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Lost in Space - The Complete First Season
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416 of 421 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2004
I just wanted to express my appreciation to everyone who has posted a review here. I'm really flattered and happy to see the first season LIS DVD box doing so well. Of course I can't be objective about it, but the first season is definitely my favorite. It was a wonderful experience for me to make the show as a kid and it's a wonderful experience now to watch it with my kids and to see that it still excites and pleases people all over our woe begotten beautiful planet. So, on behalf of my fellow LIS cast members (who are still in touch with each other regularly and are still very much a "family") Thank you all for the kind words. Enjoy!
Bill Mumy
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241 of 249 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2004
I'm 44 years old and was 5 years old when this series ran on TV. I can still remember the horror and fascination of space in the mid-1960s, which at the time was completely new terrain. Giant blobs, tentacled creatures, plastic ray guns, laser beams - it didn't matter what tricks the producers employed, it was all NEW STUFF as far as I was concerned. Of course, if you compare the props, effects and plots with today's sci-fi, you'd probably burst out laughing and scoff at how primitive it was back then. Then again, you don't buy this DVD set for realism, or for cutting-edge special effects or even for the acting. Neither do you buy it because it pioneered the scores of space adventures that came later, like The Invaders, Flash Gordon or Star Trek. Instead, you buy it because you want to remember how it was when you were 5 years old and you sat in your parents' living room, hunched over a black-and-white TV set, scared out of your wits, yet thrilled to bits at the harrowing adventures of the Robinsons. You buy it because maybe even at that young age, you had a crush on Penny Robinson (Angela Cartwright) and you want to try and grasp that feeling again, which at the time was also NEW STUFF to you. So this is first and foremost a trip down memory lane and it won't appeal to anyone who never watched the show as a kid. For fellow reviewers who have expressed disappointment and have said they felt let down, I ask you - what the hell did you expect?
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138 of 149 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2003
Like many of the posts here, I was about 8 when I first saw 'Lost in Space' and it opened up my imagination like nothing ever had. 'Star Trek' at the time didn't interest me as much as the adventures of the Space Family Robinson, the reluctant stowaway Dr. Smith, and the faithful Robot, who any boy (or girl) would have wanted as a best friend. It remained my favorite shows for years and I taped most of the episodes in reruns and also spent quite a fortune with Columbia House buying the better quality videos they offered. Season One is by far the best of the 3 seasons, but even though the series went campy ('The Great Vegetable Rebellion' anyone?) I'm looking forward to rewatching some episodes of Seasons 2 and 3 that I never did get to tape and haven't seen for many years. I think Fox will make a nice profit off this series, so hopefully seasons 2 and 3 won't be too far along.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
"Lost in Space" (1965-68) told the story of the space family Robinson, who left Earth aboard their Jupiter II spacecraft on a five-year voyage to explore a planet in the Alpha Centauri system, our nearest neighbor in the galaxy. But then Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris), an enemy spy, sabotaged the control system but did not get off the ship before it took off. "Lost in Space" were Dr. John Robinson (Guy Williams of "Zorro"), his wife Maureen (June Lockhart from "Lassie"), daughters Judy (Marta Kristen from "Beach Blanket Bingo") and Penny (Angela Cartwright from "Make Room for Daddy" and "The Sound of Music"), and son Will (Billy Mumy from a memorable episode of "The Twilight Zone"). The ship's pilot was Major Don West (Mark Goddard from "The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor) and completing the crew was the Robot (Bob May in the suit but Dick Tufeld providing the voice).

To be clear from the start, even though the first season of "Lost in Space" was in black & white it was the best season. That is because when the Robinsons first blasted off in the Jupiter II this was a dramatic science fiction show. By the end of that first season it was starting to change into more of a situation comedy and the last two seasons all too often involved the comedy team of Dr. Smith, Will and the Robot. But the first five episodes are classic science fiction that hold up to "The Twilight Zone," "The Outer Limits," or "Star Trek" in terms of 1960s television. There are also enough solid episodes to make up for the lame ones, plus the pure nostalgic value of this particular series for those of us who grew up on 1960s television, to justify rounding up to a five star rating.

