So, the second and final season of science fiction TV and disaster movie producer Irwin Allen’s camp 1960s classic finally arrives on DVD.
The ongoing saga concerns the adventures of the passengers and crew of a 1983 (curb your guffaws, please) intergalactic flight between L.A. and London, who are thrown wildly off-course and crash-land on a hostile alien world. All very Lost In Space, you might suggest. Well, you’re right, but this show’s spin is that the planet they land on is just like Earth except that its inhabitants are all many times larger than normal life, leaving our heroes titchy in comparison.
It’s business as usual then, with our dashing-if-bland ship’s captain Steve (Gary Conway) leading the small team in a battle for survival against hostile forces, including sadistic giants, even more giant creatures (enjoyably adding a praying mantis to the long list) and wayward Commander Fitzhugh’s (Kurt Kasznar) potentially fatal greed.
This time round, there are a few slight changes on a material level. John Williams’ (yes, that John Williams) classic theme tune from Season 1 has for some reason been dispensed with and token young boy Barry (Stefan Arngrim) is now slightly awkward as puberty has set in. There are still the clunky prop usage and glaring continuity errors to contend with, though the real change in the second season comes down to the writing.
Embracing more science fiction rather than the fantastical elements of before, Season 2 emerges as a vast improvement, plot-wise. As usual, there’s the mix of evil and friendly giants as well as a few decent guest appearances from the likes of Bruce Dern, John Carradine and, bizarrely, bluesman Sugar Ray Robinson. However, particularly in later episodes, less is made of gimmickry and more of clever(ish) narratives.
Hints of Lost-style confusion come into play as time-travel (enabling our heroes to appear in their correct size), the paranormal and hallucinatory passages represent a less campy and much more intelligent direction.
Rather than easy resolution, these later episodes leave questions to be asked and occasionally even encourage the odd existential musing on the notion of escaping our own fate.
It’s a shame, then, that Allen’s production was sent to the scrapheap just as it seemed to be coming into its own as something more than faintly ridiculous sixties nostalgia.
Though a short-lived show, this boxset, complete with a new cast commentary recording featuring the surviving actors, is fitting tribute to a cult favourite.
Released on DVD on Monday 13th June 2011 by Revelation Films Ltd.
Watch the trailer…