Director: Nathan Juran
Writer: Michael Fessier
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Allan Melvin, Mickey Manners, and Ken Mayer
Composer: Robert Drasnin
Air Date: 11/30/1966
Production #: 9512
Hoping to evade capture, Zeno (Jonathan Harris)—a notorious criminal who resembles Dr. Smith—assumes the place of his doppelganger aboard the Jupiter 2. Intent on arresting Zeno, Enforcer Claudio (Allan Melvin) takes Dr. Smith into custody by mistake.
A cringe-worthy parody of the Western genre, “West of Mars” earns its reputation as one of the worst Lost in Space episodes ever made. Exceptionally terrible is writer Michael Fessier’s portrayal of the Robinsons, who, for some inexplicable reason, appear unable to differentiate between Dr. Smith and a gravel-voiced gunslinger.
Though amusing in a silly way, Zeno comes across as creepy during his interactions with the Robinson family. While operating under Dr. Smith’s identity, for example, Zeno makes an obvious pass on Judy—a skin-crawling gesture due to the age difference between both characters.
Also deserving of criticism, Enforcer Claudio takes tremendous pleasure in the concept of torture and death under legal jurisdiction—an aspect that hampers the family-friendly tone of this episode, which, given its cartoonish subject matter, would likely appeal to only the youngest of viewers.
Despite being astute, intellectually gifted people, the Robinsons—including Will, surprisingly—struggle to recognize the real Dr. Smith as such. Many Lost in Space fans may thus take issue with “West of Mars,” which makes the Robinson family members look like ignorant and unobservant fools.
“West of Mars” is a forgettable, poorly written offering. Therefore, Lost in Space enthusiasts may wish to forgo this effort in favor of “Welcome Stranger”—a superior sci-fi/Western episode from season one.
Overall Quality: 1/10
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