A lot of the credit for the strong start goes to Shimon Wincelberg, who began writing television scripts for the "Kraft Television Theater" and ended with "Law & Order." In between he did scripts for "Voyage to the Bottom fo the Sea," "The Time Tunnel," "Star Trek" ("Dagger of the Mind" and "The Galileo Seven"), and the stories for the first five episodes of "Lost in Space": (1) "The Reluctant Stowaway" show how Dr. Smith's presence caused the Jupiter II to go astray; (2) "The Derelict" is where the Jupiter II is taken aboard an alien spaceship; (3) "Island in the Sky" is the one where the Jupiter II makes a spectacular crash landing on an alien world; (4) "There Were Giants in the Earth" is where the Robinsons explore Priplanus and encounter the giant cyclops; and (5) "The Hungry Sea" has the planet showing the crew a rough time. If you accept the premise of an American family blasting off into space and having to survive on an alien world, what happens is certainly more realistic than idealistic.

Unfortunately, after that point "Lost in Space" because a show of weekly guest stars as aliens stop by for a visit, beginning with Warren Oates as space cowboy Jimmy Hapgood in (6) "Welcome Stranger." There would also be Albert Salmi as Alonzo P. Tucker (18) "The Sky Pirate" and in the first season low point Mercedes McCambridge as Sybilla, the head of (25) "The Share Croppers." The other constant theme is that Dr. Smith causes trouble in his desperate attempts to get back to Earth, which means everything from giving an alien Will's brain in (8) "Invaders from the Fifth Dimension" and trading the Robot for food in (23) "The Space Trade" to becoming ruler of an alien world in (24) "His Majesty Smith" and getting the power to turn anything he touches into platinum in (26) "All That Glitters." Notice that Smith becomes the pivotal player in more episodes at the end of the season.

This is not to suggest there are not some solid episodes after the first five. The first season offered several episodes that played on classic science fiction films. The show's only two-part episode, (16-17) "The Keeper," had guest star Michael Rennie as the title character in a memorable performance. Rennie played Klatuu, the strange visitor from another planet in the science fiction classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still." When I first saw these episodes way back when I had not yet seen that film, but Rennie brings the same sense of intelligence and dignity to this role, which makes it the standout performance in the history of the series. In (20) "War of the Robots" the Robot has to save the Robinsons from Robotoid, played by Robbie the Robot of "Forbidden Planet" fame. No wonder the "Lost in Space" robot remains the coolest robot of all time for so many fans of science fiction.

The eight DVDs in this collection have the 29 episodes of the first season plus the unaired pilot. If you are looking for extras, you are going to be disappointed, but since many fans have been waiting since childhood to see these episodes again the complaints will be minor (besides, it is not like the cast members are seeing any money off of this to encourage them to do commentary tracks, interviews or anything else). Minor complaint: If they put the unaired pilot on the first disc instead of the last disc the two parts of "The Keeper" would be on the same disc. "No Place to Hide" (Episode 0) is fascinating because the unaired pilot has neither the Robot nor Dr. Smith, which is a big surprise given how they become the most beloved and pivotal character (respectively) on the show there is a website that lists all of Dr. Smith's insults of the robot, from "Adlepated Amateur" to "Wrong Way Computer"). At this point the show was going to be called "Space Family Robinson," but the Walt Disney people would have none of that.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2004
I loved lost in space as a kid, and brings back a lot of memories as an adult! Love the quality of video, so crisp & clear on DVD. Now I am waiting for season 2 to come out & I'm sure it will be well worth the wait if it's anything like season 1. Well worth every penny & buying it from Amazon is cheaper than buying it from Best Buy.
Thanks FOX!!!
A "very" satisfied customer ;-)
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2003
I loved watching the weekly adventures of the Space Family Robinson. I have the first six episodes on VHS which I found one day in a video store. There is no question that season 1 is the best and more serious of the three seasons. and the first five or six episodes are the best of them. One thing you should know about Irwin Allen, the producer of the series (as well as Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants, etc.) is that he would blow about 40-50% of the series annual budget in the first few episodes of each series. And it shows on all of his television series. I always thought that in the first two seaons the name should have been changed to "Stranded on a Deserted Planet" because they weren't Lost in Space at all. In the third season, they were truly "Lost in Space" and not on a deserted planet. (Yes it's true that they got off the planet at the start of season two, but they crashed on another deserted planet. It's always easy to use the same set week in and week out)
But, as a 9 year old boy growing up in suburban Connecticut at the time, and at a time when the space race was going full throttle between the Americans and the Soviets, I found this series to be very believable as to what could happen in the future of space travel. (After all, the fist episode takes place on October 16, 1997 more than 30 years in the future at that time). And somehow, along with the seriousness of the first season and the black and white cinematography, it made it all the more realistic.
My only gripe with all of the Irwin Allen TV shows is that they never wrapped it up. They are still Lost in Space, Tony and Doug are still bouncing around in Time via the Time Tunnel (talk about campy TV shows and real bad history!!!) and those earthlings are still trapped in the Land of The Giants.
Irwin Allen, who later went on to produce motion pictures such as The Poseiden Adventure and The Towering Inferno, should have taken a lesson from another TV producer - Quinn Martin. Quinn Martin had the decency to wrap up his TV series, The Fugitive, by having Richard Kimball catch the one-armed man. And this was done after The Fugitive was given the ax by ABC. Martin wanted his audience satisfied and put the money out to produce a two part finale in what would have been the start of a fifth season.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Like The Andy Griffith Show from the same decade, "Lost in Space" was a much better program when it was in black and white. Of course, the major change that occurred in the color episodes was the jumping on the "Batman" bandwagon by producer/creator Irwin Allen. That brought about harsh criticism from the strong 1st-year fan base but that's another story.

