Friday, August 6, 2010

Lost in Space is stupid (Part 4)

Season 3: The Time Merchant

Time travel stories are very difficult to tell. What happens in the past will influence the future. If you travel back in time, do you replace yourself or are there now two of you? In the case of this episode, the person traveling back in time replaces themselves temporarily until they return to their normal time. Then their old selves return to their normal place and time as if nothing happened. How convenient ... and stupid.

Dr. Smith, the robot and Will all travel back in time. For some reason, the robot's memory is somehow reset to what it was in the past but he managed to eventually remember who he really is. The Will that travels back in time is much older than the Will of 1997 before the Jupiter 2 lifted off into space.

When Will goes back in time, he conveniently appears next to the robot who has also gone back time instead of appearing where is younger self is. Stupid.

Will is also wearing his purple clothes from Season 3. When Dr. Smith went back in time, he was dressed in the clothes he wore at that time. Stupid.

Let's go back to the beginning. During a cosmic storm, Will creates a trap to capture cosmic particles but instead captures Dr. Chronos the Time Merchant. According to Chronos, he controls time. When they captured him, there was nobody running the factory so in his own words "The time tapes have gone amok. They're running backwards, sideways and upside down." He's lost time so he claims that Will owes him time so he hypnotizes Will and they return to his factory via the cosmic trap which as apparently opened up a dimensional opening. Prof. Robinson, the robot and Dr. Smith follow. There are no women in this episode. The stupid thing is that Prof. Robinson somehow knows how to travel through the dimensional portal by placing his hands just right. Stupid.

Dr. Smith seems to know how to use Dr. Chronos time machine. He jumps into the cage and throws the level and somehow he goes to the place and time he wants auto-magically. This happens over and over in this episode with Will, the robot and Prof. Robinson. Stupid.

Chronos explains "Everybody has a time tape. But if they run hither and tither, to and fro, back and forth, never slowing down for a moment ... they use their time tapes up all the faster." Chronos is a bad guy because he blows up planets that waste time so we're supposed to feel good when his factory gets blown up.

At one point, they need more power so Will gets on treadmill since they need axillary power. Stupid.

Dr. Smith travels back to 1997 right before the Jupiter 2 lift-off. He decides to stay on Earth of course. If Dr. Smith does not get on the Jupiter 2 then his weight will not throw off the trajectory and the Jupiter 2 will be destroyed by uncharted asteroids and the Robinson's will cease to exist. But now we'll have a time travel paradox. If the Robinson's die then Dr. Smith can never go back and time and avoid getting on the Jupiter 2 therefore he will get on the Jupiter 2 and we're stuck in an infinite loop. Dr. Smith and the robot get on the Jupiter 2 then are transported back to the future. At that point, the robot and Dr. Smith of the past must then continue the past time line.

At the end of the episode, the factory gets completely destroyed. Based on what Chronos said earlier, that should have destroyed time as well but apparently "time" is fine. Really stupid.

Bonus Stupid: Any SciFi show that goes around the universe finding humanoids that speak English can't be taken seriously. Lost in Space is one of those shows.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lost in Space is stupid (Part 3)

Season 3: Episode 17: Princess of Space

This is one of THE Worst Episodes Ever. It was so boring and campy, I had to force myself to watch it in multiple short intervals.

A space pirate is searching for Princess Alpha of the planet Beta. You'd think they could get a little more creative with the names. It turns out that a nurse hid the Princess on Earth by converting her to computer tape and hiding her inside the robot a few years ago before the Jupiter 2 left Earth.

The people on planet Beta figured out how to reduce a person to tape. You can then transmit the person and reconstruct the person on the other end. It's a great way to travel long distance quickly. It's essentially the same as a Star Trek transporter. You are disintegrated and in the process, your atomic structure is recorded. A device can then be sent your structure and regenerate you down to the atom. You have been killed. What is created is a perfect copy of you. For the religious, this means your soul either goes to heaven or hell and the copy has no soul. Little kids just don't think of these things.

In this picture, Will examines Dr. Smith who has been converted to tape and is probably burning in hell.

The pirate has a telescope that sounds an alarm when the telescope is pointed at her. The telescope alarm did not make a sound sound when pointed at Earth because the tape was in the robot which was traveling through space.

The pirate happens upon the planet the Robinson's are on and follows the telescope to the robot. He mistakes Penny for the Princess because she's standing next to the robot.

