Updated: February 16, 2019|
Lost in Space, the popular television series which aired between 1965 and 1968, was intended as an outer-space adaption of Swiss Family Robinson. Set in the "distant" future of 1997, Irwin Allen's show was unfairly viewed as an infantile version of Star Trek. Allen never sought to match the philosophical tone of Gene Roddenberry's series, however, and both producers considered the comparison unfair. Allen was a storyteller, and the tales sprung from his studio were frequently imaginative and quite good.
Lost in Space starred Guy Williams as John Robinson; June Lockhart was featured as his wife, Maureen; their three children were Judy (Marta Kristen), Penny (Angela Cartwright), and Will (Billy Mumy). They were accompanied on their mission by Major Don West, portrayed by Mark Goddard. After the pilot was filmed, it was decided the show needed a regular antagonist and Jonathan Harris was cast as Dr. Zachary Smith.
Smith was originally written as a villain, but Harris slowly molded him into a lovable troublemaker. Another addition to the cast was an "environmental control" robot. This machine started out as mere equipment but morphed into a member of the family, replete with a personality capable of love and pathos. These two late additions to the cast teamed with Billy Mumy and became the de facto focus of the program, much to the chagrin of Guy Williams and the other actors. This shift in focus recast the series into a fantasy/farce, but one still capable of producing many fine moments.