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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old September 18 2013, 05:08 AM   #211
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I just think it's unfair to speak about Lost in Space as a single uniform whole. The first season is a very different show from the other two, and though it gets sillier over time, some of its early episodes are fairly good. I'm particularly fond of "My Friend, Mr. Nobody," which had a solid Jackson Gillis script as well as the finest score in the series.
You said it! Having John Williams' full "Mr. Nobody" score on CD is a very big deal. It's a unique creation full of lyrical beauty, melancholy, suspense, menace, and wonder.



It might also be observed that Angela Cartwright could carry the show when she was given a chance, as she was in "Mr. Nobody" and "The Magic Mirror" (below), which was tracked with a lot of "Nobody" cues.

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Old September 18 2013, 05:10 AM   #212
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I just think it's unfair to speak about Lost in Space as a single uniform whole. The first season is a very different show from the other two, and though it gets sillier over time, some of its early episodes are fairly good. I'm particularly fond of "My Friend, Mr. Nobody," which had a solid Jackson Gillis script as well as the finest score in the series.
By that standard, one can't form an opinion about a TV show unless one has sat through every single episode...which would be a torturous exercise if one simply doesn't enjoy the show.
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Old September 18 2013, 05:42 AM   #213
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

I was able to get through the first season. But when I starting watching the second season I could only get through the first couple of episodes. It really feels like a very different thing.

And that's something about a series. If it can't grab you sufficiently on some level within a couple of episodes then you're not really going to be inclined to slog through it in hopes of finding the occasional redeeming nugget. You'll just find something else to do that interests you more.
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Old September 18 2013, 09:08 AM   #214
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Christopher wrote: View Post

Even I'm not immune to it. When I got the assignment to take over the post-series Enterprise novels and went back and rewatched the series, I found I liked it a lot better the second time around. The first time, I'd watched it through the filter of "Oh, that's not what I expected"/"That's not what I would've done," and that colored my view of it. But when I came back and just accepted that it was what it was, took it on its own terms rather than weighing it against my preconceptions, I found it had a lot more merits. Oh, it definitely had its flaws and its failures, but a lot about it worked quite well for me.
Even on rerun I didn't like TNG until "Best of Both Worlds".
Then when they had the theatrical release of two TNG episodes at the cinema to celebrate its release on Blu ray I saw the two Season 1 episodes and I kept thinking wow look at the fantastic sets and hey Geordi can be badass when he isn't in engineering. I liked it much better at the cinema than I did first or second runs.

I really liked Lost In Space when I was a child but now I think overall it was quite silly. But it had some good aspects to it. It had cool spaceships, a robot, the chariot, the rocket back pack thing. John and Don were heroic and I like the kids in it even now. If you look past some of the dubious episodes there were some that were really good fun or serious especially when Harris was playing it straight. Unless of course I'm remembering it more fondly than it really deserves.
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Old September 18 2013, 01:55 PM   #215
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Very few TV series changed their focus and format as drastically as Lost in Space. The first five episodes are the most serious and therefore most highly regarded. However, things started to lighten up immediately after the fifth episode and things slowed down once the unaired pilot footage was exhausted. Smith became less evil, relying more on selfishness and sneaky schemes to generate plots. By the mid-first season, Smith was now just a fussy, scared "grandpa" of the kids. Long before the season ended, Smith's time as someone to be afraid of was long past. The stories leaned more heavily on his antics, but still, most of the cast - the leads at least - still had some place in the story. But Guy Williams was unhappy.

The second season started out much like the end of the first, just in color. Even three episodes in, the series maintained a spooky atmosphere and the third episode "The Ghost Plant" stands out as one of the best in the revamped format. The next episode, though, was a true transition. "Forbidden World" is tens, dynamic and frightening for exactly the first half of the episode. Then, act 3 kicks in, introducing us to the Janos Prohaska chicken monster and Wally Cox, and the series has totally changed into a weird comedy fantasy. From that point on, Lost in Space goes down the garden path into children's theater. However, sprinkled in the madness are some truly great episodes like "Prisoners of Space" and "Wreck of the Robot." But those gems are few and far between as the season wears on.

