Lost in Space Episode 75: Target Earth

General Information

Director: Nathan Juran

Writers: Peter Packer

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

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 1/3/1968

Production #: 1516

 

Overview

Upon landing on a strange planet, the Robinsons are greeted by a homogeneous alien species. Enamored with the diverse characteristics of their human guests, lost-in-space-target-earthseveral of the aliens transform themselves into exact copies of John, Maureen, Judy, Penny, Will, Major West, and Dr. Smith before hijacking the Jupiter 2 and plotting a course for Earth. Hoping to warn Alpha Control, Will and Dr. Smith secretly board the ship prior to liftoff.

“Target Earth” should be commended for teaching a worthwhile lesson, namely that individual talents and personality traits ought to be valued over superficial differences within groups. Nevertheless, certain logical problems (e.g. the Robot’s ability to levitate when separated from his lower half) are present in this offering.

 

Pros

It should be noted that Peter Packer’s premise (i.e. duplicates of the Robinson family posing as the real thing) had been utilized in many previous episodes, preventinglost-in-space-target-earth “Target Earth” from examining its central theme through a fresh and original framework. That being said, the alien versions of Professor Robinson and Major West behave in a volatile, competitive manner with each other, thereby resembling actual humans instead of automatons—much in contrast to the monotonous, robotic imposters featured in “The Phantom Family” from season two. Viewers may therefore enjoy “Target Earth,” which, in spite of its recycled subject matter, maintains a compelling atmosphere due to the unpredictable, perhaps even downright scary, behavior of the cloned family.

 

Cons

(Spoilers beyond this point)

lost-in-space-target-earthHaving regained control of the Jupiter 2 and arrived safely in Chicago, Will immediately returns to outer space in order to rescue those who were left behind on the alien world. Despite the nobility of Will’s gesture, audiences may question why the young lad refuses to leave Dr. Smith—a meddlesome character who desperately wishes to remain on his home planet—on Earth before resuming his journey.

 

Analysis

By mistaking superficial differences among humans for true diversity, the aliens in this episode fail to adjust to the new bodies that they create for themselves—a subtle indication that the substance of one’s character is more important than the external features (e.g. skin or hair color) possessed by a person.

 

Concluding Comments

For employing science fiction as a vehicle through which to explore the topic of diversity, “Target Earth” deserves praise from Lost in Space enthusiasts. Fans of a critical mindset may, however, take issue with the absurd plot device contained in the opening sequence of this episode.

 

Overall Quality: 8/10

 

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2 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 75: Target Earth

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

  2. I do not think I completed replying to all episodes. I think I left off with the previous story. Anyway, I am not nearly as fond of this one as I was as a youth. I find it a bit overrated and contrived and just plain improbable. This one is a bit too ‘science fiction’ for my personal LOST IN SPACE taste. Fans will make the point that it is played pretty much all serious compared to most colored episodes. That is true, but that alone does not make a great story for me, although it is usually a big plus. For the past twenty-eight years, I have ranked this one actually down in the bottom half of the season. It has a few cool and exciting moments, but it is far from the LOST IN SPACE greatness of Peter Packer..