    • Tristan says:

      Fringe started on Tuesdays

  5. Gwen says:

    Karl Urban? Yes please!

  6. I am a huge fan of Karl Urban, so I’ll be watching no matter what. Fox has dropped the ball in the past with sci-fi shows, but it also held out to give me 5 seasons of Fringe. I hope the show finds an audience quickly, and the network sees a reason to keep it on the air.

  7. Valerie says:

    I’ll be watching. Any chance to watch Karl Urban on my TV is one I’ll ALWAYS take. :)

  8. Amanda says:

    Karl Urban and Bad Robot, this looks promising. I hope Fox really promotes it and makes its episodes accessible for free on the net after they have aired.

  9. AC says:

    Huge fan of Fringe, Love Bad Robot’s shows, adore Joel Wyman, and the cast looks great. Yes, for sure.

  10. Donna says:

    Whatever its other past sins, Fox did not drop the ball with Fringe. The biggest mistake they made with Fringe was using it as a scheduling wedge in the deadly Thursday 9pm timeslot for a season and a half – a strategy that failed. If they hoped to get 2nd or 3rd place on Thu 9pm, they got neither. To Fox’s credit, they moved the goalposts again to Friday and wound up with a sad but necessary conclusion that everyone felt good about. You can’t say they did not stand behind that show on Fridays.

    As for Almost Human, I expect it would take some time to find its way creatively… but really, I don’t see where they will escape the “case of the week” vs. “mythology” tension with this show either. Are they going to stick to their COTW guns this time, or are they going to toss it out the window and go full mythology? This fundamental problem in the Abramsverse hasn’t changed. They’ll probably get a larger but more tepid following if they stick hard to COTW, but a smaller and more fervent one if they go full mythology.

    Bad Robot seems to learn more lessons with every show they do, so I’m hopeful. As always, give any new show 13 episodes before it finds its way creatively.

  11. Fox may have a huge breakout hit with Almost Human but I hope it’s going to survive throughout much of the first season and it does have potential.

  12. I definitely trust J.H. Wyman to deliver another wonderful show. Been looking forward to Almost Human since Fringe wrapped. Hopefully, folks tune in ‘live’ Monday nights and give Fox the ratings they require. Until the antiquated Nielsen ratings system is done away with, all we can do is support the shows we enjoy by tuning in the night they air.

  13. JS says:

    Wyman’s new show…no thanks.

  14. J.H. Wyman, So I’ll be there.

  15. James says:

    Seeing as Fringe is one of my favorite TV shows ever, i trust Wyman and Co. to at least come up with something unique even if the plot is a wee bit generic, Wyman is one of the best out there at delivering really intriguing subplots, so i look to see the same in Almost Human. I hope people give it a chance, IMO Fringe’s pilot wasn’t all that great, but after the season got going it skyrocketed from there and never looked back. this is definitely in the top three Dramas I’m really looking forward to watching. can’t wait.

  16. PBMom says:

    I enjoyed the pilot courtesy of Fox VIP program. It was fantastic. It will be paired up with Sleepy Hollow. That is an awesome match.

  17. bobbie says:

    If there is any show that I will watch in this time period, this will be it. Or, I’ll read a book.

  18. JC says:

    I haven’t watched Fox since Fringe ended (not out of spite – they just don’t have anything that interests me), but I do want to check this one out. It’s mostly because of Karl Urban and Michael Ealy though. The premise is interesting, but probably wouldn’t be enough to draw me in by itself. And the trailer really didn’t blow me away. I’m not holding my breath that this one will have a long lifespan, but who knows, maybe it will.

  19. JC says:

    Oh, also, I’m still not convinced that Sleepy Hollow is going to last long enough to be paired with this show. I see Sleepy Hollow being cancelled by November. But I could be wrong. I thought OUaT would be a quick cancellation too.

  20. Kristina says:

    I am definitely skeptical of yet another sci-fi show on Fox after all of the infamous cancellations the last several years, but to their credit they keep ordering them. Looking forward to checking it out.

  21. Sheldon W. says:

    If the series maintains the level of quality and intrigue of the pilot, it could be one of the best new shows of year.

  22. When I first heard about this… they had me at JJ Abrams and Bad Robot. But then I heard about Karl Urban; heck yes! The chance to see Urban every week is extremely appealing.

  23. Sareeta says:

    I loved Fringe and Lost and will give any show by JJ Abrams and JH Wyman a try. As a big fan of the Isaac Asimov Robot stories, the premise calls to mind the movie version of I, Robot, but also The Caves of Steel: Karl Urban = Elijah; Michael Ealy = Daneel.

  24. Tristan says:

    It will certainly be ten times better then the boring The Following.

  25. I can’t stand J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot croonies who can’t write a complete story for anything and instead rely on half-thought through allusions that they leave for their “fans” to reach for and fit together into a cohesive thread. For every one of his good ideas, he only leaves behind a frustrating mess. It’s just lazy storytelling. And not even Karl Urban can save this Blade Runner/I Robot pastiche.

  26. Mare says:

    I am so in! This one is the show I am most excited for!

  27. Elyse says:

    I love Michael Ealy so i’ll be checking it out.

  28. Olive says:

    This show has a really great cast. I’ll definitely watch.

  29. Roger Holmes says:

    I read a couple of post about how fox is letting viewers down by stopping series after they start them. Sadly to say if we let that be the reason we watch something or not then all Networks would be guilty. I am so sick and tired of waiting for the next season of something to start and it more than often never comes back on, and I would not put Fox on the top of the list for doing this. This show looks great but all I can do is enjoy it for now and wait and see if we get more than one season.