Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Lost in Space Day: "Forbidden World"
In “Forbidden World,” the Jupiter 2 flees from the robot planet (first encountered in “The Ghost Planet”), but the robots fire a hyper-atomic missile after the ship.
The Jupiter 2 narrowly evades destruction, and crashes on another planet.
Although Professor Robinson (Guy Williams) orders that no one leave the ship, Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) sends the robot out to test the atmosphere.
When all contact is lost with the robot, Robinson sends Smith out to find him.
And when Smith is lost, Will (Bill Mumy) realizes he must rescue his friend. He heads out into the unknown, and runs across an alien named Captain Tiabo (Wally Cox). Tiabo claims to be a soldier in a vast army, and says that his people will soon test a secret super-weapon on the Jupiter 2
Meanwhile, Dr. Smith dregs a keg of explosive liquid and becomes highly combustible. Worse, he has the hiccups…
Lost in Space’s second season slide into monumental idiocy continues with “Forbidden World.”
I don’t write those words lightly or casually. I have been reviewing episodes of the series every week since January, and have, I hope, pinpointed strong episodes…but also the series’ overall strong qualities.
Yet four episodes in, the second season can be viewed as nothing less than a vast, catastrophic drop in quality and seriousness. The novelty of seeing the series in color has worn off, and now I miss the moody photography of the first season, which -- at the very least -- hid the seams.
The slide in narrative quality is exemplified by this episode, which after a strong start involves Dr. Smith drinking a liquid that turns him into a walking-talking explosive.
Also to the bad, we get the worst creature design yet in Lost in Space history: Tiabo’s hairy bird-alien companion. The monster is silly in appearance, and unlike the monsters of season one and installments such as “Wish Upon a Star,” “The Keeper,” or even “One of Our Dogs is Missing,” couldn’t scare a five year old.
Making matters worse, this is another Smith/Robot/Will story, wherein the Robinson family is sidelined. Again, Smith and the Robot go out to a dangerous location; again Will goes out to rescue them. It’s all not only horribly familiar at this point, but downright dull.
In "Forbidden World,” we meet a character, Captain Tiabo, who is actually alone on the plane (save for his monstrous companion), but pretending to be part of a huge military force. The lesson, perhaps, is that it is better to meet people honestly and openly than to try to trick them into thinking you are strong or powerful. Will sees through Tiabo’s misdirection, and attempts to make friends with him on a human level.
In a way, “Forbidden World” is not unlike “The Corbomite Maneuver” on Star Trek, but again, that Star Trek story simply handles the story in a much more adult, serious and philosophical manner. By comparison, Lost in Space just looks silly as hell.