The third season changes formats yet again, as the Jupiter 2 lifts off and never settles down on any particular planet. Not only that, the series stressed action/adventure, downplayed the comedy and gave the cast more to do. The first few episodes were really excellent for this series. But, again near the mid point, the show slid back to idiocy and comedy. An oasis of sorts appeared with "The Anti-Matter Man," wildely regarded as one of the best episodes of the series. But honestly, its rep is so strong because the four or five episodes prior are so damned horrible. Plot it into the first season and it sucks pretty hard (weird comedy, all sorts of things that make no sense, etc.). After one last good turn with "Time Merchant," LiS slipped into toddler town until it's last second.

For me, LiS was a great show when I was a kid. I grew to hate most of the second season, but really like the first and third, with those gems in between. It's a different beast than Star Trek but was as much fun for me as a kid.
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Old September 18 2013, 02:17 PM   #216
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
I just think it's unfair to speak about Lost in Space as a single uniform whole. The first season is a very different show from the other two, and though it gets sillier over time, some of its early episodes are fairly good. I'm particularly fond of "My Friend, Mr. Nobody," which had a solid Jackson Gillis script as well as the finest score in the series.
By that standard, one can't form an opinion about a TV show unless one has sat through every single episode...which would be a torturous exercise if one simply doesn't enjoy the show.
It's a fallacy to equate a specific argument with a general one. I wasn't talking about every show. I was talking about Lost in Space. Every case is unique. There are some shows that are reasonably consistent throughout, but there are others that radically reinvent themselves so that they're practically different shows after a certain point. LiS is one such show.

Besides, the best episodes of LiS come at the beginning anyway. So unless you're watching in reverse order, your statement wouldn't apply.


ssosmcin wrote: View Post
Very few TV series changed their focus and format as drastically as Lost in Space.
Some have. There's War of the Worlds: The Series from 1988, which totally reinvented itself in its second season -- very much for the worse, although the first season was pretty bad in its own right. The one thing the show really had going for it was a strong cast with a great rapport, and the new showrunner killed off half the cast, including the most popular character (and I don't think it's a coincidence that the two he killed off were the nonwhite ones). Also, it had been set in a world not visibly different from ours, but the second season inexplicably retconned the world into a decaying post-apocalyptic wasteland. The nature of the alien invaders was also totally changed, with a new wave of invaders kicking out the previous one.

And there have been other shows where a supporting character has taken over as the de facto lead of the series -- e.g. Fonzie in Happy Days and Urkel in Family Matters. Which reminds me, Mork and Mindy was heavily retooled by network fiat in its second season to make it more kid-friendly -- which pretty much ruined it, and later attempts to recover the original format didn't really work.


The first five episodes are the most serious and therefore most highly regarded. However, things started to lighten up immediately after the fifth episode and things slowed down once the unaired pilot footage was exhausted. Smith became less evil, relying more on selfishness and sneaky schemes to generate plots.
True, but there are still some good ones after that first five. "Welcome Stranger" and "My Friend, Mr. Nobody" are both solid. And then there's "The Challenge." Guy Williams and Michael Ansara fencing with electrified swords -- who can say no to that?


The second season started out much like the end of the first, just in color. Even three episodes in, the series maintained a spooky atmosphere and the third episode "The Ghost Plant" stands out as one of the best in the revamped format.
I found season 2 ridiculous and painfully campy from the start. A miner named Nerim? A green girl floating in space?


