in Space: The Complete First Season
(2004) - CBS/20th Century Fox (Fox)
by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B/B-
Specs and Features
1,421 mins (29 episodes at approx. 49 mins each), NR, full frame
(1.33:1), B&W, 7 SS/DL discs, 1 SS/SL disc, individual Nexpak "thin"
cases with slip case, un-aired pilot episode (No
Place to Hide), CBS Network
Pitch featurette, program-themed menu screens, languages:
English and Spanish (DD 1.0 mono), subtitles: English and Spanish,
"Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!"
Back in the early Seventies, when I was young, foolish and still
fond of footsie pajamas, an hour or two of afternoon TV was just
what the doctor ordered after a tough day of pre-school or ruling
the sidewalks on my Big Wheel. My feverish pre-pubescent mind was
just starting to plug into the glorious wonders of television, which
at my house at the time was still a little 15-inch box with rabbit
ears and a click dial, that tuned in more B&W snow than
programming. Still, if I squinted enough, and sat in just the right
part of the room, there were a handful of classic Sci-Fi series that
fueled my imagination every weekday afternoon. There was Star
Trek, of course, The
Adventures of Superman and Voyage
to the Bottom of the Sea. Later there was Space:
1999 and Battlestar Galactica.
But arguably the most kitchy and fun of them all was the original
Lost in Space.
You know, I almost said Far Out Space
Nuts, Quark or Salvage
1 instead, but a guy's gotta draw a line somewhere.
To me, Lost in Space offered
a look at the most awesome retro-future you could ask for. Creator
Irwin Allen's vision of 1997 was of a world where your whole family
could zip into silver suits and pile into the flying saucer for a
quick jaunt to Alpha Centauri. Yeah, who didn't want to be in young
Will Robinson's space boots, a certified ultra-genius with a trusty
B-9 robot at your personal beck and call. Okay, so the flying saucer
didn't actually work very well, and thanks to that rat bastard Dr.
Smith the Robinson family never really quite got as far as Alpha
Centauri. But still... a cool future nonetheless.
Led by the intrepid Professor John Robinson (played by Guy Williams
of classic Zorro fame) and his
charming wife Maureen (Lassie's
June Lockhart), the Robinson family struggled to survive on all
manner of backwater planets, against an onslaught of strange aliens
and super-beings. Their trusty pilot, Major Don West, did his level
best to help out (when he wasn't ogling the Prof's sex-pot daughter
Judy), as did the B-9 (I had many a fantasy involving her when I was
little - Judy, that is... not the B-9). Young Will (Billy Mumy)
saved the day plenty and the other Robinson offspring, Penny, was...
well, also there. But it was the scheming stowaway Dr. Smith who
stole every episode, as played by Jonathan Harris in a role that
would define his career. And now, at long last, all 29 of those
first season episodes can be seen on DVD in all their sparkling,
black and white glory.
Video-wise, you really couldn't ask for better from these DVDs. The
episodes look better than you've probably ever seen them before, in
their original B&W, full frame format. Contrast is fairly
decent, and the film looks surprisingly clean. You won't see too
many bits of dust and dirt, although they are there if you look.
There's moderate grain visible, sometimes more, sometimes less
depending on the episode. But by and large, I'm pleased with the
video quality of these discs.
The audio side of things is nothing special by modern TV or movie
standards, but these episodes sound exactly as good as you'd hope
(and exactly as mono as you remember them). You get 1.0 Dolby
Digital from the center channel. Bam! The original English if you
speak it, or dubbed Spanish for everyone else... who speaks Spanish.
Sadly, you don't get a lot in the way of extras on these DVDs, but
what you do get is pretty cool. Included on Disc Eight of the set is
the original, un-aired pilot episode of Lost
in Space, called No Place to
Hide. It's similar in many respects to the first few
shows that finally aired, except that there was no B-9 robot and no
Dr. Smith. Yeah, I know. Can you imagine this show with no B-9 robot
and no Dr. Smith? Well, it almost happened and here's the proof. You
also get a short promotional featurette that CBS created back in the
day to sell TV advertisers on the series. It's pretty hilarious
actually. I would have loved it if Fox had tapped Billy Mumy to do
an audio commentary or something, but the greedy little bastard
probably wanted too much money. I'm kidding - I just made that up. I
have no idea if they approached him, or how much money he might have
wanted. I'm sure he's a really, really nice guy. After all, he wrote
"Fishheads," didn't he? Can't be all bad. Anyway, maybe
you guys at Fox could add that to a wish list for Lost
in Space: The Complete Second Season.
What Gen-X male doesn't love Lost in
Space? Seriously, if you're over the age of thirty and
you have even one Star Trek
DVD on your video shelf, you've gotta have Lost
in Space too just for the nostalgia factor. Now if we
could just get Far Out Space Nuts,
Quark or Salvage
1 on DVD. Or Space Academy.
Or Jason of Star Command. Or
Ark II... Voyage
to the Bottom of the Sea... Logan's
Run... Buck Rodgers in the
25th Century. Damn, there's a LOT of old Sci-Fi TV shows
left to mine for DVD, isn't there? Well, here's one down at least.