Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Diary Thread: Lost In Space Reviews

I kept a diary between 2012 to 2016. During that time I made note of the Lost In Space episodes I was watching, starting with the 45th episode, The Girl From the Green Dimension. It’s a pity I didn’t start the diary earlier so I could review the entire show, but maybe I’ll do that another time. I actually bought the box set a while ago so it’s definitely due for another viewing. This show looms large in my memory. Check out one such recollection here. Reading over these reviews I can’t help noticing certain recurring themes. Like how often the word ‘silly’ is used. And how much I hate that bastard Doctor Smith.

Watched three eps of Lost In Space – Girl From The Green Dimension, Questing Beast and The Toymaker. Good campy fun, the character actors are great. Mr Zumdish returns in the Toy Maker. Love the scene in that one where Will gets a glimpse of Earth and is tempted to return but doesn’t.

Watched a couple of eps of Lost In Space on the WD – Mutiny In Space, and the Space Vikings – both very silly eps. Though Space Vikings was kind of a weird introduction to Wagner’s The Ring, with that Brynhilda character played by Sheila Allen (future wife of Irwin). So I’ll give it kudos for that.

Watched an ep of Lost In Space, called Rocket To Earth. A really bad one, featuring Al Lewis (from the Munsters) as some kind of magician, and Dr Smith and Will getting to Earth, but then coming straight back.

Watched another ep of Lost In Space, the Cave of the Space Wizards featuring Omniac of Draconis. A surprisingly good Dr Smith ep. There’s real pathos at the end when he realises he wants to go back to the Robinsons.

Watched another ep of Lost In Space – the return of Cap’n Tucker in Treasures of the Lost Planet. There was a nice thing about Beelly Bones’s treasure being pig iron – a rare commodity where Beelly came from. Also watched the extras, which were mainly interviews with Billy Mumy and Jonathan Harris. Billy mentions, in passing, he was in love with Angela Cartwright. Do tell, Billy, do tell…

Then I watched another ep of Lost In Space. It was Revolt of the Androids, the one featuring IDAK and Verda. ‘Crush, Kill, Destroy!’ A lot of fun, and Verda looked great in her silver outfit. Very appealing.

Watched an ep of Lost In Space called The Colonists, which featured the rather hot ‘Noble Nialani’ in her black catsuit. The thing with the cherub figurine bomb sticks in my mind. I keep imagining this fantastic parade of people coming through the gate, which never happens.

Then watched an ep of Lost In Space – the very good Trip Through the Robot ep. My memory of it is different to what I saw – some things are the wrong way around, especially Don’s going over that ‘rolling pin’ thing. Always a cool moment though. 2024 update: RIP Mark Goddard. Thanks for the memories.

Watched a couple of eps of Lost In Space, coz I’ve been thinking of it lately. Both very silly episodes – the Phantom Family, and the Mechanical Men, which at least had an amusing Robot/Dr Smith flip flop.

Watched the last two eps of Lost In Space season two. They were the Astral Traveller and the Galaxy Gift. Both a definite improvement on the last two I saw. The Astral Traveller had some effective suspense scenes in an old Scottish castle, and some great sound effects for ‘Angus’. The Galaxy Gift was a Penny episode and featured John Carradine. It’s the one where Dr Smith talks about Chinatown and San Francisco and has those funky aliens with the purple top hats. I thought about this when I went to SF’s Chinatown in 2010. It was probably the first time I ever heard of San Francisco and clearly an early trigger to my wanting to go there.

Watched the first ep of season three of Lost In Space, The Condemned of Space. The prisoners in space ep, featuring that weird French dude Phanzig played by Marcel Hillaire with the cat’s cradle. There’s an interesting scene where Phanzig is doing his eccentric actorly thing and Guy Williams (the actor, not John Robinson) is clearly fascinated by his technique. A good ep, as it should be.

Then I watched an episode of Lost In Space – Visit To a Hostile Planet. It’s the one where the Jupiter 2 goes back to Earth, but it’s now 1947, and the Robinsons are thought to be ‘Voltones’, or aliens. Some fun stuff there. Judy gets a nice scene being lassoed and showing some spark for once (man she looks good in that silver catsuit!). And the robot gets a cool scene where he gets shot at by some dumb hicks, and then promptly fires off a bolt of electricity at them. Also love him as a scarecrow. And Will gives that farm girl a jewel he collected on a planet, which will no doubt one day be revealed as priceless. Or so we might imagine. Nice stuff.

Then watched an ep of Lost In Space – the Kidnapped In Space ep. The Robot performs ‘brain surgery’ on an evil computer. The usual goofy stuff sparked off by Dr Smith’s greed. There was a nice bit with a noose thing that indicates the Robot’s close connection to Will – which we already knew. And the reverso-clock thing was a good gimmick used to some effect – though the ‘death’ of John Robinson could’ve been handled with more drama than it was. And I liked the funky looking alien babes with their ‘Planet Claire’ hair. I kept expecting them to break out into Rock Lobster at some point. And, as usual, Penny and the lovely Judy were wasted, again.

