Destruct that ship, General!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Episode Spotlight: " 'I, Robot' " (11/14/1964)



“'I, Robot'”
Season 2, Episode 9 (41 overall)
Originally aired 11/14/1964



Ah, robots. We love ‘em, don’t we? They can be fearsome (Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still; the T-1000 from Terminator: Judgment Day; the mechanical hound from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451), benevolent (R2-D2 from the Star Wars saga; Robbie the Robot; the electric grandmother from Bradbury’s “I Sing the Body Electric”) or downright cuddly (Twikki from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, that love-struck goofball Wall-E, and of course The Iron Giant). Science fiction in all its media forms is positively overflowing with automatons; they’re just plain ubiquitous, like time travel and Lab Experiments Gone Horribly Wrong. 

Check out this amazing GE commercial from 2012... you're sure to see a robot or two that you've loved since childhood.



It’s hard to believe, but “I, Robot” (which turns 50 tonight) is one of only two episodes in the entire Outer Limits run to feature an android. We saw human clones in “Soldier,” and we’ll see ‘em again in “The Duplicate Man" next month, but Adam Link and Trent from “Demon with a Glass Hand” are the series’ only straight up artificial human-shaped simulacra. It seems almost impossible that a predominantly science fiction series would only hit this particular trope twice in 49 episodes (by contrast, The Twilight Zone featured nine or ten of ‘em in its run, and that series was way more fantasy and horror than it was true sci-fi), but there it is.


Adam Link is an artificial humanoid created by Doctor Charles Link, a curmudgeonly-but-lovable mad scientist in an unnamed town in the south. When Doc Link is discovered dead under suspicious circumstances, the robot is blamed and taken into custody (after accidentally breaking a girl’s arm while rescuing her from drowning). Thurmond Cutler, a curmudgeonly-but-lovable retired attorney, is asked by Link’s niece Nina to intervene. Cutler grudgingly agrees and bulldozes the District Attorney into allowing a trial of sorts, sans jury, that will determine whether or not the robot is guilty and, if it is, how it will be disposed of.

The trial commences, during which the story of Adam’s creation and development is revealed. Unfortunately, what’s also revealed is the fact that it read every book in Doc Link’s extensive library, including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The DA arranges a demonstration of Adam’s superhuman strength and tendency toward violence when his circuitry is tampered with. Adam’s resulting rampage, in which it almost kills the presiding judge, seals its already-precarious fate.


Not surprisingly, the judge finds Adam guilty and orders that it be destroyed. As the robot is led out of the courtroom, the little girl with the broken arm wanders into the path of a speeding truck, prompting it to break its shackles to save her. It is successful…. but is mowed down by the truck for its trouble and is irreparably damaged.
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RANDOMONIUM


The teleplay by Robert C. Dennis is a mash-up of Earl and Otto Binder’s first two Adam Link short stories (“Adam Link, Robot” and “The Trial of Adam Link”), both of which were published in Amazing Stories in 1939 (the January and July issues, respectively). Both stories were subsequently adapted by E.C. Comics in 1955, in Weird Science-Fantasy (issues 27 and 28).


The Dennis script isn’t necessarily bad; in fact it hews fairly close to the source material. But something in the execution is just lacking; as I watched, I was nagged by a recurring feeling that the episode just should’ve been… better somehow. How, you ask? I dunno. It just feels limp, amateurish. Pedestrian.

Don’t say it. I know what you’re thinking, you pervs.



Adam’s bullet-headed appearance in the comics is basically a sleeker version of the Tin Man depicted in L. Frank Baum’s Oz books… but it’s still vastly superior to the rotund, imminently forgettable design employed for its television incarnation. Jesus, this one of the least imaginative, least appealing robots I’ve ever seen. That stupid Power Droid (“Gonk,” I think it’s called) from the original Star Wars is more interesting, and it’s nothing more than a goddamned box with legs.






Adam's face looks a bit like an owl's, which calls to mind the mechanical Bubo from 1981's Clash of the Titans. But y'now, even Bubo (who I remember hating when I first saw the film in its original release) is preferable to this robo-dork.



