Lost in Space Episode 81: The Flaming Planet

General Information

Director: Don Richardson

Writer: Barney Slater

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

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 2/21/1968

Production #: 1517

 

Overview

While traveling in the vicinity of a mysterious planet, the Robinsons are attacked by Sobram (Abraham Sofaer)—the sole surviving member of an ancient lost-in-space-the-flaming-planetwarrior race. Despite agreeing to cease hostilities against the Jupiter 2, Sobram insists that a single crew member stay behind and engage him in a final, glorious battle.

“The Flaming Planet” is a lackluster retread of “Attack of the Monster Plants” from season one. This episode does, however, benefit from a poignant subplot about an old, weary general hoping to prove his worth in one last spectacle.

 

Pros

lost-in-space-the-flaming-planetIn spite of his Smurf-like appearance, Sobram conveys the gravitas of a brilliant military strategist.

 

Cons

By behaving in a silly manner, the killer plants fail to pose a credible threat to the main characters. Especially problematic are the mannerisms and sound effects of the planet’s parthenogenetic warriors, whose antics resemble those of Cousin Itt from The Addams Family.

 

Analysis

“The Flaming Planet” contains all the elements of a classic science fiction offering: an army of killer plants capable of locomotion (The Day of the Triffids), a duty-bound generallost-in-space-the-flaming-planet representing an alien warrior race (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country), and a compelling conflict raged with advanced warfare (The Terminator). Unfortunately, this episode struggles to combine its core themes in a mature and coherent fashion, resulting in an uneven climax where Sobram—a noble and cunning figure—accepts a lame cop-out to satisfy his lust for combat.

 

Concluding Comments

Favoring campy hijinks over intelligent science fiction, “The Flaming Planet” deserves criticism for its missed opportunities. Nevertheless, Abraham Sofaer should be commended for his elegant and sympathetic portrayal of Sobram.

 

Overall Quality: 5/10

 

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One thought on “Lost in Space Episode 81: The Flaming Planet

  1. This is my number fourteen ranked episode for the psychedelic and far out, all over the place, highly inconsistent and relatively overrated, shortest final colored season..