Lost in Space Episode 56: The Phantom Family

General Information

Director: Ezra Stone

Writer: Peter Packer

Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, and Alan Hewitt

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 3/29/1967

Production #: 9528



When John and Maureen depart from the Jupiter 2, alien scientist Lemnoc (Alan Hewitt) kidnaps Judy, Penny, Major West, and Dr. Smith before replacing them withlost-in-space-the-phantom-family android duplicates. At the urging of Will, Lemnoc agrees to release the imprisoned humans under one condition: Will must teach the duplicates to emulate the behavior of their flesh-and-blood counterparts.

Similar to “The Dream Monster” from earlier in season two, “The Phantom Family” offers a unique and fascinating twist on the mad scientist trope. Worth praising in particular is the haunting atmosphere of this episode, which will appeal to fans of serious science fiction.



lost-in-space-the-phantom-familyUpon returning to the Jupiter 2, Will attempts to engage the cloned versions of Don, Penny, and Judy in conversation. Unable to function like normal human beings, the duplicates maintain their blank expressions and remain silent in response to Will’s questioning—a surreal and chilling display, especially due to the fitting use of Klaatu’s theme (Bernard Herrmann’s eerie composition from The Day the Earth Stood Still).



By behaving in a clumsy and ridiculous manner, the creations of Lemnoc occasionally undermine the dark, mysterious tone of this episode. For example, the Dr. Smith lost-in-space-the-phantom-familyandroid repeatedly forgets his name and acts like a buffoon during training sessions—a campy, juvenile addition to an otherwise thought-provoking story.

Also problematic is the fact that Will, supposedly a highly intelligent young man, fails to uncover the truth about Lemnoc’s duplicates—whom even casual Lost in Space viewers could identify as imposters—without assistance from the Robot.



lost-in-space-the-phantom-familyBy going to extraordinary lengths to rescue his family and friends (including the undeserving Dr. Smith) from Lemnoc, Will demonstrates the noble and self-sacrificing nature of his character.


Concluding Comments

“The Phantom Family” is a spooky, unnerving episode that benefits from a poignant twist in the climactic scene. There are times, however, when the antics of Dr. Smith (in android form) detract from the solemn atmosphere of this offering.


Overall Quality: 7/10


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5 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 56: The Phantom Family

  1. I think this may be my favorite Season Two episode because it features the whole cast (well except poor John and Maureen). It was more serious in tone and I enjoyed how the cast acted so differently when they were their replacements. You are so right that Will was pretty stupid for not putting the pieces together.

  2. This is my number nineteen 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.. :-]

  3. Here is another solid and serious story, within the home stretch of classic and lovable mid season of LOST IN SPACE. This one, however, I put more in my ‘average’ category. Ironically, perhaps the biggest turn off for me in this one is the high use of Alexander Courage’s scores from THE CAVE OF THE WIZARDS. It is very eerie sounding, but this is the third (and last) time we hear these background scores. By now, I grow a bit weary of hearing it.

    There is nothing really terribly wrong about this story. It is perhaps a bit too on the sci-fi side for me though. The original lost castaways premise is what works best for me. Overall though, very good..

  4. I have to wonder if this episode was part of the inspiration for SNL’s “The Coneheads”.

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