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Also lacking imagination and appeal is the direction by Leon Benson, turning in his only Outer Limits assignment and failing to distinguish himself in any way, shape or form. Honestly, a little style would’ve gone a long way, but alas. Benson gives Director of Photography Kenneth Peach nothing interesting to capture, so there’s no interesting visuals to discuss. It’s as flat as Eck’s 2-D home dimension. It’s as boring as… well, Adam Link’s character design.

Gawd, his shin guards aren’t even the same length.


And hey, as long as I’m bitching, Adam’s synthetic voice is ridiculously overdone. So much electronic manipulation is applied that just deciphering its dialogue is distracting and difficult (maybe this was intentional, to draw attention away from the fact that we’re watching something akin to a high school play).


Aside from his show-stopping (and furniture-chopping) rampage in the courtroom, Adam’s guilty verdict seems to primarily result from the revelation that he read Doc Link’s copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which presumably inspired it to squash its creator. Potent idea; unfortunately, by the time we learn of it, the Frankenstein parallel has been hammered into us with such force that we’re all but numb, blunting any impact the revelation may have had. It starts off immediately when the prologue commences, where we’re treated (?) to a nearly shot-for-shot remake of the famous scene in Universal’s 1931 adaptation in which Frankenstein’s Monster unintentionally drowns a child (it’s interesting to note that this scene wasn’t even present in prints of the film in 1965; it was cut in 1937 and wasn’t restored until 1986; it’s also an interesting choice when you consider that the corresponding scene in Shelley’s novel has the monster rescuing a drowning girl, which Adam does here). Just a couple of scenes later, Leonard Nimoy shows up and utters his very first line: “Frankenstein, killed by his own creation”… y’now, just in case the blatantly obvious connection might be lost on us.


That's right, it read everything book in Doc Link's library, including Nina's books.

In the original Binder story, Adam doesn’t read the Shelly novel until after Doc Link’s death, which helps it understand why the locals are so bent on his destruction. Doc Link had the foresight to hide the book from it, probably to help it avoid the social and legal clusterfuck that the Dennis script foists upon the poor mandroid. Even if the story played out in a linear fashion (versus recounted in flashback testimony), we’d know very early on that Adam would be suffering mightily at the calloused hands and unevolved minds of the locals; for proof, look no further than the reaction of Mrs. McRae when it moves for the first time. Her screaming/fainting routine is so ridiculously over the top that I kinda wish Adam’s first act upon activation was to squash her head like a fucking grape.

The scenes of Adam’s early development are too damned cloying and cute. Do we really need to see a full-size android reading See Tommy Run and crawling around on the floor? I say no. Thankfully it develops pretty quickly; however, if the fully-developed Adam has such an advanced brain, why the hell is it so profoundly confused when he finds the good doctor prostrate and unresponsive? It should be able to assess the situation and conclude that his creator is dead, certainly faster than any human could; instead, it stands there like an idiot and requests the assistance of a local yokel who stumbles onto the scene at the most convenient moment possible. The concept of death is prevalent, both in literature and in medical textbooks and scientific journals, so there’s no excuse for this moment of idiocy.

Minor odd note: the episode’s title is shown with quotation marks, the only time in the entire series we’ll see this. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to evoke Adam Link proclaiming its robotic nature (it never does this in the episode), or if it was just a stylistic choice with no meaningful purpose. Or hell, maybe whoever usually did the titles was out sick that week, so whoever filled in assumed the title should have quotes around it, since y’now, it’s the goddamned title and whatnot. Interestingly, the opposite happened in “Valley of the Shadow” over on The Twilight Zone, which is the only episode in that entire series that doesn’t have quotation marks.


Speaking of quotation marks, there were none when the episode was remade in 1995 for Showtime’s Outer Limits revival series, with Leonard Nimoy (here playing Judson Ellis) in the lead role as Thurman Cutler and NImoy's son Adam in the director's chair. The robot design is infinitely superior (how could it not be?), and I’ll watch Nimoy in damn near anything... but is it better than the 1964 original? I'm not a fan of the rebooted series, but I can't deny that the updated version kicks the original's old and busted ass. Want to see for yourself? Jump on over to Hulu, which carries all seven seasons of the Showtime knockoff.



