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LOST IN SPACE:
THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

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"Never fear, Smith is here!" Now there is one of the most quotable lines from the classic television series, which best describes the sentiment behind the arrival of LOST IN SPACE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($80) on DVD. If you are like, me and grew up when LOST IN SPACE either first aired, or went into syndication, then you are amongst the generation that has been eagerly anticipating the show’s arrival on little digital discs. LOST IN SPACE was a fun show for a kid, because it depicted a "regular" family living on a space ship; having adventures in outer space, plus they had robot that issued a "warning" every time a dangerous alien was approaching. Of course, as I grew older, I came to recognize the campy excesses of the show- but that only made me appreciate it even more, especially the overripe performances of Jonathan Harris, who turned the initially villainous and despicable character of Dr. Zachary Smith into an intergalactic comic treasure. Now, LOST IN SPACE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON comes to DVD in an eight-disc set that feature twenty-nine episodes that aired in year one.

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Disc one contains the episodes The Reluctant Stowaway, The Derelict, Island In The Sky and There Were Giants In The Earth. The Reluctant Stowaway is set in 1997 and introduces the show’s premise. Due to the overpopulation of the Earth, an American family named Robinson has been selected for the first mission to colonize a habitable planet orbiting Alpha Centauri. With competing factions on Earth vying to reach the new world, Dr. Smith is induced to sabotaging the environmental control robot- thus destroying the Jupiter 2 spacecraft, while in flight. However, Dr. Smith’s plans go awry, with the saboteur accidentally becoming a reluctant stowaway on the Jupiter 2- with his added weight throwing the craft off course and causing it to become hopelessly lost in space. The Derelict opens with Professor John Robinson (Guy Williams) being rescued from a space walk by his wife Maureen (June Lockhart), then the Jupiter 2 is drawn inside another spacecraft, where Professor Robinson, pilot Major Don West and Dr. Smith investigate the interior of the craft. Island In The Sky turns out to be the planet where the Space Family Robinson sets to make much-needed repairs. There Were Giants In The Earth shows the new planet to be inhospitable in regards to its constantly changing climate and strange inhabitants.

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Disc two contains the episodes The Hungry Sea, Welcome Stranger, My Friend, Mr. Nobody and Invaders From The Fifth Dimension. In The Hungry Sea, the Robinsons try to return to the recently abandoned Jupiter 2, but now have to cross a formerly frozen inland sea. Welcome Stranger has the Robinsons encounter another traveler from Earth, who could possibly take children Will (Bill Mumy) and Penny (Penny) back home. My Friend, Mr. Nobody is Penny’s imaginary friend, who turns out to be not so imaginary and somewhat dangerous. Invaders From The Fifth Dimension want to use Dr. Smith’s brain to replace their burnt out computer (most likely a downgrade).

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Disc three contains the episodes The Oasis, The Sky Is Falling, Wish Upon A Star and The Raft. The Oasis finds Dr. Smith eating alien fruit and growing to enormous proportions. The Sky Is Falling has the Robinsons encounter an alien family of space explorers, but can’t understand their language. Wish Upon A Star has Dr. Smith discover an alien device that materializes anything one could wish for, and he uses it to worm his way back into the good graces of the Robinson clan. The Raft is a small spacecraft constructed to take two people back to Earth, however Dr. Smith hijacks the ship, but doesn’t land where he expects to.

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Disc four contains the episodes One Of Our Dogs Is Missing, Attack Of The Monster Plants, Return From Outer Space and The Keeper - Part 1. One Of Our Dogs Is Missing has the Robinsons discover a suspended animation test dog, which is blamed for general mischief around the camp, until the real culprit shows its face. Attack Of The Monster Plants finds Judy Robinson (Marta Kristen) being duplicated by the plant life that wants to devour the Jupiter 2 fuel supply. Return From Outer Space has Will discover a matter transporter that returns him to Earth, but no one there is willing to believe who he really is. The Keeper - Part 1 features guest star Michael Rennie as a zookeeper, who wants to add Will and Penny to his collection.

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Disc five contains the episodes The Keeper - Part 2, The Sky Pirate, Ghost In Space and The War Of The Robots. The Keeper - Part 2 finds the planet overrun by the dangerous creatures set loose by Dr. Smith and the robot, while the Keeper is still eager to acquire the Robinson children. The Sky Pirate has Will befriend a buccaneer that escaped his alien captors after two centuries. Ghost In Space finds Dr. Smith believing that a non-corporeal alien presence is really the ghost of his long dead uncle. War Of The Robots has the Robinsons discover an alien robot (Robby of FORBIDDEN PLANET fame), which they regret repairing, when it tries to take over the Jupiter 2 and turn them into slaves.

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Disc six contains the episodes The Magic Mirror, The Challenge, The Space Trader and His Majesty Smith. The Magic Mirror has Penny discover a mirror that transports her to a strange dimension inhabited by a lonely boy wanting companionship. The Challenge features Michael Ansara and Kurt Russell in a story of Professor Robinson and Will finding themselves unwilling participants in an alien test that becomes a battle to the death. The Space Trader deals with the Robinson’s food supply being wiped out, and Dr. Smith trading away the robot for additional provisions. In His Majesty Smith, the good doctor becomes the ruler of a group of aliens that intend to make him a human sacrifice.

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Disc seven contains the episodes The Space Croppers, All That Glitters, The Lost Civilization and A Change Of Space. The Space Croppers features the arrival of some space hillbillies, who may provide Dr. Smith with a way back to Earth. All That Glitters has Dr. Smith discover a device that gives him the Midas touch, thus allowing him to turn anything he touches to platinum. The Lost Civilization is what the Robinsons discover beneath the surface of the planet. A Change Of Space has Will test-drive a spaceship that enhances his intelligence; when Dr. Smith takes the ship out for a spin, he grows considerably older.

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Disc eight contains the episodes Follow The Leader, plus the unaired pilot episode No Place To Hide. Follow The Leader finds Professor Robinson being knocked unconscious and an alien presence taking control of his body, in an effort for the alien to return to its own planet. No Place To Hide offers up a very similar premise for the LOST IN SPACE television series, as was depicted in The Reluctant Stowaway. However, there are no Dr. Smith or robot characters in this version of the story. Instead, the Space Family Robinson leaves Earth and their spaceship is thrown off course by asteroids, which leads to their crash-landing on a remote planet.

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20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made all of the episodes that comprise LOST IN SPACE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in their proper full screen aspect ratios. For the most part, the black and white transfers are very good, with only minor inconsistencies. However, for some reason, the episode The Derelict appears softer than the rest in the set, plus it also has some contrast problems. The other episodes appear pretty crisp and provide a good level of detail. Blacks are deep, whites are clean and the contrast is generally very good. The film elements display only minor blemishes and a bit of grain. Digital compression artifacts are not a problem, but in a couple of places, I did notice some video noise that could be described as a "screen door" effect. The Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks for the episodes are very good. There are the expected limitations in fidelity, but the music still manages to sound just fine with a bit of amplification. Dialogue is always clean and intelligible. Spanish language tracks are also provided, as are English and Spanish subtitles. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode/scene selection and set up features. Extras are limited to the unaired pilot and a five-minute network promo film for the series.

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I have to say that I am amongst those who will be absolutely delighted by the arrival of LOST IN SPACE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON on DVD. Fox has done a really good job with the presentations, giving fans very little to complain about. If you are a not a bubble-headed booby, then you will want to add this set to your collection. Recommended. P.S. Let us hope for the swift arrival of seasons two and three of LOST IN SPACE on DVD.

 

LOST IN SPACE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON 


Lost in Space - The Complete First Season (1965)

 


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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