"LOST IN SPACE began as a serious attempt at an exciting science fiction TV program. It was starting to degenerate into something quite different by the end of the first season and in the second season, the change was full blown. No longer was it a serious show. Indeed it was quite silly. "Campy" is the most common description.
The change in format resulted in changed characters. Dr. Smith started out as a sinister but intelligent villain but is nothing like that in the second season. In fact, he has become the star of the show. He is venal, selfish and not very smart but he is lots of fun to laugh at. Will is the other star of the show. He was always depicted as exceedingly intelligent but he seems to have a soft spot for Smith and the Robot, the third of the first tier stars. The rest of the group are little more than background characters. Penny has a few prominent roles but Judy might as well not be there. Sometimes she utters less that a dozen words in the course of an episode.
All of these stories are exceedingly silly and the "science" aspect is truly laughable. Pseudo scientific terms abound and are quite meaningless. All science fiction requires the suspension of disbelief but this series requires something more. It requires disbelief to be locked away safely where it has not the slightest possibility of intruding. In spite of this, the series works. It works because it does not take itself seriously. It is all done in fun and no one, even a child, could take any of it seriously. This is true in terms of story, special effects and, especially, aliens. Mostly, it is a vehicle to let Smith be a pain in the backside.
This set includes the following episodes:
The Questing Beast - a spacefaring knight in armor, complete with medieval camp, shows up looking for the questing beast. He takes Smith as a hostage and Will as his page. The basset hound wearing spectacles is a nice touch. The beast looks like a cross between a giant Muppet and Barney the dinosaur. She takes in Penny and gives lessons in elocution, manners and snobbish British etiquette. Will learns to be a cynic for a while and then everyone learns about chivalry, even Smith.
The Toymaker - another intergalactic mail order catalog is found by Will and Smith. Dr. Smith pushes the wrong buttons and becomes part of the catalog. Naturally, Will has to do the same thing. Meanwhile, a "fissure" threatens to crack the planet to pieces. It turns out that Will and Smith have been transported to the realm of a cosmic toymaker who thinks they are toys. When clerks from the store try to sort things out, chaos ensues. It's a normal episode.
Mutiny In Space - Dr. Smith tries an experiment in rain making. In doing so, he destroys the weather station. He is ostracized as a result. As he wanders off in a huff, he finds a damaged spaceship captained by an admiral who acts like a vestige of the Nelsonian navy and dresses like a refugee from Wellington's army, complete with tricorne. Will and Smith get pressed into the service of the admiral who was the victim of a mutiny which saw him cast away in the first place. His treatment of his pressed hands threatens to incite another mutiny. Square rigged space ships? This is pretty screwy even for Lost in Space.
The Space Viking - Dr. Smith is gifted with the gloves and war hammer of the Norse god, Thor. For Smith, these seem like the keys to satisfying his desires of avarice. This is especially true when a Valkyrie shows up to hail him as the most powerful of all. Unfortunately for Smith, and all around him, with power comes responsibilities such as battling frost giants and the like. He also comes between Thor and his wife, Brunhilde and a fight to the death is in order. Smith gets out of this by psychoanalyzing Thor into a babbling idiot. At least that part is realistic.
Rocket to Earth - An itinerant magician happens upon the space family Robinson. The problem is that Dr. Smith is the only one who can see or hear him. This leads everyone, including Smith, to think he is going crazy. It helps that the magician is having fun making Smith go crazy. Eventually, Will and the robot figure out that the alien is real but not a very good magician. He does, however, have a space ship reputedly able to reach earth. That leads Smith to try and get a job as a magician's assistant so that he can get a ride to Earth. The technical term, I think, is "sorcerer's apprentice". Smith is not a very good magician either but it is not his magical skills that make him an attractive employee. It is his "expendability". He probably would have been expended had it not been that Will winds up on the same ship.
