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
Threatened with invasion, the Robinsons must deliver the Robot B-9 to an army of diminutive, albeit menacing, robots. Unimpressed with their new leader, the 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.
A 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.)
When the mechanical men kidnap Dr. Smith and offer to trade him for the Robot, the Robinsons agree to the exchange without first considering every 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.
As 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.
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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