MUSIC-HERMAN STEIN--an excellent score
NARRATION: Last week, John Robinson, father of the first family to attempt colonization of outer space, found himself helplessly adrift when his line snapped while trying to repair navigational equipment. It is now shortly thereafter, as Maureen Robinson desperately tries to reach her husband before he drifts further off into the trackless void of outer space.
NOTE: The cartoon credits and theme song appear before the teaser.
TEASER-not fully recapped, different edit of scenes to go over what happened to John.
Maureen rewinds the line and fires it again. John gets it this time. Penny's pigtail keeps hitting Will in the eye as she looks back to Don and then back out the window. Don and Judy get an alarm that tells them a comet is coming and can shrivel them even if it is 5 thousand miles away (INACCURATE DATA: Comets are balls of ice--maybe the friction? Doubt it.). Don can't alter their flight path since Judy's parents--John and Maureen are outside--their lines would break (later in the third season, Don does do this while John is spacewalking--perhaps they found some new line that could prevent breaking--although Will thought in CONDEMNED OF SPACE that dad's tie line would break too). For a few moments, there is no music, just a quiet space scene as Don and John talk. John wants to fix the NGS scanner and has 3 minutes before the comet is too close. Don tells him, "No, leave that for later." John says, "No, now." He goes up onto the roof and begins work on the scanner. Smith, below deck, fools with the Robot and tells him to obey his voice orders only. Finished, John comes down from the roof and joins his wife on a space ramp that juts out of the doorway. The comet descends (looking a great deal like a supernova or a sun) and the door won't open: the heat has expanded the metal and jammed it. Don tries to open it from inside the airlock. John and Maureen bang. They both order Don to get the ship out of here. "You don't really expect me to do that." The children watch from the airlock window. Smith comes up, complaining about the comfort control system. Judy tells him, "Mother and dad are still trapped out there and the comet's getting closer." Will suggests the big fire extinguisher from below to blow open the hatch, cooling it. Don tells Will to tell Dr. Smith to get it from below level. He comes in as Will sends Smith down, "You heard him." Penny asks Will if he thinks they are still alive. Will says, "Sure, Penny, they've got to be." John and Maureen continue to bang until they sink down to the ramp, unconscious. The comet glistens toward them all.
Outside we a huge building which looks like a hospital but is Alpha Control. We hear quiet organ music used many times later. A news reporter, Don Forbes, from THE RELUCTANT STOWAWAY, reports this: "As of this moment, 18 hundred hours October 21st 1997, all efforts to restore communication with Jupiter II and America's first space family have been unsuccessful. The last report from the Jupiter II's automatic systems before all communication ceased indicate that extensive damage may have been caused by premature activation of the spaceship's environmental control robot. It is now believed that the tragic fate of the Jupiter II and its occupants may well be the result of sabotage on the part of an agent from a foreign power.
Judy goes down the ladder to see what is keeping Smith (the music used here was once in a Western movie which had music by Herman Stein--possibly called BLOOD ON THE ARROW or BLOOD ON THE MOON). The music, in parts--especially when John first catches the line--and also when Maureen and John are finally brought inside) also sounds a great deal like Richard LaSalle music from earlier Westerns and used later in LAND OF THE GIANTS's second season. Judy and Smith come up on the elevator. Don uses the fire extinguisher on the door. Penny moves to the round porthole, "They're not moving." Will feels the heat--the comet's getting closer. Judy says, "Hurry, Don, hurry!" Right here is another Richard LaSalle type music burst. Don opens the door and starts pulling the two in. Smith says he hopes the children are more familiar with the ship's navigation than he in case the heat affects their pilot--Major West. Will snaps at him, "Do you always have to say things like that!" Don closes the door and opens the airlock door. The others help get Maureen's helmet off with John awake fully now. "Don, get us out of here!" He wakes Maureen up and she sees the three kids hovering over her, smiling. She asks, "Was I really out there?" Duh. John holds her, "You really were, darling." Jupiter II flies. Smith, below deck again, gives orders to the Robot and tests his reactions. "Excellent." Robot says, "That does not compute." Smith says, "Very good. With a bit more homework we can take over this whole expedition and return to our native soil." He makes the Robot crush a metal canister in one claw. Smith laughs, "Beautiful."
Jupiter II flies across what looks like Andromeda. John writes in his log book (way before Capt Kirk!!!). Maureen, behind him on the bed, reads a book.