1999’s Bicentennial Man stars the late Robin Williams as a robot who (at least initially) resembles Adam Link quite a bit. The film was an adaptation of a 1976 novella by sci-fi luminary Isaac Asimov, no stranger to metal men and speculations on artificial intelligence. Asimov set down the Three Laws of Robotics in his 1942 short story “Runaround,” which eventually inspired a 2004 film titled… I, Robot! The film includes a subplot in which the robot, Sonny, appears to have murdered its creator, which sharply evokes the Binder story (only Asimov is mentioned in the end credits, however).





I discovered The Outer Limits around 7th or 8th grade, several years after All Things Star Wars had dominated my formative years. By that time, my brain was more or less hardwired to spot things from earlier TV shows and films that may have possibly inspired or informed the visuals in the Star Wars universe. The sight of Adam Link's decimated and decapitated corpse naturally reminded me of C-3PO's plight in The Empire Strikes Back (easily the best film in the trilogy... you know I'm right).




If you were a kid in the late 70's, you probably collected the long-running series of Star Wars trading cards from Topps (I have fond memories of riding my bike to Cook's Market in Aloha, Oregon and trading in my hard-earned quarters for packs of cards. It was at Cook's Market where I first discovered the holy and transcendent snack known as beef jerky, which is a story for a different blog. Maybe I'll start up My Life in the Glow of Dried Meats when this endeavor wraps in January). If so, you were probably too young/oblivious to notice it at the time, but you probably had card #207, the notorious shot of C-3PO sporting an impressive metallic boner (giving new meaning to "Goldenrod," Han Solo's nickname for him). Accounts differ as to the story behind this; some believe it was the work of a mischievous person on the Topps team, others postulate that a piece of the costume fell off at the exact moment the picture was snapped; in any case, the picture made it all the way to the printers and out the door en masse before it was discovered. As it turns out, a similar gaff (or intentional bit of celluloid tomfoolery) can be found in "I, Robot." It's probably the leg of a chair outside of Adam's cell, but it blends so seamlessly with his crotch region that... well, one can't help but wonder. Scouts honor, I didn't tamper with the following image at all (except for adding the arrow and circle).




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AURAL PLEASURE


Being the courtroom drama that is it, "I, Robot" isn't exactly overflowing with underscore; however, you will find gems from the Harry Lubin stock music library cues like "Supernatural Planet" (heard previously in "Cold Hands, Warm Heart"), "Final Conflict" (heard previously in "Soldier"), "Spooks Appear," and "Drama Chord 3."




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DRAMATIS PERSONAE

We've got a big cast this week, which isn’t much of a surprise since we’re dealing with a courtroom drama. Deep breath, and… go!

Leading the charge as Thurman Cutler is Howard da Silva. He doesn’t have much in the way of genre connections other than one-offs on The Fugitive (“Death is the Door Prize”) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (“The Foreign Legion Affair”), but he did appear in several film noir classics including The Blue Dahlia (1946) and the American remake of Fritz Lang’s M (1951); he was also quite memorable as the one-eyed Chickamaw in 1948's They Live by Night.


Leonard Nimoy (Judson Ellis) returns for his second Outer Limits gig (he had a minor role in season one’s “Production and Decay of Strange Particles”). He was already on Daystar’s radar thanks to his appearance on their pre-TOL series Stoney Burke (“Fight Night”). He also appeared on The Twilight Zone (“A Quality of Mercy”), as well as… oh screw it. Honestly, does it matter what else he’s done? Everyone on Planet Earth knows him as Spock, a role he’s inhabited through multiple incarnations of Star Trek for almost fifty years, right up through the recent J.J. Abrams reboot films. He is, and shall always be, Mr. Spock.


The scrumptious Marianna Hill has a semi-related series connection aside from her role as Nina Link: she appeared on I Spy (“Night Train to Madrid”), a series which co-starred TOL leading man Robert Culp. Other genre credits include stints on Star Trek (“Dagger of the Mind”) and Mission: Impossible (“The Condemned”), and if you ask me if she qualifies as a TOL babe, I will respond with an enthusiastic HELL YES.




Sigh.


The unfortunate sumbitch hiding inside the Adam Link costume is Read Morgan, whose mug can be spotted on The Twilight Zone (“What You Need”), The Fugitive (“Nicest Fella You’d Ever Want to Meet”), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (“Hitch Hike” and “The Little Man Who Was There”) and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (“Death of a Cop”).




