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An effective, dark film that is a talent show for Liza Minelli
Is there a real difference between Europe and the U.S. in the Great Depression era (the era of this film) and now? In the 1930s, Europe, the U.S., and the rest of the world were in a horrible economic melt-down. The stage was set for a man like Hitler to use his charisma to take power by giving people - especially young people - an ideal to fight for.
I think one of the most effective scenes in this superb, dark film is the way they do the song "Tomorrow Belongs To Me". A great song, but to me the way it is done is very effective. It opens with a tight close-up of a young man who starts singing. All you can see is his face. He begins to sing and the camera slowly backs out to reveal that he is a Nazi. Very well done. The young people in the audience are shown in close-ups, rising and singing this song, but, like the lead vocalist, not joyously. To me, it was almost like they're "programmed" to rise and sign along with it. The faces are of hate and determination, not joy about a more beautiful tomorrow. It's as if the movie wants to show that they have been brainwashed. They are willing to fight and die if needed for their ideals and one is either for or against them.
Also effective is the comment by Michael York at the end of the scene, where he asks "Do you still think you can control them?" and then, in a haunting way, we see Joel Gray as the M.C. in his pancake makeup with an eerie "See, I told you so. There is much more to come" smile. Powerful stuff. To me, that scene sums up the whole movie.
A powerful, tour-De-force show for Liza Minelli and a fascinating commentary on the Germany of the Great Depression. It is an effective although depressing film.
A solid episode, well worth watching!
A wonderful, exciting Christmas story featuring the talents of Billy Mumy as Will Robinson! A solid effort. In recent interviews, Bill Mumy stated that this one was his favorite episode.
The story revolves around a matter transfer machine. A few episodes earlier, a family representing an alien race called the Taurons left their matter transfer machine on the planet.
While on a rock hunting expedition, Penny and Dr. Smith discover the machine. Penny's pet Debbie the bloop gets loose,climbs it and turns it on. As Penny grabs Debbie and backs away from the machine, they get caught in the transfer beam.
In looking for Penny, Will happens upon the machine. Penny and the bloop re-appear in front of him. Penny asks Will where he has been. A surprised Will asks Penny where she came from. Penny knows nothing about disappearing. She is unaware that she was in the beam. Will races off, excited to tell dad that the machine really works.
An amusing scene happens back at the Jupiter 2. This is the first of several times in this episode that Will is telling the truth but isn't believed. John and Maureen are sure that Will made the story up when Penny denies everything Will is saying (Penny had no memory of ever having been in the transfer beam). John decides it's best to destroy the machine, and, over Will's objections, John and Don will destroy it first thing the next morning.
Will takes the robot and sneaks off to the matter transfer machine before Don and John can get there. The robot sends Will to earth. His orders, which Dr. Smith will later try to countermand, are for the robot to remain at his post and return Will to the planet at noon.
The episode rocks from here on.
Will arrives in Hatfield Four-Corners, Vermont. Will first meets Davey Sims. When Will explains who he is, Davey thinks he's lying. Davey is sure that Will is a runaway. Seeing that Will has no coat, he offers to take Will to his house, where he lives with his Aunt Clara.
Aunt Clara doesn't believe Will either. Will wants to call Alpha Control to tell them who he is and that everyone else is on Priplanus, but Aunt Clara thinks Will is a runaway and wants him to call his real family. When she can't get through to him, she takes him to the Sheriff.
The Sheriff doesn't believe Will, either. He arranges to send Will to a Boy's Home until they can find out who Will really is and contact Will's real family.
While waiting to board the bus to the orphanage, Will gets into a fight when the other boys also don't believe him. This is a particularly well-acted scene. Will's frustrations erupt when one of the other boys tells Will that the real Will Robinson, like the rest of those Robinsons, is dead.
A lady named Ruth, who seems to be in charge of the boys, breaks up the fight and whisks Will away to testify before the Town Council. They don't believe a word he's telling them, either. While they're debating what to do about him, Will sneaks off. He sees the bus getting ready to leave.
Will hides in a telephone booth until the bus leaves. He gets into a General Store, but the owner of that store won't let some kid make crackpot long-distance calls on his phone. The Robinsons need carbon tetrachloride for their food purifier, and the store has a large bottle of it. Will tries to steal it and is re-captured by the Sheriff.
Back on Priplanus, there's a great scene between Dr. Smith and the robot. Dr. Smith orders the robot to vacate his post and come with him. Dr. Smith wants the robot to tell John Robinson that he never saw Dr. Smith anywhere near the matter transfer machine. There is a wonderful verbal exchange between the robot and Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith loses, of course.
What an episode! Great scenes between the robot and Dr. Smith. Wonderful acting by Bill Mumy as Will Robinson. A tight story that exposes the risks when adults don't believe a kid who really is telling the truth!
How can the robot possibly know where earth is if they're truly lost? How can he work an alien machine well enough to beam Will to earth?
