That is neither a pan nor an endorsement. This show is a television show that I am watching.
If you haven’t already read it, Mike gave his take on the pilot episode here. I found myself nodding in near-complete agreement (although I fell more on the ‘I like it’ side of the mix of good and meh) and anticipating/dreading episode two. Anticipating because I liked what Almost Human has on offer – solid writing, solid acting, solid jokes, very solid special effects. Dreading because of Fox’s history with sci-fi shows on top of the fact that everything about the pilot was ‘solid’, some was very good, and nothing was ‘awesome’.
One could discourse at length about how Fox just doesn’t ‘get’ sci fi shows and mucks with what could be good product without giving it a chance, but this is not one of those discourses and I am not one of those ones. Unfortunately, if I don’t do that, this review is basically over. I like Almost Human. I rolled my eyes but once in two episodes (whereas Sleepy Hollow, which I’m freaking recapping, has me memorizing the particular cobwebs on the coffee house ceiling). I chuckled here and there, dug a few good turns of phrase, liked the tech on display in episode 2, and I will eagerly watch each upcoming episode for the foreseeable future.
And I have nothing much more to say about it. If you liked the trailer, I think you will like the first two episodes. Why? Dunno. But I watched them, and I liked them, and I didn’t think about not watching them. So there we have it.
This show needs to pick a tone. Let me rephrase – it needs to pick a different, better tone than the solid B it’s using. All I can think right now is that if the pilot episode had featured ‘Seven Nation Army’ in the way Sleepy Hollow featured ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, I would have been way more on board. Of course, on board or not is a dichotomy, and I know on which half I currently fall, so a gradient is irrelevant. But really – picture the trailer to Almost Human and add in ‘Seven Nation Army’. Better, no? Sense of place and tone?
When The White Stripes are all you need to greatly increase your show’s depth, I’d typically think you’re in trouble. But not so far. Not here. This is a show, on television, that I am watching.
Almost Human is. And there’s nothing wrong with that.