As far as these 30 episodes, including the unaired pilot, are concerned, the show's initial season was unlike anything ever seen on television up to that point. Featuring a cast of veteran television and movie performers, "Lost in Space", definitely was high on the talent roster. Both Williams and Lockhart had a following from their respective roles in "Zorro" and "Lassie". Billy Mumy had appeared in two classic "Twilight Zone" episodes while Angela Cartwright had been a pixie on "The Danny Thomas Show" and was also featured in a little film by the name of "The Sound of Music".

The show, featured a most impressive lineup of guest stars: Warren Oates ("Hello, Stranger"), Albert Salmi ("The Space Pirate"), Academy Award-winner Mercedes McCambridge ("The Space Croppers"), "Hogan's Heroes" star Werner Klemperer ("All That Glitters"), character acting veteran Royal Dano ("The Lost Civilization"), Torin Thatcher ("The Space Trader"). Michael Ansara, the former husband of Barbara Eden, also appeared in "The Challenge" with a very young Kurt Russell. Michael J. Pollard, a few years away from his Oscar-nomination in "Bonnie and Clyde" popped up in "The Magic Mirror." Michael Rennie from the classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" starred in the only two-part episode in the show's three-year run: "The Keeper".

Kevin Hagen, who would later star in Allen's "Land of the Giants" along with playing the doctor on "Little House on the Prairie", assays the role of a rather hairy alien that manages to "duplicate" Dr. Smith in "His Majesty Smith", one of the more amusing shows of the season.

Besides featuring impressive state-of-the art effects, "Lost in Space" also showcased the music of an up-and-coming composer by the name of John Williams.

The majority of the first season stories were quite strong, with great direction and engaging plots. They ran the gamut of straight adventure to light-hearted pathos and family relationships. Besides the episodes mentioned earlier, the best episodes featuring the principal characters include "The Reluctant Stowaway," "Island in the Sky," "There Were Giants on Earth," "The Hungry Sea," "Wish Upon a Star," and two that were possibly the "darkest" in the show's history: "One of Our Dogs is Missing" and "Follow the Leader."

With a new version of the show looming on the horizon, one can only hope that the producers have respect for the original and try to maintain some of its integrity.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2004
It may surprise many LOST IN SPACE fans to learn that the new LIS DVD set was not digitally remastered. LOST IN SPACE was originally shot and edited on 35mm negative film. Fox printed fine grain 35mm master positives for each black and white episode and color reversal intermediates for each color episode. That way they never have to touch their masters and risk damaging them. The 35mm positives were used to make the 16mm internegatives from which copies for the syndication episodes were originally struck. Fox stopped making and distributing these 16mm prints in 1992. But in the late 1980s Fox remastered all LIS episodes to one-inch videotape. These tapes served as the basis for virtually all LIS episodes seen since. They were used by the Sc-Fi Channel and also by Columbia House when they distributed the series on VHS in the mid 1990s. The Japanese laser discs were also made from these one-inch master tapes. When improvements in film-to-tape transfer technology were developed in recent years, a few episodes, around 8 or 9 I think, were remastered and released by Fox in the late 1990s on VHS. Sadly, however, these "DigiBeta" transfers were not used in preparing the DVD set. The DVDs were mastered from the one-inch transfers made in the late 1980s. They certainly look better than the laserdiscs, but the source is the same--one-inch videotape. We can only hope that Fox does digital transfers for seasons two and three and at some point goes back and remasters season one. I wouldn't put it past Fox to release all three seasons off the one-inch tapes, then a few years down the line remaster the whole series digitally (which is what they should have done in the first place) and release it again in three boxed sets just to gouge our wallets. In any event, enjoy these episodes. Season two is scheduled for July and season three should be out in January, 2005.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2007
Wow I could write about "Lost in Space", forever, considering this beloved series was such a major part of my growing up years and which even to this day still holds a very special place in my heart. For a young boy growing up in the very late 1960's and 1970's this series was just the best thing imaginable filled as it was with outlandish monsters, sinister aliens, awesome spaceships, and nifty (for the 1960's), special effects. No matter how many times the series was repeated on television I never tired of the adventures of the Robinson family as they continued their quest to get back on course in their ill fated journey to Alpha Centuri. The series nowadays is rather sadly remembered best for the unfortunate change in format that occured after the first few episodes at the beginning of Season Two and which saw the focus of the stories shifting increasingly towards highlighting Dr. Smith, Will and the Robot, at the expense of the other characters on the show. Also unfortnate was the concurrent shift to camp humour over serious drama in the stories which ultimately destroyed the show's serious sci-fi reputation making it a show to laugh at rather than take seriously. I firmly believe this shift contributed to the demise of the show after only three seasons when the potential of the original idea should have allowed the show to enjoy a longer run.

