‘Almost Human’ Season 1 Finale Review: The End?

Published 9 months ago by

almost human season 1 finale kennex dorian Almost Human Season 1 Finale Review: The End?

There are no cliffhangers or surprises in the Almost Human season 1 finale, yet J.H. Wyman’s futuristic drama continues to deliver thoroughly enjoyable, episodic adventures to the end. The question now: Is it enough to garner a season 2?

In this week’s finale, “Straw Man,” written by co-executive producers Alison Schapker and Graham Roland, Kennex (Karl Urban) and Dorian (Michael Ealy) stumble upon a string of murders which copy that of a serial killer Kennex’s father put away. As Kennex digs further into his father’s case files, he finds out that an innocent man may have been wrongly put behind bars. Elsewhere, Dorian receives a performance evaluation – one which could lead to him being decommissioned.

Chances are, unless you’ve been following the episodic descriptions of the series week-to-week, it’s highly unlikely you would have intuited that this is the season 1 finale. This unfortunate conundrum, as well as the overall absence of any actual thru story-arc, continues to weigh the series down, making it impossible for the franchise to stand on its own. Though the mysterious death of Kennex’s father is, if anything, a starting point.

almost human season 1 finale kennex Almost Human Season 1 Finale Review: The End?

There is, or was, a proverbial enemy within the police precinct and Kennex’s father paid the price for digging too deep. Kennex himself searches for answers and finds them, which leads to his father being exonerated for the crimes he’s been accused of committing. Any of this season’s futuristic tales could have been used to serve this purpose, as Kennex’s father (like girlfriend) is barely mentioned, and one could make the case that many of the series’ previous tales would have been better suited to do so.

The story at hand is, as always, fascinating to watch unfold, yet the conclusion is exceedingly simple and far less poignant than most of the cases we’ve seen along the way. Like audiences have been doing from the beginning, it now feels as if producers are finding it exceedingly difficult to explain why the series should continue on, and their haphazard attempt at presenting a tale which is directly connected to its lead actor serves to only reveal other issues.

almost human season 1 finale dorian Almost Human Season 1 Finale Review: The End?

Urban’s weakness has finally been revealed: emotions. Give him a gun, badge and reason to fight the good fight and Urban can deliver a performance which turns other 8pm series into a joke. Force him to emote, however, as this finale does, and machismo sets in, preventing him from being able to realistically immerse himself in the emotions the scenes require of him.

Even so, Urban and Ealy, together, are a force to be reckoned with, and the supporting characters are able to make up for some of the heart that’s missing in the series. Whether or not it’s enough for them to receive a second-chance season 2, so to speak, is still too early to tell.

Almost Human, while flawed, has proven that futuristic tales with exceptionally talented actors can exist in a time slot typically used for more family friendly entertainment, and it did so without the budget Terra Nova had. Fox is still one of the most tightly-scheduled networks, and they have few spot available to fill with programming. Chances are Almost Human is done – but if not, a Friday night timeslot might do this series well. Just don’t change the name to “Almost Human: Uprising”.

_____

Almost Human season 1 aired from November 17, 2013 – March 3, 2014 on Fox.

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  1. I believe I had read somewhere on a website that this show was not being offered a second season, which is too bad since while not a great show, I have been watching it and found it mildly amusing.

  2. really wish they went with a major arc instead of a bunch of standalones, same reason people tuned out of Fringe season 1. This aint the X-files era anymore, procedurals dont fly.

    • The success of all the CSI shows and also Navy CIS (one of the most successful shows in TV history), not to mention all the iterations of Law & Order would beg to differ. They are all still going strong. Just because it isn’t for you it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for procedurals.

      I, for one, am glad that Almost Human didn’t have any story arc to speak of. As I mentioned numerous times before, most of the time story arcs are just lackluster stories that could barely fill a single episode if they wouldn’t stretch them out so much. I cant think of a single show right now, where the overarching story interested me more than the diverse week by week stuff. Not one. So called “mythology episodes” are usually a string-along snoozefest, like the carrot in front of a mule. At a first glance it seems appealing but it usually doesn’t go anywhere.

      • Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, True Detective, Breaking Bad, Hannibal, Sons of Anarchy,True Blood, house of Cards …….

  3. The way the first season went reminds me of how castle went in season 1. Both were pretty short seasons with no major arcs, while starting to show peaks as to what can be. Here’s hoping that this gets picked up and has success like Castle.

  4. PLEASE! Let this get picked up for season 2!!!

    • Trust in the power of the Dredd audience.

      They’ve been campaigning on at least one entertainment website to keep this show around and have it renewed for another season and in the “Which show should come back?” poll on a major site, this is beating everything else, including The Blacklist (which I love and am glad it’s finally back but can’t compare it to Almost Human since we still don’t even know if it will air in the UK, stupid networks).

  5. I’ve watched every episode of this series, and it does have flaws, but it is still very entertaining. I hope it comes back, but from everything I’ve been reading (screenrant, Hollywood reporter, tvbythenumbers, etc.) it is doomed to cancellation.

    I have my fingers crossed…

  6. I found this the most enjoyable episode since the second episode. I think the show has potential but there were two major flaws. Firstly, the fact that they aired the episodes out of order was ridiculous, still don’t understand why networks do this. Something like the 7th episode should have been episode 2, and I could tell, it felt completely out of place, going back to Kennex’s problems with the MX’s.

    The second problem was the lack of an arc through the whole season (I feel like maybe they were planning on addressing this had the series been picked up for an additional 9 episodes).

    Also, there’s some very weird editing in this show, often when two characters are having a conversation they’ll show the one who is not talking, while the other characters dialogue is played. Very strange.

    I had some high hopes for this show after the premiere, but with the network’s mishandling of it as well as the procedural aspect, I can’t see myself being very excited for season two if it even gets renewed.

    • Also, speaking of Terra Nova, very underrated show that actually improved as it went along and became a more serialized show. Almost Human seemed to do the opposite.

    • I dunno about the whole “procedural” argument because most of the US cop shows are procedurals and yet they keep running for 20 years each. Same with a lot of British shows, the only ones that have a major arc over here are the dramas and cop shows that only last for 2-3 episodes. Usually, those with longer arcs tend to be things like soap operas or dramas like Casualty that run for 52 weeks per year and are only ever off the air for the Summer Olympics or if Christmas happens to fall on a Saturday.

      • While 20 years each probably falls under the definition of hyperbole (the actual definition, not the one people claim when they like using the word, as only the longest running Law & Order has hit the 20 year mark before being cancelled), the truth is that one and done procedural are and have been the mainstay of American network television for decades.

  7. Not every show needs an over-all story arc. If you need one to enjoin a series switch to daytime soap operas. Only in the last couple of years have tv series had more than just periodic returns of supporting characters. The exception was nighttime soap operas. I, for one, have enjoyed the self contained stories.

    • Totally agreed and exactly what I just explained in a comment above too. It’s a refreshing change to have self-contained stories in a US drama when most of them try to drag an arc out for 40 episodes or some ridiculous number and half of them tend to be mostly filler.

  8. This series definitely has potential. If you check out interviews with Mr Wyman you can read that he indeed had ideas for arc and character. I am not sure what Abram and FOX were thinking when they messed with the order and made things less serialized.

    For what it’s worth the characters carry the show, and I don’t mind that. But I fear for the shows status with people who want to like it based on arc storylines alone.

  9. I don’t think its the greatest show ever but had started to like it enough to want it to come back. I think its done though. Not enough people watched.

  10. Great episode. SR, I thought the third last paragraph you wrote was for Kennex, not Urban. There’s kind of a reverse dichotomy they have in Almost Human: Dorian is a robot with emotions and is very much human being all sentimental. On the other hand, Kennex is a very machismo, all bravado type of human being that he fails to show emotion and he is almost like a robot.
    In a sense, what is Almost Human referring to? Dorian the robot or Kennex who is also struggling to find human connection?