In the beginning of the episode, when Penny gets caught in the transfer beam, she is seen screaming in terror and trying to escape the beam. It seems odd that we see her screaming in terror when she gets caught in the beam and yet when the beam releases her in front of Will, she calmly asks him where he has been and doesn't know she was ever in the beam. It would have worked better had they simply shown her getting caught up in the beam unaware.
The phones and phone system of Hatfield Four-Corners is from the 1930s. It's way too antiquated even for 1960s standards. It's hard for me to believe that Irwin Allen couldn't have included 1960s phones for those sets, considering the fact that the episode was filmed in 1965! Those who remember "The Waltons" might be amused to know that the actress who played Miss Mamie Baldwin (of the Baldwin sisters) has a brief appearance as a telephone operator in this episode. The switchboard she uses is from the era "The Waltons" is set in!
One of the weakest of the 1st season
A mediocre story saved only by Marta Kristen's acting.
In this story, Judy gets replaced by plants that are capable of duplicating everything - including humans.
Judy wanders into a garden of these plants and is drawn into one of them. The plant puts her to sleep and creates a duplicate, but it's a Judy made of plants.
The plant-duplicate Judy hates the Robinsons for eating vegetables and salads containing things from plants. They wonder what's wrong with Judy and why her behavior has changed. Only Dr. Smith, who saw what happened, knows the truth. He has his own, selfish reasons for remaining silent.
This story isn't as silly as the third season's "Great Vegetable Rebellion", but it isn't very good, either. A weak effort. I recommend skipping this one on your Season One box set.
I have always loved this episode despite its minor flaws
A thrilling episode that represents what "Lost In Space" was capable of.
The Robinson men, except Dr. Smith, are off in the Chariot in search of a water supply.
Back at home, the women and Dr. Smith are panicked when they see what everyone except Dr. Smith calls a meteor storm pounding the area where the Chariot is. They cannot reach the Chariot by radio and have no idea if the men are all right. Dr. Smith is of the opinion that it is not a meteor storm; it is an invasion. He thinks that aliens have launched an aerial barrage in advance of an attack.
The entire scene is thrilling, and solid acting, particularly by Jonathan Harris, augments this. The viewer is drawn into the drama and the cast aboard the Jupiter 2 makes you feel their tension.
The next day, while searching for the Chariot, they see the damage caused by the meteors. Dr. Smith insists the damage is caused by shell holes.
Dr. Smith's theory is vindicated when they discover a wrecked spaceship and there's evidence that there was someone or something inside who has gotten out. Smith is convinced that this is one of perhaps thousands of such ships scattered all over the planet because an invasion is imminent.
That night, the Jupiter 2's occupants are creeped out by some loud, mysterious sounds. There is howling and another, more sinister noise indicating a nearby monster.
It turns out that the wrecked spaceship actually came from earth. Its occupant is a puppy that was used in the early experiments in artificial hibernation. Judy and Maureen discover the dog the next day, when trying to find out what was causing the noises they heard the night before. At the same time they find the dog, they encounter fur that doesn't belong to the dog at all.
When Maureen and Judy get back with the dog, they discover that the force field has been left on for too long and needs to be recharged. Judy sets her laser gun down for a moment and gets the charger. Penny is nearby, playing fetch with the puppy that she has fallen in love with and wants to keep as hers. The puppy mistakes Judy's gun for a twig and runs off with it to bury it.
Meanwhile, convinced that firm action is necessary, Dr. Smith, in one of the best scenes of the series, dismantles all of the laser guns except for the one Maureen has. His plan is to clean the weapons. Of course, the bumbling Smith cannot put them back together again. He sees Maureen's gun, and, despite her objections, takes it from her to use as a guide. He promptly messes that up as well, and in so-doing enrages Judy (who appears to report that her gun is missing) and Maureen. Suddenly, they are without any weapons.
Unarmed, and unaware of the alien monster, Judy goes out to search for the dog. The viewers are the only ones who see the alien monster until the episode is well under way.
The whole episode is well-written, fast-paced, and well acted. The sense of imminent danger is keenly felt and well done. The added touch of the puppy is welcome amusement and delight.
The only problem I have with this episode isn't really with the episode itself. What became of the puppy? Why didn't they keep it in the series, or at least explain what happened to it?
Lost in Space: The Raft (1965)
Not bad, but one of the weakest 1st season episodes
There's just too much wrong with this story for me to give it more than a 6.
The episode opens with Will Robinson using fuel to blast messages into space that he calls the "Shipwrecked Sailor Expiriments". Instead of messages in a bottle, he's putting messages in rockets, hoping the someone will find them messages and, hence, the Robinsons.
In doing that, Will uses up the fuel supply that Major West had been hoarding.
As a result, John and Don come up with an alternative fuel using plasma.
The story is Okay up to this point, but it gets clunky from here. Suddenly, we are presented with a a combustion chamber that John and Don pulled from the engine room (how did they get it out of there? It's too big to fit through the doors leading in and out of the ship). They modify the chamber and make it into a rocket. They attach a helium balloon to it (interesting that the Jupiter 2's calculated to the fraction of an ounce weight included one of those and a supply of helium). The helium balloon will lift the chamber and then the rocket fuel they made will take Major West back to earth where he can get a rescue mission.
