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Almost Human


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#51 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 04:18 AM

Agree on Ealy, he's doing a good job with what he's been handed. But couldn't disagree more about STOS. It was steeped in the classic 50's TV moral message premise which always elevated the silly fistfights with lizards and backlot trips to Hitlerville. Twilight Zone had it, even Outer Limits. The Big Message always shook out like a toy in a cereal box. The Kirk/Spock wrapup had it, Serling's VO had it, and even the Outer Limits VO guy delivered it. You always had to have a higher level meaning working all the time.

 

But not in shows like AH. The moral is...we killed the bad guys. Cut to 14 commercials. Cheapshot snark about testicles is not a higher level. What's next, the robot-doesn't-poop jokes? Inter-racial-inter-mechanical sex with Minka? Will she pop out Teddy Ruxpin 9 mos. later?

If you're looking for shows with a big moral message you're watching the wrong channel. If that's what you need and want you'll be best suited watching the Hallmark Channel.


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#52 OFFLINE   Supramom2000

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 01:01 PM

Now now!  I love the Hallmark Channel!!  :) And I can watch it with my daughter, unlike on most mainstream channels.  Even those on at 8:00.


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#53 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 06:10 PM

Heck it's been the place to see Catherine Bell in the "Good Witch" series of "movie" specials. That's almost must see TV.

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#54 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 11:25 AM

Now now!  I love the Hallmark Channel!!  :) And I can watch it with my daughter, unlike on most mainstream channels.  Even those on at 8:00.

 

We've been having problems with a lot of programming when our granddaughter is in the room.  Have to look into Hallmark.  She knows she's not allowed to say "those words", but it bothers me that she has to hear them here.  

 

Rich 



#55 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 02:00 PM

If you're looking for shows with a big moral message you're watching the wrong channel. If that's what you need and want you'll be best suited watching the Hallmark Channel.

You couldn't be more off-base. "Breaking Bad", "Game of Thrones", "Boardwalk Empire", "House of Cards", all the most popular quality series on TV have powerful moral messages and grapple with issues of morality all the time. Why do you suppose we keep hearing Walter White repeat the Ozymandias poem over and over again? It's the moral underpinning for the entire show. I can hear Rod Serling, Alfred Hitchcock or the Outer Limits Voice recounting that very moral message poem at the end of one of their shows over 50 years ago.

 

Network pablum like AH simply doesn't bother because it's too much trouble. They give you white hats and black hats, and figure their audience of simpletons has enough trouble figuring out who's wearing which hat. Cop = Good. Kidnapper = Bad. Infantile cartoon lizard and duck sell insurance. The moral is: Broadcast networks continually pander to the lowest possible common denominator, and they bet their ad budgets that the concept of morality is far too "artsy" and "complicated" for the walking dead they assume their audience to be.



#56 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 07:29 PM

Hmmm. I'm a little unclear about the grand moral message of Ozymandias other than "in the end we all die and the living move on without us while the memory of our having been here fades." In fact, "Almost Human" just dealt with that subject through an exploration of the meaning of death whether you are human or almost human. As Ealy commented:
 

I think, for me, one of the things I like the most about Dorian is his sincerity. We’ve had some episodes where he’s kind of come to this conclusion that there’s an automatic protocol. When, for lack of a better term, the sh*t hits the fan, he has like an automatic protocol that takes over and he has to do things that are … he has to sacrifice himself in a lot ways. That’s something I didn’t see coming when I signed for the role.

 

It’s been kind of interesting to watch that unfold. And at the same time his humanity and what he can learn from Kennex, it’s just interesting to see somebody learn about friendship or learn about death from another human being. The themes of the show are defining what humanity is for us in this world.

 

Now I think the writing of this show so far is more than a bit derivative. But if they replaced the images of live actors with cartoon characters being voiced-over by the actors and moved the show to Sunday, I'm sure that Fox would not be getting so much criticism.

