Director: Ezra Stone
Writer: Peter Packer
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Gil Rogers, and Keith Taylor
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 1/24/1968
Production #: 1520
Having supposedly reached Alpha Centauri, the Robinsons are greeted by uncouth adolescents Bartholomew (Gil Rodgers) and Edgar (Keith Taylor). In contrast to the Promised Land they were expecting, the Robinsons find themselves trapped in a psychedelic nightmare world governed by perpetual teenagers.
A groovy but goofy episode, “The Promised Planet” tries but ultimately fails to employ satire in a science fiction setting—a fate shared by “A Visit to Hades” from season two. Lost in Space fans born during the Post-World War II baby boom may, however, appreciate Peter Packer’s commentary on the frivolity that plagued 1960s youth culture.
Angela Cartwright’s performance will appeal to those of a sensitive inclination. Especially commendable is Cartwright’s convincing display of emotion during the scene wherein Penny tearfully parts from her parents—the memories of whom had been erased prior to this point, preventing either John or Maureen from acknowledging their daughter.
Professor Robinson, normally a man of remarkable intelligence and intuition, takes an extraordinary amount of time to uncover Bartholomew’s deception despite the many flaws thereof (e.g. Bartholomew claims that Earth ships had traveled to and from Alpha Centauri for three years, which, if true, would blatantly contradict the Jupiter 2’s original five-and-a-half-year flight path).
Also worth criticizing are the campy elements (e.g. Dr. Smith’s agonizing usage of 1960s slang, Penny’s dance alongside leotard-sporting hippies, etc.) featured in this episode. Though potentially nostalgic, the antics of Penny, Dr. Smith, and Bartholomew’s gang of alien imposters hamper the impact of an otherwise worthwhile social statement from Packer.
Similar to “Collision of Planets,” “The Promised Planet” serves to expose the pseudo-progressive beliefs that characterized the hippie movement; but does so from an unfocused and excessively juvenile perspective.
“The Promised Planet” should be viewed by enthusiasts of 1960s counterculture. That being said, viewers searching for a serious examination of social and political causes from decades past would be wise to look elsewhere.
Overall Quality: 4/10
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