Zoie Palmer as The Android
Zoie Palmer will be The Android on DARK MATTER (premiering on SyFy 12 June), and that made me wonder what other female TV characters have been androids. Female droids are not uncommon on TV, but only eight have been regular characters. (Star Trek had several in the Original Series, and two in Next Gen, the most notable being Data’s daughter Lal (Hallie Todd), but none of those were around for more than a couple of episodes.) Here are the eight female droids who were main characters in chronological order. They appeared in a soap opera, three comedies, and four primetime dramas.
NOTE: STAR TREK VOYAGER had Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), but she was a cyborg. The Buffybot in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER was a non-sentient robot.
1 – Andromeda (A FOR ANDROMEDA – 1961) — Julie Christie
Julie Christie and Peter Halliday in
A FOR ANDROMEDA.
Julie Newmar as Rhoda
in MY LIVING DOLL
Scientists decipher a signal from space that contains instructions on how to build a computer, which, upon completion, tells them how to build a human embryo which develops to maturity very rapidly and turns out to be an enhanced clone of a scientist who committed suicide during the project. As Andromeda is a constructed humanoid being, she qualifies as an android, though she is also a clone. Andromeda is forced by the aforementioned computer to attempt a world takeover, but doesn’t want to, and eventually frees herself from the computer’s control. The seven part BBC miniseries was written by astronomer Fred Hoyle and John Eliot.
2 – Rhoda (MY LIVING DOLL – 1964/1965) – Julie Newmar
The android Rhoda (real name AF 709), built by The Space Agency, is placed in the care of U.S. Air Force psychiatrist Bob McDonald. with the goal in mind of teaching her to interact normally in human society. Rhoda displays signs of emotion in the course of the series, but discussion of any serious implications of this are carefully avoided. Rhoda’s controls are pushbuttons disguised as birthmarks.
Tiffany Brissette as the Voice Input Child Identificant of SMALL WONDER
3 – VICI – (SMALL WONDER – 1985-1989) — Tiffany Brissette
Arleen Sorkin as Calliope Jones,
the only soap opera android
Ted Lawson, an engineer for United Robotronics, creates an android named VICI (played by Tiffany Brissette) in the shape of a 10 year old girl. Lawson and his wife pretend that the android is their daughter. VICI (Voice Input Child Identificant) is incapable of emotion, and tends to take things literally. She runs on atomic power, and has an electrical socket in her right armpit. In the third season, VICI was given an “upgrade” to account for Brissette’s aging.
4 – Calliope Jones (DAYS OF OUR LIVES – 1989) — Arleen Sorkin
This is a case of a regular character whose android version took her place for a while. In early 1986, Calliope’s husband Eugene disappeared in a time machine he was working on. He returned in 1989 and hid in Kimberly Donovan’s basement. Eugene had traveled into the future and built an android version of Calliope, which he brought back to the present. Eugene and the real Calliope were finally reunited, but men from the future came looking for the Calliope android and inadvertently took the real Calliope captive by mistake. Eugene managed to free Calliope and the two settled back down. Eugene hasn’t appeared on the show since.
Yancy Butler as Sgt. Eve Edison
Anik Mattern – Thelma in SPACE CASES
5 – Police Sergeant Eve Edison – (MANN AND MACHINE – 1992 ) — Yancy Butler
In the near future, cop Bobby Mann is teamed with an android partner named Sgt. Eve Edison. Mann is a somewhat reckless, wise-cracking cop. The serious-minded Edison tends to take things literally, but knows little about interacting with humans. In this hour-long series, the two detectives learn from each other, while solving an assortment of crimes.
6 – Thelma (SPACE CASES – 1996/1997) — Anik Matern
Summer Glau as friendly terminator Cameron
Seven humanoids (five students, their teacher and the principal of their academy) sneak aboard a strange spacecraft. While on-board they meet an android named Thelma who tells them that they are on a spaceship called the Christa that is half-alive. The ship encounters a spatial anomaly that maroons them in space for seven years (the series lasted only two). Thelma stood for Techno Human Emulating Machine. Thelma’s memory crystal was cracked in episode one, hence she has gaps in her knowledge, and her behaviour is sometimes erratic. Jewell Staite appeared in SPACE CASES as Catalina the “Saturnian rainbow-head”. John Fawcett directed an episode.
7 – Cameron Phillips – (TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES – 2008/2009) — Summer Glau
In this adaptation of TERMINATOR, Cameron Phillips is the young John Connor’s protector. Named after filmmaker James Cameron, she is a class TOK715 Terminator (series unknown). Her living tissue template is based on Allison Young, a friend of John Connor in 2027. Cameron’s eyes are sometimes blue, sometimes red, and sometimes brown. The series is set after the events of TERMINATOR 2, and John and his mother hide from the government and plot to prevent the creation of Skynet.
8 – Zoe Graystone (CAPRICA – 2010/2011) — Alessandra Torresani
Zoe Graystone – human and Cylon forms
Of the eight humanoid Cylon models in the rebooted BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, three (portrayed by Grace Park, Lucy Lawless, and Tricia Helfer) were female. Zoe Graystone, however, was the progenitor of all Cylons. The Battlestar prequel Caprica centers on two feuding families, the Graystones and the Adamas, whose conflict precipitates a breakthrough in artificial intelligence leading to the development of the Cylon. Zoe is killed in a bomb explosion leaving a version of her consciousness trapped in a virtual reality from which it is eventually transferred into a Cylon prototype.