The GLG Reports
Page 11 of 67

The Cybernauts
By Grant L. Goggans

"If I'm not back by 11.30, I'll stay for breakfast." It's always a treat to watch an hour of episodic TV as thoroughly dated as "The Cybernauts" and still enjoy it. All the humdrum talk of transistors is patently sixties, and since it tries to be so modern, it may not be as gripping for today's audiences as it should. Also working against it is the common knowledge that this is the one with the killer robot, and since it waits about half an hour to reveal the robot, impatience naturally sets in. Even the onscreen title damns it, for as soon as you see the words "The Cybernauts," viewers naturally expect something computerized, so all the running around of the first half is just marking time. That said, other than John Hollis's tedious, sexist and uninteresting "sensei" (he pronounces the word wrong), the first half is still fairly good, and there's a humdinger of a red herring in the form of Bernard Horsfall, who may be the mystery killer. Happily, things improve hugely in the second half. The Cybernaut itself is just an icon of cool, taking inspiration from Hammer's mummies, Universal's Frankenstein monsters and Doctor Who's Cybermen and dressing all in black with hat and glasses. It's with the Cybernaut that The Avengers makes its first quantum leap into TV fantasy after earlier experiments like "Warlock" and "The White Dwarf" and, other than the Intercrime organization, it's quite sadly the only recurring villain in the series. As cool as it looks, very little is ever done with the Cybernauts other than using them as tools (reaching a nadir in The New Avengers), and this is a big, unfortunate problem with their three appearances. Sidney Hayers is far more complementary to the creations than Philip Levene, and subsequent installments would treat them even worse. That said, the second half is very watchable, and sets up very high expectations for the series that the fourth season built on quite well.

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