Robots have long been a staple of Science Fiction, even back at the dawn of the genre when Isaac Asimov coined the term from the Slavic word for worker. They've become somewhat of a cliché, either naively misunderstanding human emotions or trying to keep us safe by enslaving all of humanity. And of course, nowhere is their presence more noticeable than on the screen, be it big or small. But which robot is the best? That's our question for the week. As per usual, I've provided 10 examples to start you off and you can add your own suggestions. Please bear in mind that we are only looking at robots (so fully mechanical automatons created by an organic race for a specific task) or androids (full mechanical automatons given a human like external skin to better blend in with living beings), rather than cyborgs (living beings with mechanical prostheses).
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The Secret Lair
Question to all: would you consider Frankenstein’s Adam a robot? While not necessarily mechanical, he was designed and built. I wanted to add The Golem (Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam, 1920). However, he was made of clay and animated by magic.
No film version of Marvin The Paranoid Android has ever done the character justice. The audio from the BBC broadcast is very close. He is most alive when you read Hitchhiker’s. The internal voice is vibrant because he is not metal; he is emotional.
Adam is not a robot, and “Rossum’s Universal Robots” was originally a Czech story, NOT one by Asimov! Yes, Issac did quite a few Robot stories over the years, but he wasn’t the first…
And, the other nine choices in the Poll are superfluous! Other Droids might be more powerful, but the best is still eeverybody’s favorite Astromech Droid and Jedi companion… 😉
Uh, how can you have a poll for the Greatest Robots/ Androids In Film And TV and not have the Robot from Lost In Space???? That does not compute!
Was it Klaatu that was in Day the Earth Stood Still? Too long ago.
What was the name of the ‘machine’ in Mann And Machine, short-lived series?
@Herr D: Klaatu. Good call. Mann and Machine is very obscure (Sgt. Eve Edison).
I disagree with Replicants (Roy Batty) being robots. They are genetically-enhanced clones with programmed functions and expiration dates. They are designer humans not mechanical constructs. Hence my floater question about Frankenstein’s Adam.
Bishop (Alien) is an android… “artificial person.” You see the tubes and wires that make up his innards. The genius behind Bishop is that he obeys the Laws of Robotics while exhibiting a fascination and almost personal connection with the Xenomorphs. He recognizes their intentional design and efficiency as superior to his own.
The predecessor to Bishop is David in Prometheus. Whose own personal awakening and subsequent actions are more appreciable to the Alien continuum than the tacked on appearance of the Xenomorph.
@The Atomic Punk- I was debating whether or not to add Roy Batty to the poll (the person suggested it 3 times). It doesn’t specify in the film whether or not they’re clones, as far as I remember, but in the book they are specified as Androids (hence the title “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep”).
That Poll is a bit unfair because I happen to like R2-D2, Data, Twiki, The Robot from Lost in Space (series not Movie) Maximillian and all the ‘bots/androids from the Black Hole, The Transformers in general not just Optimus. And how could the pollster forget about the Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica (not the Overseers, but the warriors)
@JR: Like many movie adaptations, Blade Runner cuts a lot of corners and strays from the source material. The scene in Hannibal Chew’s lab hints most that Replicants are clones. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep describes Replicants as, well… androids.
When Philip K. Dick imagined the world of 2021 in 1968, the word “android” was still being defined. Blade Runner used contemporary references to genetics, neurology, and cloning to re-imagine his vision. Sadly, Phillip K. Dick died before the final cut of the movie. To know what he would have thought after seeing it.