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District Attorney Thomas Coyle is played by Ford Rainey, a role he probably landed thanks to his previous work for Daystar on their pre-TOL series Stoney Burke (“The Mob Riders”). Other notable genre connections include two Fugitives (“Ten Thousand Pieces of Silver” and “Echo of a Nightmare”) and two Invaders (“Panic” and “Summit Meeting: Part 1”).


Professor Charles “Doc” Link is played by Peter Brocco, who is perhaps mildly recognizable in genre circles. I know him best as Old Man Marshak, the guy who puts a heartfelt bullet in Don Gordon, in “The Four of Us Are Dying” on The Twilight Zone (he also appeared in the “Hocus-Pocus and Frisby” episode), but he can also be spotted on The Fugitive three times (“Where the Action Is,” “World’s End” and “A Clean and Quiet Town”), and one-off gigs on The Invaders (“The Leeches”) and Star Trek (“Errand of Mercy”).


John Hoyt (Professor Hebbel), meanwhile, is quite well-known in sci-fi TV circles. He played the money-flashing DA in “Don’t Open Till Doomsday” and the Bifrost Alien in “The Bellero Shield,” both first-rate episodes that put this week’s clunky offering to shame (it’s a shame that his TOL trilogy ends on such a mediocre note). Other notable genre credits include The Twilight Zone (“The Lateness of the Hour” and “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?”), Star Trek (“The Cage”), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (“Summer Shade”), and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (“The McGregor Affair”). Hoyt also appeared in the “Chrysanthemum” episode of I Spy, so like Marianna Hill, he’s got the coveted Culp Connection.



Hugh Sanders (Sheriff Barclay) worked previously for Daystar on Stoney Burke (“The King of the Hill”). Other genre credits included three stints on The Twilight Zone (“Judgment Night,” “The Jungle” and “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville”) and four on The Fugitive (“The Other Side of the Mountain,” “Ballad for a Ghost,” “A.P.B.” and “Echo of a Nightmare”; that last one also guest-starred the aforementioned Ford Rainey). Sanders also turned in performances on both of Alfred Hitchcock’s TV shows (“Number Twenty-Two” on Alfred Hitchcock Presents and “The Magic Shop” on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour).



Robert Sorrells is on hand as Fred, the bumpkin who finds Doc Link’s corpse and automatically assumes that Adam murdered him. It’s interesting to note that Sorrells himself played a robot on The Twilight Zone a few years earlier (“The Mighty Casey”). Sorrells is also a five-time Quinn Martin veteran: he appeared in three episodes of The Fugitive (“Devil’s Carnival,” “All the Scared Rabbits” and “The Devil’s Disciples”) and two episodes of The Invaders (“Panic” and “Valley of the Shadow”). He’s still kicking at age 84, but he’s not acting anymore… he’s serving a life sentence for murder. BAM! Didn’t see that coming, didja?


The detestable Mrs. MacRae is played by Mary Jackson, who hits most of our usual genre connection bases. She logged appearances on Stoney Burke (“Five by Eight by Eight”), The Twilight Zone (“Of Late I Think of Cliffordville,” which also co-starred the aforementioned Hugh Sanders), The Fugitive (“The Homecoming,” “May God Have Mercy” and “A Taste of Tomorrow”), The Invaders (“Beachhead” and “The Pursued”), and Alfred Hitchcock Presents (“Mink”).



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Christine Matchett (Evie) only lasted a decade in Hollywood, but that time she landed gigs here and over at ABC on The Invaders (“The Spores”). She can also be seen in 1969’s The Illustrated Man, an anthology film based on the Ray Bradbury short story collection of the same name.




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Finally, the unnamed judge presiding over Adam’s trial is played by Ken Drake, whose other genre credits include The Twilight Zone (“A Hundred Yards over the Rim” and “A Kind of a Stopwatch”; he also provided voice work in "Night Call"), Men into Space (“Burnout”), Science Fiction Theatre (“Project 44”), and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (“The Deadly Decoy Affair”).