Dr. Smith messes everything up and inadvertently traps Will with him when he plans to head to earth himself. Among the "dangers" they encounter is a two-headed beast that looks like skunk cabbage that wants them to tend his garden. I guess this was the first "Great Vegetable Rebellion".
If they are truly lost in space, then how could they have programmed the converted chamber to find earth? If they figured out where they were, then how come, when they did lift off that planet to start season 2, they suddenly have no idea where earth is? Skunk Cabbage captors that want to turn humans into gardeners, helium-filled balloons, and the thought that people who have no idea where in space they are but can send Don to earth make this episode not worthy of anything above a 6. It only gets a 6 because the first half is pretty good.
Lost in Space: Wish Upon a Star (1965)
Not the strongest story, but a great lesson with wonderful acting
This first season produced most of the best "Lost In Space" episodes, and this is one of the best of the first season's episodes.
Dr.Smith enrages John and Don when his carelessness almost costs Don his life. It is also revealed in this opening scene that Dr. Smith's lack of attending to the hydroponic garden caused it to die from neglect.
Feeling that everyone is against him, Smith decides that there is no alternative for him but to leave. He departs, armed with only a laser rifle and a jacket. Will is upset about his leaving, but Don is all to happy to be rid of him.
Jonathan Harris' excellent acting once again takes center stage. He is wonderful as the frightened, helpless, lonely Dr. Smith forced to encounter the planet's environment alone.
Feeling sorry for him, Will sets out after him and finds him. A bond is forged between the 2 as they search for a suitable new home for Dr. Smith. They find that home in the wreck of an old spaceship that contains what is later referred to as a thought machine that makes wishes come true. The scenes between Will and Dr. Smith showcase the two talented actors.
It's fun to watch Smith revel in the new discovery, getting what he wants. Eventually, Smith gets lonely and decides to return to the others.
Smith returns to the Jupiter 2 with the thought machine, feeling that the gift of the machine would make the Robinsons welcome him back into their fold.
The thought machine becomes a source of discontent. The family ends up goofing off instead of doing needed work. In one particularly well-done scene, Penny and Will argue over who should be allowed to use the machine to get what they want. Penny ends up tricking Will to get what she wants.
Instead of helping them, the family doesn't want to do anything else but use the thought machine to get what they want.
In the end, John Robinson orders Smith to get rid of the machine. Instead of doing that, Smith decides to return to the alien shipwreck and live alone with his machine. When Smith wishes for a servant, an alien appears and demands the return of his machine. Smith won't give it back, and instead runs in a panic to the Jupiter 2 for protection. John orders Smith to give the alien his machine. To make sure that he does, John, Don, and Will accompany Smith.
All-in-all, it's a well acted story. It also shows the Robinsons arguing and being selfish, which is nicely different from the usual.
A flaw in the story comes at the beginning, where John is mad at Dr. Smith because the hydroponic garden that was Smith's responsibility that week died from neglect. An important thing like their food in a hydroponic garden that is clearly visible just outside the Jupiter 2 and nobody noticed that it wasn't being attended to? Come on! Are we to believe that the intelligent John, Don, and the rest would trust Dr. Smith to take care of their food supply without supervision? Common sense tells you not to do that. If the line was added in for dramatic effect, it falls on its face due to credibility.
I'm also not sure why it was necessary to have Will go with John, Don, and Dr. Smith to return the machine, but I'll forgive the few flaws in the story.
Lost in Space: The Sky Is Falling (1965)
I love this one!
A few chinks in the story, but over-all a must-see. To me, it's one of the best that "Lost In Space" provided.
The Robinsons encounter an alien family who has apparently come there to do what the Robinsons initially set out to do: Start a colony.
This episode features superb acting, once again especially by Jonathan Harris as Dr. Smith.
Smith annoys everyone by arguing that the aliens are enemies that must be destroyed. In destroying them, he reasons, future colonists might decide that it's too dangerous and not land there. He even takes it upon himself to visit the aliens and promptly leaps to the wrong conclusions. Dr. Smith's prejudice comes roaring through. Wonderful acting! Will befriends the alien family's boy. While out together, the alien boy gets dangerously sick because he catches Will's cold, and he has no bodily defenses against the cold. Will finds shelter and stays to look after the alien friend of his.
Both families start searching for their boys, convinced that the other family has captured their son.
In a dramatic ending, Will is eventually able to get the ailing boy to John. When John produces the ailing boy to his parents, the parents try to destroy John and the others because they think the Robinsons had their boy all along and had harmed him.
The only odd part of the episode is where John and Don return to the Jupiter 2 at night after their first fruitless search for Will. The scenes then alternate between daylight and dark and it appears as though John and Don spent a whole day around the Jupiter Two, wondering whether or not to go to the aliens instead of searching for Will. In fact, it appears as though nobody has searched for Will. This could just have been bad editing.
