In 2015, I wrote an article covering the ten best episodes of Lost in Space. While many commenters agreed with my selections, there were other offerings that I wanted to include despite limiting my list to ten installments. Given the recent premiere of the Netflix reboot, I thought now would be a good time to review several entries from the original series that, though quite exceptional, rarely appear in fan compilations of the best Lost in Space episodes.
10) The Golden Man
Caught between the warfare of a hideous, uncouth alien and a handsome golden man, Dr. Smith provides the latter opponent with a slew of weapons. Penny, in contrast, remains skeptical of the golden man, who later unveils his true face to the Robinson family.
In spite of its poor production elements, “The Golden Man” contains a worthwhile lesson on valuing substance over style. Especially poignant is Penny’s relationship with the frog-headed alien—a grotesque, unpleasant creature who reveals a gentle and delicate side to his character.
9) The Android Machine
Finding an alien machine on the planet, Dr. Smith orders a female android named Verda from the Celestial Department Store. Trouble arises when manager Mr. Zumdish demands payment for Verda, who develops a dear friendship with Penny and the Robinsons.
Combining slapstick humor with a profound message on human relationships, “The Android Machine” is a cute, funny, and heartwarming episode of Lost in Space. Dr. Smith’s encounter with a cave monster—reminiscent of a giant sour patch kid—may, however, induce laughter of the unintentional variety.
8) Wild Adventure
Floating outside the Jupiter 2, a green alien woman seduces Dr. Smith and lures him into outer space. Faced with a dilemma, the Robinsons must choose between saving Dr. Smith and returning to Earth.
“Wild Adventure” contains all the essentials of a classic Lost in Space offering: conflict, adventure, and subtle humor at the expense of Dr. Smith. This episode should also be commended for highlighting the decent, moral character of Maureen and her family members, who decide to rescue Dr. Smith in spite of his troublesome behavior.
7) The Space Primevals
Captured by primitives, Dr. Smith and Major West are forced to set aside their differences and help each other survive. Meanwhile, the Robot creates a diversion so that Professor Robinson can deactivate Protineus—ruler of the alien tribe.
Though quite silly at times, “The Space Primevals” offers a heartfelt display of reconciliation between Major West and Dr. Smith—both bitter rivals until this point in the series. Science fiction buffs may also appreciate this episode, which features an alien civilization enslaved by a supercomputer—a concept explored previously in Star Trek: The Original Series.
6) The Great Vegetable Rebellion
While gathering flowers for the Robot on his birthday, Dr. Smith commits the “crime” of killing a self-aware plant. Appalled by the act, a talking carrot man named Tybo transforms Dr. Smith into a stalk of celery.
Infamous among fans for its bizarre and juvenile subject matter, “The Great Vegetable Rebellion” should no doubt be avoided by audiences of a serious nature. Nevertheless, many viewers—including diehard Lost in Space enthusiasts—fail to appreciate the true value of this episode, which benefits from the comedic genius of Jonathan Harris and character actor Stanley Adams.
5) The Phantom Family
An alien mad scientist kidnaps Judy, Penny, Major West, and Dr. Smith before replacing them with robotic duplicates. In an effort to retrieve his friends and family members, Will agrees to teach the androids how to behave like human beings.
“The Phantom Family” deserves praise for its haunting, surreal encounters between Will and the androids. In addition to its atmospheric mood, this effort highlights the self-sacrificing nature of Will—an extraordinary young man willing to do anything for a friend in peril.
4) The Dream Monster
After building an android known as Radion, a misguided scientist endows his new creation with the strength, courage, and nobility exemplified by the Robinsons. Unaffected by the procedure, Major West and Dr. Smith must work together to restore the personalities of each family member.
Offering a sci-fi twist on the Frankenstein legend, “The Dream Monster” should appeal to fans of the mad scientist genre. Similar to “The Space Primevals,” this episode also puts forth an interesting scenario where Dr. Smith and Major West—unable to trust each other after years of antagonism—have no choice but to join forces and defeat a common foe.
3) Revolt of the Androids
Fleeing from an android hunter named IDAK, Verda returns to the Jupiter 2 for protection. Meanwhile, Dr. Smith trains IDAK to become a more effective killer.
For its campy sci-fi humor and tongue-in-cheek references to Superman, “Revolt of the Androids” should be required viewing for fans of classic television. Most importantly, however, this episode tells a touching tale of courage, friendship, and self-sacrifice—recurring themes on Lost in Space.
2) The Prisoners of Space
Brought before the Galactic Tribunal, the Robinsons must answer for a series of terrible crimes. Upon further investigation, the tribunal exonerates the Robinson family and puts Dr. Smith on trial for his criminal actions.
Showcasing an assembly of gruesome alien creatures in a foggy setting, “The Prisoners of Space” may captivate fans of the sci-fi/horror crossover genre. Even more satisfying than its creepy aesthetic value, this entry includes a segment where Dr. Smith is caught and reprimanded for sabotaging the Jupiter 2—an act that went unnoticed and unpunished by the Robinsons in the pilot episode.
1) The Challenge
Testing his bravery, an alien boy named Quano challenges Will to a contest of skill, strength, and courage. Concerned over the outcome, Quano’s father finishes the contest by dueling with Professor Robinson.
Emphasizing father-son relationships in a sci-fi narrative, “The Challenge” offers an early glimpse at Will’s transition to manhood. Also worth noting are the intense performances, rousing action sequences, and compelling character conflicts featured in this effort, which deserves its ranking as the most underrated episode of Lost in Space.
What do you think are the most underrated Lost in Space episodes? Share your own selections in the comment section.
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