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 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 1:29 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

As I noted in previous threads, I had seen glimpses of LAND OF GIANTS and TIME TUNNEL on cable reruns in the 80's, but never an episode of this, so it was time I visited this "cult" favourite as well.

These scores are IMO Williams at his most dissonant/avantgarde, and definitely his most challenging work among the Allen shows. Here follows a brief "review" of the Williams-scored episodes I've managed to find and view for the first time.

Episode 1: "The Reluctant Stowaway"

I kinda liked the detached, observatory nature of the opening minutes (with a newsreporter-like voiceover) right up untill the robot talks for the first time, which is where the cheese kicks in. From there, it's a fun ride of hilarious dialogue that is either overly dramatic (e.g. Alpha Control reporting to the president that the ship is now "hopelessly lost in space") or over-pedadogic, telling us in detail what we're already seeing or what they can't "afford" to show (e.g. the robot stating "it has now been 8 hours, and I must destroy!").

Favourite "camp" moment:

John uses a rotten rope - of all things - as a lifeline for his space walk, which of course snaps. big grin

There are really four main ingredients of Williams' score that I noticed. One is the über-dramatic sturm-und-drang chords on blaring brass a la 50's horror music for the suspense scenes. The second is the rumbling, slightly jaunty tuba theme for the robot (a distant, more dissonant relative to Jabba the Hutt's theme, perhaps?). The third is the off-kilter waltz for the weightless scene a la Strauss/2001. The fourth is the ethereal texture, percussion-based, very 60's psychedelia music for the space walk scene.

Episode 3: "Island in the Sky"

I sometimes wonder if ANY kind of scientific fidelity mattered at ALL to the writers of this show. In this episode, Robinson sr. plummets to a planet in his mere space suit from outer space and SURVIVES! And that's just the premise.

Dr. Smith continues his stereotypically evil streak. I wonder if SIMPSONS' Mr. Burns is based on this character, even down to the "eeeeegzellent!" expression!? smile

I've got two favourite "camp" moments from this episode:

One is the discovery of Debbie, the "modified monkey" that is found in the bushes. What the hell is that she has on her head? The other is the sudden encounter with a HUGE electric dustball that disables all the electronic equipment in their moon bug. LOL! big grin

Some aspects of Williams' score that I noticed:

One is the almost jazzy, funky bass line on low woodwinds and percussion for the sequence when John's rockets won't fire. Almost a little MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE which then adds brass when the danger increases. The other is the interweaving brass glissandi for when the family goes looking for him. I think I heard the same in STAR WARS, in some climactic action scene. The third is the theme for Debbie, an upward-cascading "motif" on woodwinds which has a definite quirkiness about it, albeit very "vague" as a theme.

Episode 5: "The Hungry Sea"

First of all, what the hell was the point of the ruins in the beginning (and at the end of ep. 4)? Seems merely to have been inserted randomly to create the obligatory cliffhanger that ties the episodes together. Same goes for the ending of this episode, incidentally, where a missile is suddenly heading for them out of the blue (that has nothing whatsoever to do with the preceding storyline)!

This episode DOES have some value otherwise, though, esp. in the tension between John and whatshisname (the pilot) and some decent setpieces (the turbulent sea, the violent sun). I found it hilarious how it suddenly turned SEVENTH HEAVEN after the sea ordeal, as they stopped to pray by the roadside before they moved on. smile

Favourite "camp" moment:

The robot plays guitar while the good doctor sings a little ditty! big grin

Musically, this is one of the less interesting Williams scores, IMO. It is not as varied as the others and is basically restricted to those über-dramatic, chromatic chords performed on blaring brass as the Robinsons are confronted by various ordeals. There are also some violent flute triplets in the sea scene.

Episode 7: "My Friend, Mr. Nobody"

Unfortunately, I have not been able to track this down yet, but I'll chime in when I do.

