June 26, 2004

UNLIKE JAMES LILEKS, I don't get around to watching DVDs as soon as I buy them. But I ordered the complete Lost in Space first season on DVD and managed to watch several episodes today while puttering around the house. I watched the reruns as a kid, but what I'd forgotten was the dark, Forbidden Planet ambiance of the early episodes. I'd also forgotten the meta-plot from the first episode, where the Robinson family is just the vanguard of 10 million American families heading to Alpha Centauri as part of an effort to remedy overpopulation.

The shows are better than I remembered, and there are some interesting bits -- such as the one in episode 3 where Dr. Robinson (Guy Williams) thanks Divine Providence for their survival, after the fashion of old-time explorers. Surely this was the last possible cultural moment for something like that on network TV.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

I just finished watching this complete set, an episode per day for the last month. I've been a fan of the series for over 30 years and have never seen it look so well. The DVD release further deepened my fondness and respect for the series. Be prepared for a pleasant surprise with the cliffhanger at the end of the last episode of the first season.

By the way, the fellow in that alien cyclops suit was Lamar Lundy, 1/4 of the LA Rams' "Fearsome Foursome" of the 1960's.

Rumor has it that 20th Century Fox will release the other seasons on DVD, as well as its sister series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.