Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Tribute To Robots On TV

Rivernator

There should be more robots in television. I remember a whole bunch of them on TV when I was growing up, and how they captured my imagination back then.

Therefore, here is a list of all my ten favourites in no particular order. Some of them are rather obscure now. Click on their names to see a picture.

  1. Lt. Cmdr. Data
    Data was a robot Starfleet officer on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was an android, which means he had a human-like appearance. He is supposed to have a "positronic" brain, which is a homage to Asimov's robot stories. Data didn't have much in common with literary positronic robots, but the shout-out to Asimov was enough to impress me and thus I found the whole show that much more endearing.

  2. Optimus Prime
    Optimus Prime was more than just a giant animated toy. He was an inspiring leader to a generation of kids who watched The Transformers with rapt attention each week, and wept when he died in the animated movie. There are a whole bunch of memorable characters from The Transformers show, but Optimus is one everyone loves.

  3. Vicki
    Vicki was a robot girl on Small Wonder, a very bad 80's sitcom about a family with a robot daughter. Despite the fact that it was awful, I watched it anyway because I'll watching anything with either robots or dragons in it. I can still remember the theme song to this show, and it's one of those songs that get stuck in your head and make you want to scream.

  4. Cameron
    Terminators are probably the most badass robots ever invented. If you ask me, a Terminator TV series is long overdue. I was thrilled to know there would be a series about Sarah and John Connor and their war against Skynet. It's too bad Arnold is too old and too busy being a governor to do any more terminating, but Summer Glau makes up for it. Cameron is a small-framed terminator who is surprisingly tough. She is sent back in time to protect a whiny, emo, John Connor and unlike uncle Derek, she doesn't mind his whining. Sometimes I hear the Small Wonder theme play in my head whenever I see Cameron. It's an evil, infectious theme.

  5. R2D2
    Despite being a movie character, R2 makes the list because he had his own animated TV show together with his buddy C3P0 in Star Wars: Droids. It was an entertaining little cartoon, and I watched every week as the droids go from misadventure to misadventure. In the cartoon, R2 would pull out a variety of gadgets we never saw in the movies (rocket thrusters were not included though).

  6. W1K1
    Jason of Star Command was a short-lived live action TV show which felt a lot like a rip-off of Star Wars. The protagonist looked a lot like Han Solo, and he had a little pocket robot named W1K1. I watched the show just to see W1K1. I remember nothing else about it, although the internet tells me James Doohan was in it too. Come to think of it, W1K1 is a pretty cool name for a robot. Nowadays we can pretend that it's an allusion to Wikipedia.

  7. Roboz
    There was a show with a boat called Riptide back in the 80's, and on that boat was an orange robot named Roboz. Again, this is another TV programme I watched just because a robot was in it, and I also remember nothing else about it. Roboz didn't do much though. I wonder why I found him so fascinating as a kid.

  8. KITT
    KITT was an AI installed in a black Trans-Am in Knight Rider. KITT was both a robot and a cool 80's car, which made him doubly awesome. He was sarcastic, loaded with weaponry, and just looked badass. There were several attempts to reboot the series, the latest of which has a new KITT which is an ugly Mustang that manages to look less futuristic than the one from the 80's. Nice going, TV producers.

  9. Bender
    I haven't seen too many episodes of Futurama, but from the few I have seen, Bender has always been incredibly funny. There is just something so wrong yet so right about a dysfunctional, sarcastic robot. When I get the chance, I should catch up on my Futurama, if only to watch this guy.

  10. K-9
    There have been numerous robots on Doctor Who, most of them villains. However, K-9 is a lovable robot dog companion for the Doctor which predates the Aibo by a few decades. I'm pretty sure I've seen him in the hazy memories I have of the old Doctor Who show, since I was thrilled to see him again when he made an appearance in the new series with David Tennant.

There are other popular TV show robots out there like the Cylons and the robot from Lost In Space, but sadly I have never seen those shows.

This has probably been the dorkiest post I've ever made.

1 comment:

Fauzy said...

Hello Don, apparently you are not the only one nostalgic about robots, CRAVE at CNET also had a list, http://www.cnettv.com/8301-13415_53-10162263-11.html

Check it out some of your list matched theirs.