The third season changes formats yet again, as the Jupiter 2 lifts off and never settles down on any particular planet. Not only that, the series stressed action/adventure, downplayed the comedy and gave the cast more to do. The first few episodes were really excellent for this series. But, again near the mid point, the show slid back to idiocy and comedy. An oasis of sorts appeared with "The Anti-Matter Man," wildely regarded as one of the best episodes of the series. But honestly, its rep is so strong because the four or five episodes prior are so damned horrible. Plot it into the first season and it sucks pretty hard (weird comedy, all sorts of things that make no sense, etc.). After one last good turn with "Time Merchant," LiS slipped into toddler town until it's last second.
Here I pretty much agree. There was an attempt in the early third to refocus on the nominal leads, and "The Anti-Matter Man" is the best exemplar of that. But it didn't last.
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Old September 18 2013, 05:42 PM   #217
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Some have. There's War of the Worlds: The Series from 1988, which totally reinvented itself in its second season -- very much for the worse, although the first season was pretty bad in its own right.
Space:1999, SeaQuest and Buck Rogers did as well. LiS is one of the few that actually became an out and out comedy. I can only think of "Tattingers" which started as an hour drama, switching to half hour comedy when the ratings crapped out (payback for ending St. Elsewhere for it). They could have lost all but Will and the robot and still had many of the same episodes.

Christopher wrote: View Post
True, but there are still some good ones after that first five. "Welcome Stranger" and "My Friend, Mr. Nobody" are both solid. And then there's "The Challenge." Guy Williams and Michael Ansara fencing with electrified swords -- who can say no to that?
Agreed, I didn't mean to imply the show sucked with episode 6, just that the change to a lighter tough began very early as they settled in. There were a good number of great episodes in that first season. "Invaders from the Fifth Dimension," "The Sky is Falling," 'Wish Upon a Star," " The Keeper," and those you mentioned.

Christopher wrote: View Post
I found season 2 ridiculous and painfully campy from the start. A miner named Nerim? A green girl floating in space?
"Blast off Into Space" was only a little more over the top than some of the stuff at the end of the previous year, like "Space Croppers" or "His Majesty Smith." The saving grace of "Blast off" was just that: the amazing lift off sequence as the planet blew up around them. The back half of the episode was good fun, but yeah, leading up to that was pretty crappy. "Wild Adventure" only appealed to me because it was great to be off that damned planet set for a change.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Here I pretty much agree. There was an attempt in the early third to refocus on the nominal leads, and "The Anti-Matter Man" is the best exemplar of that. But it didn't last.
Also "Condemned of Space," "Visit to a Hostile Planet," "Hunter's Moon," "Flight into the Future," and "Target Earth" were all good, solid stabs at giving the leads more screen time whiling balancing out the comedy. Other episodes that stand out include "Space Creature," "Flaming Planet" (aside from the hideous plant monster) and the "not quite as good as it should be" episode "Time Merchant."

Lost in Space's third season was a lot like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea's fourth: an attempt to reel in the laziness and silly scripts and provide the actors and the audience with more honest adventure. And both shows would slide back to pattern in the last half of the season (although I find Voyage to be an overall better series).
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Old September 18 2013, 08:12 PM   #218
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

I'm in the middle of the second season now and my attention is definitely starting to wander. Tone-wise, it's closer to Gilligan's Island than Star Trek at this point. Dr. Smith's antics have gone from entertaining to tiresome. And the rest of the cast is mostly wasted.
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Old September 19 2013, 12:39 AM   #219
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Christopher wrote: View Post
It's a fallacy to equate a specific argument with a general one. I wasn't talking about every show. I was talking about Lost in Space.
A show that I have no intention of sitting through every episode of, because I don't enjoy it. It doesn't matter whether or not a generalization applies to every example. In this case, my generalization was based on this specific example, and it applies.

Besides, the best episodes of LiS come at the beginning anyway. So unless you're watching in reverse order, your statement wouldn't apply.
There's a fallacy. You're assuming that somebody is sitting down and watching from the beginning via DVD or whatever. I specifically said that I'd caught some episodes via syndicated broadcast, so they were whichever episodes were being shown.

