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Lost in Space,the first Season,is now out on DVD which contains all of the original 29 eps of that season,plus the pilot and a promo for the show.Approximately the first five eps of this season incorporate the pilot ep into its plot.The main difference between the pilot and the first five eps is Doctor Smith.He is not seen in the pilot (nor is the Robot),but in the season eps themselves.I suppose Fox wanted someone the Robinson family could"play" off of.They found the perfect villain in Doctor Smith,played beautifully by Jonathan Harris.His character is a sneaky,low down,egotistic,conniving coward who is always looking out for himself first and foremost.Harris just chews up the scenery each and every time he is on.An absolute delight to watch.
If you have never seen the show it is about a family that takes off from earth on their way to Alpha Centauri.They never make it there as their ship gets into trouble and they're forced to crash land on an unknown planet.The show highlights their trials and tribulations,as they eke out a living and have to deal with creatures the planet harbours or from visitors from afar.The first season really emphasizes the family bond, but as the season progresses Harris' character blossoms and an ep without him simply isn't the same.
The show was a precursor to Star Trek and in fact we see many of the things Star Trek would later bring to the table here first,such as a discipline collar/ring on the neck,a Horta like creature and the Robot even brings up the Prime Directive! In fact the first ep of the second season talks about the essence of the life force that is everywhere in the universe and that binds us all together,beating Star Wars by quite a few years!
There are many stars that appear in the first season that you will recognize such as Mercedes McCambridge,a young Kurt Russell and Warren Oates.The name of the family was of course the Robinsons,an obvious reference to the Swiss Family Robinson who also became a stranded family.One will notice that the show,even in the first season,starts to reuse footage from one ep to another.One in particular is a scene in an early ep that shows the Chariot being bombarded during a meteorite storm.Later in the season the same scene is played out once more but now it is a volcanic eruption that has the chariot in its grasp.And savvy viewers will notice in a later ep that part of the Seaview set from Voyage from the Bottom of the Sea was used to flesh out the story(also filmed on the same lot).
The show remains in the minds of the original viewers not only due to Dr.Smith and his outbursts towards the Robot like"You bumble headed booby",or "Never fear,Smith is here" or"The pain,the pain",but also the Robot's own outbursts like"Danger,danger".As the season wore on the Robot also got more cheeky with the doctor,even to the extent of laughing and making fun of him.
The wonderful catchy theme song was written by none other than John(Johnny in the titles)Williams.And speaking of music,those in the know will recognize the background music used quite frequently in these eps, from the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.This was after all 20th Century Fox and this production had full access to its vast musical library.
No,it was quite the show then,and it still has that certain something to this day.There hasn't been an ep I cannot recall seeing when originally aired in /65-/66.The show has been remastered quite well but does have some slight defects/graininess due to its age,but nothing major.The first season is in b&w until the last cliffhanger of the last ep,when it turns to colour and on into the second and third season.Oh yes those cliffhangers.Each ep ends with a heart stopping moment which freezes and invites the viewer to be there same time,same station next week to see how it turns out.You may wonder why even the last ep of this season carries that same type of ending(same time,next week,etc), as one wouldn't theoretically see how it turns out until a few months later in the fall.Well back in those days the networks would rerun their most popular shows throughout the summer.They would time the very last ep to coincide with the start of the NEW season in the fall! That way if you happened to miss the last ep during the regular season showing,you'd be able to catch it then.The old season leading naturally into the new one! Smart.
I highly recommend Lost in Space to everyone.It is a show the whole family can watch together.That's something terribly lacking in today's TV wasteland.
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on February 7, 2004
While I'm glad to finally see Lost In Space out in the DVD format, I'm disappointed in the quality of the set.
It is glaringly obvious that the no effort was made by Fox to digitally remaster the episodes from the original 35mm films for DVD presentation. They simply digitized the same source material that has been used to create the previous VHS and Laserdisc releases. And the DVD mastering house, DVCC, didn't make any efforts to clean things up either.
Another person here observed the gray bar running down the right side of the episode "The Derelict". This is the result of the episode being transferred off frame - the image was shifted to the left during transfer. A major quality control failure on the the part of DVCC.
While I wouldn't tell anyone not to buy the set, since there's no guarantee it will ever be done again, I would encourage anyone who is disappointed with the transfer quality to e-mail FOX and register your displeasure with them over the quality of the mastering done. Had these episodes been digitally remastered from the original prints, as they should have been, everyone would have been stunned at how much better these episodes would have looked.
