Lost in Space Episode 58: The Astral Traveler

General Information

Director: Don Richardson

Writer: Carey Wilber

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

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 4/12/1967

Production #: 9529

 

Overview

Discovering a space-time portal, Will travels to a haunted castle in Scotland. Once there, the Robinson boy is greeted by Hamish (Sean McClory)—a bag-piping lost-in-space-the-astral-travelerghost whose Uncle Angus, a horrifying creature, lives in a swamp. Although Major West manages to reopen the portal and rescue Will, an uninvited guest follows him through the dimensional gateway.

“The Astral Traveler” contains all the elements of a captivating ghost story: dungeons, torture chambers, and wailing noises that could chill even the toughest of horror movie enthusiasts. That being said, the eerie tropes featured in Carey Wilber’s narrative are never strung together in a coherent, semi-plausible fashion.

 

Pros

lost-in-space-the-astral-travelerUpon arriving on Earth, Will finds himself surrounded by props and devices of a ghoulish variety. Immediately thereafter, a monster covered in seaweed emerges from a body of water, startling the young lad with a ghastly cry—a terrifying sequence that will appeal to those who enjoy the subtle, creepy classics produced by Universal Studios during the 1930s.

 

Cons

While exploring a cave with Dr. Smith, Will encounters a revolving door that leads directly to Earth. Though likely a result of budgetary constraints, the lost-in-space-the-astral-traveleruse of an actual door to represent a temporal anomaly weakens the (already somewhat dubious) credibility of this episode.

Similar to “Catspaw” (the Star Trek Halloween special), “The Astral Traveler” employs gothic material in a science fiction setting—a rare combination that may intrigue fans of the sci-fi/horror crossover genre. It should be noted, however, that the futuristic themes of Lost in Space are blended poorly with the Earth-bound portion of Wilber’s aforementioned narrative; specifically, viewers may question why the dimensional rift teleports Will to his home world—one planet out of countless billions—instead of another location in the galaxy.

 

Analysis

lost-in-space-the-astral-travelerBy sparing Dr. Smith’s life and suffering the consequences of doing so, Hamish—an otherwise goofy, one-dimensional character—sets a noble example for the audience to follow.

 

Concluding Comments

For those in search of a delightful treat to view during Halloween season, “The Astral Traveler” will not disappoint. Nevertheless, this offering deserves criticism for its muddled, if not thoroughly nonsensical, direction.

 

Overall Quality: 5/10

 

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7 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 58: The Astral Traveler

  1. This is my very favorite top-ranked colored episode of the series, Jon. :-]

    I still hope to make lots of comments in the future on all of these, from my very favorite all-time series..

  2. The “goofy” type stories do not bother me anymore. It is all fun for me, any style it comes in. Perhaps because I am not a big fan of science fiction in the long run. I love this series for many other reasons first. I just love the drama, the adventure, the characters, the warmth, the humorous aspects, and definitely the music and all the fun.. :-]

  3. This is my number one 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.. :-]

  4. My very favorite colored episode of the series is about as elite as you can get in color, I suppose. As for me, there is not a thing to dislike about this one, except for maybe Professor Robinson missing. Use of cast was never a factor with me though.

    I love the dimensional concept and the uniqueness of this great (and final) Carey Wilber story. I love the spookiness and setting of it. Uncle Angus is classic. I love the extremely well done and moving final scene. Yes, this one had the best ending of any colored episode..always a big factor with me..

    • Jim, Professor Robinson was in the episode, but he didn’t visit the castle — only Will and Dr. Smith went there.

  5. One of the better season 2 episodes. My other favorites are Trip Through The Robot, Prisoners Of Space, and Wreck Of The Robot. The castle part when Will first teleports and the creepy sets and props. Scared the hell out of me when I first saw it as a kid. Angus and his scream echoing while walking through the corridors. Then the rattling of chains, and the ghost of the prisoner on the way to be executing.

  6. I’ve been a fan of Lost In Space for 45 years. Thanks to the BluRay set I recently watched this episode with my grandkids and they loved it so much we watched it twice. It really warms my heart to sit back and watch the series again, and watching it with my grandkids makes it all the more enjoyable.