I believe these are the only episodes Williams scored.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 1:33 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

P.S. The FSM Williams guide, which I'm using as the guide for much of this, lists Williams as the composer of Episode 4: "There Were Giants in the Earth", but this is - in fact - scored by Herman Stein.

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 1:42 PM   
 By:   workingwithknives   (Member)

http://www.hulu.com has many episodes of "Lost In Space" available for free online viewing.

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 1:44 PM   
 By:   Jeff Bond   (Member)

"The Hungry Sea" is actually some of my favorite scoring for the series because it features Williams' magnificent music for the Chariot (i.e. moon buggy), very grand and again a precursor to his Star Wars style.

Some of the incoherence of these episodes derives from the fact that they are expanded from the original pilot episode for the series, which did not feature Dr. Smith--hence the conceit of Smith staying behind on the Jupiter 2 while the Robinsons journey out in the Chariot. Footage from the pilot was used in at least four episodes (probably more since LIS often regurgitated its own visual effects sequences in later episodes). Again, I find the sheer ridiculousness and naivete of this show extremely charming and great stuff for children (albeit children of the sixties and seventies--probably wouldn't measure up for kids' attention spans today); the other Allen shows I enjoy for their look and music but I can rarely make it through an entire episode because the characterizations are so flat. Note also that you're watching the early "sober" episodes of LIS; if you think there are cheesy touches here, wait til you get into the color episodes. Actually once Warren Oates shows up as a literal space cowboy (in the fifth episode I think) all bets are off and the show veers mostly into comedy.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 1:45 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

http://www.hulu.com has many episodes of "Lost In Space" available for free online viewing.

Thanks, but unfortunately, this is only available for people in the United States.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 1:47 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

"The Hungry Sea" is actually some of my favorite scoring for the series because it features Williams' magnificent music for the Chariot (i.e. moon buggy), very grand and again a precursor to his Star Wars style.

Some of the incoherence of these episodes derives from the fact that they are expanded from the original pilot episode for the series, which did not feature Dr. Smith--hence the conceit of Smith staying behind on the Jupiter 2 while the Robinsons journey out in the Chariot. Footage from the pilot was used in at least four episodes (probably more since LIS often regurgitated its own visual effects sequences in later episodes). Again, I find the sheer ridiculousness and naivete of this show extremely charming and great stuff for children (albeit children of the sixties and seventies--probably wouldn't measure up for kids' attention spans today); the other Allen shows I enjoy for their look and music but I can rarely make it through an entire episode because the characterizations are so flat. Note also that you're watching the early "sober" episodes of LIS; if you think there are cheesy touches here, wait til you get into the color episodes. Actually once Warren Oates shows up as a literal space cowboy (in the fifth episode I think) all bets are off and the show veers mostly into comedy.


He, he...yeah, I know. I've got the Irwin Allen soundtrack box so I know that there are some later episodes with talking vegetable people and stuff! big grin

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 3:57 PM   
 By:   increbula   (Member)

Episode 3: "Island in the Sky"

That episode features my favorite LOST IN SPACE cues, "Strangle Hold (Track 6, 2:08 on the LIS Vol. 1 CD) and "Landing" (same track, approximately 6:18). These themes cropped up many times in subsequent episodes, with "Landing" especially effective in chase scenes and fight sequences.

It may sound like heresy, but as monumental as Williams' later achievements are, I don't find them nearly as thrilling as his LOST IN SPACE work. It's the first score music that I consciously wanted to own!

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 4:32 PM   
 By:   pete   (Member)


Thanks, but unfortunately, this is only available for people in the United States.


Hotspot Shield gets around that:
http://hotspotshield.com/

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 4:59 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

The show was basically crap, although I have a soft spot for it.

The best things about the show were:

1 - The robot
2 - The shirts, which changed every season, and
3 - Music by John Williams, who never did anything anywhere near as good as this again (IMHO).

