The 60th episode of Irwin Allen’s science fiction series Lost In Space premieres on CBS, starring Guy Williams, June Lockhart, and Jonathan Harris. This episode open the series’ third season.
NBC premieres Flames Of Doom, the first episode of Return To The Planet Of The Apes, an animated Saturday morning offshoot of the Planet Of The Apes film/TV franchise. With no solid connecting tissue to the previous Apes sagas, this is Planet Of The Apes for kids, as produced by Ruby-Spears Enterprises.
The first episode of Sid & Marty Krofft’s Far-Out Space Nuts airs on CBS, starring Bob Denver (Gillgan’s Island) and Chuck McCann (Herbie Rides Again).
The TV movie-of-the-week Dr. Strange premieres on CBS, starring Peter Hooten, Jessica Walter, Clyde Kusatsu, and John Mills. Intended to serve as the pilot for a series, Dr. Strange goes no further in the 1970s as a film or TV character; a big-screen live-action movie based on the same character will appear in 2016.
The 642nd episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1, marking the series’ return to the air (and to a 25-minute episode format) and reflecting its tenuous existence by depicting the Doctor being put on trial by his fellow Time Lords. Lynda Bellingham (All Creatures Great & Small) guest stars as the Inquisitor, with Michael Jayston as the Valeyard and David Selby (Dark Shadows) as Sabalon Glitz. The first four parts of the 14-part story are the final complete storyline written by former script editor Robert Holmes, who dies during production.
UK regional broadcaster TVS premieres the first episode of Richard Cooper’s alternate-history series Knights Of God, portraying a struggle between oppressive government and rugged resistance fighters in a post-civil-war UK. Gareth Thomas (Blake’s 7) and Patrick Troughton (Doctor Who) star; though filmed in 1985, it is Troughton’s final televised role (he died earlier in 1987). The series has never been repeated.
The seventh episode of the science fiction comedy Red Dwarf airs on BBC 2. This episode, the second season opener, introduces the character of Kryten, though Kryten doesn’t stay aboard Red Dwarf until his next appearance in the third season. This is the only episode in which Kryten is played by David Ross (Robert Llewellyn plays the role when Kryten becomes a regular fixture).
The 684th episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1. Jean Marsh guest stars, and Nicholas Courtney makes his final original series appearance as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. This story opens the 26th and final season of the original Doctor Who series.
NASA’s Magellan space probe, still orbiting Venus since 1990, enters a phase of slightly riskier experiments, dipping its solar panels into the upper reaches of the Venusian atmosphere and firing its reaction control engines to keep from spinning out of control. This allows for studies of the composition of Venus’ atmosphere, as well as studies of the vehicle’s behavior as it resists atmospheric friction. The results of the “windmill” experiment inform the design of future Mars probes which will need to aerobrake to slow down and enter the Martian atmosphere.
India’s mission to safely put a lander and an autonomous rover on the surface of the moon ends with a sudden loss of data. Deployed by the successful Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, the Vikram lander (carrying the Pragyan rover) begins a powered descent to the lunar surface, only to cease communicating with ground controllers in India at an altitude of 2.1 kilometers. With the speed of Vikram’s descent at the time of data loss measured at 60 meters per second via telemetry, ground controllers declare it likely that Vikram crashed into the moon, resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload, a fate somewhat similar to that of the Israel-launched Beresheet lander earlier in the year. The orbiter continues to function, and will search for signs of water ice at the south pole of the moon.