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Series / Lost in Space

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"Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!"
The Robot

Classic camp sci-fi family series from the Sixties that lasted three seasons. Featured the adventures of the Space Family Robinson, Major West, the Robot and shanghaied saboteur Dr. Smith as they search for Earth, after they become Lost... In Space.

Lost in Space was a rival for Star Trek: The Original Series in the realm of serious sci-fi, which might explain the show's turn from serious Speculative Fiction into Fantastic Comedy to keep a share of the viewing audience. Ratings wise, Lost in Space was actually the more popular series by far during their original run. Notable for its beautiful music (including two opening themes by Johnny Williams, sets, skin tight ski-spacesuits, aliens, inventive and surreal plots, and highly articulated Robot, itself a "cousin" of Robby the Robot from the film Forbidden Planet (who also guest starred on the show). The original plot had the Robinsons as explorer/settlers, with Dr. Smith as a saboteur paid by an unseen agency to program The Robot to kill the Robinsons and ruin their mission. This show is often mocked by those who only remember the comedy and talking carrots of the later seasons, but is actually an often well-written show suitable for all age groups. It has a loyal fanbase, and inspired many. The first episodes were in black and white and involved exploring the planet they crash-landed on. When the show shifted to camp it involved their conflicts with resident or visiting aliens of all sorts. In the 3rd season, the formula was altered to feature more actual space travel, as well as a more action based format.


One of a family of shows created by Irwin Allen, along with Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and The Time Tunnel.

May well be one of the classics of sci-fi for no other reason than the scene-chewing Large Ham glory of Jonathan Harris (Dr. Smith) and his pained and witty repartee with the Robot. While its going from serious to camp may well have been a blow to later efforts at serious sci-fi, it was nonetheless a surreal joy to watch. The recent attempts to reboot it as a serious series may be doomed to fail because of this, as it's best remembered as a humorous series.

The low budget of the show was apparent in later episodes, but the shows original unaired pilot was the most expensive of the time, and the show's Spaceship sets were more expensive than Star Trek's Starship Enterprise.


The series received a film adaptation in 1998. It was a modest box office hitnote  but often dismissed as a "dim-witted shoot-'em-up" by critics. An attempt to create a television remake in 2003-2004 went nowhere. In 2015, Netflix announced that they would try their hand at creating their own adaptation, which was released on April 13, 2018.

Not to Be Confused with some sort of strange sci-fi cast-away show; that would be Lost In Space!

Also not to be confused with the comic book Space Family Robinson.

The ensemble consisted of:
  • Prof. John Robinson - Head of the family and mission, The Professor and The Captain. In the comic book he seems to have been a minister as well (said to be based on material in the original series writers' guide that never made it into the finished show). In the series played by Guy Williams, in the film by William Hurt. The would-be revival cast Brad Johnson in the role.
  • Maureen Robinson - Mother and occasional Only Sane Woman. She was an old-fashioned House Wife, though occasionally took charge of dealing with the episode's threat when her husband and West were away. In the pilot, it was mentioned that she had a PhD in biochemistry, something that was never brought up again. In the series played by June Lockhart, in the film by Mimi Rogers. The would-be revival cast Jayne Brook in the role. In the film, June Lockhart had a brief cameo as the school principal.
  • Major Don West - The Lancer and The Ace pilot. In the series played by Mark Goddard, in the film by Matt LeBlanc. The would-be revival cast Mike Erwin in the role. In the film, Mark Goddard plays the part of the general who gives Major West the order to be the pilot for the Jupiter II.
  • Judy Robinson - Distressed Damsel and perpetual love interest to Major West. In the series played by Marta Kristen, in the film by Heather Graham. The would-be revival cast Adrianne Palicki in the role. In the film, Marta was one of the reporters at the pre-launch press briefing.
  • Penny Robinson - Not old enough to be a sex symbol like her sister nor as smart as her younger brother, Penny often just took up scenery, except in several episodes featuring her. Friend to All Living Things and, despite being ignored, got a few A Day in the Limelight moments, which often involved wars. In the series played by Angela Cartwright, in the film by Lacey Chabert, who portrayed a less likeable "modern" version of the character. The would-be-revival had not included this role. In the film, Angela was also one of the reporters at the pre-launch press briefing.