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 5:07 PM   
 By:   Ford A. Thaxton   (Member)

FYI,

I'm not sure this will work inernationally, but here is a link to the LIS episode ISLAND IN THE SKY, which has a great score by Mr. Williams.






http://www.hulu.com/watch/114/lost-in-space-island-in-the-sk

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 5:11 PM   
 By:   increbula   (Member)

The best things about the show were:

1 - The robot
2 - The shirts, which changed every season, and
3 - Music by John Williams, who never did anything anywhere near as good as this again (IMHO).


I'm with you on all counts - plus I also enjoyed Jonathan Harris's over-the-top portrayal of Dr. Smith. He clearly relished the role!

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 5:39 PM   
 By:   mark ford   (Member)

[copied this post from the Land of the Giants thread]

I liked all the Irwin Allen shows when I was a kid, but LIS was my favorite. Let's face it, there was almost no Sci-Fi or fantasy of any kind on US TV at that time when it came out so it was something I latched onto as an elementary school kid.

I remember writing CBS asking them to send me some pictures of the Jupiter 2, The Robot, the ray guns, etc. and enclosed a couple of quarters (probably 2 weeks of allowance) to help pay for them. What seemed like months later I got a big envelope with a post card of the cast in their silver space suits with my money attached to it with a big paper clip. I recall being upset because this was my newest prized possession and it got a big crease in it from the paper clip. frown

The next year Batman came on and the first of the 2 part episodes aired during the first half of LIS so I was forced to make a choice and it ended up being Batman which I became a huge fan of. That meant me only seeing the second half of the LIS episodes and having to wait until the summer reruns to see the full shows.

Anyway, I loved LIS and it was probably one of the biggest influences on me, outside the Herrmann fantasy scores, in kindling my love of film/TV music (it turned out it was Williams' music that did it for me). Also of importance to me was Will Robinson, in whom I finally found a character near my age that I could relate to. I, like Will, was one of those super smart kids (although I never used any of those smarts in school!) and I was taught the same manners he used when dealing with adults, so he definitely was someone I felt a strong kinship to. Plus, I had always wanted to go into space since I was a little boy, as was the case for many during the US space program boom, so what character could be more perfect for me to latch onto! Bless you Lennier, er I mean, Bill Mumy!

In the end it all became a bit moot as I instantly became an insane fan of Star Trek from day one when it came out in '66 and it slowly bumped those other two favorites of mine down quite a bit.

A couple of years back I bought all of the episodes of the series on DVD and watched season 1 all the way through and a little over half of season 2. The rest of season 2 and all of season 3 remain unwatached (although I've seen the whole series several times through over the years). Kind of couldn't take the silliness any more at the time. Now with a big break in viewing, I might try to tackle the remaining shows again. Looking forward to The Great Vegetable Rebellion!

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 6:55 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

The show was basically crap, although I have a soft spot for it.

The best things about the show were:

1 - The robot
2 - The shirts, which changed every season, and
3 - Music by John Williams, who never did anything anywhere near as good as this again (IMHO).


Who was around to provide new duds for them every season? big grin

"In Space, there are no Nordstroms" big grin

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 7:01 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

repeated from my classic thread on the other side- DR.SMITH SNIVELLING COWARD OR NEFARIOUS VILLAIN:

JUST IMAGINE!

Maureen Robinson is out in front of that insipid "landing gear down" mock up of the Jupiter 2 doing laundry in some sort of "sonic" washing machine. She throws them in and the clothes come out in 3 seconds wrapped in plastic bags. Why she bothers bringing the washer out on their alien lawn defies reason. All the While, John and Don are out hunting for some dumb ass power source to make something on the ship work, or get their asses off whatever world they were on de jour.

And just guess what's really going on. Smith, Will and Ze Robot are off on another insipid adventure... Sweet Moses. big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2009 - 7:09 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)



I'm with you on all counts - plus I also enjoyed Jonathan Harris's over-the-top portrayal of Dr. Smith. He clearly relished the role!


Oh, absolutely. Add him to my list.

