Lost in Space Episode 57: The Mechanical Men

General Information

Director: Seymour Robbie

Writer: Barney Slater

Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Jonathan Harris

Composer: Alexander Courage

Air Date: 4/5/1967

Production #: 9523

 

Overview

Threatened with invasion, the Robinsons must deliver the Robot B-9 to an army of diminutive, albeit menacing, robots. Unimpressed with their new leader, lost-in-space-the-mechanical-menthe mechanical men perform a personality transfer involving Dr. Smith and the Robot.

A promotional piece for Remco’s Robot B-9 toys, “The Mechanical Men” may offer nostalgic value for collectors of 1960s movie models and replicas. Those of a critical mindset will, however, take issue with the illogical premise upon which Barney Slater’s narrative operates.

 

Pros

lost-in-space-the-mechanical-menA riveting display of action is present in the final battle, showcasing the brave attributes of Will, Major West, Professor Robinson, and a now heroic Dr. Smith. (That being said, viewers may find amusing the concept of Don and John using high-power laser rifles to blast away a horde of unimposing, if not thoroughly adorable, robots.)

 

Cons

When the mechanical men kidnap Dr. Smith and offer to trade him for the Robot, the Robinsons agree to the exchange without first considering everylost-in-space-the-mechanical-men possible alternative—a disappointing reaction from a family whose survival is dependent on traits such as fortitude, loyalty, and ingenuity.

Also problematic is the excessive camp featured in this episode; for example, the monotonous voice of Dick Tufeld is dubbed over Jonathan Harris’ dialogue after the mechanical men, unsatisfied with the Robot, decide to swap his character with that of Dr. Smith.

 

Analysis

lost-in-space-the-mechanical-menAs indicated above, the Robinsons exhibit little concern for the loss of their beloved Robot—a response that appears to contradict the events of “Trip Through the Robot,” a superior season-two episode.

 

Concluding Comments

For providing Professor Robinson and Major West—two underutilized characters—with pivotal roles in the climactic scene, “The Mechanical Men” deserves praise from Lost in Space enthusiasts. Nevertheless, fans of science fiction with a serious angle should avoid this entry at all costs.

 

Overall Quality: 4/10

 

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2 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 57: The Mechanical Men

  1. This is my number twenty-eight 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. This is not a bad episode. It just never did a whole lot for me. In keeping with the latter Season Two trend, it is actually played very straight. Although the background incidental music fits as always, I am also not very fond of the Alexander Courage scores here. The rare score is just about my least favorite in the series..almost.

    Seymour Robbie is the completely rare ‘one hit director’ here.

    Overall, I guess I would call this average. Those little robots are indeed cute though..