  • Will Robinson - Boy Genius and Morality Pet for Dr. Smith. In the series played by Bill Mumy, in the film by both Jack Johnson and Jared Harris. The would-be revival cast Ryan Malgarini in the role.
  • Dr. Zachary Smith - Jerkass, clown and Large Ham, ineffectual, cowardly traitor and Too Dumb to Live when it comes to dealing with aliens. Frequently infuriated by The Robot. In the series played by Jonathan Harris, in the film by both Gary Oldman and William Todd Jones. The would-be-revival didn't include the role. The Netflix version, however, cast Parker Posey in a gender flipped take on the role.
  • The Robot - Genius Bruiser, Robot Buddy and Tin Man with a kind heart. Frequent foil to Dr. Smith. In the series, played by Bob May and voiced by Dick Tufeld. Tufeld returned to the role for the film. The would-be-revival had not included this role.

Lost in Space provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Major Don West, though he does have a tendency to crash the ship...
  • Adaptation Distillation: The short-lived comic book written by Bill Mumy is remarkably well done. It assumes that the transition to Camp reflects the embellishments young Penny used when recording the crew's adventures in her diary, and that the tone of their adventures actually stayed much truer to the tone of the early episodes. It's set several years after the last episode, with Will in his teens and Penny now a blossoming young woman. The Robot is scaled back to his original portrayal of being mostly nonsentient, but is slowly developing self-awareness as more and more alien components have been added to him over the years. All the characters' personalities are explored in depth, and the art is wonderful. One jarring element, however, is the shamelessly cheesecake style that grown-up Penny is drawn in (well, it was the Nineties, after all). Other Lost in Space adaptations changed the premise significantly, though these qualify more as a reboot than a continuation.
  • Ad-Break Double-Take: used in the episode "Follow the Leader".
  • Aliens Are Bastards: In fairness, the crew did meet a fair number of sympathetic aliens (although misunderstandings usually led to conflict anyway), but these seem far outnumbered by the number of utterly unhelpful obnoxious jerks running around outer space. To an extent, this was unavoidable; after all, if the family could befriend some competent high tech aliens, they could probably get home.
  • Alien Abduction: What happened to Tucker in "The Sky Pirate".
  • Aliens Speaking English: All the time, but in the early episodes this was always explained somehow, later not so much. Notably averted in "The Derelict".
  • All Animals Are Domesticated: Debbie the Bloop. After encountering Debbie, a chimpanzee-like alien, in one of the early Season 1 episodes, the Robinson parents immediately allow Penny to adopt the wild animal. She instantly behaves like a pet and requires no on-screen training.
  • Ancient Astronauts: An episode where the cast encounters the Norse gods.
  • Animated Adaptation: After the series was canceled, a pilot for a cartoon version was created. The show was completely changed - the family was no longer the Robinsons, the Jupiter II completely redesigned into a more rocket looking space craft, the Robot given a much more generic robot voice, Dr Smith a member of the crew from the beginning - the only things remaining from the original series being Dr Smith (voiced by Jonathan Harris), the Robot, and the fact that they were ...well.. lost in space.
  • Artificial Gravity: The Jupiter 2 is equipped with some form of this, which is turned off briefly in "The Reluctant Stowaway" and never mentioned again.
  • Asteroid Thicket: The first episode, "The Reluctant Stowaway".
  • Auto-Kitchen: The Robinsons eat food provided by one in the episode "Wild Adventure".
  • Beard of Evil: The Keeper has a pretty serious one.
  • Benevolent A.I.: The Robot.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Between the pilot and the first aired episode, a second deck was added to the Jupiter 2, with no modification of the FX miniature. While clever direction and the ship’s status as a crash-landed derelict hid this through the first season, the more spaceflight oriented episodes of the second and third seasons soon made it obvious that the interiors couldn’t possibly fit inside the exterior. Made worse when a third-season episode, "Space Creature", gratuitously added yet a third, ridiculously large, “power core” deck, which was then never heard from again. Some other ships seem to feature this trope as well- and the ship from "Invaders From the Fifth Dimension" is specifically stated to be bigger on the inside.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three Robinson children in the original series. Blonde Judy, brunette Penny, redhead Will. Not quite fulfilled with the adult cast. Maureen is the only redhead, and while Dr. Smith’s hair is lighter than John Robinson’s or Major West’s, it isn’t actually blonde.
