Les’ Science Fiction Robots/Androids/Cyborgs Hall of Fame #7: Kryten

Greetings, Manic Fans. Les here to continue my Robots/Androids/Cyborgs Hall of Fame. Science Fiction has had a huge impact on artificial intelligence and mechanical advancements in robotics through the wonderful characters that fall into those 3 categories. Whether it’s a mechanical man, a part man/part machine, or an artificial person, these characters frequently show us personalities that end up being just as, or more human than we are. And so, I will select a new Robot/Android/Cyborg at a time. I’ll give it’s origin, abilities, actor portrayal, first appearance and why I think they’re amazing.

 

Today, I’m selecting:

 

Kryten(David Ross/Robert Llewellyn-“Red Dwarf”(1989-present))

Android Origin

Kryten, A series 4000 mechanoid built by Dr Mamet(Jenny Agutter) and sold by the Diva Droid International Company, was assigned to the Nova 5 starship.  Later on, he becomes a member of the Red Dwarf crew.

 

Android Abilities

Kryten was a superlative butler/valet/cleaning droid with all the experience to do any cleaning/laundry/cooking/personal assisting needed.  He excelled at it(even when the only sustinance available was space weevils and urine recyche).  Additionally, he had a groinal socket that can plug in a multitude of accessories to do tasks.  In “Polymorph,” for instance, he demonstrated a vacuum attatchment for cleaning above the floor places.  He even had a whisk attachment to whip up a Denver omelet, but few people seemed willing to eat it for some reason…After joining the Red Dwarf crew, David Lister(Craig Charles) took on the task of helping Kryten break his subservient programming to be more human(or the least common denominator of human).  He trained him in lying, cheating, being nasty and sarcastic, insulting others(“SMEEEE….HEEEEEE!”) and chosing his own goals and destiny.

 

Intellectually, Kryten was easily the smartest member of the crew(with only 2 exceptions-in the episode “White Hole” when Red Dwarf Computer AI Holly(Hattie Hayridge) took a brain boost that gave her an IQ of 12,368 but had to give it up or die in 3 minutes…and in the episode “Holoship” when Arnold J Rimmer(Chris Barrie) took a mind patch from the 2 smartest members of the Red Dwarf crew to cheat on an intelligence test, but the patch was rejected by his brain).  Kryten admired the Cat(Danny John Jules) for his fashion sense, was best friends with Lister and barely tolerated Rimmer.

 

Physically, Kryten was mostly metal/plastic/fiberglass with trace elements of organic material.  To save on wear and tear, he had 3 spare heads and 3 spare arms that he rotated through his body kind of like rotating the tires on your car.  He also had mechanical eyes with zoom lens features and his nipple nuts regulated his temperature and picked up Jazz FM radio.

 

Actor Portrayal

Kryten was first portrayed by actor David Ross in the series 2 episode “Kryten.”  Meant to be a one-off role, Ross went on with other roles when the producers decided to make Kryten a full member of the crew.  By then, he was unavailable and the role went to actor Robert Llewellyn.   Both actors gave Kryten a pleasant nurturing personality that later on turned confused, frustrated and highly emotional in all directions(NEVER ask him for Ketchup for your Lobster….)

 

First Appearance

Kryten first appeared in the “Red Dwarf” series 2 episode “Kryten.”  In it, Red Dwarf picked up the distress call of the crashed ship the Nova Five made by Kryten.  The ship had suffered a catastrophic crash that killed the entire crew, but Kryten believed 3 of the women had survived and continued to serve them…for 3 centuries despite them being skeletons!  Later, when being rescued by the boys from the Dwarf(Shake hands in a cool way), they had to break the bad news to him and he was unsure what to do without a crew to serve.  Rimmer quickly made him his personal servant to the consternation of Lister who made it his mission to help Kryten break his programming so he didn’t have to take Rimmer’s orders.

 

Why I think he’s Amazing

Imagine taking the service expertise of a C-3PO, the intellectual/scientific expertise of Mr. Spock and marry it with the personality of the entire cast of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” and make it a mechanic being, and you’d get Kryten.  He’s brilliant, funny, full of pathos and always fun to watch.

 

Did you watch this show?  Did you like this character?  I’d love to hear your opinions, my friends.  Peace.

7 replies
  1. alexthed
    alexthed says:

    How did I miss this the first time? I’ve always loved Kryten, whether it be his listing of insane JMC directives, his Herman Munster laugh or his double Polaroid.

    • les
      les says:

      Hi alexthed. Yeah, the double Polaroid was hysterical LOL! I also loved his “Date” with Camille the Gelf…that was hilarious too. It would be easy to miss these as I’m cranking ’em out one per day. When I get to 50 in each list, I’m going to make a master list blog with links to them so you can catch any ones you missed, my friend. Peace.

  2. jim-bevan
    jim-bevan says:

    Oh yes. Kryten is one of the best characters in sci-fi/comedy, and without him, Red Dwarf would not have been as great as it was. While I am grateful for David Ross for bringing the android to life, Robert Llewellyn truly made the role his own. Hell, he was the only redeeming factor of the failed US Red Dwarf adaptation.

    • les
      les says:

      Hi JIm. Yeah, I’ve seen clips from the US version….OMG what were they thinking? I’m glad you liked this pick. Thanks for commenting, my friend. Peace.

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