John Robinson and Don West are transported onto a strange new world where their evil opposites exist and plan to change places with them. Will, The Robot and a reluctant Dr. Smith set out to find and...
The Caped Crusader and his young ward battlle evildoers in Gotham City in a bombastic 1960s colorized and updated versions of the 1940's black and white tv show based of the comic book hero's exploits.
In the year 1997, Earth is suffering from massive overpopulation. Professor John Robinson, his wife Maureen, their children (Judy, Penny and Will) and Major Don West are selected to go to the third planet in the Alpha Centauri star system to establish a colony so that other Earth people can settle there. They are to go there on a ship christened the Jupiter 2. However, Doctor Zachary Smith, an agent for an enemy government, is sent to sabotage the mission. He is successful in reprogramming the ship's robot, but in the process becomes trapped on the ship, and because of his excess weight, the ship and all on board become hopelessly lost and it now becomes a fight for survival as the crew tries to find their way back home. Written by
Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>
It should be noted that while Star Trek was not initially successful in its first run, and only became successful in re-runs as it's cult status grew, Lost in Space was successful in it's first run. See more »
What ever happen to Penny Robinson's alien pet "Debbie the Bloop"? See more »
LOST IN SPACE might be the original example of someone saying "That's not a bug-- it's a feature!" The show was always hideous, but its awfulness came in two varieties. In the first season, when it was in black & white, it was ridiculous and unbelievable. In its second and third seasons, it was ridiculous and amusing, in a cubist sort of way.
LOST IN SPACE was originally intended (to use programming parlance) to be "Swiss Family Robinson in Space." Schlockmeister Irwin Allen got the idea to send a typical American family into space, but get them lost on a deserted planet. CBS bought the show and took it into production.
Soon afterward, the show received a lucky break when another writer- producer sent them a proposal for a show he described as "Wagon Train to the Stars." CBS read the pitch and pulled Gene Roddenberry into a lengthy meeting, where they asked questions about what the ship should look like, what type of music to use and stories he might run.
Among other things, Roddenberry told CBS that his music would probably borrow from Bernard Herrman's score for THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and his ship might be based on something like the United Planets Cruiser C57-D in FORBIDDEN PLANET.
CBS thanked him for coming in and explained that they already had a show they liked better (their show had kids). But LOST IN SPACE took Roddenberry's advice about Herrmann's music, and borrowed the look of the ship (and, soon, another element) from the 1956 movie.
The show hit a bump when the original pilot, which showed the ship getting lost due to mechanical failure, was rejected. In the 19690's, the US was trying to beat the commies to the moon, so you DID NOT make a TV show that even hinted our rockets might have ANY problems.
Allen's solution? Make the cause a saboteur hired by a foreign government. In the rewrite, he also added a character based on FORBIDDEN PLANET's Robby the Robot.
If the show had followed Irwin's original idea (have Dr. Smith killed or marooned), the show might have been less goofy. But it was too dark for a 60's show aimed partly at kids, so the show asked the audience to believe that members of a government mission-- which had been successfully sabotaged-- would bring the saboteur along, trust him and take risks to save him.
The show got abysmal reviews and wasn't very popular-- and by the middle of season one, it had exhausted both Roddenberry's ideas and the limited vein of creativity of its staff. (A major problem was its constant attempts to build suspense by making you wonder if the ship would be destroyed and everyone on it would die. Even six-year-olds realize that won't happen.)
Looking for a fix, someone noticed that LOST IN SPACE was about a group of people trying to get home-- and CBS already had a hit show about a group of people in pretty much the same fix.
So the evil Dr. Smith got turned into the intergalactic Willy Gilligan, the Robot became Jonas Grumby, John Robinson the brilliant scientist became Roy Hinkley-- and the show became "Cretin's Island In Space." The three women and extra man got swept aside as SMith, the robot and the cute kid had adventures. When ABC's mid-season replacement (BATMAN) became a hit and any attempt at plausibility went out the window.
If you grew up with these shows-- if you came home from school and it was either this on channel 43 or THE MUNSTERS and THE ADDAMS FAMILY on Channel 61-- you watched. At some point, you began making fun of the idiotic premises and stupid plots while being amused by the comedic performances and campy one-liners. In effect, it was like watching MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER.
And some of it grew on us. If my brother doesn't want to throw something fundamentally worthless away, he "My cosmonium-- never!" (Episode 30) I wakened my college roommate by saying "Get up little master!" and pumping my foot up and down on the bed like the space hippies drilling in #68.
When I wanted my brother to sell me some stereo stuff, I brought him a plate of plate of beef stroganoff (Dr Smith trades the ship's control system for this in #83). When he wants a beer, he says "Moisture! I need Moisture!!" (as the giant talking carrot does in #82). There are performances from Harris, Stanley Adams, Fritz Feld, Ronald Long and Strother Martin that where you wonder if the whole production company was high during the filming.
If you like to make fun of bad science fiction, try season 2-3 and a few from 1. But understand what you're getting, because there are black holes that suck less than LOST IN SPACE.
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