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The Ten Least-Convincing Aliens of LOST IN SPACE

06.26.16 - Lost in SpaceIrwin Allen’s 1960s sci-fi shows tended to start out pretty well, with imaginative scripts, impressive sets and lots of action. But before long, things would start falling apart.

Lost in Space has always been the most popular of his shows. While it was never a big hit in the ratings, it lasted for three seasons and pulled better numbers than the far more respected Star Trek. Afterward, it did well in syndication throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. That’s probably due to the casting (usually a weak area for Allen): Billy Mumy as the likeable boy hero with whom young viewers could identify, Jonathan Harris as his mincing adult sidekick, and a big friendly robot. (Even CBS chief William Paley, who hated the show, liked the robot.)

The concept was solid (it’s essentially The Swiss Family Robinson in space), and early episodes offer some imaginative adventures. But even during its first season, when the show was definitely at its best, there are some real clunker episodes. By the middle of the third season, almost every episode is just completely stupid, as if the producer had decreed that every script had to be tailored for an audience of eight-year-olds. Although the budget increased substantially, much of that went to pay salaries, leaving the show looking nearly as low-rent as Space Patrol had a generation earlier.

Nothing illustrates its decline better than the various aliens and space monsters encountered along the way. Again, during the first season these can look pretty good. But toward the end, they’re just laughably bad. Here are my picks for the ten absolute worst-looking aliens on Lost in Space.

10. Episode 3:20: “Fugitives in Space,” 1/31/68

10. Episode 3:20: “Fugitives in Space,” 1/31/68

9. Episode 3:19, “The Promised Planet,” 1/24/68

9. Episode 3:19, “The Promised Planet,” 1/24/68

8. Episode 1:12, “The Raft,” 12/1/65

8. Episode 1:12, “The Raft,” 12/1/65

7. Episode 3:16, “Target: Earth,” 1/3/68

7. Episode 3:16, “Target: Earth,” 1/3/68

6. Episode 2:04, “The Forbidden World,” 10/5/66

6. Episode 2:04, “The Forbidden World,” 10/5/66

5. Episode 3:14, “Castles in Space,” 12/20/67

5. Episode 3:14, “Castles in Space,” 12/20/67

4. Episode 3:22, “The Flaming Planet,” 2/21/68

4. Episode 3:22, “The Flaming Planet,” 2/21/68

3. Episode 3:12, “A Day at the Zoo,” 11/29/67

3. Episode 3:12, “A Day at the Zoo,” 11/29/67

2. Episode 2:17, “The Questing Beast,” 1/11/67

2. Episode 2:17, “The Questing Beast,” 1/11/67

1. Episode 3:23, “The Great Vegetable Rebellion,” 2/28/68

1. Episode 3:23, “The Great Vegetable Rebellion,” 2/28/68

 

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Hot tip for collectors: As we all know, a lot of vintage TV shows have never been officially released on DVD. But that doesn’t mean they’re unavailable. Some wonderful stuff circulates on the collectors’ market. For many years, my friend Steve Russo has made a lot of rare material available to collectors, and he’s now offering a special selection at sale prices. Email him at steverussovideo ((at)) msn ((dot)) com and he’ll send you the list. Of course, keep in mind that none of these shows have been digitally transferred from 35mm camera negatives, but Steve is proud of the quality he’s been able to obtain. I can already vouch for his Make Room for Daddy and Colgate Comedy Hour releases, and I plan on placing another order myself. There’s a lot of good stuff there. Grab it while you can.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2016 in 1960s Shows

 

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