Having recently posted my rankings for the 10 Best Lost in Space episodes, I thought it would be fun to also discuss some of the worst offerings across the entire series (I’ll admit that these selections were a tad more difficult to compile, mainly due to the abundance of subpar entries found in seasons two and three). Below are my choices for the most campy, childish, and downright terrible episodes of Lost in Space.
10) The Thief from Outer Space
Taken prisoner while inspecting a mineral drill, Will accompanies an Arabian space thief on his search for a long-lost princess. Complications arise when a towering slave forms an alliance with Dr. Smith, who bears a strong resemblance to the slave’s original master.
Though not necessarily “worse” than other bottom-tier episodes (e.g., “The Great Vegetable Rebellion” of season-three infamy), “The Thief from Outer Space” may evoke criticism for establishing Lost in Space as a generic, fantasy-themed children’s program devoid of the sci-fi/disaster elements that defined most of season one. Especially problematic are the antagonists played by Ted Cassidy and Malachi Throne, who could easily pass for side characters in the cartoon version of Aladdin.
9) The Space Croppers
Tracking the footprints of a werewolf, Will and Dr. Smith encounter a family of space hillbillies near the Jupiter 2. Seizing a potential opportunity to return home, Dr. Smith plans to marry the family matriarch—with a kooky outcome.
“The Space Croppers” contains all the ingredients for a classic Halloween special: werewolves, witches, and killer plants. By moving from one random scene to the next without a coherent premise, however, this offering will likely bore, confuse, and irritate both science fiction fans and supernatural horror buffs alike.
8) Princess of Space
Kidnapped by space pirates, Penny assumes the role of a royal niece. Meanwhile, Will discovers a dark secret about the autonomous computers aboard Aunt Gamma’s spaceship.
“Princess of Space” is marred by silly costumes, sappy dialogue, and mechanical mischief. Even worse than its juvenile subject matter, this episode struggles to examine Penny’s character in a mature, let alone insightful, manner—an aspect that may disappoint fans of young Angela Cartwright.
7) Castles in Space
When Dr. Smith discovers the alien Princess Reyka, Chavo—a bounty hunter with silver-colored skin and a Mexican accent—demands that the girl be returned to him. Refusing to comply, Major West provokes the wrath of Chavo—with a bizarre twist.
Featuring an ice princess, a silver humanoid, and an invisible army, “Castles in Space” earns its reputation as one of the strangest episodes in the original series. Cringe-worthy highlights include the Robot’s bullfight with Chavo and Dr. Smith’s impersonation of Princess Reyka—two extreme low points in the final season of Lost in Space (which, for comparison, also includes a talking carrot man and a group of biker space hippies).
6) The Questing Beast
While chasing a dragon, a space knight calls on Will for assistance. Penny, in contrast, forms a fast friendship with the dragon—revealed as a gentle, feminine creature.
With its copious slapstick, appalling production values, and absurd twist involving the female dragon, “The Questing Beast” deserves its status as the worst entry of season two. Sensitive viewers may, however, appreciate this episode for its poignant depiction of Dr. Smith—shown to console and encourage Will after his demoralizing lesson on human nature.
5) The Girl from the Green Dimension
Still enamored of Dr. Smith, Athena (the green humanoid from “Wild Adventure”) follows the Jupiter 2 across outer space and arrives at the planet occupied by the Robinson family. Mischief occurs when Urso, a male member of Athena’s species, challenges Dr. Smith to a duel—with a tragic outcome for young Will.
Though amusing in small doses, Athena overstays her welcome in this abysmal episode of Lost in Space. Specifically awful are Athena’s failed efforts at seducing Dr. Smith, who prompts a jealous reaction from the boorish Urso—possibly the most idiotic love triangle in television history.
4) Space Beauty
After losing his soul to an evil master, Farnum recruits Judy for an intergalactic beauty pageant. In the meantime, Dr. Smith concocts a harebrained scheme involving the Robot—with a humorous result.
A poor man’s version of the Keeper played by Michael Rennie, the Farnum character may elicit contempt for his obnoxious personality in this episode. Adding insult to injury, “Space Beauty” ruins a great opportunity to explore Judy’s personality beyond a surface level—instead favoring alien hijinks, drag-queen robots, and Z-grade costumes from beginning to end.
3) West of Mars
Hoping to avoid capture, Zeno—a gunslinger who resembles Dr. Smith—assumes the identity of his doppelganger. More trouble ensues when Enforcer Claudio, intent on apprehending Zeno, places Dr. Smith under arrest by accident.
Many Lost in Space fans will no doubt take issue with this episode, which makes the Robinsons look like ignorant, unobservant fools for failing to recognize Zeno as an imposter. Others may condemn “West of Mars” for its ludicrous narrative concepts: a toy animal chase scene, a cosmic journey in a flying jail cell, and a skin-crawling interaction between Judy and a lustful Zeno.
2) Curse of Cousin Smith
Upon arriving at the Jupiter 2, Jeremiah Smith starts a violent feud with his Cousin Zachary—legal heir to the Smith family fortune. After failing to assassinate each other with an explosive pie, Dr. Smith and Jeremiah decide to “resolve” their conflict with the help of an autonomous gambling machine.
Combining Tom and Jerry antics with a Colonel Sanders wannabe, “Curse of Cousin Smith” earns its ranking as the second-worst entry of Lost in Space. In addition to its cartoonish humor, this episode forces Professor Robinson—an otherwise strong and dignified leader—to mediate the infantile conflict of two annoying, overgrown children.
1) Mutiny in Space
Exiling himself from the Jupiter 2, Dr. Smith locates an alien ship that appears to be deserted. Thereafter, Admiral Zahrk of the Imperial Cassiopeian Navy kidnaps Will, Dr. Smith, and the Robot before returning to outer space.
For its utter lack of logic, grade-school humor, and demented performance from Ronald Long, “Mutiny in Space” deserves its rating as the worst Lost in Space episode ever made. On a similar note, the character of Admiral Zahrk—an arrogant, buffoonish loudmouth dressed like a Pirates of the Caribbean cast reject—could easily contend for the most irritating guest villain featured in the entire series.
What do you think are some of the worst Lost in Space episodes? Share your own rankings in the comment section below.