Lost in Space Episode 71: A Day at the Zoo

General Information

Director: Irving J. Moore

Writer: Jackson Gillis

Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Leonard Stone, Ronald Weber, and Gary Tigerman

Composer: Alexander Courage

Air Date: 11/29/1967

Production #: 1514

 

Overview

While enjoying a peaceful afternoon, Will and Penny are kidnapped by Farnum (Leonard Stone)—an alien zookeeper. Shortly thereafter, Oggo (Gary Tigerman)—a young caveman owned by Farnum—teleports his master to an inhospitable planet, allowing control of the exhibits to fall into the hands of Dr. Smith.

“A Day at the Zoo” is a poor man’s remake of “The Keeper,” a phenomenal two-part episode that also details the story of a space-faring animal collector. Thelost-in-space-a-day-at-the-zoo majority of fans should thus avoid this offering, which fails to update its recycled subject matter in a compelling fashion.

 

Pros

For exemplifying the carefree essence of the Robinson children, Alexander Courage’s musical score deserves praise from the audience.

 

Cons

Though arguably less irritating than certain other guest characters featured in this series (e.g. Admiral Zahrk from “Mutiny in Space”), Mr. Farnum—a flamboyant, high-strung lost-in-space-a-day-at-the-zooman—can hardly be described as amusing, at least when viewed from a mature framework.

Also terrible are the comedic devices employed by writer Jackson Gillis, which, even by the typical standards of this series, frequently border on the absurd. For example, the Robot engages in a boxing match with the space knight known as Mort (not to be confused with “Gort” of The Day the Earth Stood Still fame) only to be chopped in half during the fight—a gag that falls tediously flat and should never have been attempted in the first place.

 

Analysis

lost-in-space-a-day-at-the-zooIt should be noted that for its many flaws, “A Day at the Zoo” contains a laudable (albeit poorly executed) critique of holding animals in captivity for exhibition purposes alone.

 

Concluding Comments

Despite alluding to themes of a profound and serious nature (e.g. the consequences of parental neglect), “A Day at the Zoo” is marred by campy subject matter. For a superior examination of the main concept explored in this episode, Lost in Space enthusiasts are advised to view both installments of “The Keeper” from season one.

 

Overall Quality: 3/10

 

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5 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 71: A Day at the Zoo

  1. Once again your comments are spot on! This is nothing but a dumbed down version of The Keeper. In addition to the numerous problems you mentioned, this episode reflects an ongoing issue in the way they wrote Don. I get that they were writing him as a man of action compared to John as a man of negotiation (Don was Kirk to John’s Picard), but they frequently made him nothing more than a hot tempered buffoon, throwing punches only to be subdued, frequently in need of rescue from a child. It’s maddening that although the story starts with Penny as the focus and the point is made in a scene with Don and Judy (made poorly, but nevertheless), the episode ends up being nothing more than another Will-Robot-Smith caper.

  2. Once again your comments are spot on. In addition to the many problems you noted, this episode reflects two more issues that plagued the series. 1) Don is written as short tempered buffoon. He throws punches only to be easily subdued and in need of rescue from a child. I get that they wrote him as a Kirk to John’s Picard, but Kirk wasn’t an idiot and they often make Don one. 2) Even though the episode starts as a Penny adventure and the story’s point is made through Don and Judy (it’s made poorly, but nevertheless), in the end it’s just another Will-Robot-Smith escapade.

  3. This is my number twenty-four ranked episode for the psychedelic and far out, all over the place, highly inconsistent and relatively overrated, shortest final colored season..

  4. This is it, my very, very worst and bottom-feeder episode of the entire series. For me, at least, this episode contains the least amount of redeeming factors, and the most amount of drawbacks. I cannot think of anything that I really, really like about it. I recently watched it, and it has not improved.

    I do not like the guest stars. I do not like the music. I do not like the lame and cheap interior of the zoo scenery. Where is Professor Robinson? How is this episode entertaining? I do not like Angela Cartwright’s overacting, or Jonathan Harris. Oh, this one is obviously also the most boring for me.

    Next please lol..

    • I also didn’t care for this one, though I do find the music to be catchy at times. As I indicated in my review, “A Day at the Zoo” is essentially a cheap rehash of “The Keeper” episodes from season one, except with a much goofier antagonist.