Penny is taken back to the ship and the Royal Aunt is transmitted by radio to the ship to see if she's the real Princess. I have to wonder why Penny wasn't transmitted to Beta instead. When the Royal Aunt arrives, she has a long talk with Penny and she decides Penny is the true Princess. The stupid thing is the Royal Aunt has a scepter that can prove if she is the Princess or not but she doesn't use it. They have a coronation ceremony to declare her the official Princess with no real evidence. Stupid. The machines rebel when Penny gets the scepter. They want to steal the scepter and take over the planet Beta. Penny tries to stop the machines with the scepter but only the true Princess can do it.

The nurse that hid the Princess on Earth had sent back the message K12B6 to planet Beta. Nobody understood the message. It was actually the encryption key to decode the computer data on the tape inside the robot. It's also the password they use to program the robot. Will figures it out and the robot is told to dematerialize the Princess using the code K12B6. The robot rolls over to the materializer and flips some switches and the princess appears. I'm assuming the robot decoded the data and wirelessly transmitted it to the machine to materialize the Princess.

On a side-note, I think I know why they chose the code K12B6. The French book The Little Prince, which was published in 1943, had the Prince living on an asteroid the size of a house called B612.

On another side-note, the robot can only roll forward and backward. You never see the robot turn using those treads. I'm guessing it doesn't work too well. There are times the robot is moving about freely but they shoot that from the knees up and the operator inside the robot suit is walking.

The servant is discovered to be a robot.

The servant robot is converted to an EBCDIC card instead of tape. That's a bit old fashioned but when the episode aired Jan 10, 1968, the EBCDIC punch-cards has been used for about 4 years to store data and programs so it made sense. The current year in this episode is close to the year 2010 (my estimate) so its stupid they are using paper to store data. You'd think the SciFi writers would have been a little more forward thinking. Or perhaps we're meant to believe that you can store information about every atom of a being in some technologically advanced piece of paper.

Why is it when the Jupiter 2 lands on dirt, it drills deep into the surface? When it lands on pavement, it lands using its landing gear. Remember that there is a lower deck underground. It's essentially their basement in the scene above. Here is a scene from Season 2 Episode 2 Wild Adventure on the lower level looking out the window.

We also learn in Season 3 Episode 10 The Space Creature that there is a sub-basement shown below.

Do you really think there is room for a basement and a sub-basement?

They must think we're stupid ... or a child who doesn't question these things.

More stupid stuff: Will gets into a Deck Vent to hide ...

... then the controls he needs to eavesdrop conveniently appear.

Bonus Stupid: In zero gravity, you have gravity IF you're inside a space ship. But when you're OUTSIDE a space-ship, you float and move in slow motion. Stupid!

More Bonus Stupid: There is no toilet or shower on the Jupiter 2. Stupid!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lost in Space is stupid (Part 2)

Season 3: The Promised Planet

I remember seeing this episode as a kid. This episode is a lot of fun but doesn't make a lot of sense.

They finally arrived at Alpha Centauri (or so they think) and land on planet Delta at intersteller relay station 9 which is an advance station for new arrivals for orientation and processing. They're told in a few days there will be a shuttle to planet Gamma where they can join the main colony. Apparently the habitable planets in the system have been populated by humans for 3 years. I'm not sure how they would explain it. The Jupiter 2 left Earth for Alpha Centauri October 16, 1997. They were the first to go so they should be the first to arrive.

By the 3rd season it should be about the year 2000. Actually I'm not sure. There have been episodes where they travel through time for example they landed on Earth in the 3rd Season episode named Visit to a Hostile Planet except the year was around 1950. They left Earth but never explain if they returned to their own time or not.

I'm not sure how many years it was supposed to take to travel to Alpha Centauri but you also have to take into account that faster ships will be built over time and may arrive sooner than the ships that left earlier. My point is that they play fast and loose with time which is stupid. They obviously wrote this for a younger audience who wouldn't question such leaps in logic. For an adult, it's stupid.

Both this episode and Visit to a Hostile Planet use the same special effect.

The shot where they land is also a shot that is re-used again and again. See my last blog post where that shot is used twice for a planet and Earth.

The youngest, Penny and Will are separated from the rest of the group and tested while listening to music and exposed to bright lights. They are told they need to pass the test in order to qualify for the fun colony on planet Gamma. Penny has trouble at first but soon lets go and gets hypnotized by the groovy sounds.

This Delta colony is run by teenagers who seem to like nothing more than to dance to 60's groove music. Will is a square and has trouble becoming "groovy" which is code for getting hypnotized. It turns out these teenagers are actually aliens.

