While Lost in Space
may never enter the pantheon of great television programming, the 1960s sci-fi show certainly has its charms, all of them in evidence on this first volume of episodes from the second season. Produced by Irwin Allen, who would later be responsible for blockbuster disaster films like The Towering Inferno
and The Poseidon Adventure
, these 16 episodes from 1966-67 (spread out over four DVDs) find the show undergoing some changes, both technically (from black & white into color) and in terms of tone (more campy and tongue-in-cheek, especially as the season goes on). The latter is due in large part to the performance of Jonathan Harris as Dr. Zachary Smith, who puts the "arch" in archvillain (it was his meddling that got them all lost in the first place). Harris's portrayal of Smith as cowardly, duplicitous, pompous, and not a little fey often goes right over the top, but the other characters (including Guy Williams as Prof. John Robinson, June Lockhart as his wife Maureen, and young Bill Mumy as Will) are so bland and generic that Harris, the family robot, and guest stars like Strother Martin and Wally Cox offer the only available relief.
The Lost in Space storylines are predictable (almost always involving some alien-related jeopardy prompted by Smith's greed and foolishness) and the special effects and production values won't excite anyone used to the wonders of the digital age. Still, this is television, where budgets are smaller and schedules much tighter, so lowered expectations are in order anyway. Some users may feel shortchanged by the absence of extra features, or by the fact that the set doesn't include the entire season (the second part is available separately). But the transfers are good and the DVD menus easily navigable. But on the whole Lost in Space devotees--and there are many of them--should be well satisfied. --Sam Graham
Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Bill Mumy. The Robinsons continue their bumpy ride through space in the first 15 episodes from the second season, including Blast off into Space," Wild Adventure," The Ghost Planet," Space Circus," The Green Dimension" and more. 4 DVDs. 1966/color/7 hrs/NR/fullscreen.