1:00 pm EST, February 7, 2013

National Love Your Robot Day: Our 10 favorite robots in film and on TV

Valentine’s Day may be a week away, but our robotic friends get to feel the love early! Today just so happens to be National Love Your Robot Day, and we here at Hypable couldn’t let that pass without a little celebration of our own.

Robots come in all shapes and sizes, with a huge variation of purposes and talents. And we love them all. From old pals to new ones, we’ve seen a million different kinds, and the group below is just a tiny slice of a larger list of famous ‘bots. Each one comes from a different world, but they all have one thing in common: they’re some of the most loveable robots to ever grace our television screens.

1. Sonny, ‘I, Robot’ (2004)

Sonny is a conundrum. Being an NS-5, he’s already one of the most advanced robots produced by Dr. Lanning and the super-company USR. However, Sonny isn’t just a normal robot. He feels emotions like love and fear and anger. He sleeps. He even dreams.

Why we love him: Sonny doesn’t accept the status quo. While the Three Laws are built into him, he can choose to ignore them. But he doesn’t. He knows what’s right and what’s wrong, and chooses to help Spooner and Dr. Calvin destroy VIKI because he believes what she is doing is heartless.Coming from a robot, that’s saying something.

Best line: “Do you think we were all created for a purpose? I’d like to think so.”

2. WALL-E, ‘WALL-E’ (2008)

The Cutest Robot Ever Award might just have to go to WALL-E. He’s a trash compactor robot left on Earth to clean the planet after the human race vacated it and took up permanent residence on their starliners. While most of the other trash compactor units eventually stopped working, WALL-E diligently repaired himself and kept going, eventually developing sentience and a personality to boot.

Why we love him: Though WALL-E is just a hunk of metal and circuitry, his love for EVE, the Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator, drives the whole story forward. Because of it, WALL-E leaves his home on planet Earth and travels to the spaceship Axiom, where he tries to rescue EVE from what he believes to be torture. Through the entire film, WALL-E never fails to try and connect with EVE and help the humans return to their planet, even when everything seems to be working against him.

Best line: “Ta-da!”

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3. Bumblebee, ‘Transformers’ (2007)

In a fight between Optimus Prime and Bumblebee for our favorite Transformer, the race is a close one. But Bumblebee wins in our eyes. After all, he’s the first transformer we meet in the Michael Bay franchise, and we can’t help but have a soft spot for him.

Why we love him: For a car, Bumblebee sure does have a wicked sense of humor. Even though he doesn’t have a voice box for most of the trilogy, B gets his point across by flipping through the radio channels and stringing together various phrases in order to speak. And it’s always fun to hear him play corny music when Sam’s trying to be cool, or spraying that evil robot chic in the face with lubricant.

Best line: “I wish to stay with the boy.”

4. AstroBoy, ‘Astroboy’ (2009)

The story of Toby is initially a sad one. When he’s let out from school early one day, he sneaks into his father’s lab and is accidentally killed when one of the experiments goes wrong. Distraught over the loss of his son, Toby’s father builds a robotic clone of the boy and injects it with his DNA, creating what will eventually become Astro.

Why we love him: Although he was originally rejected by his father, who just couldn’t accept that this new version was his son, Astro forgives him. Feeling like more than a robot, but not quite human, is tough, and Astro must find his place in the world. He does exactly that when he’s confronted by the Peacekeeper robot and learns that the only way to destroy it is to sacrifice himself, which he is willing to do without a moment’s hesitation.

Best line: “What? I got machine guns…in my butt?”

5. K-9, ‘Doctor Who’ (2006)

Although there have been various reincarnations of the metal companion, we’re choosing to focus on just one – the 2006’s appearance of K-9 in the episode “School Reunion.” This episode sees Sarah Jane Smith and K-9 reuniting with the Doctor at a school run by Krillitanes. The Doctor’s old partner works with him, Rose, and Mickey to keep the aliens from taking over all of space and time. And K-9 ends up coming to the rescue, saving all of them.

