The Night Stalker: Mr. R.I.N.G.

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The Night Stalker: Mr. R.I.N.G.

Post  BoG on Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:30 pm

Air Date: 1/10/75 What a Face written by L. Ford Neale and John Huff Arrow Directed by Gene Levitt



stars Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak, reporter extraordinaire; Simon Oakland as his editor/boss

Moving away from supernatural monsters for one of a very few episodes, this one focuses on science amok, this time in the form of a robot gone mad. The robot - really a new computer on legs - is in the process of being shut down when it apparently decides on other plans, snapping the neck of one of its developers and escaping from a lab out into the night. It shortly acquires a postal worker's uniform - violently - and then sets out to acquire other esoteric items. The police captain (Bert Freed) in this one doesn't want it shot at by his cops and this is one of the odd things that Kolchak investigates. It turns out that this new mechanical man was constructed with public funds but had been kept secret. The military got involved and wanted aggressive impulses installed - a guarantee of problems; the robot had developed an unexpected survival instinct. R.I.N.G., btw, stands for Robotic Interior Nerve Ganglia - indicating a close parallel to human biology.
This episode seems to have been borne out of the popular Westworld film (soon to be followed by the sequel, Futureworld), also copied by episodes on The Six Million Dollar Man, such as Day of the Robot. It was and is still topical, hinting at the potential of a.i. to eventually equal, surpass and perhaps replace humanity. This has the expected action scenes of the robot breaking things, though some of the episode is dull, such as scenes of Kolchak trying to interview an alcoholic widow, but the final act is genuinely intriguing, as Kolchak touches upon some of the ethical questions surrounding this new kind of artificial intelligence. Mr. Ring seems opposed to Asimov's laws of robotics; this is also a precursor to the Terminator and Matrix film franchises. The actions of the military at the very end, however, are puzzling and just plain stupid; it seems like someone changed their minds and wanted the mechanical man put down. BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10

Night Trivia: The Tyrell Institute, featured in this episode as the entity responsible for the R.I.N.G. Project, was also the name of the corporation in the film Blade Runner (1982), in which it manufactured Replicants. Could it be the same company..? Shocked
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full R.I.N.G.

Post  BoG on Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:59 pm





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