Television's Greatest Robots: A Video Timeline

Bask in the glory of man's metallic monstrosities! Sing the body electromagnetic! Feel the magnificence of network android denizens from Japan's cartoon contraptions to limey British borgs! These are television's most iconic artificial citizens, and you must watch them now!


1950's - 1960's


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineRobby the Robot
1958
Created for the 1956 Sci Fi film The Forbidden Planet, Robby didn't make it to the small screen until two years after he won over his audience. Robby is still working today, and hasn't had a decade go by without showing his "face" on both big and small screens the world over.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineRosey the Robot
1962
The Jetson's robot maid had a sassy attitude and a heart of gold. This television robot was the string that tied together the family from the future.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineAstroboy
1963
The world of Anime may now be so full of robots one wouldn't even be able to start listing them... but once upon a time that wasn't the case. Probably the most enduring Japanimated robot character from television is the lovable Astroboy.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineDaleks
1963
These Doctor Who villains are still an intergal part of the Dr. Who series more than 45 years later. In some circles (primarily British) they are considered the greatest villains of pop culture past and present.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineRhoda/AAF709
1964
It may have only lasted one season, but My Living Doll gave us a trope that won't ever go away. We will most likely always live in a world in which chauvinistic guys would love to date a hot, programmable robot girl.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineRobot B9
1965
As a television franchise, Lost in Space isn't necessarily lighting up the airwaves... especially since the atrocious 80 million dollar dud dirtied the concept beyond repair. However neglected the classic series might be, there is still a demand for the series' robot character. You can actually purchase a working replica of B9 if you happen to be an incredibly rich nerd.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineBraman
1965
If you love puppets on television then you're no doubt familiar with the Thunderbirds, a show most notable nowadays for being parodied in Trey Parker and Matt Stone's film, Team America: World Police. The show featured a robot named Braman. Who doesn't love a good robot puppet?


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineHymie the Robot
1966
This robot wasn't the brightest scientific creation ever, but he worked well with the bumbling secret agent, Maxwell smart in the sixties spy spoof, Get Smart!

1970's - 1980's


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineFembots
1976
Sure they were the main villains of the Austin Powers films, but did you know that fembots were making crime pay way before Mike Meyers started speaking in swinging Londonese? The Bionic Woman never had a foe so sexy as the fembots!


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineMarvin the Paranoid Android
1981
Who is the most important character from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Well — Radiohead wrote a song about him, and eventually Alan Rickman would portray him in a film, but in 1981 Marvin made a name for himself on the boob toob. Never before had such a clinically depressed robot hit the airwaves. This is another metallic member of TV Land we can thank Britannia for.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineTransformers
1984
This still profitable robo-franchise was more than meets the eye. If you want proof of their quality here's a fun fact: the last role the writer, director, and star of Citizen Kane performed was that of, you guessed it, a transformer.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineGo-Bots
1984
They were the transformers the poor kid in your class came to school with after Christmas break.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineVoltron
1984
Wow, kids really loved Robots in 1984. Voltron wasn't just ONE robot either, he was a bunch of lion robots that congealed into one giant robot dude. Talk about marketable.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineSmall Wonder
1985
It's a "wonder" this show was made.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineConky 2000
1986
As far as anyone knows for sure, this star of Pee-Wee's Playhouse has great skill in fellating magic screens and generating secret words.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineData
1987
He wasn't programmed with emotions, but that doesn't stop Levar Burton from constantly trying to bromance him in the holodeck. As far as Star Trek robots go, none are as classy as Data from The Next Generation.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineTom Servo and Crow T. Robot
1988
Robots can do all sorts of things, but you know the singularity is near when they're making fun of your movie-making abilities on Mystery Science Theater 3000.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineMetalhead
1989
He was the favorite ninja turtle of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Why? Because he didn't eat any of the pizza and he had no reason to hit on April.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelinePhil Hartman, Robot Repair
1989
Phil Hartman was a God, (with a capital G... the man is literally worshiped in some parts of the world), and his robot character didn't have quite the gusto of his caveman-lawyer, but it was good enough to pop up on at least the VHS version of "The Best of Phil Hartman," The best $5.95 you ever spent.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineKevin the Robot
1989
Only appearing in year one of Saved by the Bell, Dustin Diamond's giant novelty robot becomes even creepier with age... wait no, Dustin Diamond is the one that gets creepier with age.

1990's and Beyond


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineWake Rattle and Roll
1990
When you throw out your VHS tape a go-bot fan sporting a mullet digs them out of trash cans and turns them into friends, or so Wake Rattle and Roll would have you believe.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelinePimpbot 5000
1993
The only character from Late Night with Conan O'Brien that combined the flair of a 1950's robot with the style of a 1970's street pimp!


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineBender
1999
Perhaps the greatest television robot of all time, Futurama's Bender has a harder time NOT shoplifting than Winona Ryder.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineMr. Butlertron
2002
Clone High's robot butler was a real hit with the students. Watch as he gives Abe Lincoln some valuable advice.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineCybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future
2002
Perhaps the most long-winded robot on television shows up from time to time on Aqua Teen Hunger Force.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineAwesome-O
2004
South Park's Awesome O's list of tech-specs included the ability to pleasure a man while coming up with ideas for Adam Sandler movies.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineFlight of the Conchords
2007
The humans are dead.


Television's Greatest Robots: A Video TimelineGeoff Petersen
2010
The sidekick of Craig Ferguson has no genitals, but is still fascinated by, "What's in your pants." Thanks to Bill Laird for the "In Your Pants" compilation.


Did we leave out your favorite TV robot? Add them to comments below.