Looking back on cancellations from the years past.
Almost Human premiered on FOX in the Fall of 2013 and delivered the tale of a near-future world where human police officers are required to work with combat-ready androids because of extremely high crimes rates. Karl Urban plays the wayward cop who does not like androids but is paired with a non-standard model that replicates human emotions (played by Michael Ealy). The show premiered to decent numbers when it debuted on a Sunday night in late Fall bolstered by a lead-in from NFL Football. But its ratings took a sharp drop almost immediately when it moved to its regular Monday 8 PM EST timeslot and continued to fluctuate through the rest of its run.
While Almost Human did not receive widespread acclaim from critics and fans upon its arrival, it did develop a notable following and had the potential to become a sleeper hit for the genre. Unfortunately, its network seemed to be working against it almost from the beginning. It had a late start, airing most of its early episodes at the beginning of the holiday season as television viewing was dropping off across all of the broadcast networks. When it returned in January, it actually pulled relatively decent numbers then started building up its audience. But then the network preempted it (first for the two-hour Sleepy Hollow season finale then for a repeat of The Following), then it aired the series directly against Olympics coverage at a time when most of the networks were running repeats instead of hurting their show’s ratings. To make matters worse, FOX aired the episodes out of order making the story arc somewhat confusing to follow (déjà vu all over again, Firefly fans). In addition, the show ran in the 8 PM EST “family friendly” hour which did not fit well with its subject matter. Despite all this, Almost Human’s ended up with a relatively decent ratings average for its run and came in higher than FOX’s high profile crime drama The Following which took over its timeslot and did receive a renewal nod.
Almost Human was likely more expensive to produce because of its reliance on special effects, though I’m thinking Kevin Bacon’s paycheck for The Following was pretty hefty and the cost difference could not have been too much. AH also suffered from production delays that in part led to its late start and may have irritated network execs. But it still managed to scrape out acceptable ratings despite FOX’s scheduling hi-jinks and it started to develop a some buzz. Fans attempted to save the show and it seemed like a decent candidate for another network to pick up because it demonstrated that it could hold an audience. But nothing came of that and Almost Human has since become another of the truncated shows that has fueled fan-hate toward FOX from the sci fi community like Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Firefly. AH may not have counted as a classic in its short run, but it definitely showed potential and deserved better than the treatment it received from FOX.
Aired: Fox, 2013-14, One Season Totaling 13 Episodes
Created By: J. H. Wyman
Starring: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly, Mackenzie Crook, Michael Irby