|Index||5 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Island in the Sky" stands as one of the best episodes in the history
of "Lost in Space." Besides the breathtaking blend of sight and sound
of the out-of-control Jupiter Two, slicing through the alien sky, the
episode features a sinister Dr. Smith, responsible for the malfunction
of the rockets that causes the crash.
The episode, like five others, was culled from the unaired pilot; thus, changes were made in the script to allow Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) to be "frozen" in one of the freezing tubes to make sure that previously film scenes would not have his character in them. As fans of the show know, he nor the Robot were a part of the original concept.
Besides the impressive crash of the ship, the episode features a spacewalk by Dr. Robinson (Guy Williams) and the appearance of a large hairy - and electrically charged - alien creature. Also, this episode marks the first appearance of the Robinson's all-terrain vehicle, The Chariot.
With the emphasis on special effects, one would think that the actors would not have much screen time; however, there are some pivotal exchanges between Maureen (June Lockhart), Don (Mark Goddard), and Dr. Smith.
John Williams also provided one of the best scores in television history, especially effective during the Jupiter's descent.
Truly, "Island in the Sky" stands as a testament to what "Lost in Space" should have remained: an exciting adventure about survival on an alien world.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of my favorite "Lost In Space" episodes. A very strong story.
The Jupiter Two is in need of repair. In order to accomplish this, they must land on a habitable planet. Unlike the Maureen Robinson we would see later on, the Maureen Robinson of this episode, like the Maureen of the first episode, thinks independently and is willing to argue with her husband to make her point. Maureen doesn't like the idea of landing on that planet one bit, and tells John this.
John wants a scout to be sent down to the planet to make sure that it really does have the breathable atmosphere that it appears to have and to make sure that the Jupiter 2 can safely land there. He wants the robot to be sent down to the planet to make that scouting report. Dr. Smith has no intention of letting the robot go, so he programs the robot to respond only to his voice. In a later "proof" that the robot is still not working properly, he asks John Robinson to issue a command to the robot. The fact that the robot doesn't respond is accepted as proof that he isn't functioning properly. It is then John Robinson who will have to rocket down to the planet below and do the scouting.
Smith then commits attempted murder by tampering with the rockets that John will use. After leaving the Jupiter 2, John cannot get the rockets to fire and crashes, apparently fatally, onto the planet.
The scenes of Dr. Smith with the robot as they hear about John's troubles over the ship's intercom are quite good. What happens after that is even more riveting.
Smith uses the robot to threaten to kill the rest of the crew unless they agree to return Smith to earth immediately. There is a dramatic scene where Don West gets a choke-hold on Smith and forces Smith into a freezing tube after he orders Smith to send the robot back to his compartment. Unknown to him, Smith has also tampered with the rockets and this forces West to make a crash landing. This crash-landing sequence is one of the most exciting sequences on television, and it is accompanied by a thrilling score from none other than John Williams.
After they find John, who explains that he survived the fall because he finally got the rockets to fire using some residual fuel, the robot follows his programming and returns to the Jupiter 2 to check on Dr. Smith. He frees him from the tube.
Smith is shocked to find that John Robinson is alive, but he hatches another plan. Whenever the robot finds one of the party alone, the robot is to kill the person but make it appear to be an accident. Only Major West would be spared because he can pilot the ship. Once they learn everything from Major West, he too would be murdered. We are thus further treated to the evil mind of the early Dr. Smith.
Unknown to everyone, including Smith, Will sneaks out at night because he thinks he can repair their planet-roving vehicle called the Chariot, which was damaged by an electrically charged tumbleweed when the Robinsons were returning to the Jupiter 2. In a momentary change of heart, Smith gets alarmed at the thought of Will being alone out there with the robot. The episode ends with the robot approaching a frightened Will with the intention of killing him.
This episode showcases what "Lost In Space" was capable of. Good special effects, exciting action, and wonderful acting, especially by the still evil and not comical Dr. Smith as portrayed by Jonathan Harris. His acting, especially when Smith is with the robot, is compelling.
The Jupiter 2 crash lands on an alien planet.
Another totally outstanding episode of Lost In Space. Just a tiny drop in quality compared to the last two episodes (The Reluctant Stowaway and The Derelict) as the really big events have happened now...the ship has blasted off, it got lost in space, they all found out that Smith is a creep and they had their first encounter with space aliens.
But don't worry, there are still more things to happen...a Jupiter 2 crash landing on an alien planet and the Robot starts talking a lot more. Jonathan Harris as Smith continues to be outstanding.
More wonderful John Williams music as well.