 

You have to begin with the fact that much of what News Corp subsidiaries do aims at the "least sophisticated" among us. Here's from the Fox corporate page (emphasis added):
 

Just over two decades ago, the Fox Broadcasting Company began with a single late-night series and a goal to diversify American television by providing a previously unimaginable fourth major TV network. Today, as FOX celebrates a quarter century in the business, it is the nation’s most popular programming network among its target audience of Adults 18-49 (having won eight consecutive seasons in the demo – an industry record), and has consistently ranked No. 1 among Adults 18-34 and Teens, the next generation of 18-to-49-year-olds.

 

I sometimes forget that. My grumbling about them moving "Bones" to make room for "Almost Human" is really a waste of typeface as "Bones" is one of their strongest programs among the 50+ audience. We of that older audience simply don't exist for Fox.

 

So I can't expect that the showrunner of "Almost Human" will care whether I may have seen the same plot 78 times in the past 10 years and 780 times in my lifetime. A 16-year-old person does not have that background to become so jaded.

 

So when "a little bit robotic" human Det.John Kennex and "almost human" robot Dorian interact philosophically about death midst a bloody action picture... well, I have to recognize that this show won't exist on Fox if it doesn't have a high rating among 16-year-old boys. Unfortunately for the writers, it does not appear they are watching in droves.


Edited by phrelin, 30 November 2013 - 07:32 PM.

"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
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#57 OFFLINE   Drucifer

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 11:12 PM

I wonder how many years Popular Science has spent predicting flying cars.  Does PS still exist?  Would you be able to text and fly at the same time?  I guess you'd get a FUI if you drank while flying.    

 

Rich

 

The only thing preventing flying auto today is the knowledge that human will be flying 'em.  We need to wait for when autopilot will be able to do everything.

 

BTW, there was a flying auto on the news the other day.


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#58 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 06:17 AM

You couldn't be more off-base. "Breaking Bad", "Game of Thrones", "Boardwalk Empire", "House of Cards", all the most popular quality series on TV have powerful moral messages and grapple with issues of morality all the time. Why do you suppose we keep hearing Walter White repeat the Ozymandias poem over and over again? It's the moral underpinning for the entire show. I can hear Rod Serling, Alfred Hitchcock or the Outer Limits Voice recounting that very moral message poem at the end of one of their shows over 50 years ago.

 

Network pablum like AH simply doesn't bother because it's too much trouble. They give you white hats and black hats, and figure their audience of simpletons has enough trouble figuring out who's wearing which hat. Cop = Good. Kidnapper = Bad. Infantile cartoon lizard and duck sell insurance. The moral is: Broadcast networks continually pander to the lowest possible common denominator, and they bet their ad budgets that the concept of morality is far too "artsy" and "complicated" for the walking dead they assume their audience to be.

Almost Human is about a anti hero (one who lacks traditional heroic qualities like altruism, idealism, nobility, fortitude, and "moral" goodness). Given that one can see why delivering a big moral message isn't high on the writer's list. Television is a part of the entertainment business. It serves a vast audience with different tastes. Not everyone in that vast audience is expecting a big moral message. They simply want to be entertained. Almost Human isn't for everyone. But neither are Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and House of Cards. Hence the saying "One man's candy can be another man's poison". The real moral is: If you simply want entertainment turn on your TV. If you always want and need a big moral message attend a church service.      


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#59 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 11:08 AM

The only thing preventing flying auto today is the knowledge that human will be flying 'em.  We need to wait for when autopilot will be able to do everything.

 

BTW, there was a flying auto on the news the other day.

 

That's what always scared me about them.  I know a lot of people that shouldn't be driving a land based car, never mind a flying car.

 

Rich



#60 ONLINE   longrider

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 11:53 AM

Leaving the driver discussion out of it, I dont see it as being practical unless/until we develop some kind of antigravity technology.  As long as we depend on aerodynamic lift the minimum speed of fixed wing or the downdraft of rotary wing will make it impractical for mass use.


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#61 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 12:16 PM

Leaving the driver discussion out of it, I dont see it as being practical unless/until we develop some kind of antigravity technology.  As long as we depend on aerodynamic lift the minimum speed of fixed wing or the downdraft of rotary wing will make it impractical for mass use.