Apparently, the girls are not to search for Will themselves. Only John, Don, and Dr. Smith can do that for some reason.
One thing I really liked about this episode is the fact that the aliens communicate through telepathy, not American English. The alien man, portrayed by Don Matheson (who later starred on "Land Of The Giants"), his wife, and their boy look at and "feel" like aliens.
Despite the slight clunkiness in the search for Will, this is a superb episode. If only some of the other episodes had been this good.
Lost in Space: The Oasis (1965)
Okay, but not up to some of the other episodes
The best thing about this episode is the superb acting of Jonathan Harris as Dr. Smith.
This episode begins with a selfish Dr. Smith taking a shower when the Robinsons are very short on water. The others are furious at the selfish Dr. Smith. His insensitivity to the others is made apparent during an emergency meeting.
Traveling without Smith, the rest discover fruit growing in unsuitably salty water. They take it back to the Jupiter 2 to test it to see if it's edible.
They leave the balance of fruit on a table in front of the ship and test the rest. They had forgotten momentarily about Dr. Smith, who happens to find the fruit on the table outside and starts to consume it.
There's a well-done scene where the Robinsons find Smith eating the fruit. They tell him that it hasn't been tested and might be poisonous.
In a very dramatic moment, Smith accuses the Robinsons of leaving the fruit out there on purpose, hoping he'd eat it and die so that they can be rid of him. He runs away, but in so doing he takes a vital part of the water purifier with him, thereby making sure that they will die a slower death from thirst.
Especially poignant are the night scenes. The first one has Smith, who has also taken a tape recorder with him, leaving the last words of one who "would have transfigured the universe" had he lived. Another neat night scene is between Will and Penny, who talk about how they miss Dr. Smith.
Instead of dying, the fruit affects his pituitary glands and makes him a giant. How convenient for the viewers that his clothes somehow grow with him! Now we see a conflicted Dr. Smith who alternates between wanting to kill everyone for making him a freak and wanting to talk to them, especially Will and Maureen.
The first half of this episode is really wonderful. The last half isn't quite as good, but it's still highly watchable. It's worthy of a look just to watch Jonathan Harris act!
A solid episode that really showcases the creepy Dr. Smith
This episode showcases the acting talents of Bill Mumy and Jonathan Harris.
Harris is superb as the creepy Dr. Smith.
Aliens from another planet have developed engine trouble, and need a human brain to replace a failed computer. They initially trap Dr. Smith aboard and want to use his brain, but when he tries to shoot them with his laser pistol they say that the attempt to kill them reveals defects in his reasoning. He gets out of their trap by offering to give them Will Robinson, who has a wonderful brain.
The aliens let Smith go, but, to keep him in-line, put a ring around his neck. If he doesn't produce Will within 24 hours, they assure him of an agonizing death by choking. He is also not to reveal the plan to anyone else, including Will. Any false move and Smith is dead.
The dramatic and well-done scenes between the conniving Smith and Will are superb. Especially noteworthy are dramatic scenes where John and Maureen, who have taken the chariot and brought the robot to find where Will and Dr. Smith have gone to, call out via a loudspeaker system for Will. Will, hearing their pleas, is conflicted. Smith has told him that the only way to save the others in his family is to go along with Dr. Smith and ignore their pleading. Smith keeps hiding Will from them, and Will is increasingly suspicious that Smith isn't being honest with him.
The most dramatic part is the ending. Smith accomplishes his objective and delivers the unsuspecting Will to the aliens. Continuing his deceit, Smith then reveals himself to John and Maureen and pleads that the aliens captured Will. Will, trapped inside the alien ship, sees his parents through the viewing ports. There's a very emotional scene between the upset Will and his equally upset parents.
All-in-all, a tight story with an acting tour-de-force by Bill Mumy as Will and Jonathan Harris as Dr. Smith. A first-rate episode!
One of the best the series ever offered
A magical episode where Penny does a little growing up. Angela Cartwright later said that this was her favorite episode, and it's not hard to understand why. A huge improvement over "Welcome Stranger" that represents what this series could have been.
The episode begins with Penny being upset that nobody wants her to help. She storms off and finds a cave where a force who is never seen but only heard exists. The force befriends Penny, and the scenes between the lonely Penny and the force who becomes her friend showcase her acting talent.
John and Maureen don't believe that she has actually found a real friend. They assume he's imaginary. Again, Angela Cartwright's acting excels when she tries and gets frustrated at failing to convince her parents that she's telling the truth.
When Penny brings back some diamonds she found in the cave, the rock-hunter Will initially thinks she just picked up some common quartz. Dr. Smith, however, has the robot analyze the rocks and finds out differently.
The excitement builds when the greedy Dr. Smith secretly follows Penny to the cave. The same force that moves the rock to let Penny in moves it back over the entrance to prevent Dr. Smith from getting in. He unknowingly puts her in danger. The night he decides to blow up the cave to get at all the diamonds, she discovers his plans and enters the cave to warn the force that she calls "Mr. Nobody". She thinks the blasting is going to happen the next day, not right then.