Watched an ep of Lost In Space. It was Hunter’s Moon featuring John Robinson being hunted down by a weird baldy headed hunter dude called Megazon. A fairly solid JR ep with Dr Smith being incredibly selfish in trying to steer the Jupiter 2 away from the moon where John is trapped. Why they don’t just space Smith, I dunno. The hunting scene is a strange combination of studio and outdoor shots.

Then watched an ep of Lost In Space – the Space Primevals. A rare Don and Dr Smith ep. Very silly, especially the Robot doing that drum dance with the other cavemen, and Smith writing that ‘pledge’ to Don in the rock.

Watched another ep of Lost In Space. This time it was The Space Destructors, which featured a whole bunch of Dr Smith cyborgs sword fighting with John Robinson. Some good makeup for Will as small Dr Smith, and the sword fighting was pretty fun. But damn, at the end John Robinson had the chance to kick Smith out of the show, and he didn’t take it. Caved in at the last minute. I’ve been thinking of doing an edit of some of the shows and having Dr Smith completely wiped out. Hmm.

Then watched another ep of Lost In Space. This time it was The Space Lighthouse, which was an interesting ep. It was more of an ensemble piece, with Dr Smith mostly relegated to the background, where he belongs. A lot happens. Penny meets an alien boy called J5, who they take with him when the Robinsons lift off from the planet they’re on. Then they encounter the lighthouse of the title. It was a good Penny episode, ending with her feeling sad coz J5 stayed with the lighthouse keeper.

Then I watched another ep of Lost In Space. It was Flight Into the Future. Yet another silly Dr Smith-centred ep, but it brightened half way through when Judy’s great great great grand daughter from the future showed up in a hot little futuristic outfit. There was also an interesting thing about Smith having to go on trial for being the ‘fifth columnist’ aboard the Jupiter 2. He even gets slapped in the face by a distant descendent, which is a nice comeuppance. Of course, Smith denies everything. I keep saying, they shoulda spaced him out the nearest airlock in season one. Oh well…

Watched another ep of Lost In Space. This one was Collision of Planets, the one that features the space bikies as led by Dan Travanty (ie, Furillo in Hill St Blues). A fun episode, but as usual with too much Dr Smith. This time he gets to play Samson with green hair. What a ham…Love them space bikes though. Very groovy. ‘Get off the road little masters!’

Then watched another ep of Lost In Space. This one was the Space Creature, which features everyone disappearing off the Jupiter2 except Will. Dr Smith was actually good as a menacing presence chasing Will into the radiation bay thingy. The stuff about the creature being Will’s id was a bit half baked, but an okay show overall. It was definitely a budget ep, with a guy in a sheet and lots of dry ice being used, but effective nonetheless.

Then watched another ep of Lost In Space. The ep was Deadliest of the Species and featured the robot falling in love with an evil lady robot. The dude in green with the ears was a really bad actor. Not one of the better eps, even though Dr Smith was at a minimum.

Watched an ep of Lost In Space. It was the Space Zookeeper ep. A very minimalist ep set-wise. Most of it was in a dark studio with some cages. The boy who played Oggo, the cave boy, was very good, very expressive. And Penny was well featured. The detail of the alien crowd ogling the Robinsons in their cages was effective. And the scene of Dr Smith simpering to that alien family, especially his admiring the ugly alien girl, was memorable. I remember it disturbing me as a kid.

Then I watched another ep of Lost In Space. This one was called Two Weeks In Space, which was weird coz it was mainly spent on a planet. Pretty creepy aliens, with one genuinely scary scene – when the aliens plan to throw Mrs Robinson and the girls into a lava pool (“Throw the mother in first!”). But most of it’s played for laughs, with Dr Smith trying to run a relaxation resort for aliens – ‘Dr Smith’s Shady Acres’. The usual silliness.

Then watched another ep of Lost In Space. This one was called Castles In Space, but it would have been better titled ‘Chavo and the Ice Princess’. What an eccentric and ludicrous story! Silly and campy beyond belief. It was great to have a bit more of Judy in the story. There was a nice scene between her and Will singing Sloop John B by the campfire, which added nothing to the story but was a rare pure character moment. The robot getting drunk and singing that Mexican song was awesome. And both Chavo and the Ice Princess were memorable and appealing characters, well-played (and costumed), but very little was done with them. I liked the contrast between the ‘hot’ Mexican Chavo and the cool Ice Princess. A nice idea. It’s a pity their story wasn’t developed more. The thing with Doctor Smith hiding behind the Princess mannequin to trick Chavo was ridiculous. But there was one funny bit: where Smith tells the robot to destroy Chavo still using his high ‘female’ voice. In all, a pretty enjoyable ep.

Then watched an ep of Lost In Space. It was the Anti-Matter Man ep. Two John Robinsons and two Major Wests (one with a beard). Makes a nice change from the usual Smith-centric rubbish. But he managed to get in there, after being absent for the first twenty minutes. A good Guy Williams centered ep. Some good, otherworldly sets, and I liked the checkered black and white outfits the anti-matter Robinson and West wear. Love the scene where Will and the robot are frozen to the spot while large rocks move threateningly past them. Nothing ultimately happens, but it’s just a good eerie moment. The scene where the robot meets his evil self is pretty cool too. It’s a good character moment for the robot – he realises how fortunate he is.