  • Blood Oath: "The Sky Pirate". The title character makes Will Robinson take the Pirate's Oath, which involves pricking a finger on each of their hands, putting their bloody fingers together and Will repeating the Oath after the pirate.
  • Brick Joke: A particularly funny one in "Two Weeks In Space". In the middle of the episode, The Robot hits a shuttlecock impossibly high in the air while being a Badminton coach. At the end of the episode, Dr. Smith is hit by that same shuttlecock.
  • Captain's Log: Only in the early episodes with more serious storylines. These 'logs' predated Star Trek by a year.
  • Cassandra Truth: Whenever the alien of the week is actually up to something, Dr. Smith's mistrust is this. Occasionally averted when Smith spends an entire episode claiming that what is seemingly a dog from Earth is actually an alien spy, and nothing comes of it. And of course there are a couple of times when he trusts the Guest Star and they STILL are up to no good.
  • Catchphrase: Dr. Smith's "Never Fear, Smith is here!" boast. Also his "Oh the pain, the pain." And the Robot's "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!" The film works in all of them.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: One never knows whether an episode will be serious or a silly. The series qualifies as both a comedy and a drama.
  • Cloning Blues: The cast were cloned by exotic means far too many ways to list. Most clones were bad but a few were good.
  • Clip Show: "Prisoners of Space". However, it is very well thought out.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: A strange circumstance occurred in the 1960s. At the time the series began, Gold Key Comics, which usually published adaptations of virtually every sci-fi TV series on the air, already had an unrelated comic book series about a family named Robinson who were lost in space. Titled Space Family Robinson, the comic continued concurrently with the TV series, with Gold Key retitling the magazine Space Family Robinson - Lost in Space on Space Station One. Otherwise the comic had no connection to the TV series, and in fact continued to be published well into the 1970s. It wasn't until the early 1990s when Innovation Comics published its Ms. Fanservice-heavy Lost in Space (see under "Adaptation Distillation") that a proper comic based on the TV series arrived.
  • Cool Starship: The Jupiter 2, and it gets even cooler as the series goes on. What other spaceship could carry more equipment than one could ever need, survive all those crash landings in one piece and STILL look beautiful?
  • Corpsing: The whole cast, but especially Billy Mumy and Angela Cartwright, have trouble holding in their laughter when Jonathan Harris starts Chewing the Scenery. And as noted above, the ridiculous villain in "The Great Vegetable Rebellion" provoked this reaction in more than one cast-member.
  • Cower Power: Doctor Smith would cower behind Will Robinson at least Once an Episode. Sometimes the Robot, for variety. There were even episodes when he cowered behind both.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: Zeno in "West of Mars", a dangerous criminal who looks exactly like Dr. Smith for unexplained reasons.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Jackson Gillis would often give it to Penny.
  • Darker and Edgier: The various reboots of Lost in Space usually try to be this.
  • Deadly Gas: In "Ghost in Space"
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Several times.
  • Demoted to Extra: Guy Williams and June Lockhart, the alleged stars of the show, in many of the later episodes.
  • Depending on the Writer: The quality of the episodes tends to vary because of this.
  • Did You See That Too?:
    • In the episode "Wild Adventure", Smith more or less asks that of the Robot when Lorelei/Athena drifts past the main windows.
    • In "Rocket to Earth", he asks the same of assorted Robinsons when Zalto keeps popping up.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: The sleeping princess of the lost civilization.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first season was in black and white and more serious. Doctor Smith was a bit more diabolical, the Robot was more of a tool than a character, and the show was more focused on the family. To keep up with its new rival, the 60s Batman, it changed things up from the second season onward. The show was now in color, Doctor Smith was hammier, the Robot now had a personality, and the show became much campier. The series was also now more focused on Smith, Will, the Robot, and their misadventures.
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: In "Invaders From The Fifth Dimension" Will Robinson is abducted by a group of aliens who are repulsed by the sight of tears due to being unable to understand emotions, and eventually let him go as a result.
  • Emergent Human:
    • Verda the android in "The Android Machine" and "Revolt Of the Androids".
    • The Robinsons' own Robot also probably counts, since he goes from clearly nonsentient in the beginning to being a charming, fully fleshed-out character by the end.
  • Evil Twin: Judy in "Attack of the Monster Plants" and John in "The Anti-Matter Man".
  • Explosive Instrumentation: In spades.