 

Yeah, I always thought braking would be a huge problem.  Bad enough on boats and ships.  

 

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#62 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 12:51 PM

...I sometimes forget that. My grumbling about them moving "Bones" to make room for "Almost Human" is really a waste of typeface as "Bones" is one of their strongest programs among the 50+ audience. We of that older audience simply don't exist for Fox...

 

I don't think you can single out FOX as being a delivery service that wants to maximize profits. Networks that don't obey the same rules do that at their peril. The fact that CBS skews older is not because CBS is shooting for old viewers. While CBS is very good at being the top network they are having a dilemma with what median age watches, and they wish it were lower, but about all they can do is wish. Elementary would never be on another network; not because the other nets would not have it, they would kill for it, but because that sort of show goes directly to CBS first. Producers woo the networks first who they assume will give them the longest-running chance at being on the air.

 

I'm not saying that quality skews to older audiences all the time, just usually. Imagine a pitch to FOX for the show The Good Wife. Never happen. As writers get better, they also get older, and write about issues that appeal to older folks. ABC tries harder than CBS to get the younger viewers, but in a sort of lame, flailing manner. Who over 39 would ever be interested in Super Fun Night, even if it were even marginally good? As it turns out, those under 39 are not there either.

 

There are also good reasons why the over 18-39 demo does not wash for selling commercial time. One of the biggest is that those over 39 are smarter about buying habits and are not so easily seduced when Samsung makes a commercial about its latest phone that is actually a complete fantasy, a sort of thing which happens daily. Another reason is that when folks get ratings books in the mail they are too busy to fill them out and give them to their kids, who then fill them out with what kids watch. You can't get more unscientifically skewed than that.

 

Over-39 folks actually watch more TV. They are less-likely to DVR or skip commercials. But the impact just isn't there regarding number of views of a product's commercial (according to skewed ratings reports) translating into a like number of purchases.

 

So yeah, they don't exist. Neither do viewers who watch DVR-ed content more than 7 days later.

 

So every day, the 1950's business model of a captive audience watching commercials gets ever more absurd, and ever more out of touch. It's a failing business model, but there really isn't all that much to replace it just yet. Give it another 5-10 years, but the ratings system is essentially dead in the water.


Edited by TomCat, 01 December 2013 - 01:02 PM.

It's usually safe to talk honestly and openly with people because they typically are not really listening anyway.

#63 ONLINE   yosoyellobo

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 01:32 PM

You would think that the rating system would be fully automatic by now.

#64 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 04:17 PM

So every day, the 1950's business model of a captive audience watching commercials gets ever more absurd, and ever more out of touch. It's a failing business model, but there really isn't all that much to replace it just yet. Give it another 5-10 years, but the ratings system is essentially dead in the water.

 

I agree completely. It's no surprise that the Nielsen people have moved heavily into measuring on line activity. I have said over the years here and elsewhere that the broadcast network model makes no sense. It's not 1958.

 

First, comparatively few households watch the broadcast networks OTA from the local broadcast channel. The local affiliated broadcast channel model makes no economic sense at all. And even in a heavily populated DMA, the actual number of broadcast channels that would be economically viable without a network affiliation would be surprisingly small IMHO.

 

Second, the local channels seem to be a net-zero-sum game at best for the networks themselves. The networks could gain substantially as cable channels with a Monday - Thursday five hour "prime time + late night" competition that started at 5 pm EST recycling three times, again IMHO.

 

You would think that the rating system would be fully automatic by now.

 

The problem is how to determine who is watching in the household, always the weak link in the rating system. To me it's unbelievable that any advertiser would try to target an age demo based on the Niesen ratings. Nonetheless, the Nielsen's still determine a lot of ad sales which is why I find it interesting to see what numbers appear in the ratings.

 

In the end, the 1958 model was based upon a belief that a the household of a family of 2 adults and 2.3 children would predictably after eating dinner together watch nighttime TV together with "the kids" going to bed at 9 pm or, in special cases, 10 pm.

