So I’m contemplated a “Lost in Space” rewatch – at least as much a rewatch as I can bear. The show greatly affected me when I first saw it at age 10 (it debuted in 1965, a year before Star Trek), but the show changed greatly in its second and third seasons, given to the camp nature of popular shows like “Batman” in its second, and then erratically trying to reclaim an action/adventure format in its third (in reaction to Star Trek, perhaps).
As I mentioned in my Jonny Quest post, I likely did not see many of these episodes when first broadcast on network TV, but only later, in syndication, and so only in abridged versions that were cut to allow additional commercial time. In fact, I didn’t discover the series in the first place, back in the Fall of 1965, until nearly half-way through that first season – so I never saw the origin story of the Jupiter 2 and how they got ‘lost in space’ in the earliest episodes until years later, in the early ‘70s, when I saw reruns on one of the local TV stations. Later in the ‘80s, once I had a VCR, I recorded late-late-night broadcasts of LIS episodes from another local LA station, though if I understand my checklist from that era, there were four or five episodes never included in those broadcasts…
More recently, a few years ago, I bought a DVD set of the first season of LIS, but have never watched more than the first half dozen episodes before now. So it’s fair to conclude that many, if not most, of the episodes following those early ones, I’ve never seen in their entirety.
On the other hand, I’m not sure I’ll care to, once I begin. The first season, though in black and white, was mostly a serious sci-fi [I’m using that otherwise detestable abbreviation advisedly] action/adventure show, roughly as plausible and serious as most sci fi [again] movies of the 1950s – which is to say, not all that plausible at all, to anyone who knew science and the reality of our place in the universe, but possessing a certain charm and often providing touches of genuine weirdness, of sense of wonder – just the mind-expanding thing to impress a 10-year-old. I think some of that survives the adult perspective, which is what I want to explore. The second season of LIS grew unbearably silly, and I doubt I’ll have the patience to sit through all of those episodes. The show recovered somewhat in the third season (again, feeling its rival Star Trek, I think), but only intermittently. Perhaps I’ll jump around and rewatch only certain episodes.
Before I’ve even rewatched the first episode, I have two themes to keep in mind as I look at this show again.
First, to recognize how the story and its many incidents are absurd and implausible – to this point: what do these assumptions, so often in error, imply about how telling a story about exploring space reveals the biases of the human mind about how it perceives the universe?
Second, to identify, as alluded above, those occasional incidents in the show that truly suggest weirdness, or sense of wonder, even if only what would impress a 10-year-old. They were there, and it’s those moments I want to revisit again, and try to understand from an adult perspective.
In a sense which I have yet to explain, this is all about Apple Valley.