  • Fake Guest Star: Jonathan Harris, who plays Dr. Smith. He was originally going to be killed off after the first few episodes, but he was such a fun character that they decided to keep him around and left him with the "Guest Starring" billing in the credits.
  • Fanservice: In “Flight into the Future”, while the male “space historians” that our heroes encounter are dressed in very bulky space suits, the sole female encountered (played by Judy’s actress and supposedly her descendant) is dressed in a rather fancier outfit involving a one-piece swimsuit with sexy boots and stockings.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: In one of the more clever episodes, Will Robinson and Dr. Smith find a severely malfunctioning Robot who has become a giant due to his problem. The two have to physically enter the Robot's body to fix him. However, the major complication is that they know that the second they are successful, the Robot's body would start shrinking to normal size and they would have only seconds to escape before they are crushed. Naturally, the pair escape just in time.
  • Five-Episode Pilot: This was actually not the intention; there was the original unaired pilot. However, after adding the characters of Dr. Smith and the robot, it was necessary to shoehorn the two characters in. This resulted in splitting various scenes, as well as adding scenes, to make five episodes.
  • Flanderization: Intentionally invoked by actor Jonathan Harris in regard to Dr. Smith. When he saw that Dr. Smith, as originally conceived, was an unrepentant bad guy, he realized that his lifespan on the series was limited because sooner or later they'd have to dispose of him one way or the other. In his own words, "Why would they keep such a despicable jackass around, you know?" As a result, Harris very slowly began adding more and more cowardly buffoonery to his performace, and it eventually became the primary element of the character's nature.
  • Flowery Insults: Dr. Smith often heaped these upon the Robot.
  • Food Pills: Protein pills in "The Hungry Sea" and "The Space Trader".
  • Framed Face Opening: Used in the third season.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: In this case it was a means to return home.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Penny in spades. Even towards big, slimy, anti-social Frogmen.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Judy Robinson wields one in "Welcome Stranger", knocking Jimmy Hapgood out during his fight with Don. As a Call-Back in the season two episode "A Visit To Hades", she tries this again with a pipe, only this time she hits Don instead of the guy he's scuffling with.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: A variation in "There Were Giants in the Earth".
    Will:When Dad calls me "William" in THAT tone of voice, there's no use in arguing!
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The Unaired Pilot "No Place to Hide" had 6 main cast members, 3 of them male (John,Don.and Will) and the other 3 female (Maureen, Judy, and Penny) For the actual series, Smith and the Robot were added to the mix.
  • Gender Flip: The latest revival of the series has recast Smith as a woman, and in the episode "Space Beauty", the Robot is given a female voice.
  • Genre Blind: In some episodes, most from the second season. Probably as a side effect of its partial transformation into a disguised Sitcom. The third season mostly fixes this- but some episodes still feature this trope.
  • Genre Savvy: They occasionally (actually quite often in the early episodes-but not as much later on) showed some remarkable flashes of savviness — such as in the episode where they met the Norse gods, and Dr. Smith employs the Robot's replicator and his wits to manipulate them using a challenge not unlike one from Norse Mythology.
  • Gentleman Thief: Ohan comes from a planet of these.
  • Get Back to the Future: "Visit To A Hostile Planet".
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: The character originally named Lorelei in "Wild Adventure" was then renamed Athena in "The Girl from the Green Dimension".
  • A Handful for an Eye: "Revolt of the Androids". When one of the title androids attacks Professor Robinson and Don West, both laser beams and physical blows prove useless against it. Professor Robinson is forced to grab an handful of dirt and throw it in the android's eyes so they can escape.
  • Harmless Freezing: The suspended animation "freezing tubes" in several episodes and the movie's first act. Also the prison inmates in the episode "The Condemned Of Space".
  • Have a Gay Old Time:
    • In "Two Weeks in Space", Doctor Smith, pretending to run a resort, insisted it was the gayest resort you've ever found.
    • Dr. Smith's habit of referring to The Robot as a booby is a downplayed example. Boob already existed as slang for breast by the sixties, though given Dr. Smith's character as pompous and old-fashioned it was perfectly reasonable for him to use it in the non-breast sense. By the 21st century, and with the idiot sense of boob having become less common, it can cause more of a Heh Heh, You Said "X" reaction in modern audiences.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Dr. Smith, sort of, but it's a very gradual process.
