The Good

The Bad

Like many of the DVD’s I am given by the lords of Movieweb to review, Lost In Space: Season Three -Volume One was quite a surprise. I didn’t have any expectations. I was just hoping not to be bored.

Well, I was very much impressed by not only this shows execution but also by the way the stories were told. On the surface, this show is about a space colony family, struggling to survive when their ship is thrown off course. It is 1997, earth is over populated, so Professor John Robinson volunteers his family to venture to the third planet in the Alpha Centauri so that other earth people can settle there. The ship is thrown off course when Dr. Smith sabotages the mission but is now trapped himself.

Okay, this may sound simple enough, but it’s really an intriguing idea. The fact that we are only 8 years removed from that time in the show(and our planet is becoming quite overpopulated) certainly is enough to give us pause. However within this, there are episodes where the crew of Jupiter-2(the Robinson’s ship) in their dealings with cyborg-creating machines, earthlings(when they return to earth via a “time warp”), alien bank robbers, etc... have cause to raise many different social themes and discussions all within the confines of the show. At the heart of it though, is the idea that we are all worthy of being in this Universe, and in order for us to survive we are going to have to work together. In some ways, this show is part Norman Lear/Stanley Kubrick.

While the look of this show reminds me quite heavily of Disney’s 1979 The Black Hole, the general idea of our human species moving toward something...to outer space...is quite heartening. There is so much forward thinking that is happening within the writing of these episodes. Such a progressive mentality that really seems to speak to what will be needed if we humans are too take the plunge into the next frontier.

Okay, I know that this is just a TV show and yes it does look very dated. However, the topics and themes, and the overall familial aspect is not something that can be ignored. John Robinson’s family is normal, nuclear and yet it’s not. They are on a space mission. There is a robot who to my thinking replaces a pet. And then there’s Dr. Smith, who inspite of himself, and his many misdeeds, is an elder, grandfather figure of the group. Sadly, this is my first viewing and my only basis of judgement is Lost In Space: Season Three -Volume One. I haven’t seen any of the other seasons. So I may be missing something here. Either way, this what my initial impression is based on my screening of these DVDs.

This is a very well put together box set that seems to fall right in line with everything this show was about.

Features

Lost In Space Memories

This is a very well put together piece with 20 nostalgic video clips, broken up by an interstitial from the show. There are looks back like references within the show to Irwin Allen who created it, some bloopers, problems with equalizing the voice of the robot(it would change from show to show!) and a bunch of other memories from people like Bill Mumy(Will Robinson) and June Lockhart who played (Penny Robinson). All in all this is a high quality piece. It doesn’t seem like it was thrown on here as an afterthought. Everything about it was top notch. It was great to hear from Jonathan Harris (Dr. Smith) who talked about his character and the effect it had on the viewers who watched him, and who, to this day, still send him letters. The actors also talk some about their favorite episodes. This is always interesting because it seems like they always pick episodes that make them stretch. That take them out of the comfort zone of their characters. It even ends with a little skit between Will Robinson, Dr. Smith and B-9 that is done just as well now as it was then. A nice collection of memories that should make longtime fans smile.

3rd Season Network Bumpers, Tags & Program Interstitials

Part of me wonders why these small clips are on here. Not that they are bad but it just seems like a lot of work for not a whole lot of pay off. These tags and bumpers are all nice to look at, but they are so short that it just seems like a lot editing and encoding work for something that may have been best left on the cutting room shelf. This is merely just my opinion but it isn’t really something the box set needed and that is why it seems it was left off the “extras” description on the back.

Video

Full Frame Aspect Ratio 1.33:1. With a look much like Wonder Woman(and it’s a bit odd because the dates of creation of both box sets are nearly 10 years apart), I found that I could very easily get “in to” this show. I am constantly amazed at how much the quality of these shows have been preserved. Sure, there is a campiness to Lost In Space: Season Three - Volume One, but that is to be expected. In many ways I think this show looks better then the trailer I saw for Lost In Space the movie. Note the wording, “the trailer I saw”. I never did see the movie because it just didn’t look good. However, there is something about this show and the look of that time, knowing that the effects were limited that I think adds a lot to the overall tone and mood of what’s up on screen. I really think that there was an earnestness to how this show was created (and of how similar sci-fi shows of that time look), that show the spirit of wanting to move beyond our surroundings. Of venturing where man and women had never been before. The look of this DVD captures that.

Audio

Dolby Digital Soundtracks contain up to 5.1 channels of discrete audio. Dolby Surround soundtracks contain up to 4 channels of encoded audio. Playback from 2-channel DVD outputs is compatible with stereo and Dolby Pro Logic reproduction. English Mono, Spanish Mono, French Mono. The discs are also subtitled and captioned. The audio is quite good. On a few of the shows I watched it with both the subtitles and audio playing, just too see if it made things easier to follow, but I found the difference to be negligible. In some ways, I think that the sound is crisper on these older shows then it is on the newer ones. I don’t know, what I found is that I could understand the goals and operations of the Jupiter 2 Crew with a great deal of ease. Sometimes I get lost in shows like this, but I found that the audio was so clear, and done in such away that there wasn’t a lot extraneous sounds to compete with my processing of information. I also think that me being practically deaf in one ear might account for why I get so easily confused sometimes. I also appreciate how many of the scenes are shot with a deep focus photography, that gives the show a very theatrical, stage play-like quality. The fact that the audio sounds as good as it does is another commendable feat from one TV’s pioneering shows.

Package

This is awesome. Very appropriate and very eye-catching. The front front cover shows the entire cast(yes, including the lovable B-9) in a somewhat muted color scheme of purple and green. It looks very kitschy and dated but I think that’s the point. Above the cast, is the trusty Lost in Space font. On the back is a brief description of the show, some pictures(that will be instant hits with fans) and a listing of the special feature that comes with this boxset. Inside, the disks are neatly arranged in 4 separate cases, with cast members adorning each cover. On the back are small, succinct descriptions of all the episodes on the discs and inside one can find track listings(which I never knew, but I guess are pretty standard on DVD box set's for TV). It’s really intriguing to look at all the old pictures of Dr. Smith, Professor John Robinson and clan, as well the hairy mutants, the J-5(a weird looking boy even today!) and others. This packaging is pitch perfect and keeps very much in line with the look and feel of the show.

Final Word

I found this show to be a lot more serious then I originally thought it was. I have heard some rumblings that the Second Season of Lost In Space was more on the “ridiculous” side. Having not seen that season I can’t speak to that, but I will say that I was quite impressed with the overall look and feel of Lost In Space: Season Three - Volume One. I didn’t know what to expect when I was given this boxset to review. As I have stated earlier, I wasn’t expecting much. I think that this show really delivers and in many ways reminded me of a sci-fi, in space version of The Twilight Zone. There is so much about this show that seems to speak to the human condition. That addresses our social situation and conditions that I feel to write about this show is pure fun, or overdone is doing it a great disservice.

At the end of the day, Lost In Space: Season Three -Volume One, is a very human take on the idea of family. It isn’t preachy and it isn’t out to convert anyone. It simply wants to entertain while getting us to think. In many ways, the points it was trying to make are universal and timeless. In that regard, this show more then serves it’s primary function.

A GREAT blast from the past!

Lost in Space was released .