 

Today, you can watch the ads on broadcast network TV for smart phones, tablets, and smart TV's, devices which effectively have turned the 1958 broadcast network TV model into the model of limitations for the 16-29 demo. Who in his or her right mind would watch video entertainment at a time that is convenient for the corporate network programmer?

 

Regardless of your age, if you like "NCIS", it makes no sense to watch 43± minutes of "NCIS" every Tuesday at 8 pm. And many of us in the 50+ crowd discovered that beginning with VCR's we could when we had time watch that 43± minutes in about 46 minutes of real time instead of 60 minutes?

 

Which comes back to "Almost Human" and Fox. Thinking about what allows "The CW" to continue, I could see "AH" games and other products aimed at the 14-24 male demo which, along with Fox getting $2 a month from 100 million American homes and some ad sales, would make this show a desirable "product" to own.


Edited by phrelin, 01 December 2013 - 04:18 PM.

"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
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#65 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 03:52 AM

I like how AH has little Amazon drones flitting around all over the place!



#66 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:48 AM

I like how AH has little Amazon drones flitting around all over the place!

 

!rolling


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#67 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 02:37 PM

+1!

 

If Amazon was smart (and who's smarter?) they would buy product placement logos on them.


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#68 OFFLINE   Reaper

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 05:47 PM

I like Almost Human, mostly because of the two lead actors and the fine, fine, fine Minka Kelly. It's good, light entertainment.



#69 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 07:40 PM

She is kinda hard to beat.

 

Lets get her out in the field.


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#70 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 09:00 PM

The babes in fellow sci-fi series "Black Mirror" give her a run for her money. And they put out on-screen.



#71 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:34 AM

OK, well tonight's in-car conversation was the best ever (the "Ken doll" dialog). I am starting to see this as becoming the iconic calling-card of the series. Keep it up. I also got my wish for miss perma-smile to get some field time. Who looks better in tight black jeans?


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#72 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:46 AM

The medium character/actress was terrific. She delivered and saved the show. The clone stuff was beyond trite.

 

I admit I was kind of in love along with everybody else with Minka when she surfaced on Friday Night Lights. But after a bunch of seasons where the goalpost had a better range of expressions and emotions, she turned into a Kendra Doll. There's just nobody home. And she's missing her chest plate.



#73 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:48 AM

Megan Ferguson, the actress who played Maya the medium psychic (as opposed to a “petite psychic” on her good days), gave a great performance, and I don't believe I thought that because of the otherwise dearth of acting skills on this show. Or maybe it's just the absence of writing skills.

 

Last night the 20-something male nerds who write this show - even if they aren't 20-something male nerds they are emotionally about 16 - clumsily transformed the Captain Sandra Maldonado character (played by the talented Lili Taylor who really struggles to make the dialogue work) from a self-assured professional police supervisor to a woman in need of some kind of male validation which was then offered up as a weird complement I guess to create a possible alternative relationship.

 

And yet I find this show entertaining and if they were to add Ferguson as a regular and give whoever wrote her dialogue a lead writer position it could actually become a decent show.

 

Apparently this was filmed as the 8th episode though they aired it as #5.


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"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

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#74 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 05:17 PM

Great point about Lili Taylor. Give her a weakness, sure, but not a cliche where she just longs to be a frickin beauty queen. That's a cheap shot and demeaning to the character, plus it gives her no character arc to follow other than "Gosh, that handsome detective thought I looked cute!" This isn't 1960 and "Mad Men" or "The Apartment" where a woman's sole purpose is to please a man. It's supposed to be the FUTURE fer cripesake. That trivializes her character and makes her shallow. Bad move.



#75 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 06:19 AM

Great point about Lili Taylor. Give her a weakness, sure, but not a cliche where she just longs to be a frickin beauty queen. That's a cheap shot and demeaning to the character, plus it gives her no character arc to follow other than "Gosh, that handsome detective thought I looked cute!" This isn't 1960 and "Mad Men" or "The Apartment" where a woman's sole purpose is to please a man. It's supposed to be the FUTURE fer cripesake. That trivializes her character and makes her shallow. Bad move.

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