The ending scenes of Smith blowing the cave up and endangering Penny are very dramatic. The powerful force is furious at the others for killing Penny (he thinks Penny is dead) and unleashes an attack upon the others.
This leads to an exciting ending in which Penny, who regains consciousness, pleads with the enraged Mr. Nobody to save the others.
All-in-all, a wonderful episode that lets us watch Penny do a little maturing as a person. Well worth a look!
Lost in Space: Welcome Stranger (1965)
Not the worst, but a huge let-down after "The Hungry Sea"
This episode has bright spots, but in it we see the series resorting to some of the illogic that will plague the later episodes. It's an OK story that gets really clunky in parts.
The biggest treat of this episode is watching Warren Oats act. The talented actor makes the most of his role.
Warren Oats portrays Hapgood, a fellow astronaut from earth that apparently got himself lost on purpose while on a Saturn mission several years earlier (during the 1980s). He seems to want to find his way back to earth until the Robinsons offer him a real chance to get there.
One illogical turn in this episode is when John wants Hapgood to take Will and Penny back to earth with him. It's obvious that the spaceship Hapgood uses is far too small for two additional people, even people as small as Will and Penny. The only explanation we are given is that John Robinson says that the ship is big enough if they pull the ship's ballast tanks. Come on, John! Another illogical turn happens when John and Don, supposedly intelligent people, offer Hapgood their astrogator. For one thing, as Hapgood correctly notices (and the others hadn't thought about), the equipment is far too big to fit into Hapgood's ship. For another, when Hapgood asks why they won't need it, John explains that they stand a great chance of getting where they're going without it. Huh? That doesn't make any sense.
One more illogical scene: Dr. Smith, once Hapgood states that the astrogator is too big to fit into his ship, says that the robot has a much smaller but otherwise identical piece of equipment inside of him. That's not illogical, but then Dr. Smith scrubs up and performs what looks like surgery on a robot! Really! We hear Hapgood asking Smith if the procedure hurts the robot. Hapgood wouldn't be that stupid! And why would Smith need to be sterile to work on the robot? No, that sequence doesn't work as shown.
The brightest parts of the episode: The warm scenes between Hapgood and the kids. An especially good scene is one where Penny is being swallowed up by a giant plant and Hapgood saves her, admonishing Will not to tease her because she's crying.
Another good scene is the one where Smith, eager to replace Will and Penny as Hapgood's passenger, works on the kids' emotions and gets them to run away so that they could remain on the planet when Hapgood leaves. In this one case, the conniving Smith with ulterior motives is actually useful.
The scene where we see Smith far below, looking up as Hapgood's ship takes off and begging Hapgood not to leave him there, is also memorable.
Not a bad episode. It's actually good in several parts, but the clunky parts foreshadow what is to come.
Lost in Space: The Hungry Sea (1965)
The Best Lost In Space Episode
In my opinion, this is the best episode "Lost In Space" ever made. It has solid acting along with a thrilling story and wonderful special effects.
This episode opens with Don West, Will, Penny, and Judy trapped inside a room that's in a cave that the Robinsons and Major West had sought shelter in. John and Maureen rescue the others as a planet-quake hits and they are forced to escape the tottering columns. The storm that had been raging outside has subsided, so the Robinsons and Don West leave the cave and continue their journey South. They are heading South to escape a possibly deadly freeze. A planet-quake has already worked special effects and we're only at the top of the episode!
The rest of the episode is no less of a treat. Smith, who stayed back at the Jupiter 2 with the robot, actually saves the rest.
The planet that they're on has an eccentric orbit. Nobody, including the robot, knew this when the Robinsons, heading South to escape a life-threateningly extreme cold that is about to envelop the area that the Jupiter 2 crash landed in, started out. Smith, sure that they were over-reacting, remained behind with the robot.
The robot figures out the orbit of the planet they're on, and reveals the data to the now lonely Dr. Smith, who has become increasingly irritated at being stuck with only the robot for conversation. The odd orbit of the planet is an ellipse and, therefore, nothing like earth's orbit. The planet had swung to the furthest point from its sun and was now hurling rapidly towards its sun, meaning that the extreme cold will, within hours, become life-threateningly extreme heat. Smith will be safe inside the Jupiter 2, but the lives of the rest are in danger. It is up to the Smith that nobody trusts to save them from the peril they're in.
This episode is fantastic in many ways. The scenes of extreme cold and then the extreme heat feature wonderful special effects. We are treated to seeing the Chariot cross the ice of the Inland Sea at one point, and, after the planet has reached its closest point to its sun, we get a stormy Inland Sea whose pounding waves threaten the Chariot and wash Don West overboard.
John Robinson is shown to be both right and wrong as a commander. His unwillingness to allow Don to align the solar batteries in the last half of the episode nearly costs everyone their lives. His orders to ignore Don's argument to continue heading South save everyone's lives.
Major West is shown to be both an able assistant to John and a hot-headed young man who doesn't want anyone to tell him he's wrong. This is made obvious in a dramatic scene where John and Don have a huge argument.