    To answer your third last paragraph. Kennex is not supposed to emote, he is trying not to show vulnerability, but you see hints of it showing through – the loneliness, the sadnes – there is sone sublety to Urban’s acting. The episode showcases his strength, not his fault as an actor.

    I hope this show gets renewed. A season to develop a relationship, now we can get on to a bigger story!

  11. Show definitely has potential, messed up by airing out of order. The only negative I have is that in the short season they have thrown too much out there. We started with Kenneix’s girlfriend and his injury caused by who? The story behind the Dnrs ,why Dorrian was reactivated. Dorrian has memories,throw in the wall Dorrian’s creator, and what he’s up to. and finally Kennix’s dad. Too much for a 13 episode season.

    • Too much for a 13 episode season?

      I’d say that sounds perfect. You’re not dragging things out for a 22 episode season that way and leaves you able to keep some mysteries for a second season.

      Honestly, the only two issues I’ve ever had with US shows are:

      * the good ones get cancelled way too quickly and easily

      * seasons drag on and on and on instead of being short, snappy, to the point and leaving you wanting more.

      Arrow and Revolution were my first tastes of proper US TV show season lengths and while I love the shows, I got midway through season one and wondered why it was still going instead of ending on a cliffhanger at episode 12 and picking up on the next season. Got to a point where you start getting a little exhausted and plodding through the rest of the season because it seems to just want to continue and by the season finale, you feel like you’ve aged several years.

      The Blacklist too, I thought the Anslo Garrick thing could’ve ended season 1 and then season 2 starts with what became episode 10 instead of going on a break for 3 months.

      I dunno, I liked 24′s season lengths because it had a reason to air for so long, I just didn’t realise other US shows went on forever too. I’d like to start watching Modern Family from the very first episode but when my brother told me each season had 22 episodes, I decided not to bother. That’s just way too many episodes, even for a 20 minute comedy.

      Another issue I have with US shows is the pointless mid-season break but that’s another complaint for another time.

      • Point is if you have 13 episodes don’t throw out 15 mysteries and ,not solve any of them.,especially if your trying to develop a following.As the british telivision model shows you can do justice to one storyline and hint out others.

  12. Agree with a lot of posters here: the show is flawed, but has a lot of potential.

    Look, if I have to watch another police procedural for the umpteenth time, it better be genre specific. And Almost Human fits that bill.

    Now, if it doesn’t get picked up by Fox, where should it go? Syfy? FX? Or, into the nether (oblivion)?

    • Good idea to tag Syfy channel for this.
      I think they picked up Sliders the same way, people just have to let them know about it.

  13. Onn the other hand, Kennex is a verry machismo, all bravado type of human being that he fails to show emotion and he is almmost like a robot.
    In a sense, what is Almost Human refrerring to? Dorian the robot or Kennex who is also struggling to find human connnection? http://num.to/7277-4841-8626

  14. That sucks…every time a good show comes on that i like…it’s canceled before the show gets to actually develop and progress…yet american idol is on year round…twice a week…smh!

    • Yep, unfortunate but completely true.

      That’s why a lot of British viewers choose not to watch US shows any more because either viewers, networks or both don’t realise when they have a good thing going and it gets cancelled.

      We only just had season 1 of Boss last year and one of my cousins wanted to watch but chose not to bother when I told him the show was cancelled after two seasons. Gave the usual “what’s the point in making them then if people aren’t gonna watch?” speech then proceeded to complain about horrible shows like Two And A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and the various Law & Order shows continuing for years and getting high ratings when good shows worth watching are canned early on.

  15. I have feeling this show is coming back. See you for season 2 next year!

  16. I hope they get picked up for a second season. While this show has its issues and isn’t (yet?) the best out there, it’s still fairly good, explores many interesting notions and questions, and I enjoyed it. To finally find a SF show that didn’t make me want to roll my eyes after thirty minutes was a very good surprise and I really don’t want it to stop here.
    So, yeah, crossing my fingers.

  17. The issue with the show is not that there is a missing story arc is that by playing the the show out of order the relationship between the two leads didn’t come off right.

