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Case Number 19197

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Small Wonder: The Complete Second Season

Shout! Factory // 1986 // 540 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 1st, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson built himself a little sister who promptly turned on him and wiped out half the neighborhood.

Editor's Note

Our review of Small Wonder: The Complete First Season, published February 3rd, 2010, is also available.

The Charge

"She's a small wonder, pretty and bright with soft curls.
She's a small wonder, a girl unlike unlike other girls.
She's a miracle, and I grant you
She'll enchant you at her sight.
She's a small wonder, and she'll make your heart take flight.

She's fantastic, made of plastic.
Microchips here and there.
She's a small wonder, brings love and laughter everywhere."

And nightmares. So many nightmares.

Opening Statement

Huh…I thought I had hallucinated this series in the mid '80s, chalking it up to the effects of playing with lead toys. Not so.

Facts of the Case

How does one differentiate one's family sitcom from the legion of competing half-hour shows? Build on the success of The Terminator of course! That's what the creators of Small Wonder did, taking your typical, milquetoast TV family and adding a robot girl to the mix. The results? Surreal mediocrity!

The Evidence

Maybe you never caught this show when it originally aired; you did and years of psychotherapy have successfully purged all traces of it from your mind; or perhaps you're young enough to have only learned about the mythical Small Wonder through an oral tradition not unlike the spoken history passed down by the Iroquois. Regardless, I'm happy to flesh out the series for you:

small wonder

Ted Lawson is the patriarch of the family. A brilliant robotics inventor—though apparently not monetarily successful enough to invest in some decent pants—Ted achieved his scientific breakthrough when he built a synthetic girl and shockingly didn't sell it to the Japanese. No, Vicki the Robot is designed for more unsettling purposes: unwavering domestic servitude.

small wonder

Joan Lawson is a wife, mother, and substitute teacher. And that's everything I can remember about her. She's boring and, shockingly, less charismatic than the robot girl she forces to do dishes.

small wonder

As your typical precocious TV kid, Jamie Lawson is quick with the witty retort. Having adapted well to sharing his bedroom with a frightening robot with superhuman strength and a potentially lethal habit of taking directives too literally, Jamie has turned his attention towards adapting to junior high school, making friends with the cool kids (which for some reason involves invitations to his backyard patio to swing on a tiny jungle gym), and going on hot dates with older girls. Interestingly, he has yet to turn his attention to grappling with a doubtless future of adult on-set diabetes.

small wonder

Nosy neighbor Harriet is nosy and the Lawsons' neighbor. She also fails to notice the family's daughter is made of plastic and has, you know, microchips here and there.

small wonder

Here she is, Vicki the Robot. Her capabilities are unknown and seemingly limitless: episodes feature her popping popcorn with her bare hands, shooting spotlights out of her eyeballs, roasting meat with her finger, spinning a basketball on her head, lifting grown men by their belt loops, and powering an entire house with her armpit. But with great power, comes great responsibility; namely setting the table and dusting the living room furniture.

Shout! Factory has a disclaimer about the video quality, and it is a choppy tape transfer, but that only adds to the nostalgia. The audio is standard television Dolby 2.0 Stereo. One extra, and I use that term loosely: a fan-made printable coloring page in PDF format.

Closing Statement

Oh, I almost forgot to mention—this show is brutally unfunny, saved only by the brain-blasting weirdness of the concept.

The Verdict

Guilty of producing zero laughs, but when you're dealing with a timeless piece of insanity like Small Wonder, the court is willing to show mercy.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 75
Audio: 75
Extras: 60
Acting: 50
Story: 50
Judgment: 75

Perp Profile

Studio: Shout! Factory
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 540 Minutes
Release Year: 1986
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Bad
• Comedy
• Family
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Coloring Sheet


• IMDb
• Video: Small Wonder - The Reboot

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