He used to come up with the alliterative insults to the robot every week and work them into the script, e.g. bubble-headed booby, cantankerous tin can, etc.

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2009 - 1:12 AM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

Episode 5: "The Hungry Sea"

Musically, this is one of the less interesting Williams scores, IMO. It is not as varied as the others and is basically restricted to those über-dramatic, chromatic chords performed on blaring brass as the Robinsons are confronted by various ordeals. There are also some violent flute triplets in the sea scene.


"The Hungry Sea" is my favorite LIS score. I'm a little stunned to see it called less interesting, but you're being technical. Rather than dissecting it, picking away with metal tongs like an android over an ALIENS face hugger, you might try feeling the emotions being expressed. It's not the parts, it's the whole.

I love the large, grasping, striving stuggle as the Chariot claws its way through churning waters. To convey all that, and do so with a melody, is brilliant scoring. As others have observed, it prefigures THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE which I also love.

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2009 - 7:58 AM   
 By:   Charles Thaxton   (Member)

I just watched the unaired pilot for LAND OF THE GIANTS on the DVD set and it's full of LIS cues. I was under the assumption that the whole unaired pilot was done by Alexander Courage. Courage's theme is intact at the beginning and end credits and maybe a brief cue in the body of the story, but most of it is LIS cues. What's da deal?

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2009 - 9:50 AM   
 By:   Jeff Bond   (Member)

Courage did the score and clearly Allen felt it was inadequate to the task and replaced it--he may have used the LIS cues for the network presentation, then when the pilot was aired for the network it was given the new score by Williams.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2009 - 4:24 PM   
 By:   PKDman   (Member)

"The Hungry Sea" is largely made up of leftover bits from the pilot (as Jeff pointed out) and that includes the footage of the "ruins," which is basically used as a cliffhanger between episodes 4 and 5 but has no other function really in the story.

Of all the Williams scores for LIS, I admire "My Friend, Mr. Nobody" the best, because it stands alone as a kind of "special" score in which Penny's isolation and discovery of an "imaginary" friend (he's not imaginary, though everyone else in the family thinks he is) is treated by Williams with a kind of magical, child-adventure quality and eventual sense of expressive emotion that were uncharacteristic of his work on the program.

Most conspicuous is the fact that there are more strings on this score than for most of the other work he did for Irwin Allen (clearly many of his sessions for Allen utilized no strings at all).

"My Friend Mr. Nobody" is an Emmy-worthy television score, unique not only for LIS but among scores for any show during that period. I've always lumped together in my mind this unusual LIS episode with a similarly-themed episode of THRILLER called "Mr. George" in which an invisible friend comes back from the dead to protect a young girl from the attempts by her greedy relatives to kill her off to acquire her inheritance. The THRILLER episode was scored by Goldsmith with extremely modest forces (smaller than those used by Williams for LIS), but both represent unusual efforts by these two fine composers to illustrate in music a certain innocence within the children of each story at the core of a story with a somewhat supernatural, fable-like aspect.

While much of the fine music Williams wrote for the first 5 episodes of LIS (independent of the Herman Stein contributions and a little leftover Bernard Herrmann from the pilot) became the signature music for the show, heard again and again for three years,"My Friend Mr Nobody" stands alone as an excellent single score sensitively written and delivered by a John Williams at the peak of his early TV craft. I recommend it highly.

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2009 - 5:20 PM   
 By:   Scott M (Oldsmith)   (Member)

Courage did the score and clearly Allen felt it was inadequate to the task and replaced it--he may have used the LIS cues for the network presentation, then when the pilot was aired for the network it was given the new score by Williams.

The original pilot, not the presentation film, was a totally different edit. The episode even ended differently. A couple of Courage cues did manage to make it into the unaired version, along with the theme. Once the episode was re-edited, Williams' score was provided and it boosts the episode a great deal. It was from being fairly straightforward to pretty chilling and suspenseful. It's the same basic episode, but it's amazing what new music and a recut can accomplish.

 
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