The third season of Lost In Space got the Robinsons back in orbit, and what happens? They return to Earth! Great, we'd been waiting for this moment throughout the first two season of the show. But it's a classic case of right place, wrong time: a time warp makes them arrive 50 years before they left. This episode marked a turn toward more serious stories for the series. But Dr. Smith resorts to his usual tricks to manipulate the unsuspecting rubes of the hick town where the Jupiter 2 landed into letting him stay on Earth, and even gets some of the Robinsons jailed. One lingering question about this episode: when the Robinsons finally left Earth, did they make it back to the same point in time as when they entered the time warp, or were they now "Lost In Space And Time," traversing the galaxies as they were back in 1947?
the j2 returns to earth and dr. smith is elated. he's telling everyone how he will show them all the sights. but they soon find out that it's 1945!. the best thing about this one is the full size jupiter 2 in all it's glory on the 20th century lot. the townspeople are cliched yokels that have iq's of 2. dr. smith takes over the town with a fake southern accent and his overacting goes into overdrive. there is one scene when the robot is discuised as a child with a straw hat to avoid capture with will and one of the town dummies says they look familiar and the other one says all kids look alike!!! what like a 300 lb. rolly polly robot. anyway, they end up taking off and going back to their current time. pretty silly stuff considering what could have been.
I've always really liked this episode, but the last time I watched it had to have been in the early 80s, and at that time I wasn't as knowledgeable about other series from the 60s. The episode is part satire. Officer Grover is parodying Don Knotts as Barney Fife. Joe Cragmire is based on Forrest Tucker's F Troop character, and in one scene the music is very much like F Troop's theme song. Charlie is reminiscent of shopkeeper Sam Drucker, while Craig reminds me of the Steve Elliott character, both of whom were in Petticoat Junction.
Simply put, Season Three has already reached my very #1 top-ranked episode of the season. "Visit To A Hostile Planet" is pretty much a solid rock-hard exciting classic for me. As the older members may recall, "Visit To A Hostile Planet" was the very favorite episode of Wyoming Rosset ("Wy," or "The Midnight Cowboy"). Wyoming taught a college writing class. He would play this episode to the students, stop it right near the end, around the release of the cannon part, turn it off, and have the students write their own ending. I always thought that was an awesome idea, and how I wish I had been in Wyoming's class! 8-]
Anyway..I have heard of a few 'casual fans' who remember LOST IN SPACE from their childhood who mention this episode as one they recall as a very favorite. It certainly IS an episode that can be easily remembered years later. I have also heard other fans who like to 'dis' this episode for being a bit too 'goofy,' 'silly,' or whatever, as far as the local Green Acres-like townsfolk are concerned. To those fans, I will say what I usually say (or think) when the same people like to 'dis' Season Two in general for being too silly or goofy.."Get over it lol!" This far into the series is surely a far cry from the good old B&W days, so you take what you can get. This episode is also a good example as to why I would never use 'silliness' as a yardstick in grading episodes. It has probably a bit more 'silliness' than the previous episode, the season kickoff, "Condemned Of Space," yet it is a notch or two better.
In one of the old videos about the show (perhaps LOST IN SPACE FOREVER, 1998), June Lockhart, while narrating, called this a 'defining moment', or a 'big moment' for the Robinsons..landing back on Earth and all. I would agree. Besides an excellently written episode from Peter Packer, and an excellently directed episode from Sobey Martin (whom we had only heard from just one time in Season Two since the B&W glory days), probably the two things that stand out and make this episode a huge winner for me is the excellent and very interesting outdoor location shooting, and especially the almost chilling, great and final wrap/finish to the story, as we first get a glimpse of the Jupiter 2 spaceship flying through the blue sky, and then rising through atmosphere (right after Stacy and Craig's exchange about flying saucers) to get away from..earth! This episode had one of the very few (four of them) really good endings to a Season Three episode. I will note the others when they come up. Yes, the ending to this episode can actually send chills up and down my spine. I certainly cannot say that about many colored episodes for sure.
Speaking of Craig (Robert Pine), if you look at his credits at imdb, you will notice that this appearance in LOST IN SPACE was just about the very first thing he did..pretty much the beginning of his career.
Aside from the First Season Premiere, I think this is the most interesting and exciting episode as the Robinsons find that you really can't go home again. I saw this episode first run on CBS in 1967 as a Third Grader; the third season was exciting to me as I disliked the premise of being confined on the same planet all of the time and I loved to see footage of the Jupiter 2 in flight. As for the question from an earlier post, I don't think the script writers thought too much about whether the Jupiter's place in the time continuum was resolved by the next episode - they probably just hoped the audience would forget by next week lol. Note the scriptwriter's gaffe in which Professor Robinson cites 1970 as the year man lands on the Moon....
Definitely a departure for the show as this is as close as the show ever got to "true" sci fi, at least since the early B&W episodes, and the humor is held to a minimum. Although, when Robert Foulk says his line at the end "I bet they ain't gonna drop HIM off at Chickasaw Falls", he clearly is holding back a giggle. Unless I'm mistaken, this episode has more credited "guest stars" than any other in the series.
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