This "Complete First Season" of "Lost in Space", is my absolute favourite of the series and is mostly free of the later elements that led to the series decline. In particular the first half of this season has a large number of solidly dramatic and exciting stories that never fail to entertain. Season One benefits greatly from having stories which focused evenly on the family members, included terrific location photography that really made the viewer feel that the stories were taking place in an alien terrain, and also had a number of stories that didn't involve a "visting alien of the week", theme which was a trap the series fell into later in its run. Many of the early stories in Season One dealt with the struggles of the Robinson family and their untrustworthy, and at times potentially deadly additional space traveller Dr. Zachary Smith to survive in this strange new world.

Every fan of "Lost in Space', has their favourite Season One episodes but a few that really stand out for me are listed below.

"The Reluctant Stowaway", where the Robinson's flight to Alpha Centuri begins with disaster when the deadly enemy agent Dr. Smith who's purpose it is to destroy the spaceship becomes trapped on board before lift off. This episode is non stop action with meteor storms, rampaging robots, and enough human drama to make a great viewing experience.

"Island in the Sky", which is my favourite episode of the entire series. This episode features the spectacular crash landing of the Jupiter 2 onto the surface of the strange alien planet that would be the Robinson's home for the next year. This episode also introduces the unique travelling vehicle called the Chariot as well as Debbie, the cute monkeylike creature who would become Penny's pet.

"There Were Giants in The Earth', a memorable episode where the Robinson's encounter the Giant Cyclops creatures during their journey South to escape the cold enveloping their planet.

"Invaders from the Fifth Dimension", this episode contained some of the best aliens that ever appeared on "Lost in Space". To save his own skin the evil Dr. Smith tries to hand over Will to visiting aliens who need a human brain to replace a burnt out computer on board their spaceship.

"One Of Our Dogs Is Missing", a terrific story that heavily features the Robinson women in an eerie story taking place while the menfolk are away where the women and Dr. Smith hear strange and terrifying noises in the night and discover an abandoned space craft that might belong to either a small dog or possibly something else more deadly.

"Attack of the Monster Plants", despite the sensational title a terrific episode that features Marta Kristen's Judy in her biggest featured story when Dr. Smith is exiled from the camp just as the Robinsons are preparing to leave the planet. After discovering strange alien plants that create an exact duplicate of Judy, Smith refuses to reveal the location of the real Judy and blackmails the group into taking him with them when they leave. Smith's plan however comes undone when the duplicate Judy feeds the Jupiter 2's entire fuel supply to the plants who then grow to a tremendous size consuming everything in their path.

"The Keeper: Parts 1 & 2". The only real two part story in the series with superb guest star veteran actor Michael Rennie as a strange alien who collects the rare creatures of the Universe and who sets his sights on capturing Penny and Will for his collection.

"The War of the Robots". Guest starring Hollywood mechanical legend Robby the Robot as an abandoned alien robot who is repaired by Will but who then sets out to imprison the Robinson party for the use of its evil alien master on another planet.

"Follow the Leader", a wonderful story highlighting John Robinson who after finding himself trapped in a cave after an earthquake, finds his body being slowly taken over by the spirit of an long dead warrior who will stop at nothing to leave the planet.

