STAR TREK the enemy of LOST IN SPACE?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^They probably wouldn't have been able to rent entire sets, just components and props that survived once the sets were torn down.

    Although there have been cases where sets from one cancelled show have been inherited by another. The sets from the short-lived Timecop series were reused by Sliders, IIRC, and the sets for the failed John Woo Lost in Space reboot became the Pegasus sets on the Battlestar Galactica reboot.
     
  2. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    The scenes with giants and little people in the same frame were often done entirely in-camera, by positioning the giant actor in the foreground and the little actor much further back to appear smaller in a 2-D picture. The shots were all story-boarded and designed in advance with mathematical precision regarding distances, angles, eye-lines, and what lens to use.

    The result was a clean, "real" shot with no matte lines or weird fx artifacts. I wonder if Star Trek's "Who Mourns for Adonais" would have benefitted from this approach after Apollo has his growth spurt, and Kirk is the little guy.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^They used a lot of matte and split-screen shots as well. I remember one in particular that stood out because it was poorly done. One of the humans was sitting on the back of a park bench that a giant was also on, I think, and the size and position of the slats just didn't line up between the life-size bench the "giant" was on and the oversized replica the human was on. So the matte effect was pretty blatant.
     
  4. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Larry Butler they weren't.
     
  5. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Walt Disney had earlier used this false perspective set/camera angle trick in Darby O'Gill and the Little People, and it shows up again in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

    I think the technique was pioneered by Norman Dawn around 1915, though not certain. He did extensive work with glass shots and hanging miniatures.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^It was also used extensively in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, and many other films and shows.
     
  7. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "Land of the Giants" is one of my favourite shows.
    I haven't seen it in years but I don't remember the special effects being especially bad (considering). My minds eyes say Star Treks were worse probably because they had to do more.
    That was except for that giant grabbing hand which they used a lot. But that giant grabbing hand was so bad it was good, It was like an old friend I was looking out for each episode.

    I thought the giant sized things were fun but I mainly liked the diverse group of characters they had for the show and the sort of totalitarian society of the 'giant' world.
    The Spindrift was pretty cool too.
     
  8. Cap'n Claus

    Cap'n Claus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Lost in Space "got campy" in its first season. It wasn't coldly serious for the whole year, and you can see the switch pretty clearly from fairly solid, straight SF adventure to wacky fantasy. The real transition from serious to comedy was The Space Croppers, when the Robinson's are visited by aliens dressed as hillbillies in a space ship that looked like a log cabin. From that episode forward, things got dicey. Suddenly Smith's comedy antics really took center stage. The main difference in season 2 was that the series became Children's Theater, with wacky monsters and colorful eccentric aliens.

    The 3rd season did indeed try to go back to something more serious, but it was too late for the Smith character. He was so childlike at this point, you couldn't put him into anything remotely serious anymore.

    What kept shows like Voyage and Time Tunnel from falling into the same trap was that, while the situations got wackier, the character remained the same and in the same positions of impotence. Nobody got shoved into the background or turned into comedy relief. So if the Seaview ran into puke sucking monsters three weeks in a row, they could switch back to serious espionage without it being an ill fit.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I would say instead that LiS got more comical as its first season progressed, but camp is a particular flavor of comedy (characterized by irony and self-satirical excess) that I don't think the show fully embraced until season 2. The remaining first-season episodes after "The Space Croppers" still had some relatively serious elements in them, so I wouldn't say that one episode represented a pattern.

    Besides, "Croppers" was episode 25 out of the 29-episode first season, so we're really only talking about a difference of five episodes. Although Smith's comedy antics had already taken center stage well over a dozen episodes earlier.
     
  10. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    One of the ironies of LOST IN SPACE, almost a cognitive dissonance, is that some of the implausible, unserious episodes were tracked with serious, richly splendored John Williams music from the earliest (and really good) episodes.
     
  11. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Commodore Commodore

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    The ONLY good LIS was the short-lived comic book from the 1990's publish by Innovation Comics and written by Bill Mumy. That and the 1998 movie are all I can stand of LIS.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The only first-season LiS episodes with original music were the first seven, with the rest of the season reusing the music from those. "Johnny" Williams did episodes 1, 3, 5, and 7. Episode 2 was scored by Herman Stein, Hans J. Salter, and Richard LaSalle (though I believe only Stein was billed), and Stein also did two original cues for episode 4 and a full score (with assistance by Frank Comstock) for episode 6. Additional music in those first seven episodes (including most of episode 4's score -- and the entire original pilot score) was tracked from Bernard Herrmann's scores to The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Garden of Evil, and Beneath the Twelve-Mile Reef (source of the unforgettable "jet pack" music).

    So Williams was only responsible for something more than half the music you're thinking of; the rest was Stein, Herrmann, LaSalle, and Salter, in approximately descending order.

    And it's not really a cognitive dissonance that music by Williams was used to score comedy episodes. He was, after all, the original composer for Gilligan's Island (scoring the unaired pilot and most of the early first season, although Comstock did the first two aired episodes), along with the sitcom Bachelor Father and comedy movies like Gidget Goes to Rome and How to Steal a Million. Granted, though, most of the comedy music for LiS's first season was in the Stein episodes, I believe.


    I'd leave out the '98 movie, which was a mess, and include the first seven episodes and some of the rest of the first season. After all, the Innovation comic was basically returning the series to its original tone and approach from those first few episodes, extrapolating what the series could've been if Jonathan Harris hadn't drawn it in a more humorous direction.
     
  13. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Your information is all correct, thanks, but I'm aware of who wrote which cues. I had the Williams music in mind specifically. You must be a fellow film score fan. :bolian:

    I'm glad we have most of JW's LIS contributions on CD, although there is one cue from "The Reluctant Stowaway" that was tracked like crazy throughout the series and it is not on CD. Someone put it on youtube as "Waking Up the Robinsons." Good stuff. Immensely distinctive and alien.

    I like many aspects of the feature film but, no question, it has some problems. And I'll go right along with your assessment of the first season.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^All the Stein episodes are on CD as well, though I think the version I have of the episode 4 & 6 scores is from third-season rerecordings. (At least, that album has rerecordings of the first-season scores that I have the original versions of on other CDs.) And all the Herrmann library music from LiS is available on the soundtracks for the original movies. So virtually all of LiS's first-season music is available on disc.

    I tracked down that cue on YouTube, and yeah, I recognized it instantly.
     
  15. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    I agree about the movie. It didn't impress me at all and I had such high hopes for it.
     
  16. Bad Atom

    Bad Atom Commodore Commodore

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    Reading this thread made me finally get around to watching Lost in Space for the first time. Almost done with the first season already!

    It's very silly, very entertaining, and after the first handful of episodes, clearly intended for such a different audience than Star Trek that there shouldn't even be a comparison.

    Also, the music is fantastic.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I honestly like John Williams's Lost in Space music better than his later movie scores.
     
  18. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Wow, there was a LiS episode called The Space Croppers? That was also used as the title of a Galactica 1980 episode. The writers of the latter must have been telegraphing "This series has officially become a lame, silly kids' show."
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  19. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

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    Agree.


    Agree.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  20. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Thank you for that. It's nice to see someone come to LIS afresh, with no nostalgia attached, and like the show for itself.

    And there's no question LIS music is superb and can hold its head up alongside the best Star Trek scores. They're different, but both are timeless and enduring. :)