Small Wonder (TV series)
Small Wonder is an American children's comedy science fiction sitcom that aired in first-run syndication from September 7, 1985, to May 20, 1989. The show chronicles the family of a robotics engineer who secretly creates a robot modeled after a human girl, then tries to pass it off as their adopted daughter, Vicki. The series eventually turned out to be a surprise hit, specifically amongst the kid section, as many channels belonging to different nations witnessed while re-running the show. Owing to its popularity in some countries, the show had to be dubbed for different languages.
|Genre||Comedy science fiction sitcom|
|Created by||Howard Leeds|
|Directed by||Peter Baldwin|
Leslie H. Martinson
|Theme music composer||Rod Alexander|
|Opening theme||"She's a Small Wonder"|
|Ending theme||"She's a Small Wonder" (Instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||96 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer||Howard Leeds|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production companies||The Small Wonder Joint Venture|
Metromedia Video Productions
|Distributor||Metromedia Producers Corporation|
20th Century Fox Television
|Original network||First-run syndication|
|Original release||September 7, 1985 –|
May 20, 1989
The story lines revolve around V.I.C.I. (an acronym for Voice Input Child Identicant, pronounced "Vicki"), an android in the form of a 10-year-old girl. Vicki was built by Ted Lawson, an engineer/inventor for United Robotronics, in an effort to assist handicapped children. Lawson takes the robot home so that it can mature within a family environment. Vicki's features include superhuman strength and speed, an AC outlet under her right arm, a data port under her left arm, and an access panel in her back. Despite this, the Lawson family initially tries to pass Vicki off as an orphaned family member whom they eventually legally adopt as their daughter.
The Lawson family tries to keep the robot's existence a secret, but their disagreeable neighbors, the Brindles, keep on popping up at the most unexpected moments — especially nosy next-door neighbor Harriet, whose father happens to be Ted Lawson's co-worker. The show's humor frequently derived from Vicki's attempts to learn human behavior, her unprecedented echolalia, the robot's literal interpretation of speech and the family's efforts to disguise the robot's true nature.
To explain child actress Tiffany Brissette's aging during the show, the series' producers had Ted give Vicki an upgrade in the series' third season. He aged her face, dressed her in modern clothes, and allowed her to eat and drink. The food passed through her naturally and the drink cooled her internal system.
- Ted Lawson (Dick Christie): Jamie's father, Joan's husband and Vicki's creator. A robotics engineer who originally created the Vicki robot as a domestic servant with a female child's appearance.
- Joan Lawson (Marla Pennington): Ted's wife and Jamie's mother. Joan, more than anyone else on the show, regards Vicki as a real person.
- Jamie Lawson (Jerry Supiran): The 10-year-old son of Ted and Joan.
- Harriet Brindle (Emily Schulman): The nosy neighbors' daughter who has a crush on Jamie.
- Victoria "Vicki" Ann Smith-Lawson (Tiffany Brissette): A robot modeled after a real human girl. The robot was a Voice Input Child Identicant (V.I.C.I.), but was nicknamed Vicki. She has realistic hair and skin. She possesses superhuman strength and speed and runs on atomic power. Vicki has an access panel in her back, an electrical outlet in her right armpit, and an RS-232 serial port under her left armpit. Vicki's artificial intelligence is not perfect; she is incapable of emotion, speaks in a monotone voice and interprets most commands literally. She does manage to blend into the real world to a point. Vicki attends school, and no one but her family members and a few trusted friends know her secret. Occasionally, Vicki had rare abilities that seemed to only appear in one or two episodes, such as elongating her neck to reach a door's peephole, shrinking her size to become as small as a doll or making herself ten feet tall to get noticed by everyone. Somehow, she could also channel enough electricity through her hands to jump-start a car (or with more control, serve as a defibrillator to save the life of a person suffering a heart attack). One recurring theme was that Vicki had a super-powered learning system which enabled her to improve something such as a new detergent or to greatly increase the gas mileage of cars, which Jamie often saw as a chance to get rich quick, only to find her improvements were not perfect. Vicki lives in a cabinet in Jamie's bedroom, and becomes more human-like over the course of the show.
- Brandon Brindle (William Bogert): Harriet's father. Becomes Ted Lawson's boss after stealing Ted's ideas. Also a neighbor to the Lawsons.
- Bonnie Brindle (Edie McClurg): Harriet's mother and Brandon's wife. Written out after the second season after McClurg joined the cast of The Hogan Family, though Bonnie appears one more time in a third-season episode.
- Ida Mae Brindle (Alice Ghostley): Brandon's outspoken, know-it-all sister, who is nearly identical to his wife Bonnie.
- Reggie Williams (Paul C. Scott): Jamie's best friend and sometimes rival.
- Jessica (Lihann Jones): Jamie's sometime girlfriend.
- Warren Enright (Daryl Bartley): Jamie's sometime school friend.
- Vanessa (Tiffany Brissette): Evil robot who looks identical to Vicki, but does not speak in a monotone. (Seen in seasons 3 & 4)
- Jamie's school teacher
- Policeman who appears in many episodes.
On January 14, 2009, on Fox's The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, Tiffany Brissette appeared in-studio as a guest for a "Where Are They Now?" segment; unbeknownst to her until the segment began, Dick Christie, Marla Pennington, and Edie McClurg were all present via satellite. Fond remarks and memories were shared about Brissette in the very brief segment. On the show, Brissette stated that she was living in Boulder, Colorado, and attending nursing school.