  • Hero Antagonist: Officer Bolix.
  • Human Aliens: With oddly colored skin or hair, or just odd costumes.
  • Human Shield: Dr. Smith, being a Dirty Coward, frequently uses young Will Robinson as a human shield to cower behind.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: "Hunter's Moon"
  • Infinite Supplies: Averted early on, taken to the extreme in the later episodes.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Will experienced this in "A Change of Space" when a ride in an alien ship resulted in a significant increase in intelligence, while also making him something of an Insufferable Genius. He found he could no longer talk to people as easily as he used to and didn't enjoy things he used to.
  • Jail Bake: In "Fugitives in Space" Major West and Dr. Smith are taken to a prison planet and The Robot bakes them a cake. Recognising this trope, Will guesses that it may contain a hacksaw or file, which The Robot denies. In fact, The Robot added plastic explosives.
  • Jerkass: Dr. Smith, in both show and film.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Dr. Smith, whenever the aliens of the week are up to no good.
  • Jet Pack: Used a few times. They actually filmed a stunt pilot using a Bell Rocket Belt.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Substitute Dr. Smith for Gilligan. Dr. Smith would frequently instigate, or at least exacerbate, the problem the characters had to deal with in an episode. A particularly noteworthy example occurred in "The Lost Civilization". The previous episode had focused on the female members of the crew and Dr. Smith, while the remaining male members and the robot went looking for water. This episode showed what happened to the male members. When something went wrong with the air conditioner unit (which would ultimately set off the plot), it was initially assumed that for once Dr. Smith couldn't be responsible due to how far away he was. It then turned out that he'd stolen parts from the air conditioner unit the night before.
  • Lampshade Hanging: At least one example: In the season two opener, "Blastoff Into Space", the fact that the Robinsons seem to have any object no matter how improbable or unlikely with them on the ship is lampshaded when Maureen tells the family to throw overboard any non-essential items. Cut to a ridiculously large pile of stuff like bowling pins, floor lamps, a fishbowl, skis, etc. And yet later episodes show even more ridiculous gear, such as the infamous cash register.
  • Laser Blade: The Volta Blades of "The Challenge."
  • Large Ham:
    • Jonathan Harris's deliciously vile portrayal of Dr. Smith. Gary Oldman, as expected, is quite the ham as Dr. Smith in the movie. Oddly enough, Penny in the movie is a borderline example. While everyone else but Oldman suffers from Dull Surprise, she (particularly in her video diaries) speaks her lines loudly and very fast, all in a very high, excitable voice.
    • A lot of the guest stars in the original show, especially Fritz Feld as Zumdish (who appeared in 3 episodes), Leonard Stone as Farnum (who appeared in 2), as well as the one-time appearance by Al Lewis (aka. Grandpa Munster).
    • Stanley Adams as Tybo, the evil carrot in "The Great Vegetable Rebellion".
  • Latex Space Suit: A staple of the show's costuming, and featured early on the movie as "cryosuits" for deep sleep. They are, predictably, highly revealing in their tightness (the plastic suits of the movie were literally moulded from the actors, leaving the female characters seeming a little exposed in them).
  • Left Hanging: Like most high-concept Sit Coms of the era it was canceled without advance warning, with the last episode "in the can" at the time becoming the Last Episode, because that's how the business was done at the time. The same can also be said of the aborted pilot for a new series, which also ends without resolution. The comics sort of conclude the series, but they too where left hanging until the "Voyage to the Bottom of the Soul" graphic novel finished the story, but it too ended on a cliffhanger. Bill Mumy later wrote a song about his character as the group's now middle-aged sole survivor still out there with only the Robot for companionship, that qualifies as a semi-Canon Poison Oak Epileptic Tree, and it was a plot point in The Movie. Eventually however, the Lost in Space reunion "The Epilogue" gave the show a happy ending.
  • Lighter and Softer: Dr. Smith in the main series is this compared to his portrayal in the pilot. Jonathan Harris deliberately lightened the character because the Robinsons would never have allowed the flat-out villainous Smith to stay anywhere near them.
  • Living Prop: Entire main cast members in some episodes.
  • Literal-Minded: The Robot for a while.
  • Matter Replicator:
    • The thought machine from "Wish Upon A Star".
    • The Robinsons themselves had a replication unit in season 2- though it was only seen in a few episodes.