All we can do is hope that if enough feedback is given FOX will consider digitally remastering Lost In Space and give it the presentation it deserves.
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on January 24, 2004
So as not to repeat what a lot of the other reviewers have said I will just pass comment on what has distressed me most about this release - the bits someone cut out!
On the original master tape containing the the last episode of the season (Follow The Leader) the producers finished the episode with a cliffhanger for an earlier episode (Attack of the Monster Plants) which was to be repeated the following week. On this version of 'Follow the Leader,' at the end of the episode as John and Will walk off screen the image fades to black and the sound is poorly faded out. We then get the cliffhanger from the end of the last episode of season two (The Galaxy Gift) which featured a cliffhanger for the first episode of season two (Blast Off Into Space ) which I assume would have meant a repeat of the first episode of season two the following week.
I cannot believe that somebody in charge took the decision to do this! One of the best things about buying something on DVD or VHS (or it should be) is to see it un-cut.
This edit completely ruins the mood and look of the end of the final episode. The jump from black and white to colour is very jarring but, ultimately, its that some bubble headed booby thought that it would be a good thing.
Will we get a 60 second teaser for the season three opener at the end of 'The Galaxy Gift' instead of its original cliffhanger ending? What about the last episode of season three, a trailer for the Lost In Space movie?
A reviewer here posted that 'Return From Outer Space' had a very minor cut. I have just counted two minor cuts in 'The Keeper Part Two.' At about seventeen minutes into the episode the Keeper gives Dr Smith a small ball to keep him safe from the animals. In a close up shot of the Keeper we see him about to turn around and walk away. The next shot cuts to a close up of Dr Smith holding the ball in his hand and the incidental music jumps in awkwardly. A two to three second shot has been removed. After the Keeper motions to turn away we should cut to a two shot where we see the Keeper exit the screen as the camera moves in for a close up on Dr Smith as the music starts.
At about thirty minutes into the episode we see Maureen walk up the ramp of the Keepers' ship. The music jumps awkwardly as she enters the ship. The next shot features her walking into shot as she sees the Keeper unconscious on the floor of his ship. On the version I have of that scene (taped from Channel 4 in the UK), after Maureen walks up the ramp and enters the ship we get a static shot of the Keeper unconscious on the floor of his ship. It is a good three to four seconds before Maureen walks into shot to find him.
I had not seen 'The Keeper' for many years before watching this version but, the cuts were obvious enough for me to dig out my old tapes and check.
I would love to know why these cuts were made. If the episodes used for this DVD release were from late eighties transfers, perhaps it was done to cut the episodes run time down by mere seconds (why bother with just a few seconds?) so more adverts could be crammed into the time slot.
Although Channel 4 cut one scene from 'The Derelict' and went straight into the credits just before the cliffhanger freeze frame for most of the season one episodes, they did a cracking job in comparison to this official offering from Fox who should have done a lot better.
I am sure that some of you may think my complaints silly but for me this was a chance to see and own Lost In Space uncut and on a format that would not deteriorate after repeated viewings. Sadly, this has not happened here. I can forgive the poor packaging (the front of the box looks fine but the colours and style used on the back and on the individual disk covers fails to retain the feel of the show. The pictures of the cast on each cover are the same ones used on the front of the box - just blown up (and it shows)), the static menus (you get used to them but an animated menu would have been nice) and the lack of any extras that required to much effort to produce (we have The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen and the extras on Lost In Space Forever to watch) but not the cuts and editing, however minor they might appear.
If anyone from Fox is reading this, please, please, PLEASE do not tamper with the episodes themselves otherwise, we might as well buy a load of blank tapes and record them off the TV.
More cuts...
The War of the Robots: Dr Smith drops Maureen's watch to the ground. The music jumps in awkwardly and we cut to a split second shot of Dr Smiths boot standing on the watch. We should see the watch laying on the ground just before Dr Smiths boot comes into shot to crush it. Only a cut of about one to two seconds but just enough to be noticeable.
