Lost in Space is a series unlike so many other science fiction shows, especially for its time. It aired between 1965 and 1968, and while it was originally conceived as a sort of Swiss Family Robinson in space, it eventually morphed into an engaging, if campy, sci-fi adventure. It was later given a feature film treatment, but it couldn't hold a candle to what made the original series great.
Following the Robinson family as they explored the outer reaches of space in the Jupiter 2, the Irwin Allen special was a cluster of bizarre narratives and creepy space freaks that wouldn't have looked out of place in an episode of Star Trek. With each new landing, the Robinsons hoped they'd be able to make their way back home to planet Earth once more -- hence the title, Lost in Space.
Now we're looking at an entire reboot for the show via Netflix -- how will it fare in the grand scheme of things? Can it out-weird the weirdness that Lost in Space perfected? To answer this question, we must become acquainted with the bizarre qualities some of the best Lost in Space episodes possessed. Here are some of the weirdest shows the series ever came up with.
Season 2, Episode 3 - "The Ghost Planet"
The Jupiter 2 makes its way down to a freaky planet that resident ne'er-do-well Dr. Smith thinks is actually Earth. Of course no one stops to think about how this might be too good to be true, leading them to send the Robot to investigate the area. Instead, the bumbling Dr. Smith goes out to see what's going on and is met with a bizarre group of robots who offer him a great treasure if he gives them all his weapons.
Dr. Smith steals the Robinson family's weapons and instead of being given a treasure, he's forced to work like a slave for the robots. The strange design of the robots lends a dreamlike feel to this episode. There's also a side plot where the Robot meets with a cybernetic brain and contemplates joining a league led by a zany one who believes cybernetics are the "true masters" of the universe, meant to take revenge on the Robinsons. Yeah, we don't know either.
Season 2, Episode 14 - "The Dream Monster"
Penny, the youngest of the Robinson family, happens upon an android named Raddion and its creator Sesmar. Sesmar becomes infatuated with Penny's human compassion and penchant for all things beautiful, focusing on the feelings humans are capable of experiencing. Sesmar asks for a small "bit" of all the Robinsons' individual feelings, and after canoodling with the family, invites them to his lab so he can drain every bit of emotion from their minds.
In a rare turn of events Dr. Smith has to actually save the family from being a bunch of lazy miscreants, because as per usual, he didn't want to participate in any experiment from some random alien he didn't trust. Seeing the Robinsons act so bizarrely as lazy cretins is hilarious, but also so out of character for them that it's one of the weirder ones out there.
Season 2, Episode 22 - "The Cave of the Wizards"
Dr. Smith is up to his old tricks again, as usual, marking another occurrence where the Robinson family takes a backseat to his shenanigans. While the Jupiter 2 prepares to take off, Dr. Smith injures himself and ends up having amnesia. He finds himself wandering around on the planet and eventually happens upon a computer that can conjure up anything he wishes for.
This results in Smith being turned into some freaky gray man with a red cap who calls himself Oniak. Oniak is an alien with a supposed abundance of knowledge, and he simply won't leave the planet. This leads little Will Robinson to try and bring Dr. Smith back to the Jupiter 2 before liftoff, but as you can see in the image above, he probably wasted his time. That...creature probably isn't going to do anyone any favors.
Season 2, Episode 27 - “The Phantom Family“
When the Jupiter 2 is infiltrated by aliens, Will is left on his own trying to reach the Professor and his wife. He has to go all the way out to a relay station to do this, so he has to leave for a short time as well. When he gets back to the ship, he discovers that the rest of the crew, including Dr. Smith, are acting like strangers. The Robot has been damaged as well, prompting Will to suss out what’s really going on.
It turns out that an alien has actually managed to create android-like versions of each family member, having systematically replaced the real ones and placed them in cryostasis tubes like the insane freak he is. Will obviously makes a fuss over having his family released, but the alien asks that he teach the android doubles how to act like humans. It’s all a bid for the alien to steal the Jupiter 2, which is typical for aliens in this show, but the strangest question of all is why wasn’t there a double of Will created too?
Season 3, Episode 7 - "Space Destructors"
This episode was nominated for an Emmy in 1968 for some of its makeup effects, and for good reason. The androids in this episode are downright terrifying. Our favorite traveling crew (Will Robinson, The Robot, and Dr. Smith) happen upon a cave with some decidedly weird inner workings.
It turns out there's a faceless android sneaking around in there, and Dr. Smith finds himself with an army of robots who look just like him. Will Robinson, in his attempts to save Smith from himself, is even given a Smith-faced makeover as an android with the desire to take over the entire universe. Danger, Will Robinson. No one needs that many Smiths walking around getting into anything.
Season 3, Episode 18 - “Time Merchant“
Will Robinson is messing about with his latest science experiment when he somehow manages to lure an alien named Chronos who has the ability to manipulate time. Chronos isn’t so keen on Will’s experiments and in return takes him back to his factory. This prompts a family rescue by the Robinsons, including good old Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith figures out that Chronos’ personal time machine can take him through both space and time and finagles a way to go back to 1997 on Earth before the Jupiter 2 even had a chance to lift off.
The rest of the episode is centered around Dr. Smith’s foul-up, which will eventually cause the Robinsons and Dr. Smith to cease existing. It’s a strange exercise in figuring out Dr. Smith’s morality and true feelings about the Robinsons, but it’s also bizarre that Will should be able to simply conjure some magical being up out of nowhere, especially one that can supposedly control time and space like Chronos.
Season 3, Episode 21 - "Space Beauty"
Lost in Space previously hosted the space circus owner Farnum B., and he comes back in this episode looking for contestants for a beauty pageant: Miss Galaxy, to be exact. He comes for the eldest Robinson child, Judy, looking to coerce her into entering the contest. Judy senses something wrong and decides not to enter. As usual, Dr. Smith has other plans as he’s looking out for himself.
Dr. Smith eventually gets Judy to join, even going so far as getting her to sign a contract. It’s eventually revealed that signing the contract reveals that the winner of the beauty contest is actually meant to be handed over to a being made entirely out of fire. The reason? The planet the being hails from just doesn’t have anything beautiful there. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but that’s where all the weirdness comes in. First of all, Judy should know better than to go along with anything Dr. Smith says. I mean, they just saw this guy last season. The entire concept is strange to begin with.
Season 3, Episode 23 - “The Great Vegetable Rebellion”
The Robinsons celebrate the Robot’s birthday because you can totally tell when a robot was born (I guess if you build the robot that counts), and Dr. Smith decides to use this time to himself to go off and explore. You know, and cause trouble, like he always does. He ends checking out a new planet with various different plants growing all over it. He pulls up a flower and is later accosted by a carrot-like man named Tybo. His punishment for “murder” involves him being turned into celery.
It’s up to Will and company to find him on this verdant planet, and while that does happen, it’s not before Penny is turned into a bed of flowers and everything else in the world goes awry. It’s a truly strange episode, and given that it’s the one episode right before the end of the third season, it makes sense that it goes a little more out there than one might expect.