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...
Exigius Twelve and a Half, an exoanthropologist from the planet Mars, becomes stranded on Earth after his one-man spaceship narrowly misses a NASA rocket plane and crashes near Los Angeles.... See full summary »
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>
Forbidden Planet meets Seinfeld meets Gilligan's Island
I don't know if combining Forbidden Planet with Seinfeld and Gilligan's Island is exactly on target, but there are elements of all three. I was in second grade when this show premiered, and I never missed an episode. The stories were always interesting to me, and even at age eight the character of Dr. Smith absolutely captured my imagination. There are aspects of this fellow that are so very interesting - here is a guy with a great deal of education who never seems to have learned anything from the mythology he is always reciting to everyone, as in "All That Glitters", my all-time favorite episode. He didn't remember the tragedy of King Midas when he was making his wish? His greed and his cowardice override any mental advantage he may have. He is truly the George Costanza of space exploration - whenever he stumbles upon a piece of good fortune he has to milk it for all it's worth until the whole situation turns on him. Then there are the children - Will and Penny. No matter what Dr. Smith does they still like the guy, and he does a lot. He bargains with aliens to take Will's brain for their experiments instead of his, and in another episode turns Penny into platinum, although he does feel remorse about the latter deed. In fact, the children are Smith's only friends. He is merely tolerated by the adults, and for good reason.
Finally there is the "innocence and chastity beyond reason" element that was part of Gilligan's Island and is part of this show too. Despite the only natural and healthy attraction between Major Donald West and Judy Robinson, we are to believe that nothing really happens between the two for years on end. Also like Gilligan's Island, although the group's first priority starts off as finding a way to return to earth, eventually they settle into a kind of domestic tranquility and seem to make peace with their situation of being "lost in space".
Of course, rewatching this series over forty years later, it is not quite as great as I remembered it, but it is still great fun and Smith is still a fascinating character. It's also interesting to see what people in the 1960's thought earthly civilization would be like in 1997. It's humorous yet somewhat tragic to see the optimistic viewpoint people had of the future in the 1960's pertaining to human nature. What the series' creators couldn't foresee is that today people are much more like Zachary Smith than the Robinson family - at least the people in charge of things are.
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