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on January 20, 2004
I've been waiting for years for Lost In Space to come out on DVD. I am very pleased that it has finally arrived. I've watched almost all the episodes on this DVD set. The first season is pretty good. But, I must say the picture quality was a little dark. But acceptable. I love the packaging. Very user friendly. Easy to get to each disc. I didn't realize until now that there were 29 episodes to the first season. WOW!! You don't get that anymore with the shows on TV today. You're lucky if you get 24 episodes per year. Star Trek was around 26 episodes, and Stargate SG-1 is only about 22 episodes per season. So 29 is fantastic. When I watched LIS as a kid, Dr. Smith irritated me then and he still does today. At times I think his character makes the show laughable. I think the show would of been treated more serious if his character wasn't so comical. As for weather or not the 2nd or 3rd season is going to be released on DVD.....well, did you see the rating it got on Amazon. I have no doubt the rest of the seasons will be released on DVD. Soon I hope.
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on January 13, 2004
The Robinson Family (Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Marta Kristen) and Major Don West (Mark Goddard) are sent on their adventure because of concerns about over population. Their goal is to arrive at Alpha Centuri within 5 years. They'll be unaware of the passage of time as they'll be in suspended animation for the duration of the voyage and their auto pilot will steer them on their clear course.
There's one gadfly in the whole plan. Dr. Zackery Smith (Jonathan Harris)has been hired by a foreign government to sabotage the mission. He programs the Robot to go beserk 8 hours after taken off and destroy the Jupiter 2 spacecraft. Unfortunately, Smith becomes trapped on the Jupiter 2 and when the ship goes off course and arrives smack dab in the middle of a swarm of meteorites, Smith must wake up West to pilot the ship out of the bombarding chunks of rock.
Like Star Trek, Lost in Space originally was intended as a five year mission and like Star Trek it became a three year one. The shows first season has a number of stellar episodes written by some of the top television writers (some of them also science fiction writers)of their day. The pilot was originally written by Shimon Wincelberg (Star Trek)and Irwin Allen while many other episodes were written by S. Bar David (another Star Trek alum), Barney Slater, Peter Packer and Wincelberg. Directors included Nathan Juran (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad), Allen himself (only on the previously unreleased pilot episode)and other television directors of the time (including Leo Penn which, I believe, is Sean Penn's dad). The incidential music included music written for "The Day the Earth Stood Still" by Bernard Herrmann but the original theme music and music written for the first season was quite effective as well.
While the future isn't what it used to be, Lost in Space still works as fun space opera. The actors all gave solid performances with television vets Guy Williams (Zorro)and June Lockhart (Lassie)leading a great cast. While the series would later evolve into silliness, the first season had strong writing and material to work with. The first five episodes (which had elements of the original unaired pilot spread around in them)are still entertaining and can capture the imagination even if the look of the series is dated.
The picture quality varies from o.k to exceptional. Occasionally the transfers look a bit dark (particularly during the pilot episode)but part of that could be the way the show was lit, too (my memory doesn't serve me all that well here). One of the drawbacks of the high resolution aspect of DVD is the fact that you can see the wires during the weightless sequence during the first episode "The Reluctant Stowaway".
It's a pity that Fox chose not to do a commentary track for the series. Bill Mumy, Marta Kristen, Angela Cartwright and Mark Goddard probably would have been up for it. I don't know that they'd remember much specific about each episode but it would have been fascintating to hear them discuss the series. There's also got to be test footage or audition footage from the series somewhere in Fox's vault. Hopefully with future releases we'll get more extras although you'll have to allow for the silly nature of parts of season 2 & 3.
Although there's no extras really mentioned on the box or the review here, the set includes the original 29 episodes on dual layered discs with the pilot as a bonus. The pilot was, of course, eventually aired on the Sci-Fi Channel during a Lost in Space marathon but like lots of folks, I missed much of it. There's also athe original "Lost in Space" presentation from the network executives to advertisers included on the last disc.
It's a pity that a color copy of the original pilot isn't available as it would have been nice to have as an extra on this disc as well.
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on January 13, 2004
Fans of this series about a family stranded on an alien planet, coping with a different danger each week, will love this box set. It contains all 29 episodes of the first season (black and white) in one neat little package.
The first season started off very seriously. The spaceship hits a meteor storm, crashes on an uncharted planet (great effects), and fights to survive giant monsters, earthquakes, blistering heat waves, droughts, you name it. About halfway through the season, the Doctor Smith character (a stowaway spy) changed from dangerous to foppishly ridiculous and cowardly. The series tone became much lighter (probably CBS worried about the effect on children) but overall the first season is great.