Why we love him: What’s there not to love? He’s man’s best friend on steroids. Intelligent, funny, witty, and full of sass, K-9 is a perfect companion. In “School Reunion” he chose to sacrifice himself to help the Doctor and his friends escape. There’s no greater honor than that, and the Doctor rewarded him by building a brand new model and giving it to Sarah Jane Smith.

Best line: [After Mr. Finch calls him a bad dog] “Affirmative!”

6. Iron Giant, ‘The Iron Giant’ (1999)

The only thing better than robots are alien robots, and the Iron Giant is no exception. This is a story that follows Hogarth, a young boy who discovers the ‘bot after its crash landing, and befriends him, believing him to be of good intentions.

Why we love him: The Iron Giant struggles with his identity and his purpose through the entire movie. He’s equipped with advanced and deadly fire power, capable of defeating an entire army. His defense programming is literally hard wired into him, and he can’t always help his reactions to being threatened – even if the threat is not real. Fortunately, Hogarth is able to talk the Giant down, and everyone realizes that the robot is one of the good guys. It’s at the end of the movie that the Giant makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the town of Rockwell, Maine, overcoming his programmed instincts of self-preservation in order to save the boy that always believed in him from the beginning.

Best line: “No Atomo… I Superman!”

7. Rosie the Maid, ‘The Jetsons’ (1985-1987)

Here’s an oldie but goodie for you guys! Rosie was the Jetsons’ maid, making most of her appearances in the 1980s reboot version of the classic 1960s show. Although she’s an outdated model, the Jetsons love her too much to get an updated version.

Why we love her: Rosie is a take-no-crap kind of gal, and we’ve always appreciated that about her. Her dry humor and sarcasm regularly results in a good laugh, and is usually at Mr. J’s expense. Sometimes her best efforts take a turn for the worst, but her intentions are always good.

Best line: “I swear on my mother’s rechargeable batteries.”

8. R2D2, ‘Star Wars’ (1977-Present)

You didn’t think we’d leave R2D2 off the list, did you? Although he has to compete with C3PO for the coveted spot, we feel that he deserves to be here instead. Mainly used for comic relief, R2D2 is also an ally of the rebels and a good friend to our heroes.

Why we love him: Though he only talks by way of a series of beeping, R2D2 has a larger than life personality. The playful banter between him and C3PO makes for some hilarious scenes, and his devotion to some of our other favorite characters is heartwarming. Who knew such a little ‘bot could have so much attitude!

Best line: [Random Beeps]

9. Rodney Copperbottom, ‘Robots’ (2005)

In a movie like Robots it’s hard to pick just one of the characters as our favorite. We played it safe, however, and stuck with Rodney. And how couldn’t we? He’s the hero of this tale, after all, and is the catalyst that brings about the defeat of Ratchet and subsequent reinstating of Bigweld.

Why we love him: Rodney begins as a naïve and optimistic boy who loves inventing things, even if they don’t always work precisely the way he meant them to. His dreams of becoming an inventor are so big they can’t be contained, so he heads out to Robot City in order to make them come true. Trials and tribulations ensue, but in the end Rodney gets what he wants and helps a whole lot of robots realize they’re more than they ever thought they could be.

Best line: “Not until you give me back my foot, you mugger!”

10. Number 5, ‘Short Circuit’ (1986)

We decided to round out our list with another old-time robot. Number 5 was the fifth experimental prototype created by scientists at Nova Laboratories. After being struck by lightning, Number 5’s programming is altered and he is actually brought to life. He rejects the idea that he was built as a weapon and quickly gains a respect for all life forms.

Why we love him: Number 5 is so endearing because everything is black and white to begin with. And while it does take him a while to understand exactly what life and death mean, the fact that he can understand it is heartwarming. And it’s amazing to see him coming to this conclusion on his own, as something separate from what his software has told him.

Best line: “Not malfunction, Stephanie. Number 5 is alive.”

So, there you have it. There are literally hundreds of other famous and beloved robots out there that have helped the heroes of many films and TV shows in their battle against the forces of evil. This was just a tiny peek at a much larger list in celebration of National Love Your Robot Day!

Did your favorite ‘bot make the list?

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