Jonathan Harris is again superb in his portrayal of Dr. Smith. In this episode, we begin to see Smith changing from a cold-hearted villain with murder in his heart to a more humane person who not only no longer plans to murder the Robinsons and Major West but has also realized that he needs them.
The only flaw in the episode comes when West is washed overboard. The Chariot is totally glass-enclosed with drawn-back curtains. When they show Major West clinging to the ladder and the Robinsons are bemoaning the fact that Don is gone, he could have easily been seen just outside the windows because he is clinging to a rung that is near the top of the ladder. They should have shown him clinging to a bottom rung of the ladder, where he would have been out of sight.
Another wonderful episode!
One of the best of "Lost In Space". In these early episodes, we clearly see what "Lost In Space" can be when it is handled properly.
This episode features one of the best-looking alien monsters they ever had: The cyclops.
This episode has wonderful interactions between John and Will. In an attempt to fix the robot, Will activates it one night. Hearing a strange noise (that we later learn is the cyclops), the robot takes off to investigate. John catches Will just after the robot has left. The resulting lecture that night and the second lecture early the next morning are very well done.
The Robinsons are forced to head South because the temperature at the Jupiter 2 will fall far below zero. Smith refuses to leave the comfort of the Jupiter 2. The robot remains behind with Smith. In truth, this is done so that they can use footage shot during the unaired pilot which had no Dr. Smith and no robot.
During the episode, there are 2 encounters with the Cyclops. The special effects of those scenes are quite compelling. In the initial encounter, Will proves his bravery.
The episode also features superb acting by Jonathan Harris as Dr. Smith. While alone aboard the Jupiter 2 with the robot, he becomes conflicted. Realzing his now lonely vigil, he sometimes misses the Robinsons and sometimes is glad they're gone. He also alternates between being afraid to be alone and being glad that the Robinsons are no longer with him.
This episode, and the one following, "The Hungry Sea", show a change of heart on the part of Smith.
The episode ends with the Robinsons seeking shelter in a cave from a fierce lightning storm. In the cave is solid evidence of a civilization that once existed there, including heiroglyphics. It ends with Will, Penny, Don, and Judy trapped in a room as a planet-quake erupts.
Nice special effects, a great-looking cyclops, and wonderful scenes of the Trona Pinnacles are featured in this episode. That and the fact that there is a conflicted Smith makes this a superb episode.
The only flaw in this episode: John, Don, and (later) Will are all seen making an apparently harrowing climb to get to the weather station. It's obvious during parts of that climb that they could never have taken any weather station equipment on that path, so how did they get the equipment up there?
Lost in Space: Island in the Sky (1965)
I love this episode!
One of my favorite "Lost In Space" episodes. A very strong story.
The Jupiter Two is in need of repair. In order to accomplish this, they must land on a habitable planet. Unlike the Maureen Robinson we would see later on, the Maureen Robinson of this episode, like the Maureen of the first episode, thinks independently and is willing to argue with her husband to make her point. Maureen doesn't like the idea of landing on that planet one bit, and tells John this.
John wants a scout to be sent down to the planet to make sure that it really does have the breathable atmosphere that it appears to have and to make sure that the Jupiter 2 can safely land there. He wants the robot to be sent down to the planet to make that scouting report. Dr. Smith has no intention of letting the robot go, so he programs the robot to respond only to his voice. In a later "proof" that the robot is still not working properly, he asks John Robinson to issue a command to the robot. The fact that the robot doesn't respond is accepted as proof that he isn't functioning properly. It is then John Robinson who will have to rocket down to the planet below and do the scouting.
Smith then commits attempted murder by tampering with the rockets that John will use. After leaving the Jupiter 2, John cannot get the rockets to fire and crashes, apparently fatally, onto the planet.
The scenes of Dr. Smith with the robot as they hear about John's troubles over the ship's intercom are quite good. What happens after that is even more riveting.
Smith uses the robot to threaten to kill the rest of the crew unless they agree to return Smith to earth immediately. There is a dramatic scene where Don West gets a choke-hold on Smith and forces Smith into a freezing tube after he orders Smith to send the robot back to his compartment. Unknown to him, Smith has also tampered with the rockets and this forces West to make a crash landing. This crash-landing sequence is one of the most exciting sequences on television, and it is accompanied by a thrilling score from none other than John Williams.
After they find John, who explains that he survived the fall because he finally got the rockets to fire using some residual fuel, the robot follows his programming and returns to the Jupiter 2 to check on Dr. Smith. He frees him from the tube.
Smith is shocked to find that John Robinson is alive, but he hatches another plan. Whenever the robot finds one of the party alone, the robot is to kill the person but make it appear to be an accident. Only Major West would be spared because he can pilot the ship. Once they learn everything from Major West, he too would be murdered. We are thus further treated to the evil mind of the early Dr. Smith.
Unknown to everyone, including Smith, Will sneaks out at night because he thinks he can repair their planet-roving vehicle called the Chariot, which was damaged by an electrically charged tumbleweed when the Robinsons were returning to the Jupiter 2. In a momentary change of heart, Smith gets alarmed at the thought of Will being alone out there with the robot. The episode ends with the robot approaching a frightened Will with the intention of killing him.