And it's all still subjective...what fans of the show consider its best episodes aren't necessarily going to be of interest to somebody who doesn't like and has no interest in the show.

If you and others here enjoy what you consider to be the better installments and/or aspects of this series, fantastic... more power to you...I don't begrudge you your enjoyment or deny what you enjoy about the show. But I don't enjoy it, and don't intend to look further into it hoping to someday enjoy it. Life's too short to sit through hours and hours of bad television hoping to catch the odd episode that some consider to be the good ones.
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Old September 19 2013, 01:19 AM   #220
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Even the better episodes of the first season are really little more than just tolerable. I experienced a measure of frustration in seeing good ideas not being explored more fully and opportunities to tell engaging stories thrown away out of clumsiness or for the sake of an easy laugh.

For anyone who might be curious this was my revisit thread: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=164266

My summation of the first season:

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Okay, first up are ratings. I'm using the same rating system I've used with other shows:

***** Excellent (nothing is perfect, but it's damned close and really entertains)
**** Good (mostly works with only a very few quibbles)
*** Fair (just enough good to make it watchable, but it's also stumbling)
** Poor (too many frustrations getting in the way whether it's story, ideas, execution or something else)
* Bad (it's just bad, bad, bad)

At the risk of offending someone who's a diehard fan I didn't find any excellent or even really good LIS episodes. There is just too much silliness going on in every episode. That isn't to say there weren't things I didn't like at all. There were things I liked very much, but there just wasn't enough for me to push any of the episodes into the good category let alone excellent.

*** Fair (46.6% of episodes)
“The Reluctant Stowaway”
“The Derelict”
“The Hungry Sea”
“Welcome Stranger”
“The Sky Is Falling”
“Wish Upon A Star”
“The Raft”
“The Keeper” (Part 1)
“The Keeper” (Part 2)
“War Of The Robots”
“The Space Trader”
“All That Glitters”
“Change Of Space”
“Follow The Leader”

** Poor (26.7% of episodes)
“No Place To Hide” (original unaired pilot)
“Island In The Sky”
“There Were Giants In The Earth”
“The Oasis”
“Return From Outer Space”
“Ghost In Space”
“The Challenge”
“The Lost Civilization”

* Bad (26.7% of episodes)
“My Friend Mr. Nobody”
“Invaders From The Fifth Dimension”
“One Of Our Dogs Is Missing”
“Attack Of The Monster Plants”
“The Sky Pirate”
“The Magic Mirror”
“His Majesty Smith”
“The Space Croppers”

Ratings these can be tough because sometimes I find an episode right on the line. For example "Return from Outer Space" I'm still tempted to change my rating up from a 2 to a 3. But I'm leaving it as is for now but maybe down the road I'll watch it again and reconsider.


What I liked - The production and some of the cool hardware: the Jupiter II, the Chariot, the Robot, some of the alien artifacts and alien ship designs, the starscapes and planet landscapes and other things. Some of the advanced tech depicted even if they were basically just winging it as fantasy. For me the best character was Will Robinson. He wasn't overly precocious, a little smart ass or always saving the day, but he displays the soul of a real explorer, much more so than any of the rest including his father. Some of the story ideas were good and deserved better than how they were generally handled.

What I disliked - The way over-the-top camp, Dr. Zachary Smith (morphing from a remotely interesting villain to an endlessly annoying buffoon), the excessive overuse of sci-fi cliches for the sake of expediency and cheap laughs, too much lazy and heavy-handed writing.The words "nuance" and "subtlety"are barely understood in LIS.

It's regrettable that the few things I really disliked were so overwhelming as to often overshadow or mar the things I did like.

It's interesting that really only a bit more than a quarter of the season is a write-off and another little more than a quarter is weighed down by too much smelly cheese. On the other hand nearly half of the season is watchable without much effort. This is better than I remember of the show from so long ago. My recollections were that very little of the show had any redeeming qualities, but there was more to like than I remembered. Of course this is only the first season. The rest I'm considering watching by download unless I could get the season sets really cheap.