The Cave of the Wizards - Smith gets amnesia and that makes his mind receptive to being taken over by an alien force. Another blow to the head restores his memory but not before he utters a wish to have his own ship in the hearing of the alien machine. The result is an imperfect replica of the Jupiter II. Meanwhile, it looks like the Robinsons finally have the real Jupiter II ready for launch but there is a narrow launch window. That window is threatened when the aliens who are controlling Smith set him up as their ruler. This is another one that pushes even more than usual at credibility.
Treasures of the Lost Planet - Smith stumbles into a cave that seems to hold a pirate's treasure trove but is disappointed to find there is little of value. All he finds is a disembodied mechanical head. Meanwhile, Capt. Tucker, a space pirate from a previous episode shows up and Will has to rescue him from some other space pirates. It turns out that the head is the key to a great treasure. Gaining the treasure requires convincing the head that Smith is actually a craven, backbiting and untrustworthy pirate himself. It works.
Revolt of the Androids - Verta, an android from the celestial department store and a previous episode shows up on the Robinson's planet. She is still striving to become more human but her particular line has been discontinued. As a result, she is ordered to be disassembled. Failing to see the justice in the situation she flees and a destroyer android is sent after her. While Verta is being sheltered by the rest of the family, Smith, Will and the robot hook up with the destroyer who is having mechanical difficulties. They are unaware of Verta's presence and try to fix him up. Smith wants to use the destroyer to gain access to the cave of a monster that hoards rubies. Typical Smith avarice. The plan to save Verta involves convincing the destroyer that she is human. She does this by giving him lessons in being a human. It degenerates into a robotic love fest.
The Colonists - With as many visitors as they have, you would think that the Robinsons' marooned spaceship is located at Grand Central Station instead of some out of the way planet. In this episode, the family is trying to set up a series of communications relays when aliens destroy all of the equipment at once time. The source of the destruction is a princess from a race of women warriors and she does not like men. Furthermore, she has decided to claim the planet for colonists from her planet. The men from the Jupiter II are to provide the slave labor to make things ready. The women are to become members of the new society. Unfortunately, Penny seems to like the new regime. Smith, of course, tries to worm his way into the good wishes of the women.
Trip Through the Robot - Smith manages to push the wrong button damaging the electrical system of the ship. Unfortunately, Smith had neglected to recharge the robot for a few weeks and now recharging him could further damage the ship and put everyone in danger. To prevent danger to the Robinsons, the robot wanders off to die alone. Will and Smith follow after him to try to find a solution but are unprepared for what they find. The robot has wandered into a "dangerous area" and collapsed from lack of power. A strange gas causes the prone robot to grow to a huge size and that is how he is found by Will and Smith. They come up with an idea to go into the robot and "reverse the ions" to shrink him back to normal size. The interior of the robot turns out to be a dangerous area. I sure don't remember anything like this from engineering school.
The Phantom Family - While Dr. and Mrs. Robinson are off doing "something else" the family is attacked by an alien. Will happens to be out of camp at the time as well. When he gets back, he finds not his family but duplicates of his family. The alien wants Will to teach the duplicates how to be "real people" in exchange for getting his family back. Teaching the duplicates to be real is difficult except for the case of Dr. Smith. His duplicate is just as defective as the original and causes as much trouble. The duplicates are to be used by the alien to save his race. Since he is depending on Smith, his race is in trouble.
The Mechanical Man - A race of miniature robots that look just like THE robot kidnap Smith and demand that the robot be released from slavery. They want him to serve as their leader. The robot is torn between loyalty to his own kind and loyalty to his "Family". As it turns out, Smith has more of the qualities that the little robots want than the big one does so a little bit of transference is in order. Its kind of fun to see Smith sucking up to the robot but this episode is at the extreme end of the silliness spectrum.
The Astral Traveler - While trying to get out of a storm, Will and Smith duck into a cave for shelter. While there, Will finds a portal to a Scottish castle haunted by the friendly ghost of a laird executed for treason. After a brief tour, the portal reappears and will makes it back to his family. No one believes his story except for Smith who will, of course, grasp at any straw to get back to earth. In an attempt to prove the truth of his story, Will heads back to the cave and finds that the ghost has come through and is stuck on this side. He has also lost his status as a ghost and has a physical body again complete with gout. It is decided to send Smith through to arrange for a rescue party but things go wrong, as they usually do with Smith, and Will goes through as well. The ghost takes delight in tormenting Smith once he regains his ghostly properties.