This episode showcases what "Lost In Space" was capable of. Good special effects, exciting action, and wonderful acting, especially by the still evil and not comical Dr. Smith as portrayed by Jonathan Harris. His acting, especially when Smith is with the robot, is compelling.
Lost in Space: The Derelict (1965)
Not bad, but not up to the best of "Lost In Space" either
This is an episode that starts off awkwardly, ends up awkwardly, but has a great middle.
It begins with Maureen going out of the Jupiter Two to shoot a rocket gun to her husband, John Robinson, whose line has snapped. John was out there to fix a scanner that is atop the Jupiter 2 and got damaged. The rescue scene works wonderfully and the special effects are quite good.
Right after that, however, Don informs John that a Comet is coming and that he has 3 or 4 minutes to get back inside the Jupiter 2 so that they can escape the comet's heat. In a totally illogical and clunky scene, John says that the 3 of 4 minutes should be enough time to fix the scanner. He ignores Don's pleas that the repair can wait and risks everyone's lives, especially his and Maureen's, to fix a scanner!
After an illogical beginning, the episode improves. There is a nice scene where John catches Dr. Smith tampering with the robot and tells Smith that he's to be treated as a stowaway.
They pick up a signal from an alien space ship. Our forever logical Dr. Smith immediately concludes that this must be a spaceship operated by his "buddies", Aeolus 14-Umbra. Incidentally, Aeolus was a king of the winds in ancient Greek mythology. At the orders of the mythological Greek gods, Aeolus would unleash the terrible winds and cause devastating storms.
The Jupiter 2 gets caught in the tractor beam of the alien ship and is drawn inside. The alien spaceship is well designed, and definitely has an alien "feel" to it. This is the part of the episode that rocks. I love the set where Don and John are at some controls that reveal an intergalactic map. Very nice overhead projections of space photos.
We get treated to an eerie set when Will, who sneaks out of the Jupiter 2, encounters one of the alien beings. There is a delightful scene between Will and Dr. Smith in which Smith ruins the entire communication Will had been trying to make with the alien, thus irritating the aliens who start a pursuit.
The episode then meanders back to being illogical. The now hostile aliens begin a clunky-looking pursuit. The creatures, shaped more-or-less like bears, emit electrical discharge. In one scene, if you look closely enough, you can actually see the tennis shoes of a crewman who is pushing one of the alien "beings".
At the end, John Robinson uses his laser rifle to force open the doors of the alien ship so that they can make a last-second escape. Why a laser rifle would accomplish that is beyond me, but that's how it ends.
All-in-all, not the worst of "Lost In Space" by any means, but not the best and definitely a let-down from the first episode.
An excellent start with a few minor flaws
Let me start by saying I loved the serious episodes of "Lost In Space", and this one ranks high among the serious episodes. In this episode, Dr. Smith gets trapped aboard the Jupiter 2 while programming the robot to destroy the spaceship 8 hours after lift-off. He is trapped aboard because he has to make last-minute adjustments to make sure the robot will be able to carry out the programmed sabotage.
Let me first talk about what's right with the episode: The special effects and the acting are, in my opinion, first-rate. The story is fast-paced and interesting.
Jonathan Harris is at his evil best as the corrupt Dr. Smith whose job is to sabotage the Jupiter 2 by programming the robot to destroy it 8 hours after lift-off. He was great as a villain, even though in interviews he always said that he hated the villainous Dr. Smith and loved playing the comical Dr. Smith of the later episodes.
Dr. Smith, in my mind, has always been one of the most interesting characters in television. He starts out as an evil saboteur whose plan is to destroy the Jupiter 2 and murder the Robinsons (and Major West). He ends up being a loved coward. Jonathan Harris is responsible to changing Dr.Smith into the loved coward.
All-in-all, a great episode. The biggest problem I have (and it isn't really all that big) revolves around the security, and in particular the one guard we see. The only guard we are shown is a young, seemingly inexperienced soldier on guard duty. In a big no-no, he turns his back on Dr. Smith, thus giving Smith the opportunity to karate-chop him across the neck. It appears as though Smith has murdered the guard, but I will allow that the guard could have been merely knocked unconscious. The guard is disposed of through a waste disposal unit and gets dumped into a trash bin.
Another problem I have with the episode is near the end, when John Robinson's line snaps. There is a debate among the others as to who should go out and rescue him with a rocket gun. Don is going to do it, but John says that Don is the only one who can pilot the ship and therefore he has to stay with the ship. The resulting confusion is slow, awkward, and there's no apparent sense of urgency, even though John is drifting further and further away. For one thing, Don suggests that Dr. Smith suit up and go out there. He's the worst possible choice! Don West has the most training. The rescue wasn't all that much of a risk, and what can John really do about it if Don ignores his request and goes out there anyway? John won't risk Don, but he's more than willing to risk his wife or Judy or maybe Penny and Will! No, that doesn't work for me.
