Long before Star Wars
vs. Star Trek
there was Star Trek
vs. Lost In Space
and just about everyone else.
LIS was a poster child for what most
people perceived as science fiction on television and in film---nothing to be taken seriously. Even the best efforts in film and shows like The Outer Limits
really couldn't dislodge that overall notion. Basically if it's weird shit than it's just sci-fi nonsense.
was the first major salvo in science fiction respectability. It wasn't just a one off episode in an anthology series or a one off feature film. It was a continuing series with recurring characters that even while making occasional missteps generally played it straight. And Star Trek
was distinctly adult oriented, something that confused a lot of people initially and put off others.
Basically Star Trek
along with The Outer Limits
and The Twilight Zone
before it (as well as a handful of films) were finally the kind of shows fans of science fiction literature were longing for. No matter how you define Star Trek's
initial commercial success it influenced science fiction in film and television afterward and unto today. People got the message that you can do science fiction in an adult oriented way and people will go for it.
Other projects had done this to an extent, but none of them resonated the way Star Trek
did. A lot of other sci-fi could still be entertaining on a more basic level and still have interesting visual aspects, but they weren't any deeper than that. Star Trek
tried to go for more and also offered a generally consistent exercise in world building. The stories suggested so much more than just the adventure of the week.
Basically Star Wars
is LIS' sensibility writ large. That and it offers more complex world building than LIS did.