In the good ole' days, most shows got at least one year to get off the ground before they got canned. Those days are long gone. Nowadays, a pilot is lucky to get aired. Even if it does see sunlight, it's likely to only breathe for four to five episodes before receiving a pink slip. So as much as I hope that shows like 'Almost Human' and 'Sleepy Hollow' will survive long enough for me to determine if they're any good, I won't bet on it. One big strike against both shows is that they are premiering on the Fox Network, which seems to have a hate/hate relationship with the science fiction/fantasy genres.
'Almost Human' is a scifi drama by J.J. Abrams and Fringe's Joel Wyman, with a similar premise to Will Smith's 'I, Robot' film: In the near-future an android hating hardened cop (Karl Urban, 'Star Trek' 'Dredd') ends up with a synthetic leg and an android partner (Michael Ealy, 'Flash Forward' and 'Sleeper Cell'). Think buddy cop summer release (i.e. every Eddie Murphy movie in the early 1980s). Most notably, this marks the return of scifi darling/Karl Urban to television. Urban hasn't been on TV since 'Xena: Warrior Princess.' Most hardcore fans will remember Urban in the dual role of Cupid and Caesar.
|Karl Urban and Michael Ealy|
All indications of 'Almost Human' look promising--a stellar cast (which includes Lily Taylor), a tired but true formula, and a solid production team. The wildcard is Fox. Fox has a bad reputation of cancelling science fiction shows before their time. Some of these shows have become cult classics and one has become one of the most famous scifi series of all time--namely 'Firefly'. The list goes on: 'John Doe,' 'Space Above and Beyond,' 'Alien Nation,' 'Terra Nova,' 'Dark Angel,' and 'The Sarah Connor Chronicles.'
'Sleepy Hollow' is more aligned with the fantasy genre, but Fox's track record with fantasy isn't much better: 'Brimstone,' 'Dollhouse,' 'Point Pleasant,' 'Adventures of Briscoe County Jr.,' 'Tru Calling,' 'Harsh Realm,' 'Strange Luck'. Yes, I know I watched way too much television as a child and apparently I still do.
|Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison|
So how will it go for 'Sleepy Hollow?' I'm not sure, but the synopsis is nothing short of insanely intriguing. A 220 year old Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison of 'Lost in Austen') pulls a Rip Van Winkle and wakes up in the year 2014. Needless to say, Ichabod finds that times have changed, but his arch nemesis, the headless horseman has not. A modern Sleepy Hollow detective played by Nicole Beharie ('Shame' and '42') teams up with Ichabod to stop the murderous horseman. The show throws out some some revolutionary war lore, with flashbacks of George Washington, psychic visions, and biblical prophecies. Just go with it.
So which show will survive? Will either of them make it? My money is on 'Almost Human.' J.J. Abrams somehow managed to keep the poorly rated 'Fringe' on the air. Clearly J.J. has some clout.
'Sleepy Hollow' source: Tv.com
'Almost Human' source: io9