The problems are minor and easily forgiven in this otherwise superb, special-effects laden, wonderful episode that shows what Lost In Space was capable of when it was done well!
Fun movie with a few minor quirks
Basically, I love this movie. I especially like the Title Song.
In my opinion, it's a very enjoyable movie. It's a nostalgic flashback to the 60s. It's fun to see a very young Susan St. James, who later became famous in McMillan and Wife.
The movie deals with adolescent girls in a Catholic school who, at the urging of a young, liberal nun named Sister George, decide to attend a co-educational, Inter-denominational Christian Youth Rally in California. The movie never deals with the rally. It deals with the trip. During the trip, the girls deal with the usual problems of teenagers, including boys.
Sister George has several battles with the older, more stoic Mother Superior.
During the trip, the girls learn about themselves, Sister George has to come to terms with her own doubts about herself, and the Mother Superior is confronted with her own self-doubts.
The trip enlightens everyone - even Sister George. At the beginning, she is convinced that she alone is enlightened and all the other nuns are in the dark ages. She seems to take it upon herself to enlighten them. The girls at the school see her as a groovy nun. To them, she's a friend. That will hurt Sister George during the course of the trip.
The trip isn't an all-serious social study. There is a lot of comedy on the way. There are two partners in crime; girls who love Sister George are constantly causing headaches for themselves and Mother Superior. In an early scene, they blow up the lab. Sister George taught them the dangers of combining certain common household chemicals because a bomb could be the result and they tested the theory. In another scene, they collect money from the girls parties at St. Frances Academy at night. The party is complete with school-forbidden record players, speakers, and, of course, rock music. This forces Mother Superior to shut down what she calls St. Frances A Go-Go. The funniest scene is a punishment from Mother Superior for another one of the many problems the two girls cause during the trip. The punishment is for the two of them to wash the bus. The girls spot a truck wash on the property where they are and decide to use it - despite the fact that the attendant is out to lunch. One girl drives the bus while the other tries operating the machinery. Neither notice that the bus windows are all open.
The only thing that I thought was totally illogical was the scene where movie Indians attacked the bus. Why would they have attacked the bus? They knew they were doing a movie and only an idiot would know that the bus didn't belong in that scene. So why scare the girls half to death and risk your own life attacking it? The scene where the bus is stopped on the tracks with the train coming is predictable, but much more believable than the attacking Indians.
All-in-all, the movie is a fun romp through the 60s with girls who are trying to find out who they are and where they belong in the world. Oh, and there are also two nuns who discover that they too need to find out who they are and where they belong.
Dragnet 1967 (1967)
This show was solid
This show was solid, hard-hitting, and real.
I read the autobiography of Thomas Redden (I am pretty sure that was his name), the L.A. Chief Of Police when Draget was on the air. He said that Jack Webb invited him to the set one day. Webb asked Redden to let him know if anything was amiss. Redden said that he was astounded at what he saw. The set he mentioned was the set where Friday and Gannon sat at the tables, discussing cases, going over evidence, etc. Redden said that the set was 100% accurate, down to the location of the ash trays on the tables.
Jack Webb was a stickler for accuracy. That shines through in the shows. From what I've heard, the procedures shown in Dragnet are still pretty accurate, and were very accurate for those days. Dragnet hold up well, even though it's been almost 40 years since Jack Webb last appeared as Joe Friday.
Lost in Space (1965)
A superb series
This series started out as a superb, thrilling action-packed sci-fi show. Unfortunately, it had a tendency to get silly at times. Even at its worst, it was a lot of fun to watch. It's too bad that so many people only remember the silly episodes like "The Great Vegetable Rebellion" and forget the wonderful ones like "The Hungry Sea", "Island In The Sky", "There Were Giants In The Earth", "The Anti-Matter Man", "Visit To A Hostile Planet", "Return To Earth", "The Sky Is Falling" and on and on. For every lousy episode, there were two that rocked.
The cast was one-of-a-kind. Guy Williams from "Zorro" and June Lockhart from "Lassie" headed the group. Jonathan Harris' talents were never as brilliantly displayed as they were in this show. Even the kids, Bill Mumy and Angela Cartwright, were already seasoned professionals when the series started. Bill Mumy had already been in Disney movies ("Sammy The Way-Out Seal" and "For the Love of Willadean") and classic "Twilight Zone" episodes before Lost In Space. Angela Cartwright had starred as Linda Williams on "Make Room For Daddy".
No matter what episode it is, the chemistry of this cast always shined. They genuinely liked each other, and it showed. Bill Mumy and Angela Cartwright even got engaged years after the series ended. The surviving cast still gets together for lunch at 20th several times a year.
Even "Star Trek" seems to have borrowed some ideas from "Lost In Space". Remember the neck rings that choked Kirk? Check out the 1965 episode of Lost In Space called "Invaders From The Fifth Dimension". Breaking down matter and transporting it from one place to another was explored in 1965's Lost In Space episode called "The Sky Is Falling".