Director: Nathan Juran
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: 9/28/1966
Production #: 9503
Arriving on a mysterious alien planet, Dr. Smith initiates contact with Space Control Officer O-3—a female robot who offers an abundance of treasure in exchange for all laser weapons aboard the Jupiter 2. Despite fulfilling his part of the agreement, Dr. Smith is enslaved by a group of cyborgs whose leader—a giant, artificial brain—compels the Robot B-9 to abandon the Robinson family and swear allegiance to the Kingdom of Cybernetics.
By employing science fiction themes in an eerie setting, “The Ghost Planet” will likely intrigue fans of the sci-fi/horror crossover genre. Especially worth praising is the use of Bernard Herrmann’s composition from The Day the Earth Stood Still, which accentuates the creepy, suspenseful nature of this episode.
Upon landing the Jupiter 2 in a designated location, Major West illuminates the surrounding area to determine what lies ahead. Thereafter, a number of spooky tropes (e.g., fog, alien rock formations, and an ominously labeled “Gate 115”) are showcased in combination with spooky organ music—an effect that heightens the atmospheric qualities of the eponymous ghost planet.
Also unnerving is the introduction of Space Control Officer O-3, whose voice (provided by an uncredited Sue England) emanates a subtle air of malevolence during her conversations with Dr. Smith.
“The Ghost Planet” never explores its central concept (i.e., an alien society governed by a powerful, cybernetic being) beyond a surface level—much in contrast to “The Return of the Archons,” a similarly themed episode from Star Trek: The Original Series.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
In the climactic scene, the Robot betrays the Kingdom of Cybernetics in order to rescue his human companions—a heartwarming twist that indicates how dearly the Robot, originally nothing more than a piece of scientific equipment, cares for the Robinson family.
“The Ghost Planet” is a chilling, well-made chapter in the initial story arc of Lost in Space’s second season. The majority of viewers will therefore enjoy this effort, which embodies all the elements of a classic creature feature.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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