TONIGHT’S CLOSED CAPTIONING BROUGHT TO YOU BY GLaDOS,
WHOM YOU SHOULD FEAR ALWAYS, WHETHER OR NOT THE CAKE IS A LIE:
“Does everybody know what time it is??”
[crowd shouts] “WHO TIME!”
“Thaaat’s right! And here’s your host, Cory, our WHO man, Booweeeerrss!!!”
[cheers & applause erupt in our studio audience.]
“The Caretaker” airs on BBC America 9/27 @ 9/8c
So another Geek Month is winding down, but good news everyone, this year there will be more Whovian Wednesdays after today!! Also, fortunately, not every week (I have to have time to watch more Doctor Who!) And now we’ve reached the week I’ve been most excited about, ROBOTS!!!
Since the very early days of Science Fiction, there have been common themes and creatures/creations, and among them have been aliens, spaceships, robots; all of which are included in some of the best episodes of Doctor Who.
The first appearance of robots on Doctor Who was the opening episode of season 3, with the Chumblies of ‘Galaxy 4.’ However, Sydney Newman (Head of Drama for BBC at that time) did not approve of robots, monsters, and other “gimmicky” Sci-Fi fads, so robots wouldn’t take on the role of nemesis until the fifth season of the series, when the Doctor would face the Abominable Snowmen and the Great Intelligence. Unfortunately, the original story only has one surviving episode, but much of the sequel episode, ‘The Web of Fear,’ was recovered in Nigeria this past year just before the 50th anniversary.
These episodes and characters differ very much from monsters that resemble robots (Daleks, Cybermen, etc.) are that rather than being changed sentient, carbon based lifeforms, the robots are less uniform and more controlled by their programming or programmer. Among the best examples of this relationship, and the worst examples of a working robot, is that of the Master and Kamelion. Kamelion was a joy for then producer John Nathan-Turner, but was not a working automaton, and although had one good show in ‘The King’s Demons’, was otherwise more trouble than he was worth.
The new series has had excellent appearances with new robots, including starting the new series off with the return of the robots from ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’, and a return to robots and the world of Robin Hood in ‘Robot of Sherwood,’ but what may be the most important episode in this theme is simply titled ‘Robot.’ This episode has far more importance for being the story that introduced Tom Baker as the Doctor, but has an epic and, unfortunately, hilarious appearance of a giant robot with a conflicted conscious. So for those that enjoy the stories that feature those beings that have both helped and harmed humanity throughout all of Sci-Fi history, sit back, watch some ‘Who’, and we’ll see you again soon.
Episodes that are Robot related:
- The Web of Fear
- The Robots of Death
- The Long Game
- The Girl in the Fireplace
- Dinosaurs on a Spaceship