    Both are fantastic actors and have great chemistry but the story was that two two one develop a bromance over time. A hardened cop resistant to droids and a droid who seeks to understand himself.

    Playing this out of order this dynamic was destroyed and that really, really, really hurt the show in my opinion.

  18. Not sure if I’m just being stupid, but isn’t that last line of the review a shot at AoS? If so, I love you Screen Rant.

    • I love you, too! ;-)

  19. This show has plenty of story arcs to tug on for a season two. Kennex ex-girlfriend and insyndicate, John Laraquette going over the wall to build a robot army, the wall itself whats on the other side? I thoroughly enjoyed this show it has a great deal of potential which i sincerely hope is not wasted by another idiotic decision by Fox. with that said, if this show is renewed I do think it would benefit greatly by giving it the Fringe treatment. Semi-Serialize it without totally getting rid of the Procedural elements, and start to really build it’s mythology. If anyone can write poignant, engrossing, character driven sci-fi it’s JH Wyman. fingers crossed he gets the chance to do just that.

  20. I too hope it gets picked up a second season so it can wrinkle out some of the rough spots. Most shows need a second season to really hit its stride, but too often networks aren’t willing to do this….Shich is why so many shows are turning to other venues other than network TV…..I wounder how bad they have to get hit before they realize the hole they’re digging for themselves?

    Here’s an unfortunate truth about many of the series out here now days. If there’s not a romantic eliment to it they usually don’t do as well because apparently most women lose interest. For a while they toyed with Kennex, and Valerie, but really didn’t make it too big of a deal. In buddy cop shows you really can’t go too far in a romance because the show is basically around the connection between the buddies. Adding another relationship is just too much to juggle story wise. Supernatural is a prime example of this. Both brothers have had brief romance acconters, but in the end they always end up out there taking on the monsters together….That’s what buddy cop0 show are for.

    • “Here’s an unfortunate truth about many of the series out here now days. If there’s not a romantic eliment to it they usually don’t do as well because apparently most women lose interest.”

      I hear what you’re saying, Tundrabeast, but I think it is a false premise that a lot of network executives, as well as the suits in the film industry adhere to. For example, when The Dark Knight was released back in 2008, the suits decided to release the film Mamma Mia on the same day, so there would be something for the ladies to watch while the menfolk went to see TDK. I had no desire to see Mamma Mia, and instead watched TDK, three times. Whenever I was watching it, I noticed that the audience was roughly 50% female. The theaters playing Mamma Mia were practically empty.

      As a woman, I actually found it refreshing that AH did not try to force in some kind of romantic entanglement between any of the characters. The relationship between Kennex and Dorian is really the main focus of the show, and that is enough for me.

  21. What? That was the finale? Did they always intent on a shorter season or did the show did not get pick up for a full season.

    Hope it gets renewed though. I love this show.

  22. No seen this yet as it’s not on over on this side of the pond.

    Is this episode the actual season finale (i.e. written as the finale) or is this just the last episode left to be shown….. I’ve heard the network is showing some (all) the episodes out of order.

    Maybe that’s why the series hasn’t flowed properly….. maybe?

    • I have watched the episodes in the intended order in the last week or so. It doesn’t matter as each episode are individual and don’t carry on with any intended continuity. I can confirm that it’s not at all a plausible excuse (for the ratings), so come on people…stop using it as an excuse!

      At least Fringe had an overarching side story in it’s first season with it’s case of the week and then that side story was it’s main focus in later on seasons. AH has case of the week with some lame cyberpunk attached to it (being a generic/boring, run of the mill cop show) and that’s it.

      Much like Awake, it’s a boring/gimmicky cop show and I only watched most of it(like AH) because of people I know can’t stop going on about it.

      I hope the show doesn’t get picked up due to the fact that it’s wasting great acting talent. This show is beneath them…

  23. This just goes to show if you have a show and you want it to be given a chance DON’T GO TO FOX

    • Fox has a long list of making bad choices on good shows.

