Director: Don Richardson
Writers: Jackson Gillis
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Robert Faulk, Arte Johnson, and Sheila Mathews
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 1/10/1968
Production #: 1519
Kraspo (Robert Faulk) and Fedor (Arte Johnson), two anachronistically fashioned space commanders, kidnap Penny and present her as the royal niece of Aunt Gamma (Sheila Mathews). Though initially resistant, Penny is forced to comply when Kraspo turns Judy and Major West into strips of magnetic tape and threatens to destroy them. Meanwhile, Will discovers a dark connection between Fedor and his computerized crew mates.
“Princess of Space” combines the stylistic elements of “Mutiny in Space” with the overused trope of autonomous machines run amok. Lost in Space buffs may therefore wish to avoid this episode, which suffers from a heavy use of recycled, cringe-worthy comedic devices.
Sheila Mathews—known to Lost in Space fans for her portrayals of Ruth Templeton in “Return from Outer Space” and Brynhilda in “The Space Vikings,” as well as for her marriage to series creator Irwin Allen—once again delivered a strong performance despite the ridiculous nature of her character. Especially worth praising are Aunt Gamma’s poignant interactions with Penny, which, in addition to showcasing the delicate abilities of Mathews, display the tragically underused talents of Angela Cartwright—depicting Penny as a mature, emotionally complex, and elegant young woman in this offering.
Penny’s interactions with Aunt Gamma aside, “Princess of Space” contains no character insight to justify its juvenile premise.
Ostensibly a Penny-themed episode, “Princess of Space” fails to explore Cartwright’s character with sufficient dignity or thoughtfulness. Specifically, Penny often engages in mundane, if not thoroughly absurd, conversations with cartoonish aliens while Will, Dr. Smith, and the Robot proceed to save the day through ingenuity alone—a formulaic resolution of conflict that provides few opportunities to develop or expand upon Penny’s personality.
For its slapdash narrative and childish humor, “Princess of Space” may evoke criticism from series enthusiasts. Nevertheless, this episode should be commended for the efforts of Cartwright and Mathews.
Overall Quality: 2/10
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