    • The Robotoid from "War of the Robots" also has this ability in a way.
  • Machine Worship: An interesting example in "The Space Primevals".
  • The McCoy: Major West, infrequently Dr. Smith.
  • Mechanistic Alien Culture: An episode featured a mechanized society of humanoid cyborgs whose leader was a computer. They kidnapped Dr. Smith to repair the computer. They also had clock-like mechanisms on their chests which they could use to turn back or alter the flow of time.
  • Monster of the Week: Usually an alien.
  • Morality Pet: Will and Penny are this for Dr. Smith.
  • New Rules as the Plot Demands: There is a lot of this throughout the series.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In "Time Merchant", it's revealed that without Dr. Smith's presence on the Jupiter 2 it would have been destroyed by an uncharted asteroid. This means that it was only because of the actions of his superiors and their attempt to sabotage the mission, that the crew were able to survive.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: The first season episode, "My Friend, Mr. Nobody", has Penny befriending a disembodied voice, that everyone assumes is just her new imaginary friend.
  • Once a Season:
    • The Jupiter 2 blasts off from a planet at the beginning of every season. (Earth in season one, Priplanus in season 2, and the second season planet in season 3.)
    • Also, the final episode of each season invokes The Power of Love in some way- Will's love for John allows him to drive Canto out of his body at the end of Season One, the family's love for Smith keeps Arcon from sending him to a dead star in Season Two, and in Season Three the Robot is somehow saved from being destroyed in a blast furnace for the same reason.
  • People Zoo: In the two-parter "The Keeper", the titular alien (played by Michael Rennie) wants Penny and Will for his interplanetary zoo, which naturally causes John and Maureen some distress. Making it more disturbing (possibly even more than the show's creators realized) is The Keeper's method of taking them — he has a staff that emits a signal that makes Penny and Will want to go to him. It's deeply creepy to hear the kids, in flat voices, tell John they want to go for a walk, with him knowing what's waiting for them outside. If he lets down his guard for even a moment...
  • Percussive Maintenance: When two of the android duplicates in "The Phantom Family" are damaged the Robot suggests that their mechanisms may have become jammed and that this can be "rectified by a moderate thump". It has the desired result.
  • Pet the Dog: Dr. Smith has enough of these moments to keep the others from killing him.
  • Pirate Parrot: "The Space Pirate". The title character (named Alonzo P. Tucker) has a robot parrot (with psionic powers, yet) on his shoulder.
  • Planet of Hats: A few.
  • Plunger Detonator: In "Mutiny in Space", Dr. Smith uses one to set off the explosive chemicals in his rain-making machine.
  • The Power of Love: As mentioned above, this saves the day in some form at the end of every season, and seems to be a major theme of the series.
  • Prison Ship: The ship with criminals kept in computer-controlled Harmless Freezing cryogenic suspension.
  • Prophecy Twist: Used comically in "The Girl from the Green Dimension". During a fight with an alien from the green dimension, Dr. Smith is shown the future which has several members of the ship's crew (though not him) standing around what appears to be a grave and talking solemnly about how they're not likely to forget, how a great helper that was "tireless, loyal and uncomplaining" was buried beneath the ground. Smith naturally concludes that he's going to be killed (though anyone else would realise that the positive description didn't really describe him). It turns out that after an issue with the atomic cooker's heating coils, they decided to bury it.
  • Protected by a Child: When Dr. Smith is in danger, see the good doctor pull Will Robinson or occasionally Penny in front of him for use as a human shield.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy:
    • In "The Challenge", Quano (Kurt Russell) and his father, "The Ruler" (Michael Ansara), are totally focused on making sure Quano can prove himself to be strong and brave by defeating Will in a competition and facing other dangers.
    • Sobram from "The Flaming Planet" is The Last of His Kind from a race of warriors who, facing death, is seeking a Worthy Opponent so he can go out fighting in the destruction of the planet rather than face a peaceful death.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Used in several episodes, though not as a major part of the story.
  • Ray Gun: Lots of Laser Weapons
  • Raygun Gothic: Almost every single spaceship, prop, set, and costume. Though they are remarkably well done- particular care and detail was put into the Jupiter 2 and the Robinsons' other vehicles.
  • The Radio Dies First: Used in "Invaders From the Fifth Dimension" and "Island in the Sky".