      Firefly (Never Forget)
      Human Target [Even if you get a season 2, no guarantee FOX won't screw if up]

      [no particular order]
      Finder
      Brimstone
      Head Cases [funny legal drama]
      Standoff
      Good Guys
      Dark Angel
      Dollhouse
      Terminator
      Etc.

      Maybe Netflix can get it.

      Urban was fantastic in RED [Retired Extremely Dangerous], good as Dredd.

      Ealy has one more than his last series (Common Law, buddy cop show, both are in couples therapy)

      • That reminds me of the time that Family Guy got cancelled..the brought back:

        [first lines]

        Peter Griffin: Everybody, I got bad news. We’ve been canceled.

        Lois Griffin: Oh, no, Peter, how could they do that?

        Peter Griffin: Well, unfortunately, Lois, there’s just no more room on the schedule. We’ve just got to accept the fact that Fox has to make room for terrific shows like “Dark Angel,” “Titus,” “Undeclared,” “Action,” “That 80′s Show,” “Wonderfalls,” “Fastlane,” “Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” “Skin,” “Girls Club,” “Cracking Up,” “The Pits,” “Firefly,” “Get Real,” “Freaky Links,” “Wanda at Large,” “Costello,” “The Lone Gunmen,” “A Minute With Stan Hooper,” “Normal, Ohio,” “Pasadena,” “Harsh Realm,” “Keen Eddie,” “The Street,” “American Embassy,” “Cedric the Entertainer,” “The Tick,” “Louie,” and “Greg the Bunny.”

        Lois Griffin: Is there no hope?

        Peter Griffin: Well, I suppose if all those shows go down the tubes, we might have a shot.

        • :)

          how could I forget Keen Eddie, NYC cop in london

          or

          Skin, modern day Romeo & Juliet one is the child of an ethical porn producer/mogul versus the unscrupulous district attorney.
          loved the scene where the mayor is explaining how he became the mayor to the DA (his opponent had made the mistake of offending the mogul)

          And lets not forget that funny Dirty Harry nock-off, Sledge Hammer

  24. I really liked this series and I hope there is a season 2 … I think the issue here is that Kennex is very hardened and this makes him unemotional … however Dorian who is not human suprisingly shows more emotion and there in lies the balance of the relationship … the one missing thing with the series is there has been no real sense that there is a larger arc … there is no big bad or conflict to be solved or explored … everytime we get a sense of this the plot seems to be abandoned …

  25. I love this show. I hope it doesn’t get canned. It is one of the best shows to me.

  26. Fox gave lie to me 3 seasons, this show should get at least that many.

  27. The has been good and is held up by the two leads who actually have good chemistry together. It is funny that as real world technology advances the cyber-punk genre becomes harder to sell without going completely overboard. The themes of the show have struck a decent balance between showing how tech advances really do not help human society if it continues to sink due to social and economic problems.

    The issue of a story arc seems valid on one hand, since some people seem to like a structure to follow. There has been a few underlying themes bought up in this series, but if it is cancelled viewers will never know if they were going anywhere with some of it. As a police show though people have to expect there to be times when the characters have to do actual routine police investigations since this show has not been set-up with the protagonists hunting one major bad guy(s) every week. Even some of the shows with a story arc they are supposed to be following tend to have their share of filler episodes, so it all evens out.

    • Your first paragraph I agree with the first part but if you take away the cyberpunk gimmick AH can be seen as any run of the mill cop show on tv.

      Your second paragraph I kind of the get the gist but it doesn’t make sense really. FOX could broadcast the episodes out of order because there was no arc connecting the episodes, not even a loose thread e.g The Machine(‘s number) in Person of Interest (thus allowing for filler episodes). Every episode in AH was a filler episode & that was the problem… i.e it can’t ‘evens out’.

  28. ….and they replace it with another reality (scripted) show

  29. If Fox cancels Almost Human then I will stop watching anything Fox does. Every time I like a show that Fox does they cancel it and keep pure crap on their Network. Canceling Almost Human would be the last straw.