Lost in Space Episode 19: Ghost in Space

General Information

Director: Don Richardson

Writer: Peter Packer

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

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 2/2/1966

Production #: 8519

 

Overview

Failing to complete the task assigned to him, Dr. Smith drops an explosive into a bog filled with ionized gas—an action that releases an invisible monster lost-in-space-ghost-in-spacenear the Jupiter 2. Unwilling to accept responsibility for his mistake, Dr. Smith insists that the creature is actually the spirit of his late Uncle Thaddeus—with a ghoulish outcome.

Combining spooky tropes with alien hijinks, “Ghost in Space” may appeal to fans of the horror/sci-fi crossover genre. Nevertheless, the antics of Dr. Smith frequently detract from the gruesome, terrifying nature of the invisible monster.

 

Pros

lost-in-space-ghost-in-spaceEmploying ghastly sound effects in conjunction with a layer of impenetrable fog, “Ghost in Space” establishes the perfect setting for a mysterious, bloodthirsty creature to stalk and prey upon members of the Robinson family. (On a similar note, horror buffs will observe many parallels between this episode and a classic Universal Monster film.)

 

Cons

Though initially ominous, “Ghost in Space” struggles to maintain a haunting atmosphere throughout—likely a consequence of the distracting and incongruous behaviorlost-in-space-ghost-in-space of Dr. Smith. Specifically, Dr. Smith—a despicable coward who often panics when confronted with bizarre or inexplicable phenomena—responds to the invisible fiend by conducting a mock séance with Will, Penny, Judy, Maureen, and the Robot in attendance. In addition to being out-of-character, Dr. Smith’s nonchalant reaction to a fearsome, malevolent creature may prevent the audience from taking the bog monster seriously.

 

Analysis

A monster-of-the-week episode, “Ghost in Space” provides little opportunity to explore the trials, dynamics, and relationships of the Robinson family and Major West.

 

Concluding Comments

“Ghost in Space” is a creepy, atmospheric installment of Lost in Space. Viewers looking for a scary, black-and-white episode to watch during the Halloween season may, however, wish to forgo this offering in favor of “Wish Upon a Star”—a superior season-one entry.

 

Overall Quality: 4/10

 

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