TV Criticism: Robots In “Terminator,” “Battlestar” And “Wall-E”

Originally posted at TV With MeeVee as ““Terminator” Brings The Hot Robot Love (And Doom)

I mentioned yesterday that I really hope that "Terminator" gets a second season because I want to see Cameron (Summer Glau) go to the prom, but io9 is even more into the whole robosexual thing than I am. To be honest, I’m beginning to think that robot love is the sci-fi theme of the moment. Maybe it reveals a widespread cultural anxiety about technology, and maybe it’s just that robots are kind of sexy, I’m not sure. But bear with me here.

First we had the "Battlestar Galactica" Cylons and their spines glowing during hot Cylon sex. It’s inspired a lot of jokes, but they’re still drawing attention to the question of where to draw the line between where’s the line between humans and technology.

And now there’s John Connor developing an unwholesome attachment to Cameron. Is a tame Terminator more trustworthy than a wild human? Will his distrust of humans and his trust in robots eventually kill him? Plus, of course, his teenage lust and Cameron’s careful notes on seduction. As io9 says "The moment where John Connor cuts Summer Glau’s head open and lovingly rips out her cyber-brain was actually weirdly tender and sweet, and yet ridiculously sexual. (And then when Summer reboots, she catches John giving her the post-coital moon-eyes.)"

We’ve had this sort of pop-cultural moment before, of course, but it seems more and more possible than it did back in the 1980s, when the rapidly increasing power of computers helped to inspire Short Circuit and Electric Dreams. In this decade, we’ve seen plenty of trend pieces in which people worry about the opinions their technology has formed – the "my TiVo thinks I’m gay" moment. And don’t get me started about the way people tend to treat Roombas like pets instead of vacuum cleaners.

This summer, we’ll get family-friendly treatment of the same theme, with WALL-E, a movie about a robot who falls in love. No glowing spines or reproductive organs, sure, but look under the hood. It’s got the same basic circuitry as "Terminator:" Humans cause some kind of apocalypse through arrogance and stupidity, while robots become human and replace us.

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