JOHN'S LOG: October 21st, in the Earth year nineteen hundred and ninety seven, somewhere in space. We've come to the end of the first 24 hours of the voyage, all are in good health, including our increasingly annoying extra passenger, Dr. Smith. As yet we have no inkling of our true position. The period during which we were in hyperdrive, beyond the speed of light could have carried us through space and time to almost any part of the galaxy. Now as Major West continues to search for some clue to our present location, there is little for any of us to do but rest and wait and hope.
Judy and Don are in the Control Room. She couldn't sleep until they know something. Don says, "Then you're going to be getting pretty sleepy." Judy says, "That could almost be the Great Galaxy of Andromeda." Don agrees but says, "From where we sit it could be almost anything." Judy comments that at school it was so easy to rattle off the galaxies. Don asks, "Do you want to go home, Judy?" Judy says, "I never did like school." We hear that patented sad music which is used to greater extent in WELCOME STRANGER and was later used in the early BATTLESTAR GALACTICA episodes with Serena and her sad plight with Boxey. John checks on Penny who is listening to Shakespeare in bed before turning in. He then goes to Will who is in his T-shirt. He has figured the position of Alpha Centauri if it is the same velocity as their own (?). Don should be picking up a signal about now (what? Thank you Peter Packer). John opens the Doctor's door and takes the Robot parts from him. Smith lies--he planned a surprise--to present the Robot in full working order. John calls what he is doing tampering. Smith says, "I never tamper, uh, Dr. Robinson." He creates pathways in cybernetics. John says, "Now you listen to me, Dr. Smith. How you came to be on this ship when we took off doesn't really matter right now (yes it does you moron!), as far as I'm concerned you're a stowaway, you're going to treated as such." He goes out.
NOTE: Up to now, Smith has worn his white shirt with tie and his dress pants. His uniform jacket was discarded in act two of the first episode. In the next scene he is seen finishing his putting on of the gray jumpsuit. He will wear this until the end of the third act of THERE WERE GIANTS IN THE EARTH. Perhaps he hid it in the spaceship but how it came to be on the ship is not discussed nor questioned by the Robinsons.
John, Maureen, and Penny hear a strange sound that fills the ship. They go up to the Control Room where Judy, Will, and Don are. All are still in their silver space suits, Will and Penny having put their suits back on. Don tried to get a fix on Alpha Centauri but picked this alien signal up instead. Don fires a 3 second boost. Smith putting on his gray overalls--a jumpsuit. He overhears their talking, and tries calling Aelous 14 Umbra--thinking that this signal is the enemy country he is working for. The radio burst hurts his ears (the first real sign of silliness yet to come in every later episode of season two and three). John tells Don to move in closer and get around the other side. Don says, "If you insist." John wonders where his scientific curiosity is--Don says, "All in one basket, Alpha Centauri." The spectrometer is baffled by the alien alloy. Judy thinks it is a ghostship. Maureen says, "If it was in the path of that comet, the heat may have destroyed whatever life there was on board." John is thinking about the fuel, the payload, the power unit, and guidance system which can help them. Don says, "Yea or it also could be manned by an alien crew." Don yells when it seems they are going to collide. John sends the girls and Will to the back of the deck (like that will help!). The alien ship, gigantic, opens up one of its arms and swallows the Jupiter II into darkness. The Jupiter II landing legs come out and it touches down, its lights on. The effects of this
A burst of grandiose music here is used in A VISIT TO A HOSTILE PLANET. We also get to see a full sized Jupiter II mock up with the people by the window. This alien ship may have been preset to swallow visitors. John and Don go out and want Smith with them. Will goes to get Smith. John tells about the Doctor's monkeying around with Robot equipment. Will finds Smith up on the Robot. The Robot's head sensors turn and have done so in THE RELUCTANT STOWAWAY. They will continue to rotate like this until WELCOME STRANGER where they just stop forever. In WELCOME STRANGER and onward, they can still slide around his head though, only not rotate individually. Smith asks if there are any casualties. Will frowns, "No." Smith orders the Robot forward and it moves. Don and John check the atmosphere of the alien vehicle (zenith .86, argon 1.4, oxygen 5.4 and low). The ship has somehow reinstated an atmosphere. Will and Smith come up. Maureen tells Smith, "We're almost certain that this ship is not from our planet." Smith ask, "Is that what you think?" Don asks, "Don't you?" Smith has to agree with them if they think that. John and Don want to go out and want Smith to come with them. John tells Will he cannot come along. Smith has the Robot stand guard. Maureen tells Will, "We do need a man here while they're gone." Oh boy. With flashlights, John, Don, and Smith descend the steps on the legs of the Jupiter II and see webs, strands hanging from the ceiling, and crystals glowing. The strands and crystals might be a crystalline power source. "A million years ahead of us," John claims.
They find a control unit (a scillation detector?). John says, "Well if those are orbits, there's a whole lot of traffic out there."
Smith decides to go off, "Never fear," he says when Don tells him not to get lost. Don worries about him going off alone. John says, "He can't do any harm here." Another dumb move by Professor John Dopeyson. Don is just as stupid, "That's true, I guess."
Jupiter II lower deck: Will talks to the Robot who tells him, "That does not compute." Robot blocks Will from going down the hatch to the leg (it is situated near the galley). Will imitates Smith's voice and gets the Robot to let him down. He goes out with a flashlight. There are strange sounds and echoes. The music is dreamy and very good. John and Don figure what they are seeing is a huge road map of this sector of the galaxy. Planets seem to be classified by relative mass--"a good thing to know in case we ever had to settle down somewhere," John adds. Will comes upon a cushioned bubble like pad section, filled with the pads. He disturbs one of them and a large blob-like round alien growth being rises up from the pad. Will tries to communicate, "I'm from the Jupiter II spaceship, planet Earth." The thing has an eye like section which bursts with electrical energy. "Would you let our ship out of here?" Smith comes upon Will who stops him from shooting the alien, "They're not like us but maybe they are." Smith says, "Very well my boy, see what you can do."
Control Room--Judy paces; Maureen tells Penny to go below to finish a game of chess with Will--she might even beat him. Penny says, "Wanna bet?" Penny finds Will gone and the Robot moved and yells up for mom to come down quickly. Judy and Maureen come down. Judy says, "Will thinks he's too big to be left out of anything." Maureen feels he must be disciplined for disobedience. Smith tries to make the alien being understand him. Will interrupts, "We don't want to go back to Earth, Dr. Smith, we want to go to Alpha Centauri." Smith frowns, "You do, not I." Will tells Smith the alien was cooperative before he got here. Will starts again, "My parents are on the Jupiter II spaceship and my sisters with Major West--he's our pilot and Dr. Smith, here, well, he just seemed to be aboard when we lifted off." Smith tells him to ask him something sensible. Will yells at Smith, then tries again, "We are friendly. We're from the planet Earth--we are on our way to Alpha Centauri..." Smith interrupts again, "No, no, no, back to Earth!" Will tells Smith he doesn't read him no matter what he says. Smith says, "He'll read this." He fires the laser pistol he has into the creature and a fire starts on the creature. Will tugs on Smith's arm, "You've ruined everything! Why did you do that! They're much bigger than we are. Look they're coming!" John finds the control that is the key. They hear Will call for dad and run to find him. The music here is excellent and different from anything on LOST IN SPACE. John and Don arrive to see Will and Smith backing away from rows of creatures. John yells, "Everybody, back to the ship!" They run, pursued by rows of the monster blobs which spark with electric power. At the ship, John orders Don, "Get the ship ready for lift off, I'm gonna blast our way out!" John fires a hole in the ship, then shoots the lead creature, making two monsters now on fire. Don throws out a forcefield that stops the creatures. NOTE: This forcefield creates a loud sound effect whine and is not like the forcefield we will see later in THERE WERE GIANTS IN THE EARTH. John stops firing at the opening area and runs up the leg to Maureen, who was waiting by the open floor hatch, "Lift off!" He grabs her and holds her by the elevator. Don says, "Here they come and here we go--I hope!" All fall back a bit as the Jupiter II lifts upward. The legs go in and the creatures start moving forward again. The Jupiter II turns and flies out the open area amid triumphant music and an end to the music with more than two beats.
The Jupiter II flies in space. John writes in his log book.
JOHN'S LOG: The irony of our chance encounter with what we believe to have been a shipload of non human colonists in the far reaches of space has just begun to strike us. However, I have gathered one vital piece of information from their sequential star guide during the near tragic meeting. Close to our present position, there appears to be a planet with a mass nearly identical to the Earth's mass, finding this planet can prove a godsend to us at this time.
The ship flies near a planet (there is a similar scene from the pilot, however on the aired version here--the planet looks much more realistic with cloud cover). John comes up to the control room where Maureen says, "We have no business trying to land on that planet." Will says, "Oh mother." "We're settlers not explorers. We...we have a specific destination to reach." John disagrees, "Which we may never see unless we put down there." Maureen asks, "But why?" Don tells her, "Maureen, we've had serious control trouble FOR SOME TIME--unless we get outside and make exterior repairs, well, we could be in even worse trouble." John calms her, "Now, that planet has normal gravity. We need it for the work we have to do. It's as simple as that." They see the planet through their window.
