Lost in Space Episode 36: The Android Machine

General Information

Director: Don Richardson

Writers: Bob and Wanda Duncan

Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Dee Hartford, Tiger Joe Marsh, and Fritz Feld

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 10/26/1966

Production #: 9507

 

Overview

Having encountered a mechanical catalogue, Dr. Smith orders a female android known as Verda (Dee Hartford). When Mr. Zumdish (Fritz Feld)—manager of the Celestial lost-in-space-the-android-machineDepartment Store—arrives on the planet demanding payment for Verda, Penny and her family refuse to hand over their guest without a fight.

“The Android Machine” is a cute and emotionally stirring episode of Lost in Space. Viewers of a serious temperament may nevertheless wish to avoid this episode, the campy humor of which can only be described as intrusive.

 

Pros

lost-in-space-the-android-machineBy exhibiting a childlike curiosity toward her surroundings, Verda comes across as a likable, if somewhat odd, nonhuman character—similar to Data, a male android whom science fiction fans will know from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Especially touching are Verda’s interactions with Judy and Penny, who, unlike Dr. Smith, recognize and develop the extraordinary potential possessed by their new friend.

 

Cons

Though mildly amusing at first, the running gag (i.e. the mishaps of Verda resulting in pain, discomfort, or embarrassment for Dr. Smith) featured in this lost-in-space-the-android-machineepisode grows a tad stale over time.

Hoping to frighten Verda, Dr. Smith plants a variety of flowers near the entrance to a dangerous cave. Taking the bait, Verda examines the flora while guiding a nature walk with Will and Penny, prompting a green-skinned, red-eyed monster to emerge from the cavern and attack her—a potentially terrifying sequence marred by low production values. Specifically worth criticizing is the creature’s appearance, which resembles that of a giant, glowering Sour Patch Kid.

 

Analysis

lost-in-space-the-android-machineOver the course of Bob and Wanda Duncan’s narrative, Verda gradually embraces the human side of her personality—a poignant example of character development that lays the groundwork for Verda’s return in “Revolt of the Androids.”

 

Concluding Comments

For emphasizing Penny’s friendship with Verda (a parallel to Will’s connection with the Robot), “The Android Machine” deserves praise from those of a sensitive inclination. The juvenile antics of Jonathan Harris and Fritz Feld—whose character embodies the manner of a typical 1960s department store clerk—do, however, detract from the heartwarming subject matter at the core of this offering.

 

Overall Quality: 6/10

 

If you enjoyed this post, please enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.

Please note: Comments that are malicious, offensive, or excessively profane will be removed. Off-topic messages belong in the About section.

Leave a Reply

2 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 36: The Android Machine

  1. This is my number ten ranked episode for the classic down home, cozy and fun, colored mid season..my second favorite season of the series, despite its much maligned and unwarranted status.. :-]

  2. I always consider this one to be a point where the humor meter goes to a significant higher degree for the first time..which is not bad at all. In fact, I enjoy and appreciate the humorous aspects of the series. It is only the episodes that try to combine both humor and taking themselves too seriously that I do not like well. See the later series episodes for that.

    Anyway, this is another top ten episode on the season. It is warm and it is fun. Of course, we have great guest characters here that will all return in future episodes..