Reruns and international airingsEdit
After the series ended, the show entered weekday rerun syndication on many stations across the United States and continued until 1996. After that, the show had not aired anywhere in the country until January 10, 2015 when Antenna TV began airing the series on weekends, which continued until May 27, 2017. The network resumed airing the show on September 9, 2017. It was dropped again after March 31, 2019.
In Europe, the show was screened regionally in the United Kingdom on ITV from October 1985 until late 1988. Only the first two series were shown. Sky One also broadcast the series in full from 1988 to the early 1990s. In Italy, the show appeared in the mid-1980s on Italia 1 network and was titled Super Vicky. In France, the series was shown as Petite merveille on Canal+, starting in November 1985. In Spain, the show was broadcast on Antena 3 Televisión as Un robot en casa in December 1995. In Germany the show was broadcast on ProSieben in 1990 (with several reruns in the early 1990s) and was titled Vicki.
It was aired on many TV stations in Middle East as well, such as Saudi TV Channel 2 and Iraq TV Channel 1, with Arabic subtitles and called الاعجوبة الصغيرة. In Saudi Arabia, it was aired during the '80s as a daily family show during the month of Ramadan on Saudi TV (Channel 2).
In India, Pakistan, China, and other Asian countries, Small Wonder was syndicated on local TV stations and the Star TV Network in the mid-1990s. In 1994, it was aired in India on Star Plus first in English then in Hindi the same year most of the time, until 1998 and in Tamil in Star Vijay in the beginning of the 2000s. It aired in Pakistan on Network Television Marketing. In 1986, it aired in Thailand on Channel 9 at 9:00 p.m. after the evening news. In the Philippines, it aired on GMA Network in the mid-1980s, and on ABC in 1992. In Indonesia, it was aired on TVRI. TVNZ screened the show in New Zealand in a weekday afternoon slot the mid-1980s.
In Latin America, the show appeared on Rede Globo and, later, TV Record in Brazil and was called Super Vicky. It also aired on VTV (Venezolana de Televisión) in Venezuela between 1987 and 1990, Canal 13 in Argentina, Bogotá local network Canal Capital in Colombia, Teleantillas in the Dominican Republic and Frecuencia Latina in Peru, where it was called La pequeña maravilla.
Despite proving popular, it has been regarded as one of the worst sitcoms of all time. In 2002, Robert Bianco, TV critic for USA Today, listed it as a contender for one of the worst TV shows of all time, and according to the BBC, it "is widely considered one of the worst low-budget sitcoms of all time." In the audio commentary for the South Park episode "Simpsons Already Did It", co-creator Matt Stone lamented that "for some reason, people lump South Park and The Simpsons and any animated program together...which is unfortunate that we have to be compared to one of the best shows on television ever and one of the most popular shows on television ever, we never get compared to Sister, Sister or Small Wonder."
|1986||Young Artist Award||Best Young Supporting Actress in a New Television Series||Emily Schulman|
|1987||Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a Long-Running Series, Comedy or Drama|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||24||September 7, 1985||May 17, 1986|
|2||24||September 13, 1986||May 23, 1987|
|3||24||September 12, 1987||May 21, 1988|
|4||24||September 17, 1988||May 20, 1989|
|DVD Name||Ep#||Region 1|
|The Complete First Season||24||February 16, 2010|
|The Complete Second Season||24||June 22, 2010|
- My Living Doll. Howard Leeds, producer of Small Wonder, also produced this 1964-1965 sitcom starring Bob Cummings and Julie Newmar with the same premise as Small Wonder (except the gynoid is an adult female and the lead male character takes custody of the robot as opposed to building her).
- Not Quite Human, a series of novels in which a scientist creates an android, passing him off as his son, telling only his daughter the truth. The series was made into several TV movies for the Disney Channel.
- Karishma Kaa Karishma, the Indian television sitcom remake. The series aired on STAR Plus.
- Dr. Slump, where a crazy Japanese inventor makes an android daughter so he can become closer to a local teacher he is in love with.
- A.I. Artificial Intelligence – also known as A.I., is a 2001 American science fiction film written, directed, and produced by Steven Spielberg, and based on Brian Aldiss's short story "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long". The film stars Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Sam Robards, Frances O'Connor, Brendan Gleeson, and William Hurt. Set sometime in the future, A.I. tells the story of David, a childlike android uniquely programmed with the ability to love.
- Bahu Hamari Rajni Kant — The Indian television series in which a scientist named Shaan Kant creates an android for his boss and names it RAJNI (Randomly Accessible Job Networking Interface), who eventually becomes his wife Rajni-Kant and makes a good impression on his family. The truth about her is known only to Shaan and his friend Dev.
- Yo Soy Franky and I Am Frankie - The Colombian children's telenovela and American re-make has a teenage android named Frankie Gaines created by a robot scientist who wants to see how she does in high school, and has to keep it a secret from the general student body. Other androids are developed by rivals who also appear at the school.
- D.A.R.Y.L. - 1985 American science fiction film about a government-created "Data-Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform".
- "Metromedia...Television (1985 / 1992)". YouTube: Guatelogos. 5 March 2017.
- "กระทู้ย้อนอดีต....มีใครจำ "วิคกี้ หนูน้อยคอมพิวเตอร์" ได้บ้างครับ" (in Thai). pantip.com. 21 September 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- Robert Bianco
- BBC Comedy Guide (saved at archive.org)
- "Small Wonder - Shout! Factory Inputs the Official Press Release for The Complete 1st Season". Archived from the original on 2014-02-24.
- "Small Wonder - 'Shout! Select' DVD Release for The Complete 2nd Season: Packaging and Date!". Archived from the original on 2014-02-24.
- "Adorable robot girl of Karishma Kaa Karishma". TribuneIndia. March 9, 2003.