Sometimes the coolest gadgets in Sci-Fi are not gadgets at all. But robots. Here’s a look at some of the most memorable robots from sci-fi in no particular order. It’s not a complete list. Think of it more as a walk down memory lane. Because geeks love Sci-Fi and Sci-Fi has a long history of loving robots.
The robot owl from Clash of the Titans is probably, to me at least, the most memorable part of the movie. Aside from Medusa. It’s probably the best owl ever.
B.O.B.-The robot from The Black Hole. I don’t remember much about that movie, except that even at a young age I knew it wasn’t that great. This guy looks like a floating and dented trash can.
Andrew Martin-From The film Bicentennial Man, based on Isaac Asimov’s novella titled The Bicentennial Man. It follows the evolution of the NDR series robot Andrew Martin from his introduction into the Martin family and interaction with them through three generations. He discovers emotional and creative abilities, develops into an artist and inventor, evolves into an android, and then fights to win legal recognition for his humanity. One of my favorites.
R2 & C3PO-If you don’t know the most famous robot duo ever, you must have been living under a rock for the last 30 years or so. Star Wars gave us a ton of cool robots on the big screen, but this pair is legendary.
Robocop-The future of law enforcement. Robocop used to be a police officer, until he was brutally murdered. Now he is a super-human cyborg, cleaning up crime-ridden Detroit in the near future.
Sherman-The robot from the 1989 flick Millenium, starring Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd, where time travelers are visiting the present day and stealing passengers from some doomed aircraft.
Box-Logan’s Run is a movie every geek should know by heart by now. Logan and Jessica encounter Box. The large robot turns out to be an insane cyborg whose former job of processing food for the city ended when the food deliveries ended. The robot decided that his new job is to freeze the sanctuary seekers who have begun to appear.
Gort-From The Day The Earth Stood Still. He’s a bot with a simple design and remains a classic, just like the movie.
Number 5-A robot from the 80′s, starring in Short Circuit with Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg. Typical horrible 80′s movie, but it made this robot a star.
Star Trek Robots-Trek didn’t really give us many robots or cyborgs, but it did give us Data and the Borg. Data was probably one of the coolest Enterprise officers ever and we watched him learn to become more human. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Borg. Cyborgs that functioned with a collective hive mind and assimilated everything in sight.
Maria-From Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. A movie set in a futuristic urban dystopia and examines the social crisis between workers and owners in capitalism. It was the most expensive silent film of the time, costing the equivalent of around $200 million to make.
Spider robot-From the 1984 movie Runaway. The film was written and directed by Michael Crichton. It was supposed to be the runaway hit of 1984, but didn’t count on a little movie titled The Terminator.
Transformers-Enough said. Really.
Huey Dewey And Louie-From Silent Running. Only 2 of the bots are pictured. 1972 ecologically-themed science fiction film that depicts a future in which all plant life on Earth is extinct, except for a few preserved in space in greenhouse domes. Earth orders that the domes be jettisoned and destroyed, so the ship’s botanist decides instead to send the domes into deep space to save the last remaining plants.
The Roboz-From the 1980′s show riptide. The idea was that 2 detectives on a boat solved crimes. A common sort of premise of the era. Sadly, they still try to feed us crap like this. Thanks to their buddy, Murray ‘Boz’ Bozinsky, a computer geek, they had a robot helping them. Unlike most, it never talked.
Dot Matrix-C-3PO’s equivalent in Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs. Named after the old printers and played by Joan Rivers.
HAL-9000-Everyone knows HAL. From 2001: A Space Odyssey. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke. One of the best films of all time. HAL may not technically be a robot. I suppose he’s more of a computer. But he makes the list anyway.
MST3K robots-Mystery Science Theater. Joel and the bots hate bad Sci-fi as much as we do and they aren’t afraid to make fun of it. Just like we do. There’s Tom Servo the gumball machine, Crow T. Robot who has a bowling pin for a mouth. We can’t forget about Gypsy and Cambot either. (Not pictured)
The robots of Westworld-A 1973 film written and directed by Michael Crichton. The park is divided into three zones: WestWorld, MedievalWorld and RomanWorld. The entertainment in all three areas consists of interaction with androids programmed to act in character (the Old West, medieval Europe, and pre-Christian Rome.)
Zero-From the short-lived TV series Earth2. Apparently, nobody loves this guy because this is the best pic I could find. I thought he was cool. The show was pretty awesome too.
Heartbeeps-Comedy film about two robots who fall in love and decide to strike out on their own. Starring Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters as the robots. Oh man, this was horrible.
