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It’s Official: Robots Are The New Zombies

If you’ve grown tired of zombie fiction thanks to the glut of zombie-themed movies, tv shows, and books that have surfaced in the past few years, don’t worry.  It seems the zombies are on the way out, soon to be replaced by equally creepy humanoid robots.  When you think about it both zombies and realistic androids share a lot in common: they’re soulless killing machines that look like they could be your neighbor, and their very existence will lead to the apocalypse.  An interesting difference is that often the robots, not people, are the victims in their stories.

It was pretty obvious that zombies were running out of steam back when Pride and Prejudice with Zombies became a thing.  Stragglers trying to profit off the zombie bandwagon late in the game have managed some success, like AMC’s The Walking Dead.  There’s even a zombie romance coming out this year called Warm Bodies, which will hopefully put the final nail in the coffin.  The mainstream popularity of these things is cyclical, and thanks to Spielberg picking up the movie rights to Robopocalypse, and a slew of new robot-themed movies and tv shows surfacing lately, robot fiction is already taking over for better or worse.

NBC has ordered a pilot of a show titled “Beautiful People”, which is about humanoid robots called Mechanicals suffering as slaves in a dystopian future society.  There’s no telling if a show will take off or if it’ll be just another flash in the pan, but it’s not the only show in town.  In Sweden a new show called “Real Humans” (pictured above) is set to debut next week about realistic made-to-order androids called Hubots that have integrated into daily life.  The show’s producers have already signed a deal with a UK company to distribute the show internationally.

This week the 2012 Sundance Film Festival gets underway and there’s a couple of robot-themed movies on the list.  Robot and Frank (pictured) is being billed as a buddy-slash-heist movie wherein the elderly ex-jewel thief Frank teams up with his assistant robot to get back in the game.  It sounds almost as fun as ROBO-G, which just made its debut in its native Japan last weekend.  And then there’s the oddly enticing Meaning of Robots, a documentary about Mike Sullivan (a stop-motion animator) who has been making an adult-oriented robot film for the past ten years.  I’d link to the trailer but it’s not safe for work.

Inevitably people will grow tired of robot stories too, but as the years roll by and we inch closer to helpful humanoid robots, there will be plenty of reasons to keep telling them.

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