Fox Picks Up Pilot For J.J. Abrams Android Buddy Cop Drama

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 15th, 2013 at 12:06 pm,

It looks as though J.J. Abrams is heading to the future with his newest batch of television programs. In addition to the near-future setting of NBC’s Revolution, Abrams is set to re-team with newly appointed, sole Fringe season 5 showrunner, J.H. Wyman, for a futuristic buddy cop drama on FOX – with a robotic twist.

FOX has ordered the pilot for the Abrams/Wyman as-yet untitled drama dealing with a future in which every LAPD officer is partnered with an incredibly advanced android that closely resembles their human counterparts, but will undoubtedly be wildly different from humans in their still robot-like quirks and abilities far beyond that of a regular human being.

The program is being described as an “action-packed, buddy cop show,” which suggests that the android police officers may have more than crime-solving/detection skills to offer their partners, and will probably engage in some high-level acts of daring-do. Because what’s the fun in having a robot partner if he or she can’t lift/throw incredibly heavy objects or chase after a perp at blistering speeds?

While details beyond the basic premise are scant, the topic is ripe for a multitude of popular robotic quandaries like: Do the androids enjoy the same rights as their human counterparts? Are they looked upon as individuals or are they the property of the LAPD? And, of course, will The Three Laws, popularized by Asimov, come into play? And if so, how does that affect the androids’ ability to police? Sure, on one hand the LAPD would likely see a steep decline in the number of police brutality charges, but when the going gets tough, are the androids compelled to let the human’s shoot it out?

Right now, it’s all just fun speculation, but one can expect, with Abrams and Wyman on board, the potential series will probably have plenty of smarts to go along with all of its action-packed goodness. No doubt there have been plenty of popular interpretations of androids over the years, so this Abrams and Wyman series will have to contend with more memorable ones – namely, Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation and the obligatory androids of the Alien franchise – which can also count David (Michael Fassbender) from this summer’s Prometheus among their ranks.

Michael Fassbender David Prometheus Fox Picks Up Pilot For J.J. Abrams Android Buddy Cop Drama

As is typically the case concerning niche ideas and the television industry, FOX is actually the second network to go after an android-centric program with big names attached. In late August, NBC nabbed a concept from Homeland and 24 producer Howard Gordon and writer Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) about a futuristic landscape where a detective is tasked with solving what looks to be the first robot-on-human homicide while investigating a possible robot insurrection.

After working on Fringe since season 1, and serving as co-showrunner for three seasons, Wyman was recently promoted to the sole showrunner for the series’ final, 13-episode season starting later this month. Once that wraps, it appears the writer and producer will have his hands full getting yet another collaboration with Abrams off the ground. Abrams appears to be as prolific as ever – developing multiple television endeavors despite having monumentally large film projects like Star Trek 2 on his plate.

In the meantime, Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, is set to premiere its newest drama Revolution for NBC on September 17. Fans eager to see the teaming of Abrams and Supernatural creator Eric Kripke can check out the pilot episode in its entirety on Hulu, and most cable provider’s On Demand feature, right now.


Screen Rant will keep you posted as more details on J.J. Abrams’ new android cop show emerge.

Source: Deadline

TAGS: Fringe
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  1. Back in the 80s, there was a drama called Mann & Machine about a cop and his robotic partner. How in the hell I remember that, I have no idea, but this show reminded me of that.

    • I was about to mention the same thing. I really enjoyed that show and was upset that it was so short lived.

  2. ….let me guess it will star about 1/2 the cast of Lost, with one of the cops being played by Terry O’Quinn. Damn cant JJ Abrams just take a break. Seems like every other show on tv is a JJ Abrams show. Dude stays busy.

    • I gave up on Abrams after the debacle of “Lost”, but I have enjoyed “Fringe”. As concerns Terry O’Quinn, he was the only thing that kept me watching “Lost”, so yes, please include him in this.

      • I understand the ending of LOST caused a huge divide amongst its followers, you either loved it or hated. Despite being part of the loved it, i understand the frustration of the opposite perspective, i just never expected this huge answer to everything at it’s conclusion. Mainly because i knew ANY answer they gave us would of sounded so contrived and stupid, they would of never been able to live up to all the hype, questions etc.

        As far as Abrams and his dealings with the end of LOST, he didn’t, he handed the show over to its main 2 creators for it’s final seasons, sure he might of had some input here and there, but it was their decision how the show ended, so that’s not on him, sorry.

        Alias/Fringe/LOST are all pretty spectacular hes had some misses with undercovers and alcatraz, but those shows he wasn’t heavily involved in either, he essentially drew up the original blueprint for the show maybe the pilot itself, and handed it over, plus they were procedurals so those just don’t mesh with Abrams style IMO.

        • LLL! (long live Lost!)

  3. The first thing i thought of while reading the header was “Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.” from Friends. I wonder if they will get Matt Leblanc?

  4. I feel like the concept of the Thin Blue Line (or is it Blue Wall?) concept when your partner is an adroid. Where are its loyalties? To its partner? Or to justice – as defined by the LAPD?

  5. There was a Total Recall show- I think it came from Canada and got play on Showtime- that was really Blade Runner The Series. Deep, moody, philosophical; it failed- though I still consider it a fairly good show. [The screaming-over-the-dead-partner bit happened in the first episode, and always cracks me up] Paring away the good elements to make that more acceptable to the mainstream wouldn’t leave much of note, but as we’ve already observed, who doesn’t love good smashin’.

  6. No mention of I-Robot or Robocop?

  7. Id watch a show based on robot and frank.

  8. Show sounds interesting. I’ll check it out. Watched Revolution the other night on Hulu and really enjoyed that. Hope it lasts for a while.

  9. Hmm, hope he is not just throwing crazy ideas out there that he hasn’t fully thought through. Why can’t he stick to resurrecting the Star Trek brand? It’s been wwaaaaaaaayyyy too long between movies. I love Fringe and POI though, so I guess I would just really want to clone JJ so he could do more shows/movies, faster.

    • lol, that’s really funny. Not to mention a really good idea. Imagine the what a pair of them could do!

  10. Wow, what a cool premise. Specifically, if i read correctly, having the android resemble the human partner. That has interesting possibilities if they are identical enough. Criminals would always be thinking, 50/50 – Is the guy telling me to freeze right now, the robot, or the human partner.

    As far as Asimov’s laws. I think an interesting workaround would be to have the android mimic his human partners moral code, via some kind of shared neural network tech. Would offer some more cool possibilities, like, what happens if a cop goes rogue, does the bot follow suit, or does a fail safe kick in, the android now stalking his former partner Terminator style?

    • How about ‘Tech and Me’, for a title.

      • or perhaps ‘Mech and Me’ would be more familiar, maybe ‘Robo-Force?’.
        (lol, I wouldn’t watch a show with any of those titles, just terrible!).

  11. JJ Hasn’t let me down yet, and I’m betting I’m going to love this one too.(Already starting to dig Revolution.) He’s the new Rick Berman, or Dick Wolf…..only BETTER. I’ve waited for the uptick in these kind of shows for a long time, thank god its lasted as long as it has. I hope it never goes away. Hell I might just start an Abrams cable station. ;)

  12. does anyone know where JJ Abrams is planning on filming/cutting this robot cop pilot?