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Dec 04 2014

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TBT: Lost in Space (Updated)

Not the horrifically bad, monumentally disappointing movie (about which we will never speak again), but the TV series.

This was another piece of WDCA Chapter 20 programming brilliance, and I was about 8 or 9 when they started broadcasting reruns of Lost in Space. The first season and especially the pilot, even to my young mind at the time, was far superior to the following seasons. Filmed in B&W, it just felt “right” like a serious sci-fi show should. While Season 1 stacks up well, it’s the Season 3 opening credits that I have on my iTunes:

This was my Sci-fi series first love, and would watch it religiously every weekday afternoon around 4pm. Dr. Smith, to this day, annoys the heck out of me, and it shows how great a man Dr. John Robinson was not to push the man out an airlock anytime Jupiter 2 got underway.

One would think that, as a small boy, Will Robinson would have been my favorite character. Maybe it was his friendship with Dr. Smith that left me cool to Will, but my favorite character was Major Don West. It may have been because we both shared the same first name (along with my dad), or that he was the closest thing to an enemy of Dr. Smith in the show. I always thought that Major West was underrated — he did most of the maintenance of the Jupiter 2, was good in a fight, and of course was the pilot of the vessel. I liked the character so much that I named my first-born son after Don West (and me, and my dad, and my grandpa).

According to Wikipedia:

Beginning in January 1966, ABC scheduled Batman in the same time period. To compete, Lost in Space imitated its campy style, using “bright outfits, over-the-top action, outrageous bad guys”.[4] There was a growing emphasis on Smith, Will, and the Robot at the expense of the other characters. Smith’s change in character was not appreciated by the other actors. According to Billy Mumy, Mark Goddard and Guy Williams disliked the shift from serious science fiction.[11]

That, in my opinion, was a giant mistake for the franchise. Lost in Space, according to Wikipedia, was chosen over Star Trek when CBS picked up the pilot. If it had remained serious science fiction, with a few laughs thrown in from time to time like in Star Trek, I believe it would have been even more successful than Star Trek. Alas, kowtowing to the freakin’ hippies in the 60’s ended up killing a very fine sci-fi series.

You can still watch the series via Hulu and I think SyFy runs it from time to time. I may just have to buy my own model of the Jupiter 2 from Amazon.

UPDATE:
Youtube threw this 6 minute video at me of the Jupiter 2 at the Sci-fi air show (who knew there was such a thing? I’ve sent an email to them for info and a possible interview, so maybe I’ll be posting more about it in the future). It is definitely good enough to share:

Previous TBT entries:

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/12/04/tbt-lost-in-space/

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