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Watching Lost in Space

So this is sort of funny: The kids and I have been watching Lost in Space every afternoon. Not the Netflix Lost in Space—the 1965, black-and-white original. (We have 8-year-old twin girls.)

It started by accident over the holidays: I saw that the show is available on Prime (I think through Paramount+?) and thought, “Huh, I’ve never actually seen the pilot.”

I put it on and they came over and watched it.

They thought the Robot was hilarious. “THAT DOES NOT COMPUTE!”

Then they wanted to watch a new episode every day. So we did!

They have a friend who has watched the Netflix show with her family. I was like, “Do you want to see that? It’s probably more exciting”—but no, they wanted to stick with the original.

This week, as they’ve gotten back into their school routine, they’ve sort of forgotten. Which is just as well—once we exhausted the initial batch of episodes (interpolating the original, very expensive pilot film sans the Robot and Dr. Smith) and got halfway into the first season...well it was silly and ridiculous from the start. But let’s just say it became so overtly repetitive—how every episode was about Dr. Smith doing something stupid to jeopardize the family—that even eight year-olds began to notice.

I hope this opinion is not offensive to longtime fans.

I have a nostalgic but mixed relationship with this show. I never saw it at the time (I wasn’t alive yet when it first aired), but discovered it I think when it was on cable (maybe TNT?) every morning in the 1990s.

I would usually watch it for the opening John(ny) Williams music...but would typically turn it off before too long. (I do love the first-season Williams scores, and I’m so glad we have them on the La-La Land boxed set.)

I’m sorry, I know how much affection many people have for this show, and Irwin Allen’s fantastic world of entertainment—which was many kids’ first exposure to fantasy and sci-fi—but having grown up on the relatively more serious and scientific Star Trek, I was just never into it.

But it’s been interesting to look, with fresh eyes, at that old-fashioned Irwin Allen style of sci-fi that used to dominate pop culture (against which Star Trek was a reaction).

Everything is Loud! And Important! But it makes not a lick of sense.

The kids did come to recognize the jetpack music (taken from Herrmann’s Beneath the 12-Mile Reef score):

I came to recognize Guy Williams’ New York accent (in which he drops all his Rs), like Burt Lancaster.

Well, there you go, folks! Back to business as usual at this blog.

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2 comentários

El Rob Hubbard
El Rob Hubbard
25 de jan. de 2023

It's perfect for kids; but even 8 year olds are smart enough to realize when a dead horse is being beaten... Which is why it's so painful to watch as an adult now, despite the good things in it.

There was a POC animated short which used the audio from the show that was actually pretty good - the animation made what was unwatchably silly in live-action acceptable. That would be a good way to keep the original show alive as the original audience dies out over the next decade or two.

The Netflix series was finally a decent reboot of the show for a contemporary audience with most of the camp silliness of Dr. Smith finally muted.


I really enjoy the first half of season 1 -- through the Warren Oates and Penny episodes and maybe ill throw in the Michael Rennie 2- parter -- but after that the camp and rubber suits became impossible to watch when I tried to revisit a few years back. The first year of Voyage is intriguing at times but also heads into silliness within half a season. Are there only 6 people manning this sub? Just recently got through Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants and after the pilots it became like torture. They quickly evolve into rubber suited monsters and silver skinned beings from space. And of course the obligatory lizard battle swiped from Lost World.

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