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Lost in Space: Revisiting a Classic Sci-fi TV Series

Updated on September 1, 2018
Rachelle Williams profile image

I'm Rachelle, a.k.a "TheMotleyChick," a lover of eclectic but ordinary people, situations & topics and I love sharing helpful resources.

The Plot

The year is 1997, and planet Earth is severely overpopulated. Professor John Robinson, his wife Maureen, their kids, Judy, Penny and Will, and Major Don West have all been hand-picked to travel to the third planet in the Alpha Centrauri system to establish a colony, so the people of Earth can build a new home.

Jupiter 2 is the vessel for the pioneers, but unbeknownst to the professor and his intimate crew, an agent is sent by an enemy government to sabotage the mission. Doctor Zachary Smith is the agent, he gains access to the ship's robot and is successful at reprogramming the unit. Unfortunately, Dr. Smith becomes trapped aboard Jupiter, and he launches into space with the professor and his crew.

Because Dr. Smith is aboard, the excess weight becomes a major problem for Jupiter 2, navigation is thrown off, the ship becomes completely lost, and the crew begins a perilous struggle to survive.

Professor Robinson and Major West awaken to find Dr. Smith has sabotaged the mission and placed all of them in mortal danger.
Professor Robinson and Major West awaken to find Dr. Smith has sabotaged the mission and placed all of them in mortal danger.

The Characters

Professor John Robinson: Mission commander, father, husband and friend. He is an astrophysicist who also specializes in planetary geology.

Dr. Maureen Robinson: Biochemist, mother, wife and friend. She is the typical mother, and often the voice of reason and compassion.

Major Don West: Military pilot, family friend, arch nemesis of agent, Dr. Zachary Smith and silently in love with Judy Robinson.

Judy Robinson: Mature, beautiful, eldest Robinson child, she’s around nineteen years old.

Penny Robinson: Imaginative, innocent, intelligent middle child with a love of animals, she is eleven.

Will Robinson: Precocious, computer prodigy, he is the youngest child and the one closest to the Robot.

Dr. Zachary Smith: Enemy Agent, Dr. of Psychology, expert in cybernetics and the main reason the mission becomes “lost” in space. No one likes him, besides Will Robinson, and Maureen Robinson is often the only reason he’s alive, because of her compassion for even the worst human.

The Robot: Never given an actual name, the robot is endowed with incredible strength, and human characteristics.

For more info on the show's real life actors, check out the article, "Whatever Happened to the Cast of Lost in Space?"

The Fate of the Robinsons

Much to the dismay of legions of fans, the ultimate fate of the “Swiss Family Robinsons in Space” is never revealed, because the show was cancelled at the end of the third season.

Although the show reportedly had sufficient ratings to support a fourth season, the episodes were expensive to produce, so CBS gave the show the ax.

As far as anyone can tell, the Robinsons, their hunky pilot, the robot, and the clumsy, self-serving, manipulative Dr. Smith are all still lost in space.

The Robinsons, Maj. West, the Robot & Dr. Smith are still out there, lost in space
The Robinsons, Maj. West, the Robot & Dr. Smith are still out there, lost in space

Lost in Space (1998) : Film Reboot

Fans of the show, and sci-fi nerds the world over, myself included, we’re treated to a motion picture version of the show. Lost in Space (1998) starred William Hurt, Mimi Rogers, Heather Graham, Matt LeBlanc and Gary Oldman.

There were cameos by original cast members, June Lockhart (Maureen), Angela Cartwright (Penny), and Mark Goddard (Major West). However, both Jonathan Smith (Dr. Smith) and Billy Mummy (Will) turned down the cameos, because they thought the roles were too small.

The film was a moderate box office success, but critics didn't enjoy the decidedly darker tone of the film, versus the cheesy, campy feel of the original classic TV show.

Lost in Space (1998) Film
Lost in Space (1998) Film

Lost in Space (2018 - ): Upcoming TV Series Reboot

The year is 2046. A Mother Ship glides through space carrying a number of Jupiter Class Colony Ships. The ships are heading to a distant planet for the purposes of colonization. Upon encountering a tear in space-time, some of the Jupiter ships crash land on an unknown alien planet.

The Robinson Family is aboard Jupiter 2, and they must fight to survive and reunite with the other ships. Of course, there are human and non-human enemies along the way, and in true Star Trek form, they face strange environments and weird situations while exploring the extra-terrestrial terrain.

The series will star Molly Parker, Parker Posey, Mina Sundwall and Max Jenkins. I hope it will be a success, and I can also only hope the writers are planning to craft a happy ending for the Robinsons. Thus far, Netflix has ordered ten episodes of this series…

Lost in Space (2018): A Netflix Original
Lost in Space (2018): A Netflix Original

Original Lost in Space Classic TV Show Trailer

Original Lost in Space Trivia Challenge

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