Lost in Space

Tagged: Film | TV

US tv series (1965-1968). An Irwin Allen Production in association with Van Bernard Productions for Twentieth Century Fox Television/CBS. Created by Irwin Allen, also executive producer. Story consultant Anthony Wilson. Writers included Peter Packer, William Welch, Bob and Wanda Duncan, Carey Wilbur, Barney Slater. Directors included Harry Harris, Sutton Roley, Nathan Juran, Don Richardson, Sobey Martin. Cast includes Angela Cartwright, Mark Goddard, Jonathan Harris, Marta Kristen, June Lockhart, Bob May, Billy Mumy, Dick Tufeld (narrator) and Guy Williams. Three seasons, 83 50-minute episodes. First season black and white; colour from second.

Lost in Space was aimed primarily at children. The Robinsons' Spaceship is sabotaged by an enemy agent, causing them to crash-land on a remote planet. The group consists of the family of five Robinsons – the series was originally to be called Space Family Robinson – along with young male co-pilot Major Don West (Goddard) and the whining, scene-stealing saboteur, Dr Zachary Smith, played to comic yet sinister effect by Harris; the Robinsons themselves comprise the parents Dr Maureen Robinson (Lockhart) and Dr John Robinson (Williams), daughters Judy (Kristen) and Penny (Cartwright), and son Will (Mumy), who is the youngest. There is also an unnamed Robot (May; voice dubbed by Tufeld), whose catch-phrases are "That does not compute" and "Danger, Will Robinson!" Though supposedly remote, the planet soon becomes a stopping-off point for practically every space-travelling Alien or Monster in the galaxy, each episode seeing the arrival of some new visitor. After the first season the Robinsons got back into space themselves. As the series progressed, young Will and the ambiguous Dr Smith became the central characters, together with the robot, while the others receded more and more into the background. The stories, at first straight sf, became more and more fantastic. Lost in Space was probably the most enjoyable of Irwin Allen's many excursions into televised sf.

The scenario is very similar to that of the 1963 Comic Space Family Robinson from Gold Key Comics (see Ib Melchior), which soon changed its name to Lost in Space. A novelization is Lost in Space (1967) by Dave Van Arnam and Ron Archer (Ted White). The film Lost in Space (1998), based on the television series, was directed by Stephen Hopkins and novelized by Pat Cadigan as Lost in Space: Promised Land (1999). [JB/PN/DRL]


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