I applaud Fox's decision not to colorize these episodes. Black and white gives them a moody atmosphere.
However, the unedited pilot WAS filmed in color. It was chopped up and spread out over the first five episodes. The unaired pilot DID NOT INCLUDE Smith or the ever popular robot. They were added in after the pilot was included (wisely, I might add).
This package gives you the unedited pilot, but in black and white (it would have been interesting to see it in color). A ten minute CBS promo is also included but it contains just scenes from the show (the extras are disappointing).
Fox is waiting to see how this sells, then they will go foward with season 2 (which is nowhere near as good as 1).
The screen quality of this season is excellent. Crystal clear with little grain. If you've only seen these in syndication, you'll get about 8 minutes of additional scenes per episode you haven't seen due to broadcast channels cutting out footage to add extra commercials!
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on November 30, 2003
It has become common for TV programs to be packaged on DVD by complete seasons. To maximize sales, the focus has been mainly on programs produced in the last ten years, mostly aimed at a younger market. Programs like The X Files, Buffy, Friends, 24, The Sopranos, Sex and the City and Alias, are just a few examples of contemporary series with most of their episodes already available on DVD.
The reasons for this emphasis are of course economic, but it is nice that the powers that be, are beginning to give some neglected classic TV programs from the 60's, similar comprehensive treatment. Recently we have seen The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Monkees issued in complete season sets. Green Acres, and Gilligan's Island are also scheduled for similar release soon. Fans of this era, hope that more of our favorites will be appearing on DVD in the near future.
Happily for the fans of Lost in Space, the wait is over, at least for season one. Like many of Irwin Allen's TV programs, this one has a huge following of intensely dedicated fans who love following the adventures of the Robinson family and crew of the Jupiter 2.
More a fantasy adventure, than a program based on hard science, Lost in Space is escapist fun, characterized by strong family values. Other strengths are the marvelous cast, well-defined characters with broad appeal, and those outrageous monsters and special effects. Billy Mumy is charming as the spunky Will Robinson. The Robot, was a groundbreaking TV character, and Jonathan Harris was fantastically unique as Dr. Smith, the man who brought the word "ninny" to prime time.
Because cable networks like Nick at Night, and TV Land provide so much programming from the 60's and 70's, there may be some resistance to issuing programs from this era on DVD. If you want to see more of Lost in Space on DVD, getting this set is a must. Supporting classic TV series in general and demonstrating profit potential, may lead to more programs from this era being released on DVD. We can but hope.
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on March 25, 2004
[...] I've owned this set since a week after it's release.I simply love it.In fact Im going to go out and by Gilligan's Island 1st season set.The similarities are almost spooky. 3 seasons,the 1st one in B&W,7 people each; 4 men,three women.Niether group gets home. Well, actually the crew of the jupiter 2 does get home in various situations but never in a way that allows them to stay. Don't get me wrong I'm not accusing L I S of being a rip-off.I only mentioned fun coincidences.I have fond memories of when these shows ran back to back in syndication on a local NY station then known as WNEW 5.I have no problems with the b&w presentation because that's the way it was and should be. But the color cover could mislead the potential new fan and anger them into a negative opinion. I HOPE SEASON 2 IS RELEASED IN JUNE AND SEASON 3 IN DECEMBER.OF 2004.
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on February 27, 2004
I hadn't seen this show since it's original run. When I was a kid, this was my favorite show of all and I never missed an episode. I also had a number of the toys that were marketed at the time (robot, switch-n-go set, etc...). So when I saw that this was available on dvd, I ran out and bought it. I found the video quality to be just fine, despite some of the previous complaints I'd read. I have to admit though, that as an adult, I found the episodes rather infantile and annoying. However, I still watched every episode - three times! I'll probably also buy any future seasons that are released too.
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on February 21, 2004
During the cliffhanger of part one of "The Keeper" I saw something you could only catch by watching in slow motion. When the Keeper's "animals" are escaping from his ship, you can catch a glimpse of the pony that appears earlier in the episode. This occurs after a reaction shot of Smith and the robot. It looks as though the camera tilted up after the pony pass to include a shot of more monsters (or perhaps the same ones again) exiting the Keeper's ship. Consider it a DVD extra.
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