“Simon Says” – Almost Human

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 15.03.16Almost Human seems to have finally gotten itself past some of those early stumbling blocks and hit its groove. And that groove is humor. For all of its serious subject matter, at the heart of “Simon Says” was a whole lot of funny. And that’s something that Almost Human excels at – switching so seamlessly between the lighthearted jokiness of the central buddy cop format and the (at times) high-emotion, high-stakes cases.

Unfortunately, the interpersonal relationships (with the exception of Dorian and Kennex) are still hopeless. The acting is among the worst we’ve seen, character development is non-existent (the major reveal this week was that Kennex played football in school) and the tension between Stahl and Kennex, which should be simmering and blatantly obvious, just isn’t there – not that the writers have given us a chance to explore any of these avenues, or even really to see the main characters in the same room with any regularity.

The acting is always, though, going to be our biggest gripe. We’ve said before that Michael Ealy (playing Dorian; The Good Wife) is absolutely the best among them, and that hasn’t changed. He remains the only one who does more than throw lines at the camera hoping something sticks. We can forgive nearly everything, though – for instance, while Karl Urban is beyond wooden, he somehow makes it work as part of the character rather than a failing on his part – but we will never forgive Maldonado (Lili Taylor, Six Feet Under).

We appreciate that hers is, perhaps, a tough role to play and that, provided with the most nuanced character of the bunch, she’s facing more of a challenge than the others. Yet we can’t help but feel that if we showed up and just read the lines off the script, we’d do just as well as she has. There’s no acting there. No life in the eyes, no emotion in the delivery, nothing…

With a show that has so much promise, it’s a shame to potentially throw it away because of poor casting. With any luck, Maldonado will be written out ASAP, and someone will get Urban and Minka Kelly in a room and explain what chemistry is supposed to look like.

We live in hope. – 

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