Director: Nathan Juran
Writer: Barney Slater
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Mike Kellin, Peter Brocco, and Harry Monty
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 11/2/1966
Production #: 9508
Myko (Mike Kellin)—a promoter of alien fights—attempts to recruit Professor Robinson for a competition among space gladiators. When John refuses Myko’s proposal, Zachary “Tiger” Smith volunteers himself to compete in the games of Gamma 6—a decision that could result in the destruction of Earth.
“The Deadly Games of Gamma 6” can best be summarized as a campy remake of season one’s “The Challenge,” sans the penetrating analysis on father-son relationships in a patriarchal warrior society. That being said, this episode does, at times, offer insight into Will’s desire to emulate the masculine values exemplified by Professor Robinson, thereby earning praise from fans of Lost in Space.
For emphasizing the talents of Guy Williams (a tremendously underrated actor), “The Deadly Games of Gamma 6” should be commended. Especially remarkable is a sequence wherein Professor Robinson, no longer willing to tolerate the harassing behavior of Dr. Smith, explodes into a fit of rage—a reaction that serves to emphasize how desperately John, normally a calm and rational person, wishes to avoid fighting for exhibition purposes.
Despite playing an essential role in Professor Robinson’s change of heart, the antics of Dr. Smith frequently border on tedious. While preparing for the competition, for example, Dr. Smith languidly pounds a punching bag one hundred times and nearly collapses when it swings back at him—a groan-worthy display that, though possibly amusing for young audiences, makes overly obvious that which should already be apparent to longtime viewers (i.e. that Smith will enter the games unprepared, forcing Professor Robinson to set aside his reservations and rescue the good doctor from peril).
By refusing to participate in the games of Gamma 6 (except when necessary to prevent an assault on Earth), Professor Robinson teaches Will the difference between fighting for sport and employing violence to defend oneself or others from harm—an admirable complement to John’s advice in “The Challenge,” which indicates that a man must occasionally engage in combat to prove his strength.
Operating on the premise that brutality and masculinity seldom go hand in hand, “The Deadly Games of Gamma 6” contains a positive life lesson. Nevertheless, Dr. Smith’s encounter with a highly skilled, vertically challenged boxing opponent will likely induce cringing from those of a serious disposition.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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