Director: Don Richardson
Writers: Bob and Wanda Duncan
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Dee Hartford, Tiger Joe Marsh, and Fritz Feld
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 10/26/1966
Production #: 9507
Encountering a mechanical catalogue, Dr. Smith purchases a female android known as Verda (Dee Hartford). Despite forming an attachment to Verda, Penny and her family face a terrible predicament when Mr. Zumdish (Fritz Feld)—manager of the Celestial Department Store—arrives at the Jupiter 2 demanding payment for the android.
“The Android Machine” is a cute and emotionally stirring episode of Lost in Space. Nevertheless, science fiction fans may criticize this entry for its campy humor and juvenile antics.
Also worth praising are the actions of Judy and Penny, who, unlike Dr. Smith, recognize and cultivate Verda’s potential for personal growth.
In addition to its groan-inducing slapstick, “The Android Machine” fails to present the cave monster in a terrifying manner. Instead of sporting razor-sharp claws and blood-soaked fangs, for example, the creature in this episode bears a strong resemblance to Gumby of claymation fame—hardly an appropriate visage for a fearsome alien monster.
Over time, Verda comes to embrace the human side of her personality—a poignant character transition explored further in “Revolt of the Androids.”
Emphasizing Penny’s friendship with Verda (a parallel to Will’s connection with the Robot), “The Android Machine” will appeal to viewers of a sensitive nature. This episode does, however, suffer from the antics of Dr. Smith and Mr. Zumdish—modeled after a stereotypical department store clerk of the 1960s.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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