Then watched an ep of Lost In Space. Was called Target Earth and featured a race of aliens who were all the same using doubles of the Robinsons to invade Earth. Very silly, especially when Will gets the Jupiter 2 to Earth then promptly lifts off again. It was strange that they did another ‘double’ ep straight after the Anti-Matter Man ep.

I eventually retired from the backyard to watch an ep of Lost In Space. It was called the Princess of Space, and it featured Penny as the princess. A rather silly and disappointing ep for a Penny story. I liked the bit where the little sailor dude turns out to be a computer. And there was an all too brief point there when Dr Smith is reduced to computer tape, and is therefore out of the story (why couldn’t they have left him like that?). And I think the ‘aunt’ character was played by Sheila Allen, who played Hildy the Valkyre in that silly dragon episode. A very commanding presence, and voice.

Then I retired to watch another couple of Lost In Space episodes. The first was The Time Merchant, and the weird thing is, I don’t really remember ever seeing it before. Dr Smith and the robot are sent back to 1997 just before the Jupiter 2 sets off. Although he doesn’t want to (he’s back on Earth, sweet Earth!), Dr Smith has to get back on the Jupiter 2 or it will crash into a meteor not long after takeoff. Well, he also has to get back on it to stop the robot, which he’d programmed to destroy the ship and effectively kill the Robinsons anyway – but that’s not mentioned. Another silly episode, really. At one point, when Smith comes back in the transporter cage thing, you can see it’s obviously not Jonathan Harris, but some dude wearing a ‘Dr Smith’ mask. Why the hell did they do that?

The other ep was the far superior, The Promised Planet, where it seems the Robinsons finally make it to Alpha Centauri. Instead, it’s a different system that’s inhabited by aliens who can’t grow old. A typical generation gap situation ensues, whereby Will and Penny are recruited by the aliens, who seem human at first, so they can be operated on and the aliens can finally grow old. I pretty much love all of this episode, it’s so memorable. I love the funky aliens, with their high green heads and antennae ears. I also love the groovy chicks dancing, and that pretty cool piece of music they use, and Penny’s complete conversion to the alien’s brainwashing, and her groovy dance moves. I even love Dr Smith trying to get ‘with it’ and busting some dance moves of his own and talking the lingo – good visual comedy. I also liked the little fat dude saying “I just wanna be able to shave, man!” So silly but so right. The writers even got some of the astronomical data right for once. Alpha Centauri is named as a double star, which it is (well, there’s a third, Alpha Proxima, but it’s separate from the other two). And the system is described as having two inhabitable planets, called Gamma and Delta. I think this should probably have been the final episode of the show.

Then I watched an ep of Lost In Space. Was the one called Fugitives in Space. Was a very silly ep, featuring Dr Smith and Don going to some penal colony for supposedly aiding a prison escape. The prisoner dude with the snouty ape face was pretty vivid, and the prison camp on Station 6, with its heat, was well presented. I also liked the bit where the robot has to deliberately let off explosive mines by rolling over them. He shouts out the magnitude of each explosion to Will – ‘6! 8!’, getting covered in explosive dust each time – and if one goes over 10 it could destroy him. Very memorable. It was pretty much just the four of them in this ep – no sign of the others.

Then I watched a couple more eps of Lost In Space. One was the Space Beauty, featuring the return of entrepreneur Mr Barnum (he ran that galactic zoo, remember?), and Judy entering the ‘Miss Galaxy’ contest. Oh, also it had the actress who played the android Verda, but in this she was called ‘Nancy Pi r Squared’. Great name! Was very silly, but I liked the fiery alien in his armored suit. And he chose Judy, so he had good taste. It was good to see both Judy and Penny get some air time, but they were made to look silly – especially Judy when she is persuaded by Dr Smith through some very obvious reverse psychology to sign that stupid contract.

The other ep, the Flaming Planet, was about a war planet, featuring a warrior civilisation that had killed itself through war. A rare example of political comment from the show.

Then I watched another ep of Lost In Space – the Great Vegetable Revolt. Another deeply silly one, featuring a giant talking carrot. But at least most of the Robinsons got some things to do in this one, and I loved Don’s comment about leaving Dr Smith down on the planet coz he was so useless. Tell it like it is, Don. Although, it was fun watching Smith turn into a celery stalk. One more ep of the show to go, and I’m done – after all these years.

Then watched the last ep of Lost In Space, the one called Junkyard In Space. It seemed appropriate that it was set in a junkyard – since that’s where the show was headed. But it had some nice bits, including a touching farewell scene between Will and the Robot when the Robot decides to let itself be melted down for scrap. But of course, the final scene goes to fucking Doctor Smith. Man I hate that guy! You fucking ruined Lost In Space for me, you selfish bastard! And I’m talking about you, Jonathan Harris, the actor who played him! After that I watched the extras, which included Billy Mumy’s mention of a LIS script he wrote years later. I wanna read that script!

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *