Season 1 of the 1965 sci-fi favorite.
Lost in Space
began life in 1965 as a science-fiction take on The Swiss Family Robinson
. Produced by Irwin Allen, then in the midst of his run of spectacular-but-childish TV sci-fi (before he became the master of big-screen disaster movies), the show featured a family of all-American space colonists cast away on a mysterious planet. Gradually the whole thing devolved into a silly (but sometimes fun) exercise in childish camp. This boxed set includes all 29 black and white episodes from the first season (with a burst of color at the end of the last show--a foretaste of the garish look of the remaining two seasons) along with "No Place to Hide," the expensive pilot show that sold the series but prompted Allen to revamp the whole premise in comic mode when network execs responded best to its unintended humor.
"No Place to Hide" has action scenes that cropped up in the first six regular episodes but is missing several of the show's trademark aspects, most notably that infectious theme from Johnny Williams (later, John Williams of Star Wars fame) and the scheming presence of Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) and his alternately menacing and comical robot ("It does not compute"). As the series progresses (or degenerates, depending on your taste), Harris's Smith changes from pantomime villain, a saboteur who is trying to kill the family, into pantomime idiot whose foolishness, cowardice, and avarice are an endless source of plots. It mostly makes do with the regular cast plus an array of shaggy-suited, snarling aliens, but you do get sterling ham from visiting astronauts such as Warren Oates ("Welcome Stranger"), Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet ("War of the Robots"), and a very young Kurt Russell ("The Challenge"). Stories about surviving on an alien world give way to lifts from fairy tale, myth, and old movies as Smith gets hold of a wishing cap, becomes a giant, is chosen as a sacrificial king, turns the children over to an alien zoo, squeaks in fright as a werewolf approaches, or is cursed with a platinum Midas touch. --Kim Newman