Director: Sutton Roley
Writer: Barney Slater
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Jonathan Harris
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 11/24/1965
Production #: 8512
As punishment for neglecting the hydroponic garden, Professor Robinson banishes Dr. Smith from the Jupiter 2. After setting up a campsite near an abandoned spacecraft, Dr. Smith discovers an alien thought machine that can materialize any object desired by the user—with a terrifying twist.
Despite favoring pure fantasy over traditional science fiction, “Wish Upon a Star” deserves praise for its horror-movie atmosphere and topnotch acting from Jonathan Harris. This offering should likewise be commended for its valuable morality lesson, which promotes a solid work ethic over greed, slothfulness, and an attitude of entitlement.
Though a lazy, despicable coward, Dr. Smith evokes sympathy due to the terrified and pathetic reactions of Harris. While sitting beside a campfire in the middle of the night, for example, Dr. Smith—visibly cold, lonely, and depressed—must defend himself from a hideous alien creature, forcing the viewer to pity him in spite of his atrocious behavior. Also effective are Dr. Smith’s confrontations with the Rubberoid—a ghoulish, humanoid monster who “demands” that Dr. Smith, now frightened beyond belief, return the thought machine to its rightful owner.
From a narrative standpoint, “Wish Upon a Star” creates a chilling contrast between the lighthearted, fairy-tale tropes of the early scenes and the nightmarish tone of the Rubberoid sequences—a difference that serves to shock and disturb the audience, initially unprepared for the horrors awaiting Dr. Smith and the Robinson family.
Lost in Space fans may question why Professor Robinson—supposedly a wise and intelligent man—would entrust Dr. Smith with gardening duties, allowing him to accidentally ruin the entire food supply.
“Wish Upon a Star” indicates that in order to develop a humble and appreciative outlook, one must earn his possessions through labor, patience, and dedication to achieving goals—a fact that Professor Robinson, acting as the moral compass of the group, eventually realizes after witnessing the thought machine corrupt his family.
Arguably the scariest installment of Lost in Space, “Wish Upon a Star” should be requisite viewing for enthusiasts of the sci-fi/horror crossover genre. Especially worth noting is the twist ending of this episode, which contains an important message for viewers to consider.
Overall Quality: 10/10
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