Lost in Space "The Reluctant Stowaway" (September 1, 1965)
But before then, let's look back (again), at the starting point for the franchise.
The Robinsons, the audience also learns, best fulfill three necessary criteria for explorers in the space age: scientific achievement, pioneer resourcefulness and emotional balance.
The debut episode of Lost in Space also provides a splendid, highly-detailed tour of the unique craft carrying the Robinson family to the furthest reaches of space.
Written by S. Bar David and directed by Tony Leader, "The Reluctant Stowaway" introduces television audiences to the main characters and central concepts of this space drama. As one might guess from the title of the series, the Jupiter 2's maiden flight will experience all sorts of difficulties and disasters, with the Robinsons and Smith hopelessly...lost in the space.
Accordingly, Lost in Space -- at least in the first season -- is a sincere, straight-faced action-adventure, a transposition of the American Western genre; about the newest frontier and the pioneers required to tame deep space. It is, literally (as its source material suggests...), Space Family Robinson.
What I found most fascinating while watching "The Reluctant Stowaway" was the impressive (and apparently obsessive) attention to detail. The production values are superb.
Another fact: Dr. Zachary Smith is one sinister cat at this juncture. He's not the buffoon he would become in later seasons. Instead, he is ultra-menacing and dark. He wants to kill the Robinsons. And he doesn't take that job lightly. He's not a bumbler...he's a killer. Not exactly a playful sort. He uses every trick in the book in this episode to get Robinson to turn the boat around, back towards Earth. At one point, he even attempts to quarantine Will, claiming that the boy has a virus that will kill him if he returns to suspended animation.
As noted above, Lost in Space is a sci-fi series about a pioneer family pulling together in hard times, and it's good, adventurous fun. It may not be deep or kinky or adult or modern, but it is beautifully-shot and it conveys well the dangers and thrills of space travel in a way I haven't seen on any show in some time. There's a fairy tale aspect to many entries of the series, especially in the well-done first season.