With Word that a new Lost In Space television series is coming to Netflix (based on the '60s show that celebrated its 50th Anniversary last year), Empire offers up the following timeline of the franchise.
Gold Key Comics publishes Space Family Robinson, which follows a family of scientists on Earth's Space Station One who are swept away by a cosmic storm. The family consists of patriarch Craig Robinson, matriarch June, son Tim, daughter Tam, a dog named Clancy and a parrot named Yakker. Space Station One is equipped with a pair of spacemobiles which allows for ship-to-planet travel.
Producer Irwin Allen (Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, Time Tunnel, Land Of The Giants, The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno), 20th Century Fox and CBS develop and launch Lost In Space. They reach an agreement with Gold Key that allows the show to use the name Robinson and the comic to add the words "Lost In Space" to its title.
Things start off as a somewhat serious drama chronicling the Robinsons and their fate summed up by the show's title. The premise is that the Robinsons are investigating a planet near the Alpha Centauri star to see about colonization to help with an overpopulated Earth, however things very quickly go campy and get sillier as the focus shifts to the characters of Dr. Zachary Smith, Will Robinson and The Robot. The ensemble spends the majority of the first two seasons stranded on a pair of different planets and getting involved in bizarre adventures as they try to survive. The third season sees them traveling to different worlds.
Lost In Space is cancelled at the end of season three.
Cast of Characters
Dr. John Robinson (Guy Williams): Patriarch of the family, commander, pilot and astrophysicist specializing in applied planetary geology.
Dr. Maureen Robinson (June Lockhart): Biochemist wife of John, but overall pretty much a typical housewife and mother of the time, only, you know....in space.
Major Don West (Mark Goddard): Military pilot of the Jupiter 2.
Judy Robinson (Marta Kristen): Oldest child of the Robinsons. Briefly a romantic interest for West.
Penny Robinson (Angela Cartwright): Middle child of the Robinsons, about 13 when the show begins.
Will Robinson (Bill Mumy): Youngest Robinson child, eventually becomes a focal point of the show with Dr. Smith and the ship's Robot.
Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris): Initially a saboteur of the Robinson mission, he finds himself inadvertently trapped with them and evolves into comic relief.
Robot (performed by Bob May, dubbed by Dick Tufeld): There to help the Robinsons, but often off on silly adventures with Will and Smith.
An animated sixty-minute Lost In Space film is produced as a pilot for an animated series, with the Jupiter 2 looking more like a space shuttle. The only two characters returning from the original are Dr. Smith (with Jonathan Harris providing the voice) and Robot (referred to as Robon), along with new younger characters.
Bill Mumy writes six of the issues of a Lost In Space comic book for Innovation Comics, which were set several years after the conclusion of the series.
A television retrospective called The Fantasy Worlds Of Irwin Allen is produced by Kevin Burns. It brings together Bill Mummy and June Lockhart, who serve to introduce clips from the various Allen sci-fi shows.
Burns returns to produce Lost In Space Forever, which is hosted by John Larroquette and the Robot. A highlight is the appearance of Mumy and Harris portraying older versions of Will Robinson and Dr. Smith.
Lost In Space is also produced as a feature film directed by Stephen Hopkins. The cast includes William Hurt as John Robinson, Mimi Rogers as Maureen Robinson, Heather Graham as Judy Robinson, Lacey Chabert as Penny Robinson, Jack Johnson as Will Robinson, Matt LeBlanc as Don West, Gary Oldman as Dr. Smith, Duck Tufeld reprising the role of The Robot, and Jared Harris as an older Will Robinson. Original cast members making cameos are Goddard, Lockhart, Cartwright and Kristen.
The Robinsons: Lost In Space is a TV pilot directed by John Woo that, had it gone to series, would have been a modern update on the original. The Jupiter 2 was turned into a planet-landing craft that would be deployed from a larger mothership. Smith is gone, Penny is a baby and there is a new Robinson child named David. The cast includes Brad Johnson as John Robinson, Jayne Brooke as Maureen, Adrianne Palicki as Judy, Ryan Malgarini as Will and Mike Erwin as Don West.
To commemorate the original show's 50th Anniversary, Irwin Allen's Lost In Space: The Complete Adventures is remastered and released on a Blu-ray box set that includes all 83 episodes.
Based on a report from Deadline, Netflix will be bringing Lost In Space back to television in a 10-episode first season that will be co-produced by Legendary TV and Burns' Synthesis Entertainment, the latter of which was created with the sole intent of transforming Allen's various productions into new incarnations. The pilot script is written by Dracula Untold's Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, with The River's Zack Estrin serving as showrunner.
"The new Lost In Space," says Deadline, "takes its cues from the original series, centering on the Robinson family, who is forced to come together in a time of crisis. Stranded light years from their intended destination, they find themselves battling a strange new alien environment and also their own personal demons."
Adds Cindy Holland, VP Original Content at Netflix, "The original series so deftly captured both drama and comedy, and that made it very appealing to a broad audience. The current creative team's reimagining of the series is sure to appeal to both fans who fondly remember the original and to create a new generation of enthusiasts around the world."