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HOME VIDEO RELEASES


Like much of season two, “I, Robot” arrived late to the home video party. MGM released episodes on VHS pretty consistently from 1987 through 1990, then did something of a bulk dump in 1991 to get the remaining twelve episodes out and complete the series. Of these final twelve, ten of them were from season two (just one of many indicators that the second season will always be a red-headed stepchild next to season one). The episode was paired (perhaps “Linked” is a more apropos descriptor this week) with “The Duplicate Man,” which we’ll get to next month.



Gawd, I’m getting tired of telling this same sad story, but here goes: MGM has released The Outer Limits in its entirety on DVD three separate times: first in season sets in 2002 and 2003, then in three volumes in 2007, and finally all together in one big box in 2008. Double and triple dips are certainly nothing new in the realm of home video, but re-releases usually signify some improvement in quality…. Not here. The prone-to-failure double-sided DVD-18 discs can be found in all three releases. I do believe that MGM started out with good intentions, as the original releases were lovingly packaged with very nice inserts (and the earlier releases on VHS and LaserDisc were quite spiffy as well), but they elected to take the proverbial piss as time went on. Why would they do this, you ask? Probably money. It’s certainly more cost-effective to create new packaging than new product. Cynical? Yes. Unnecessarily? I’d have to say no.




I should point out that the brain surgeons and rocket scientists over at MGM felt that "I, Robot" was the single most representative episode of the show's abbreviated second season, so they chose it to grace the back cover of the original season 2 DVD set from 2003. That's right, kids. They could've went with "Demon with a Glass Hand," or "Soldier," or maybe even "The Inheritors," but no. THIS, more than anything else, is apparently the defining image of season two. Let's all shake our heads slowly in synchronous, silent WTFery.




Let’s refuse to give MGM any of our hard-earned cash by refusing to support their contemptuous and thoughtless bullshit. If you don’t already own the DVDs, I recommend that you don’t buy them. Just don’t. Allow me to let you in on a little secret: you can watch all 49 episodes of The Outer Limits, free of charge, thanks to Hulu. So get your TOL fix over there gratis and and send a clear message to MGM that you won’t support their crass tactics.

Now, if MGM sees fit to release the series on high definition Blu-ray disc, I’m willing to consider a cease fire. Hell, I might even grant them a full pardon (which is more than that poor bastard Adam Link got).

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TRADING CARD CORNER

“I, Robot” was one of eight episodes represented in Rittenhouse’s 2002 Outer Limits trading card series (cards 64-72). Each episode was allocated nine cards and, throughout the course of those nine cards, the episode’s plot was serialized on the backsides. But of course the main draw of any trading card is the picture on the front. Not surprisingly, the focus here was heavily on Adam Link and Leonard Nimoy.





DuoCards featured “I, Robot” in their 1997 card series as well… well, sort of. It’s not technically a card that specifically spotlights the episode; rather, Adam Link is depicted on the reverse of the set’s “season two preview” card. However, the second half of the set was devoted to the Showtime revival series and, wouldn’t you know it, one of the episodes featured was the “I, Robot” remake. So I guess on the whole, the episode did get a fair amount of exposure therein.

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MERCHANDISE SPOTLIGHT


If you’re unlike me and love the robot design on display this week, Dimensional Designs just became your new best friend. They offer a 1/8-scale model kit (DD/OL/AL-24), sculpted by Marc Mascot, which you can snap up for $49.95 plus shipping. Not much to say. The sculpt is fine… the subject is the problem. There are so many cooler robots in model and/or action figure form to be had… why would you ever choose this one? Shit, track down a Robbie the Robot, or a Gort. Hell, even C-3PO (who never fails to irritate me) beats this. Again, I’m talking about the Adam Link design, not the quality of the model.  Tellingly, I couldn’t track down a single image of a completed specimen, so perhaps I’m not alone in my distaste for him.

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THE WRAP-UP



Meh. Yawn. Bleh. Binder’s Adam Link tales work fine as short stories or comic book adaptations, but something major gets lost in the Brady regime’s translation to the small screen. What gets lost, you ask? My interest, that's what. *rimshot* Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go deactivate myself until next week. Same ‘bot time, same ‘bot channel.




11 comments:

  1. Well, I've been waiting with bated breath all week for this post, and it did not disappoint. I remember this one from way back, and suffered some of the same "WOW LAME ROBOT" trauma then....it is just not that great as a sci-fi episode, or even a good episode of TOL. HOWEVER. This review certainly got me to chuckling and helped me see it in many new lights - thanks, Craig!

