Director: Don Richardson
Writer: Peter Packer
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, John Abbott, and Dawson Palmer
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 12/21/1966
Production #: 9511
Having assembled an android known as Raddion (Dawson Palmer), Sesmar (John Abbott)—a mad scientist—proceeds to graft the noblest attributes of John, Maureen, Will, Judy, and Penny onto his new creation. As a result, only Major West and Dr. Smith can undo the effects of Sesmar’s transpirator, thereby restoring that which was taken from the Robinsons.
A season two highlight, “The Dream Monster” will appeal to fans of serious, thought-provoking science fiction. This episode does, however, deserve criticism for its hackneyed resolution.
Following the personality transfer, all members of the Robinson family are reduced to slothful, apathetic versions of their former selves—a highly amusing subplot that offers comic relief without the use of camp. Especially humorous are the antics of Professor Robinson, who, now relaxing on a sunny afternoon, recommends that Dr. Smith and Major West “go inside (the Jupiter 2) and take it easy” while fleeing from a deadly monster.
On a more solemn note, John Abbott should be commended for his portrayal of Sesmar, the intellectual brilliance of whom is contrasted with an almost childlike curiosity toward human emotions—an aspect that prevents the Sesmar character from coming across as a malevolent figure, even when employing methods of a harmful and deceptive nature.
By communicating via high-pitched purring noises, Sesmar’s lab assistants—both of whom resemble munchkins wearing scuba gear—frequently detract from the ominous tone of this episode.
Similar to “The Space Primevals” from season three, “The Dream Monster” contains a scenario in which Dr. Smith and Major West, two men who despise each other with a passion, must cooperate in order to survive—an effective, compelling use of the Smith/West rivalry trope, and one which indicates that even mortal enemies can set aside their differences in a life-or-death situation.
“The Dream Monster” puts an intriguing twist on the legend of Dr. Frankenstein, the great-grandson of whom appears in “A Visit from Johann”—an episode of The Munsters that also features Abbott. Lost in Space fans may therefore enjoy this entry, which provides a unique opportunity for Dr. Smith and Major West to rescue the Robinson family from peril.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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