The aliens want to hypnotize the kids so they can perform some kind of transfusion so they can grow old. Apparently their "DNA" forces them to stay young forever.

I'm not sure why living forever is a bad thing. I'm not sure why they want to grow old and die. In the end the aliens fail to perform the transfusion in time. Dr. Smith turns on the music and the kids can't help but dance and Will and Penny get rescued.

The one kid says "All I want to is shave, see?" The unseen kid behind the intercom stops the music and says "We have failed Bartholomew. We must reconcile ourselves to the fact that we can never grow older ... that as time takes the Earthlings forward ... it takes us back ... back to our end." They don't explain what this means. Will they grow younger and die that way?

Here's why this episode is stupid. Once Will and Penny were separated from everyone, the aliens could have forcibly gotten the transfusion. They don't make it clear what harm might come to Will and Penny but if it's simply a transfusion they need, certainly they could have asked for it. The Robinson's may have been OK giving some blood, plasma or whatever the aliens needed to grow old. Instead the aliens tried to hypnotize them with a combination of testing, music and lights.

They erase the olders memories of the two kids and send them on their way. Luckily Will gives them some memory cones and they remember in time to return and rescue them.

It boggles my mind why aliens around the year 2010 (now) would want to behave like it's 1960. This episode did first air January 24, 1968 so they some how assumed that the 60's motif would continue to be popular for the next 50 years ... which is stupid.

Bonus Stupid: The alien monkey named Bloop Bloop they picked up in Season 1 Episode 3 Island in the Sky ...

isn't seen much after Season 1. We see this monkey during a take-off in Season 2 Episode 1 Blast off into Space.

Then the exact same scene is used again in Season 3 episode 2 Visit to a Hostile Planet.

I haven't finished Season 3 yet but Bloop Bloop is all but forgotten. They simply write him out of the scripts and assume we'll forget him. They treat us like idiots in this respect, insulting our intelligence and that's just stupid. Since Bloop Bloop is part of the family, they should have taken him off the ship when they landed on planet Delta but apparently they abandon him in the ship somewhere to fend for himself. Poor Bloop Bloop. He's an ignored pet sitting in his own poop somewhere ... starving.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lost in Space is stupid (Part 1)

As a kid, I loved Lost in Space but even I could see it was a bit cheesy. I had no idea how bad Lost in Space really was until I got older. I started watching every episode of Lost in Space starting with the black and white Season 1. I'm nearing the finish line half way through the last season which is Season 3. Lost in Space started out as serious science fiction and the earlier black and white episodes are actually quite good. The episodes that started to veer to toward campy in Season 1 are:

  • Welcome Stranger
  • The Sky Pirate
  • The Space Croppers

The best episodes in Season 1 IMHO are

  • The Hungry Sea
  • My Friend, Mr. Nobody
  • Return from Outer Space
  • A Change of Space
I just gone done watching Target Earth from Season 3 and saw a few stupid things

Here they are landing on the alien planet. Now this shot is used over and over in many episodes.

but then they have the nerve to re-use it when they land on Earth in the same episode. I understand why they re-use shots. They didn't have the budget to shoot different landing scenes.

Dr. Smith and Will knock out their alien doubles with Karate chops to the neck. Stupid! Dr. Smith notices that his double has webbed fingers. Notice the double is also wearing the same ring Dr. Smith has. How do you get a ring on when you have web fingers??? Stupid! The aliens have the ability to copy the humans exactly so why do they have webbed fingers? Stupid!

They take the clothes off the double and go to the trouble of dressing their doubles. Why would they dress their doubles??? Stupid! Here is the alien Dr. Smith waking up. Notice he doesn't have web fingers now. In fact, the other alien doubles only have web fingers for close-ups. Stupid!

The alien doubles easily take over the Jupiter space craft. They fly it back to Earth within a matter of hours. Stupid! The real Will, Dr. Smith and the robot are along for the ride. Will manages to warn Earth that they are aliens so Earth begins to shoot missiles at them. Will tells the aliens there is no possible way they can land on Earth now and yet the ships lands on Earth using the auto-pilot. Stupid! At this point, the robot has knocked out the aliens. Instead of letting Dr. Smith get out on Earth, Will immediately takes off and flies back to the planet ... within hours. Stupid! After Will rescues his family, they don't return to Earth and continue to remain Lost in Space even though it was so apparently easy for the aliens. Stupid!