Fans of Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea will get a thrill out of the Jupiter 2 crash as it was filmed exactly the same way as the endless flying sub footage in Voyage...in real daylight. Effects man Howard Lydecker is the man responsible for the flying sub/Jupiter 2 effects.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the great opening episodes of the first season (it is amazing to
compare these first few with almost the entirety of the second season),
"Island in the Sky" offered promise often undeservedly spoiled by bad
writing and silly characters. Dr. Smith, the derelict passenger who
boarded the Jupiter 2 with plot of sabotage, is always contemplating
methods detrimentally dangerous to the "Space Family Robinson". He
isn't some clown but seriously a scheming, shady, manipulative,
diabolical, and devious scoundrel just looking for the opportunity to
rid himself of the nuisance of this family keeping him from returning
to Earth. He sets in motion, it appears, a horrible plan that would
command Robot to destroy each member of the party when they are alone,
except Don who is of importance for driving the Jupiter 2 where he
desires! The jet fuel and rockets on the Jupiter booth appeared to have
been tampered with by Smith, as Penny says she saw him near the
parajets John Robinson has on his suit to help move him closer to the
planet for "inspection" so that he can investigate its viability as a
location to land for much needed repairs. John's jets malfunctioning,
as he perilously moves towards the planet without proper control, West,
having to prepare for a difficult landing due to all of Smith's
chicanery, will program the Jupiter 2 on an automatic trip to the
surface. Once landing, the mission will be to find John and return him
safe to his family. Meanwhile, once West undermines Smith's command to
take Jupiter on a course back to Earth with his Robot obeying his voice
only, Don places Zachary in a suspended animation pod, the "deep, deep
freeze", so he wouldn't be a trouble to them.
The great cliffhanging ending has Robot, adhering to the Smith command that all "non-essential personnel" should be "eliminated", seemingly aiming its dangerous bolt circuits towards Will who was repairing damaged circuits on the Chariot. West combating Smith is great fun, Smith shows that he is cold-blooded as they come when discussing with Robot about killing off the Robinsons, Smith calculatingly offers a reasoning for wanting to leave John on the planet for a return to Earth (200 pounds now off the ship helps to give it orientation thrown off by his stowaway status) while Maureen and Don show how horrible that is to them from a sheer moral standpoint, the Chariot is introduced as is the Priplanis planet (and Debbie, the "Bloop"), and a "wildly electrified wood" encases John within its bones after he landed in a pit upon entry of the planet. A jam-packed adventure with all the trimmings. This would be followed up by further excellent planetary adventures before Smith's goofy antics and a number of daffy characters arrive to ruin such a promising start to the series. Jonathan Harris was subtle here, and his Zachary Smith never more nefarious, the behavior and thought process offering a serious threat to the heroes as he configures/devises a way to convince them he's a friend so that they can be killed off one at a time just so he can return home to Earth. Maureen deeply involved with West on finding John gives her purpose that I appreciated, while the other family members aren't quite as major factors in this particular episode except for dialogue moments scattered about. That would change as the first season continued
"Don't trust him he's slippery as a bucket of eels."
"Do you believe this hogwash?"
While others (although John wasn't a patsy, just realizing that Smith had points he couldn't dispute in regards to the use of Robot) were willing to go out on a limb regarding Smith, Don West was always on guard, as he ever right to be. That dynamic is particularly brought to the forefront here. West and Smith would be at odds almost the entire series, with this episode establishing their rivalry.
What can you say about any of these first five episodes of the
series..besides the fact that they are the very best of the series. I
have even seen people rate this third installment, "Island In The Sky"
as the single best episode of LOST IN SPACE. Of course, that could very
well be true. Obviously though, that can be said for any of the 'first
five' episodes. I do not think there is any other episode of LOST IN
SPACE where the Dr. Smith character is at this level of pure evil and
wickedness. As some might say, Dr. Smith is "deliciously wicked" in
this one. The first twenty minutes of this episode could very well be
the very best (approximately) twenty minute section of the series.
Indeed. It does not get better than that. Robert, once again,
absolutely loves the Johnny Williams music scores in "Island In The
Sky"..and who wouldn't? Some of Robert's very favorite music cues (and
mine) occur in this episode, his very favorite being the 'crash music.'
It is basically impossible to dislike this episode..or any of the first three episodes so far. Each of the first five episodes of LOST IN SPACE is pure 'elite-ness' high drama, adventure, and enjoyment. The only thing that really varies is in what order fans' like the first five episodes. Rather (perhaps) surprisingly, "Island In The Sky" is actually my #5-ranked. That's right. I like the other four ever so slightly better and I have them ever so slightly higher ranked. It is hard to even come up with much of concrete reasons. The competition is ultra-fierce, and any small things will make the difference.
Besides the ultra-top first twenty minutes, I will mention one other bit I really like..and that would be the part where we first find out where Professor Robinson is, down in that electrified pit, and oh so close by. That bit (along with the accompanying music) leading into the commercial break was great. Of course, the television audience and the Robinson family is introduced to 'Debbie the Bloop' in this episode.
"Don't trust him. He's slippery as a bucket of eels."
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