Narrator: Even as we watch, the spaceship Jupiter II is drawn deeper and deeper into the gravitational pull of the unknown planet. Whether it's alien environment will be friendly or hostile, whether this will be the beginning of a new adventure for the Robinson family or the end of everything, only time will tell...
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK! SAME TIME, SAME CHANNEL.
REVIEW: THE DERELICT is an entertaining hour even if some of the science does not make sense. How can Will detect a signal from Alpha Centauri? The heat from the comet cannot be--a comet is ice. Despite this, the show works best as adventure fantasy and here it is quite entertaining. Every bit of it thrills from the trapped outside the ship as a comet threatens to the swallowing of the Jupiter II to the escape at the end. And it is much more sensible to have the Jupiter II find the planet after John used the star maps in the alien ship rather than have the Earth ship find the planet after the meteor storm. That is too coincidental. Here, in THE DERELICT, it makes much more sense. Will's character of being peaceful, friendly (even to strange aliens) and seeking out communication between life forms is noted here. Smith had no reason to shoot at the monster (and didn't appear to have killed it) and was really quite annoying here. Traces of his later stupidity are seen in the section where he tries to call Aelous Umbra and gets static which hurts his ear. One thing which seems odd is Don's quote to Maureen about having serious control trouble for some time. How long a time passed between the very end of act four and the beginning of the tag. Further quotes in ISLAND IN THE SKY lead me to wonder how long also--John tells Smith the Robot's worked properly ever since he once ran amok. Smith also reminded John of this event--"you remember" which makes me wonder how long ago the Robot attack was supposed to be--John would hardly forget it if it was just a few days or even a week ago. Some fan fiction stories take off on this and predict a great deal more adventures between ACT FOUR and the TAG. This is quite interesting. The sad music is first heard here but more fully in WELCOME STRANGER.
Music from DERELICT is heard in TARGET: EARTH, KIDNAPPED IN SPACE, TWO WEEKS IN SPACE, SPACE DESTRUCTORS, A CHANGE OF SPACE, THE RAFT, THE ANTI MATTER MAN, THE PROMISED PLANET, and A VISIT TO A HOSTILE PLANET, THE FLAMING PLANET. Some musical cues are not heard in any other episode (mostly during the very first walks through the alien spaceship).
Irwin Allen’s Lost In SpaceEdit
I’ve been enjoying a Lost In Space mini-marathon this weekend. It’s “mini” because I’m only three episodes into it. I’ve watched the original, unaired pilot; the broadcast pilot; and the second episode: The Derelict.
I’m compelled to write about The Derelict because it’s the first episode to impress me in any way.
As the Jupiter II approached the huge derelict, I was struck by the quality of the special effects in this positively-ancient, black and white TV show from 1965. Admittedly, my expectations were low. Be that as it may, they were easily surpassed.
I felt, too, that the episode was helped, rather than hindered, by its monochromatic visuals. The black and white picture lent the story an appropriate atmosphere of mystery and menace that may have been absent had it been awash in the garish colors of 1960′s television shows.
Sadly, the robot is woefully under-utilized, reduced to uttering staccato statements in the cliched manner of movie robots, and speaking only when spoken to. I’m looking forward to later episodes in which the show’s writers imbue the robot with a distinct sense of humor. In this episode, the robot remains an emotionless tool, the loyalties of which are easily programmed by the scheming Dr Smith.
I also enjoyed the revelation that the Jupiter II was being drawn into the derelict by an unseen force: a tractor beam by any other name, appearing almost a year before the transmission of the first episode of Star Trek, in which tractor beams would be a recurring device.
Lost In Space definitely shares some DNA with Space: 1999, which it preceded by ten years. In one, the Robinsons wander through space in a futile search for Alpha Centauri; in the other, moon base personnel hurtle through space on the Earth’s dislodged moon. Neither series introduced iconic, recurring aliens like Star Trek’s klingons or Dr Who’s daleks, and their narratives suffered for that.
Never Fear, Smith Is HereEdit
It was a chore to sit through the two pilots. This was especially true of the original, unaired pilot, because in that episode the story was forced to plod along without any help from Dr Smith and the robot, both of whom were very noticeably absent. As introduced in the broadcast version of the pilot, Smith is initially a menacing, violent secret agent for a foreign government: nothing like the sniveling coward into which he will happily evolve.
Watching The Derelict, I finally felt like I might be able to persevere through all 83 episodes ofLost In Space. The special effects are mostly impressive. The monochrome of the first season is appropriate and effective. Dr Smith provides tension and intrigue. And Lost In Space has the best robot of any show, ever.