One of the great strengths of "Lost in Space', was the excellent cast assembled and I have always felt that far too much emphasis has always been placed on the Dr. Smith character played by Jonathan Harris. You only have to watch these very early Season One episodes to see how good the rest of the cast both young and old could be when given good stories to work with. In particular I have always regarded Guy Williams and June Lockhart who played John and Maureen Robinson, as one of the great "Husband and Wife", teamings on 1960's television right up there with the likes of Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York on "Bewitched". They had such great chemistry together that they seemed like an actual real husband and wife. They both have many opportunities in this first season to be strong individuals while also being loving and caring parents, a rarity on Sci-Fi themed programs. June Lockhart especially in this first season was often given a number of very "non-traditional" women's responsibilities in the scripts which were actually a bit ahead of their time for 1960's television and which showed her character's capabilities beyond simply being the caring mother of the Robinson clan.

Despite the later direction the program went off in in the later seasons Season One of the show is the one I cherish and which fans of "Lost in Space", always acknowledge as being the best. Many of the stories are highly original and the special effects which many seem to always be wrongly comparing to today's special effects are for the most part really good for the time they were created in and never failed to thrill this viewer while I was growing up. I highly recommend the DVD of "Lost in Space: The Complete First Season", to all lovers of old fashioned science fiction and any child of the 1960's like myself that literally grew up watching the trials and tribulations of the Robinson Family, Major West and the diabolical Dr. Smith on their out of this world adventures while being lost in space.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2004
I won't go into details as to the names of the episodes because they've already been posted.
The quality of the DVDs are great - yes, it makes alot of the "monsters" look hokey, but that's ok! The show is nearly 40 years old, after all. One monster looks like someone threw a few Hefty bags over him and put some air in it and I swear, I can almost make out a zipper in another "monster", etc. But I still loved all of it!
The 1st season was shot in Black & White except for the last 5 mins or so of the last (29th) episode. It's kind of a shock to have watched so many episodes in B&W and then suddenly it's in color. I had always wondered about the cliff-hanger end of each episode - now I know it was that it was basically cut from the next week's episode then edited to add it to the end of the current week's show.
One thing that is interesting is the Unaired Pilot. There is no Dr Smith (Jonathan Harris) or the Robot. Instead of Dr Smith's added weight throwing the ship off course, the ship was hit by an asteroid belt and went off course.
Another difference was when they landed on the new planet, they "domesticated a few animals and set up a little farm", according to the over-air narration by Guy Williams' character, John Robinson. Otherwise, the spirit of the pilot is the same - they had to move south due to the severe weather change about to occur and they run into the huge monsters with big feet and one eye, plus tidal waves and an Earthquake. (Yes, this sounds like Irwin Allen!)
I always wondered how old the kids were and I found out while watching the unaired Pilot - Judy is 19 ("and heroically postponing a career in musical comedy to go into space" - yes, I'm quoting from the show!), Penny is 11 (with a 147 IQ and a hobby of zoology) and Will is 9 (having just graduated from a school of science, the youngest person to do so).
Also in the unaired pilot, Don actually kissed Judy - but, it was just on the hand. Penny pointed this out to her parents, who said they could hardly ask Judy to "play the field". The episode ends with John Robinson doing a voice-over, saying "We have a feeling there are wonderful adventures just ahead" and nearby 2 aliens are watching them.
It's kind of freaky to see the dates on the show - the family went into space in 1997 and were on the planet beginning in 2000. You see John Robinson's journal, (with beautiful, feminine handwriting), with dates, such as December 3, 2001. It's so strange to think we've already passed that date and are nowhere near ready to send a family into space.
At the very end of Disc 8, there is "CBS Network Preview" - a 5 minute show that CBS did for their affiliates. There are clips of the show, with narration throughout. Each actor is mentioned, along with previous roles and the role they will play on the show. At the end, the narrator talks about how 20th Century Fox is solidly behind the show and "We at CBS feel this is one show that will take off from the pack... we are sold on Lost in Space because we know it can sell for you."
There are subtitles and Spanish options too. I played around with it, choosing Spanish language with English subtitles. It was funny, especially when the Robot says, "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!" in Spanish.
One other note that I just realized - the aired pilot indicated the Family would be in space for 5.5 years before reaching Alpha Centauri but the unaired pilot said it would be 98 years (although the Family wouldn't age due to the freezing process). Also, the name of the ship was changed to Jupiter 2.
In closing, I would definitely buy this DVD again although I wish there had been more Extras - I would have loved it if the surviving actors/actresses had done a few narrations about what it was like to film the show. Hopefully this set will sell alot of copies so another season will be issued - perhaps with participation by the stars of the show. (RIP, Guy Williams and Jonathan Harris).
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