Monday, October 19, 2015

Ask JKM a Question: A 1980s TV Show with Robot Security Guards?

Sarah, a new reader, writes:

“Mr. Muir, I just found your blog and saw that you answer reader questions about old TV shows. I have a question that has been driving me crazy for years!

was a child in the eighties, and recall an episode of a TV show where the hero fights these tiny security robots that have taken over an office building. The robots chase him up and down the corridors and shoot red laser beams at him.  It was really tense, and I was terrified! 

I'm certain it was early in the 1980s, and that's why I’m thinking V, The A-Team, T.J. Hooker or some show like that.

Any clue what I’m talking about?  I’d love to solve this mystery after so many years!”

Sarah, call me John.

Now, that’s an intriguing question, and after reading it I immediately jumped to the mid-1980s horror movie Chopping Mall (1986), about security robots killing teenagers in a shopping mall. 

But if you were very young, and it was the mid-to-early1980s, I wager there is no way your parents took you to the theater to see that low-budget movie. I believe it was rated R.

So, after looking around a bit, I suspect the production you might be referring to is an episode of MacGyver (1985 – 1992) also from 1986, called “The Human Factor.” 

In this episode, which aired on September 22, 1986, MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) is asked to test the security procedures of a high-tech building that is patrolled by little mini-Daleks: mobile robots with eye-stalk lasers. They do shoot red lasers at him.

The V: The Series connection in your mind might be there for a solid reason too.  June Chadwick -- who played Lydia on V -- appears in this MacGyver episode as a scientist, Dr. Jill Ludlam.

See if any of these clips in the short video below click with you you.  I believe MacGyver's “The Human Factor” is the episode you seek. 

Here's a fan made trailer of the episode.

1 comment:

  1. There is a MATT HOUSTON episode from the first season in which Lee Horsley is pursued through a building by robots. Offhand, I don't recall if they shoot lasers, but it seems to me like they did.