When you have a detective named Holmes, and his first name isn't Sherlock — that's your first problem.
In the fall of 1976, ABC took a dive into android action with this lighthearted police series. The network had already scored two smashes with The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. Futureworld, the sequel to Westworld, was in movie theaters that summer, alongside Logan's Run. Kraftwerk was taking science fiction to rock & roll with its robot pop. Androids were hot.
Of course, the comic relief of C-3PO had yet to hit the big screen, so perhaps Holmes & Yoyo was just a year too soon.
The comedy was produced by Leonard Stern, who was a writer on Get Smart, The Phil Silvers Show, and The Honeymooners. He also co-created Mad Libs. John Astin, a.k.a. Gomez Addams, was a director. Two delightful character actors played the leads. Richard B. Shull, looking like a cross of Walter Matthau and McGruff the Crime Dog, starred as Alexander Holmes. John Schuck was his robotic partner named, er, Yoyo. Initially, Yoyo's android nature is kept secret from Holmes. That doesn't last for long. The show didn't either, just 13 episodes.
The cop-and-robot detective formula is quite common, dating back to Isaac Asimov's Robot series. Most recently, Fox's enjoyable Almost Human rebooted the idea. ABC even tried the formula again the following fall season with 1977's Future Cop. That paired Ernest Borgnine with a robot!
Schuck would go on to play Herman Munster and a notable Klingon in several Star Treks. Seemingly everything in sci-fi gets recycled by Hollywood. That opening credits sequence below remains delightfully kooky. Could it be a matter of time before we get Paul Giamatti and J.K. Simmons in Holmes & Yoyo 2020?
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