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  2. 1. "I, Robot" has at least one entertaining aspect that Craig doesn't mention: the interaction between Cutler and Ellis (some of which was quoted by David Schow in the Companion) is amusing, and probably better written than anything else in the script.

    2. What is it with the second season and little girls being threatened by trucks? First, we have the climax of this episode. In January, we'll see the Darcys' adorable daughter slowly pedaling her tricycle into the path of an improperly parked truck in "The Premonition".

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    1. Yeah, good point. There are a couple of nice verbal exchanges.... not nearly enough to save things, however.

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  3. We'll all be sorry to see your blog end in January, so we're eagerly anticipating your promised critical overview of dried meats. However, if your jerky was glowing (!), as you imply, then perhaps you grew up in the vicinity of Three Mile Island, not in Oregon, as you somewhat suspiciously claim.

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  4. I wasn't overly impressed by "I, Robot", either. But as you pointed out, it managed to relay a sort of comic-book-come-to-life feel. It's too bad it just seems so ham-handed and corny.

    This episode gives off such a recycled story vibe. The main characters are all familiar; the crusty, good guy defense attorney, the overzealous prosecutor and the hang-em-high sheriff, etc..

    Leonard Nimoy as cynical reporter Judson Ellis is fun to watch. Seeing him play a manipulative, calculating character is a nice turn. His character doesn't seem to serve any purpose though, other than to convince niece Nina Link to pull the retired DA Thurman Cutler from retirement.

    The robot itself is only a half satisfying creation. Its head somehow portrays its feelings even though its mouth is the only moving part and its voice is monotone. The rest of the robot's build is laughable, with its flexible ductwork arms and legs and its chest and back plates held together with what appears to be duct tape.

    The ending is a bit of a surprise and it casts doubt on the trial judge's verdict, but its not satisfying, really.

    And the last thing I thought you'd be covering is robot weiners. I'm still laughing.

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  5. Much more watchable and impressive when I saw it the first time in 1964. While it is still watchable today (Marianna Hill comes to mind) it tends to be somewhat laughable. It has the plain flat look that far too many of the Season 2 episodes had. Was I spoiled by Season 1? HELL YES! Weren't we all?

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    1. Steve, I had the same experience. We've grown used to faster-paced, better-produced TV shows -- and we were just kids in 1964, so our expectations were different (that probably applies to our perception of TOL overall). But, Craig, "fair and balanced" as usual, you have stressed the value of the story itself, which impressed us despite the shortcomings of the production.
      I'm still a Nimoy fan (I envy a co-worker of mine who enjoyed meeting him recently -- and not even at a Trek convention).

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  6. I found this blog quite interesting and concern in the blog is really impressive you guys really doing the good job by updating this kinds of post really impressed..!!




    Watch Ex Machina Online

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  7. I recently found this blog and I guess I missed the salad days of participating in this particular conversation. At this point I'm commenting for posterity. The blog is thoroughly enjoyable with classic comic images that sometimes make me laugh out loud on a crowded train. It's OK though, people can see my obvious geek pedigree from my accoutrements. Being older than most of the commenters, it seems, I think I can shed some light on this episode since I watched it back when it was originally broadcast (like Steve and Adrian) I want to comment on it from the eyes of a child who was drawn to sci-fi in any form but knew what he enjoyed...and what made him think. I cried at the end of this episode. We look at these shows now through the eyes of critics who have had their frame-of-references expanded by tremendously good sci-fi literature, movies, TV shows and especially special effects. When I saw this episode it was totally believable to me. Adam didn't age well but at the time he made me believe that robots existed. Please be kind to these treasures. Without these early experiences many of the spectacular imaginations that brought us our modern sci-fi classics may not have come about. I'm watching this episode as I write this and can't help wishing that I could have that impactful experience like I had when I first watched it. I want to be able to have that moving experience again. I want to watch something that will make me cry again.

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  8. "moment of idiocy" ... perhaps ... emotive ... shock ... does he learn? ... redemption > handcuffs > truck > girl > truck > girl ... [ Anakin > lost hand > Luke > Emperor > Luke > Emperor ...

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