Robots of Doctor Who-Doctor Who gave us a ton of robots throughout it’s lifespan. These are just a few of the coolest. There’s K-9 the trusty robot dog. The Daleks of course. The Cybermen there on the bottom left, who are allergic to gold. Kamelion in the upper left, a shape-changing android who was with the show for awhile. The K1 robot in the upper right is one of my favorites. He’s from the first episode that featured Tom Baker as the Doctor. Great stuff!
Robby The Robot-From the classic, Forbidden Planet. In the 2200′s, the United Planets Cruiser C-57D is sent to Altair IV in the Altair star system to find out what happened to the Bellerophon expedition, who were sent out twenty years earlier.
Kryten-From Red Dwarf. Kryten is a Series 4000 mechanoid or ‘slave ‘noid’ and is pretty neurotic. Quite angular too.
Sonny-I guess this was an almost passable movie, but it bears very little resemblance to the Isaac Asimov story. To any of them really. The robot’s are pretty cool looking though. Will Smith I can do without.
Fembots-Androids from the Austin Powers movies. Designed to seduce and kill Austin Powers. They shoot projectiles with their boobs.
D.A.R.Y.L.-”Daryl” (Data Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform) is created by the government as an experiment in AI. One of the original scientists decides to free Daryl, but dies…
Lost In Space B-9 Robot-Everybody knows this one. Danger Will Robinson. Danger! For an older clunky robot, they managed to convey quite a bit of emotion, including sadness and mockery.
DRD Robots- From Farscape. Diagnostic Repair Drones are small bots that move around Leviathans. They are built by the Leviathan as it grows and so are extensions of the Leviathans consciousness when the Pilot is not in control of them. Farscape is awesome.
Bender-The coolest foul mouthed robot from the future. If you don’t like it you can bite his shiny metal ass!
WALL-E-Here’s the newest and cutest robot on the block. From the new Pixar movie. Already I can see that this guy is going to have quite a career. Expect a few sequels and lots of merchandise.
Mr. Roboto-From Styx’s 1983 concept album Kilroy Was Here. So, it’s not technically from Sci-Fi. So what. The song is performed by Kilroy, a rock and roller placed in a future prison for “rock and roll misfits” by the Majority for Musical Morality (MMM). Their founder is Dr. Everett Righteous. The Roboto is a model that does the crap jobs in prison. Kilroy escapes the prison by overtaking a Roboto prison guard and hiding inside the robot shell.
Chopping Mall robots-From Chopping Mall aka Killbots. The premise? Park Plaza Mall has just installed a state-of-the-art security system. Three high-tech security robots. A bunch of young people stay after hours. Lightning strikes and the system malfunctions. Death and carnage follows.
A.I. robots-From Steven Spielberg and filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. Like Pinocchio, a robot boy wants to be a real boy. There are tons of robots in this one, but the main focus is on Gigolo Joe,( a prostitute) David(the boy) and Teddy(A robot teddy bear). A classic.
Mirrormask robots-There were a few robots in the movie, but probably the most memorable are the robots who start singing “Close to you” to the main character. Weird…
ABC Warrior-Judge Dredd. Just plain cool.
Replicants-From Blade Runner. Based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Harrison Ford has to hunt them down. If you haven’t seen this one, do yourself a favor and go get it now.
Ultraman-I remember being a really young kid and watching Ultraman and Godzilla take over the airwaves during the weekend. It was always awesome to see a giant robot kick another giant things ass every week.
The Terminator-The Terminator’s mission is to kill Sarah Connor whose future son (John Connor) leads a resistance against the machines. A human, Kyle Reese, is also sent back from the future to protect her. In an interesting paradox, Kyle Reese is John Connor’s father. There have been several varieties of Terminator in the movies and on TV, with the original being one of the coolest.
The Six Million Dollar Man & The Bionic Woman-Only in the 70′s could you have two hit shows based on a bionic man and woman who made strange sound effects when they were using their powers. There was even a bionic dog at one point.
Twiki & Dr. Theopolis-From the show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Twiki is the robot, while Dr. Theopolis is another robot carried on Twiki’s chest like bling. Mel Blanc provided the voice for the character in most episodes and Twiki’s voice is a cross between two of his characters from Merrie Melodies, Yosemite Sam and Porky Pig.
Robots of Battlestar Galactica-Aside from the human cylons of today, Galactica has given us a few cool robots. Like the Daggit named Muffit in the upper left. Below that we have an old school Cylon. Still one of the best robots ever in my book. Of course we also have the newer toaster-model Cylons as well. In the center there’s Lucifer, an assistant to Count Baltar.
There you go. I hope you had some, “Oh yeah, I remember that one” moments. Just remember robots are our friends. Sometimes friends kill. When that happens they need to be put down. It’s all in a days work and nothing to be sad about. We can always build another.