Director: Don Richardson
Writer: Peter Packer
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Dan Travanty, and Linda Gaye Scott
Composer: Gerald Fried
Air Date: 11/8/1967
Production #: 1510
Hoping to prove themselves worthwhile, space hippie Ilan (Dan Travanty) and his merry band of misfits embark on a mission to destroy Kromah—a planet that, if allowed to continue on its current trajectory, will soon collide with the hippies’ home world. Trapped on Kromah until Don and John can finish repairing the Jupiter 2, the Robinsons plead with Ilan to delay his plans for the time being. Though unmoved by the potential loss of innocent life, Ilan and his gang encounter a threat of their own when Dr. Smith—having inhaled a mysterious gas—develops curly, green-colored hair and superhuman strength.
A slapdash parody of the hippie movement, “Collision of Planets” would best be avoided by the majority of science fiction fans. Those with a high appreciation for nostalgic elements may, however, wish to view this episode for the miscellaneous pop culture allusions (i.e. Samson the Strong, psychedelic music, and the Incredible Hulk of superhero fame) contained therein.
The arrangement of Gerald Fried—an occasional composer for Star Trek: The Original Series—provides Ilan and his friends with a mesmerizing, if not entirely hypnotic, quality with which to captivate the audience.
Upon absorbing an alien substance, Dr. Smith adopts a threatening demeanor to complement his newly enhanced physique, thus evening the odds between the Robinsons and their uncouth aggressors. That being said, viewers may struggle to accept the imposing Dr. Smith—who now resembles a cross between Marvel’s aforementioned Hulk character and an Oompa-Loompa from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory—as anything more than a campy, groan-worthy plot device; and one that clashes with the (mostly serious) tone of Lost in Space’s third and final season. (It should also be noted that a similar concept had been employed more effectively in “The Oasis,” wherein Dr. Smith grows to a gargantuan size after consuming a piece of extraterrestrial fruit.)
Similar to “The Promised Planet” from later in season three, “Collision of Planets” fails to include a meaningful statement on 1960s youth culture. Nevertheless, a veiled commentary on the consequences of degenerate behavior (e.g. experimenting with mind or body altering chemicals) is present in this offering, thereby partially redeeming Peter Packer’s narrative from the idiotic premise on which it operates.
“Collision of Planets” is a juvenile, loosely coherent satire on two unrelated subjects (i.e. hippies and Biblical heroes). Therefore, viewers would be wise to search elsewhere for a compelling and well-written science fiction piece.
Overall Quality: 3/10
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