I have to think about it.
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Old September 19 2013, 01:26 AM   #221
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

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Like I said before, we're always harder on what's more recent because we've had time to get used to the flaws in the older stuff, to gloss over and rationalize and forgive them. The illusion of nostalgia, the way the brain smooths out the past, leading to the false perception that the present is worse.
We didn't have such illusions in the good old days.
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Old September 19 2013, 01:32 AM   #222
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Like I said before, we're always harder on what's more recent because we've had time to get used to the flaws in the older stuff, to gloss over and rationalize and forgive them. The illusion of nostalgia, the way the brain smooths out the past, leading to the false perception that the present is worse.
The problem I have with this view is that unlike the past when I had to rely strictly on memory or when a network would choose to rerun an episode or film on television I can now revisit whatever I want whenever I want. I can watch an old film back-to-back with a new one or an old series episode back-to-back with a current rebooted film. I can compare the two right then and there and not have to rely simply on nostaligia tinted memory.
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Old September 19 2013, 01:37 AM   #223
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Warped9 wrote: View Post
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Like I said before, we're always harder on what's more recent because we've had time to get used to the flaws in the older stuff, to gloss over and rationalize and forgive them. The illusion of nostalgia, the way the brain smooths out the past, leading to the false perception that the present is worse.
The problem I have with this view is that unlike the past when I had to rely strictly on memory or when a network would choose to rerun an episode or film on television I can now revisit whatever I want whenever I want. I can watch an old film back-to-back with a new one or an old series episode back-to-back with a current rebooted film. I can compare the two right then and there and not have to rely simply on nostaligia tinted memory.
Well, in some cases, yes. In others, though, the originals simply aren't available. It's easy to claim, for example, that Star Trek was the only show on television discussing serious issues in the '60s when (for example) The Defenders is nonexistent on home video.
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Old September 19 2013, 02:49 AM   #224
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Harvey wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Like I said before, we're always harder on what's more recent because we've had time to get used to the flaws in the older stuff, to gloss over and rationalize and forgive them. The illusion of nostalgia, the way the brain smooths out the past, leading to the false perception that the present is worse.
The problem I have with this view is that unlike the past when I had to rely strictly on memory or when a network would choose to rerun an episode or film on television I can now revisit whatever I want whenever I want. I can watch an old film back-to-back with a new one or an old series episode back-to-back with a current rebooted film. I can compare the two right then and there and not have to rely simply on nostaligia tinted memory.
Well, in some cases, yes. In others, though, the originals simply aren't available. It's easy to claim, for example, that Star Trek was the only show on television discussing serious issues in the '60s when (for example) The Defenders is nonexistent on home video.
But that's not really the same as a series rebooted for a newer version and not being able to compare the original and reboot side-by-side. It's also easier to see how much something has dated (as well as our expanded perceptions with added experience acquired over the years) if we don't have to rely strictly on memory.

But to your point it's hard to make a case for other shows doing similar things as TOS when those other shows are largely forgotten and (as you said) not even available on video. And no matter how excellent another work was if it failed to make a mark on the collective consciousness of the audience back then it likely won't make much of an impression if it's raised in discussion decades later.
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Old September 19 2013, 03:36 AM   #225
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Re: STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Granted, it isn't the same, but I think it adequately demonstrates how much of our sense of media history is informed by our hazy and often nostalgic memories rather than the immediacy of being able to re-watch everything. For properties that are remade, it makes sense that the originals are available, since the new version represents free advertising for the older works. Much of the rest of media simply isn't available like that, though.

If you're going to dismiss The Defenders and comparable programs because they "failed to make a mark on the collective consciousness of the audience" like Star Trek has, you won't have much to talk about. (At the time it was on, The Defenders was Emmy-nominated four years in a row, and peaked at #18 in the Nielsen ratings. I'd call that a mark.)
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