Director: Don Richardson
Writer: William Welch
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Royal Dano, and Kym Karath
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 4/13/1966
Production #: 8527
While searching for water in the midst of a terrible heat wave, the male members of the Jupiter crew are forced to seek shelter in a cave. As Professor Robinson and Major West initiate repairs on the Chariot, Will awakens the slumbering princess (Kym Karath) of an underground society whose military commander, Major Domo (Royal Dano), intends to launch an invasion of the planet Earth.
An obvious tribute to the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s, “The Lost Civilization” will appeal to fans of adventure-themed science fiction. There are times, however, when the plot contrivances employed by writer William Welch (an occasional contributor to Lost in Space) border on the absurd.
By forgoing the antics of Dr. Smith, “The Lost Civilization” maintains a serious, camp-free approach to character development. Especially notable are the desperate actions taken by Don, John, Will, and the Robot, which, in addition to reinforcing the credibility of each threat (e.g. planet quakes, water shortages, and volcanic eruptions) facing the Jupiter 2, indicate that the above characters will risk everything for the welfare of their friends and family members.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Fleeing the princess’ chamber, Will and his father are surrounded by Major Domo—whose visage and machinations resemble those of Ming the Merciless—and his army. Moments later, a violent quake prevents the major from executing John, allowing the Robinson patriarch to escape with his son—a convenient, poorly-written resolution to the primary conflict of this episode.
Also problematic, a young and inexperienced princess is granted leadership of a technologically advanced warrior race. As a result of this fact, viewers may struggle to accept the very premise for Welch’s (already somewhat unrealistic) narrative.
Seemingly without hesitation, Professor Robinson allows the princess to return to her original resting place within the disintegrating cave—a morally questionable decision, and one that may horrify those familiar with the events of “Blast Off Into Space.”
“The Lost Civilization” is an entertaining installment of Lost in Space. Nevertheless, the numerous logical and continuity flaws, including the groan-worthy twist featured in the climactic scene, contained in this episode should be criticized for obvious reasons.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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