Director: Paul Stanley
Writer: Jackson Gillis
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Jonathan Harris
Composer: Johnny Williams
Air Date: 10/27/1965
Production #: 8507
Feeling rejected by her family, Penny wanders into a cave and encounters a disembodied voice known as Mr. Nobody. After forming a close bond with the entity, Penny’s new friendship is placed in grave peril when Dr. Smith—hoping to harvest diamonds from the cave—manipulates Major West into operating a drill directly above Mr. Nobody’s home.
In spite of emphasizing pure fantasy over hard science fiction, “My Friend, Mr. Nobody” deserves its status as a classic Lost in Space episode. Worth praising in particular are Penny’s interactions with the eponymous Mr. Nobody, which, when complemented by the magical composition of a young John Williams, will tug the heartstrings of those with a sensitive disposition.
While trying to make herself useful in a variety of ways, Penny is met with dismissive reactions from her parents and siblings—responses that, when followed by the sad expressions of Angela Cartwright, serve to evoke sympathy for the Penny character, later forced to seek companionship in the most unlikely of places.
“My Friend, Mr. Nobody” should likewise be commended for employing a human antagonist (i.e. Dr. Smith) to interfere with Penny’s newfound happiness. Particularly suspenseful are the climactic sequences, wherein Dr. Smith willingly jeopardizes the safety of Penny, Major West, and potentially the entire group while hunting for treasure. (Viewers may, however, question how Dr. Smith—stranded countless light years from Earth—intends on utilizing the cave diamonds for monetary gain.)
Despite stretching the boundaries of disbelief suspension, “My Friend, Mr. Nobody” rightly indicates that the mind of a child—typically driven by wonder, curiosity, and imagination—can provide opportunities not readily available to those of a mature and serious temperament. Note, for example, that only Penny appreciates the value of Mr. Nobody’s companionship—much in contrast to the adult characters (especially Dr. Smith), who primarily concern themselves with motivations of a materialistic nature.
Combining elegant performances with a profound observation regarding human relationships, “My Friend, Mr. Nobody” earns its reputation as one of the greatest Lost in Space episodes ever made. Exceptionally poignant is the acting of Cartwright, who reinforces the struggle for acceptance at the heart of Penny’s character.
Overall Quality: 10/10
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