Lost in Space Episode 57: The Mechanical Men

General Information

Director: Seymour Robbie

Writer: Barney Slater

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

Composer: Alexander Courage

Air Date: 4/5/1967

Production #: 9523

 

Overview

Threatened with invasion, the Robinsons must deliver the Robot B-9 to a group of diminutive, menacing robots. Unimpressed with their new leader, lost-in-space-the-mechanical-menthe mechanical men perform a personality transfer involving Dr. Smith and the Robot.

A promotional piece for Remco’s Robot B-9 toys, “The Mechanical Men” may provide nostalgic value for collectors of 1960s movie models and replicas. Modern audiences, in contrast, will likely take issue with the illogical premise for Barney Slater’s narrative.

 

Pros

lost-in-space-the-mechanical-menThe final act contains a riveting battle between the Robinsons and the mechanical men, showcasing the brave attributes of Will, Major West, Professor Robinson, and a now heroic Dr. Smith. (That being said, viewers may laugh at the concept of Don and John using high-power laser rifles to blast away an army of adorable, unimposing robots.)

 

Cons

When the mechanical men kidnap Dr. Smith and offer to trade him for the Robot, the Robinson family agrees to the exchange without first considering everylost-in-space-the-mechanical-men possible alternative—a disappointing reaction from the Robinsons, who often demonstrate fortitude, loyalty, and ingenuity in the face of adversity.

This episode may also evoke criticism for its excessive camp value. For example, the monotonous voice of Dick Tufeld is dubbed over Jonathan Harris’ dialogue after the mechanical men, unsatisfied with the Robot, decide to swap his personality with that of Dr. Smith—one of the most cringe-worthy plot devices ever featured in Lost in Space.

 

Analysis

lost-in-space-the-mechanical-menWhen confronted with the loss of their beloved Robot, the Robinsons fail to resist the mechanical men—a response that appears to contradict the events of prior episodes, where the main characters treat the Robot like a member of the family.

 

Concluding Comments

For providing Professor Robinson and Major West—two underutilized characters—with pivotal roles in the climactic scene, “The Mechanical Men” deserves praise from Lost in Space enthusiasts. Nevertheless, this episode is marred by juvenile humor and silly conflict.

 

Overall Quality: 4/10

 

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2 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 57: The Mechanical Men

  1. This is my number twenty-eight 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. This is not a bad episode. It just never did a whole lot for me. In keeping with the latter Season Two trend, it is actually played very straight. Although the background incidental music fits as always, I am also not very fond of the Alexander Courage scores here. The rare score is just about my least favorite in the series..almost.

    Seymour Robbie is the completely rare ‘one hit director’ here.

    Overall, I guess I would call this average. Those little robots are indeed cute though..