Roundtable Sci Fi Television

NOCs of the Roundtable: R.I.P. Almost Human

So the inevitable finally happened. After a season of steadily declining ratings and even more weeks of speculation. Fox finally pulled the plug on the J.J. Abrams-produced sci-fi series Almost Human. The show, which starred Karl Urban and Michael Ealy, was a popular one — around NOC HQ, at least — and will definitely be missed.

To bid the show a fond farewell, the Nerds once again took to the Roundtable to pay their respects.

RODRIGO: Why they gotta kill the shows like this? POC protagonists are few and far between.

BRANDON: In my mind, this was the closest we will ever get to a weekly version of Blade Runner: The TV Series. It wasn’t perfect, but what first season of a genre show doesn’t have a few road bumps? This show had incredible potential and yet another Fox sci-fi series is cancelled before it finds its voice. At least we got five seasons of Fringe.

JULIE: Like Martin Luther King, Jr. once said to Nichelle Nichols regarding Star Trek, the fact that a television show that envisions the future includes within that vision an integrated society with people of color holding positions of power, has the potential to inspire generations. Or rather, had. So it goes.

Almost Human made me look forward to Monday evening network television, and that in and of itself is a miracle. I am going to miss you and your mischievous grin so much, Dorian. And I am going to miss your steely-eyed-straight-man schtick, Hapa Android Cop.

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ALICE: I enjoyed the look of the not-so-far-off future and the chemistry between Michael Ealy and Karl Urban. It’s unfortunate that the show spent so much focus on their relationship that other characters did not get enough time to develop and become a stronger ensemble piece (e.g., the underutilized Lily Taylor and Mackenzie Crook).

The show, like any good piece of sci-fi, asks some tough questions about ethics and the boundaries between human existence. While it functioned primarily as a buddy-cop procedural vacillating from homoerotic banter and action, I wish we delved more into the inner thoughts and emotions of Dorian the android or Kennex’s experiences becoming more like a cyborg.

JASON: I liked this show, but I wanted to like it more. Like Brandon, I liked the Blade Runner vibe and the glimpses of future tech and its impact on society. And the central relationship between the human and android partners and their repartee was great, for what it was. But as mentioned by others, the show’s central mysteries and arc were mishandled, with tantalizing mentions in one episode and then nothing for long stretches: Insyndicate, the terrorist spy girlfriend, John Laroquette, what’s on the other side of the Wall — all dropped. And the airing of episodes out of order didn’t help matters either. It might have only happened once or twice, but it was jarring in terms of plot, arc, and character development.

ALICE: Even at the very end — when we find out that Minka Kelly’s character was genetically enhanced — the show could have resulted in some interesting story lines. And whatever happened to the mystery from the very first episode where his girlfriend was a terrorist? Did they just drop the ball on that or what?

SHAWN T.: First episode, I was so down. It was “future enough” for me to believe and be grounded in the rules they established for the show — which the show did not break. This is a rare feat. I also felt as if Urban and Ealy were in two separate shows. Urban in a gritty crime show. Ealy in a Twilight Zone-esque existentialist exploration. I thought they actually had sub-par chemistry, and the show went to the simulacrum sexbots entirely to early in the season. I looked at my TV and felt my heart sink. At least make the sexbots dudes! Change it up!

The show could have been one of the greatest sci-fi shows in recent times, but from the third episode, they were on some plot Sisyphus shit… “Almost. almost. Oh my damn! Look out below.”Not to mention that Ealy is so damn handsome, white fanboys were like, “He can’t be on TV. Robot, or not.”

JASON: Ealy will land on his feet, though. It seems like he’s in something every season.

RODRIGO: This show had so much promise. It was like Law & Order meets Blade Runner meets I, Robot with Demolition Man type of feel. And I was hooked from episode one! It even reminded me of Small Wonder in a way. When Ealy was chosen I was excited and full of hope because this show could have been huge.

It developed slowly —  the whole flashback thing threw me off — but the genetically engineered girls episode brought in new ideas I was hoping to see develop. Towards the end of the season, things started getting more interesting like it did in Arrow and I was hopeful to have a POC protagonist continue with its growth.

JUNKO: The show had a lot of potential, but I think the last episode was written in a way that they expected it to be cancelled.

RODRIGO: But Fox had other ideas, I guess. Maybe they made their quota of POC characters in a TV show with Sleepy Hollow and Cosmos? Maybe Almost Human would have survived if it was on The CW. I mean they still have The 100 on the air! I was having a good five days, with it being my birthday and seeing Hari Kondabolu live.

But now FOX has killed my vibe — not to mention the rumors that Kanye is going to put out a spoken word album. Yeah, I’m done for this week. Thanks FOX.

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