Lost in Space Episode 40: West of Mars

General Information

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

 

Overview

Hoping to evade capture, Zeno (Jonathan Harris)—a notorious criminal who resembles Dr. Smith—assumes the place of his doppelganger aboard the Jupiter 2. lost-in-space-west-of-marsIntent 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.

 

Pros

None.

 

Cons

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, forlost-in-space-west-of-mars 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.

 

Analysis

lost-in-space-west-of-marsDespite 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.

 

Concluding Comments

“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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2 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 40: West of Mars

  1. This is my number twenty-five ranked episode for the classic down home, cozy and fun, colored mid season..my second favorite season of the series, despite its much maligned and unwarranted status.. :-]

  2. Pure fun! ..although it was another episode in the old days I considered a so-called ‘downer’ episode. Suspend all logic here, folks, and just ride along and enjoy the fun. Again, this one has grown on me quite well over the years.

    What has LOST IN SPACE turned into by this point though? Who cares? It is still LOST IN SPACE and it is still fun and very enjoyable. Oh, I love the western flavored twist here..