The Galaxy Gift - Another alien shows up and this one is being chased by other aliens with heavy ordnance. He befriends Penny offers him refuge in the Jupiter II. That hacks off the other aliens to no end. In return for her kindness, the first alien gives Penny a special amulet. It turns out to be the item that the second group wants and trouble ensues.
The final disk has the "Special Features". It basically consists of a slideshow with audio interviews from Mom and Pop Robinson and Dr. Smith. "
The Height of Farce
Brian A. Wolters | Cabot, Arkansas | 07/25/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Volume 2 of Lost in Space, Season 2 features some of the strangest and worst episodes of the entire series. The series was in full fantasy / adventure mode and most of this volume showcases this. Even with that said, there is a lot to like here.
This volume opens with 4 stinkers yet in their own way, they are charming. From "The Questing Beat" through "The Space Vikings", we are treated to space fantasy at its most absurd. There is absolutely no real danger in these episodes and though they can be enjoyed for their own merit, you have to wonder how the series made it for a 3rd season.
The rest of this volume is a mixed bag but we do have some highlights. "Rocket to Earth" is yet another close call in getting back to Earth with the always fun Al Lewis. "The Cave of The Wizards" features some genuine emotion from Smith toward his feelings for the Robinsons and a teaser about a possible lift off from the planet. And two great Robot episodes, "Trip Through the Robot" and "The Mechanical Men".
Despite some of the worst episodes of the series, Season 2 did continue to strengthen the bond between Will, Smith and the Robot, one of the best trios next to Kirk, Spock and Bones. With the aforementioned "Cave of the Wizards", we see that Smith was really more of a father figure to William at times more then his Dad. As a result, Judy and Maureen took a far back seat to everyone else with Penny being a distant third.
Lost in Space Season 2, Volume 2 is the weakest of the two volume set. And despite the weaker or duller stories, in the right mind, they were still a lot of run to watch. It is a worthy edition and not just for completists."
The Fabulous Dr. Smith
James M. Meehan | somerville, ma United States | 12/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"the reason to watch this series is for Dr. Smith. the second half of season two has much better plots and less of the cheezy monsters that mar the first half of the season. Dr. Smith becomes more sypathetic to the crew, ecspecially the Robot and Will Robinson. the highlights are seeing the Robot in a dress and Smith always complaining about his back. plus the second green girl episode where she is saying "handsome pretty handsome Dr. Smith""
20th Century Fox is to be praised!
Michael S. Admire | Mobile, Alabama United States | 12/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Lost in Space" is my all time favorite show and I am absolutely thrilled to own the entire second season on dvd. Vol. 2 is just as good as if not better than volume 1. My favorite seasin 2 episodes are in this set as well. "Rocket to Earth" with guest star Al Lewis, "Cave of the Wizards", and "Trip through the Robot" just to name a few. The color looks great and there is also the lead in third season trailer at the end of "The Galaxy Gift". I can hardly wait for season three volume one coming out in 2005! Thank you 20th Century Fox for putting these out on dvd. They look great!"
TheKingsSon | Chicagoland | 02/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a boy growing up and watching this I, as others, looked forward every week to the continuing adventures of the Robinson family. I admit, I always wanted to see every episode, in order, without Mom "interupting me". Good ole' fashioned CLEAN fun. Today's trash is just that .. Trash! Are the "sets" kinda pathetic? Duh, of course Campy? To say the least. But, there is that certain, intangible aspect that is completely gone in ANY of todays shows that can no longer be captured. Is this for everyone? No, but for the person who can look past the flash, special effects and the "Too serious" attitude in today's Sci-Fi, than this IS the stuff for you. Dr. Smith is a master comedian and alone is worth the price of admission. I will say though that the robot is more funny than I remember. I used to look forward to seeing pennys pretty face, but at my age Judy and Mrs Robinson seem a bit more appealing :-)