  • Reactionless Drive: The Jupiter 2's Magnetic Drive, although it has rocket engines as well.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The Swiss Family Robinson IN SPAAAAAACE!
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: After the sprightly John Williams one used in the first two seasons, the great man returned to write a different theme for the third and final season (which is the better-known one of the two); Warren Barker wrote a more cartoonish theme for season 2 which was (understandably) never used.
  • Reunion Show: Bill Mumy planned one after the cancellation of the show, but it was rejected by Irwin Allen who refused to even read it. One was planned for 2001, that would have followed the Jupiter II crew finally returning to Earth but it was cancelled after the death of Jonathan Harris. In 2015 Bill Mumy's original reunion concept was made as a table read featuring the original cast and new actors.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: You know those later episodes, where little Will Robinson goes on adventures with his friends, the bumbling Dr. Smith and the Robot? In the early episodes these characters were actually trying to kill him and his family...
  • Reverse Psychology: In "Space Beauty", Dr. Smith wants to convince Judy to enter a beauty pageant. He repeatedly suggests she has no chance of winning, gets Don to say that her competing would be silly, then makes her think Don's forbidding her from doing it. Naturally, she insists on competing.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: The robot, naturally.
  • Robot Buddy: The aptly named...Robot.
  • Robotic Reveal: In "Princess of Space" Fedor turns out to be one.
  • Rock Beats Laser: in "The Keeper, Part One", the Keeper is impervious to laser blasts due to his cosmic energy power source, but not to Will's slingshot, which destroys his Magic Staff and thus renders him powerless
  • Running Gag: Various times Dr. Smith gets woken by surprise and immediately insists, "I'm innocent" (or some variation thereof).
  • Science Fantasy: The series included both sci-fi and fantasy concepts.
  • Shoo the Dog: "The Space Pirate". At the end of the episode Will wants to go with the title character and be a pirate, but the pirate insults him and refuses because he doesn't want to take Will away from his family.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The series episode "The Sky Pirate". The title character was a clear reference to Long John Silver in Treasure Island, specifically his becoming Will Robinson's friend and the parrot that sat on his shoulder.
    • IDAK is also an obvious parody of Superman, though with a VERY different personality. At first...
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Major Don West and Dr. Smith.
  • Sleeper Starship: The Robinsons were supposed to make the trip in "freezing tubes." The prison ship from "Condemned of Space" also qualifies.
  • Space Clothes: On both the main cast and the alien guests.
  • Space Pirate: Alonzo P. Tucker.
  • Spaceship Slingshot Stunt: Used to escape the sun's gravity in "Wild Adventure", one of the few things that episode got right when it came to actual space science. However, the Film version averts this by having the ship fly right THROUGH the sun.
  • Star Trek Shake: Accomplished by Irwin Allen hitting a bucket so the cast knew which way to tumble.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Bubble Creatures. A few others exist as well, but due to budget restrictions most aliens are humanoid. Nevertheless, Starfish Aliens are sometimes mentioned, if not seen.
  • Starfish Robots: We see some very creative designs throughout the series.
  • Special Guest: Robby the Robot, from the classic film Forbidden Planet, had a few appearances on the show. However, he was sneaky and conniving if not downright evil, a huge contrast to his film personality.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Officer Bolix is after Ohan the Gentleman Thief, and the former's harshness causes the Robinsons to help out the latter.
  • Take Me to Your Leader: Back when it wasn't a Dead Horse Trope.
  • Take That!: In the episode "The Thief From Outer Space", the titular villain is looking for his genie girlfriend who is trapped inside of a tiny bottle. At the end of the episode, he finally encounters her and rubs the reveal that she is vastly overweight due to eating so much marzipan and yet still wears the pink harem outfit. The entire cast is horrified and the Sultan traps her once again in the bottle, begging the family not to let her out. The episode ends with her trying to convince The Robot to rub the bottle, who is not fooled. This all makes sense when you realize that I Dream of Jeannie aired at the same timeslot as Lost in Space.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: Magic and technology exist side by side in several episodes. In "Princess of Space", a planet desperately needs to find its rightful Queen so she can command the royal scepter and put the civilization's ever-more rebellious robots in line!
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Humans don't have them, but most other civilizations the Robinsons encounter do.
  • Tone Shift: The series fluctuates back and forth between drama and comedy, between science fiction and fantasy, between family and action...
  • Tractor Beam: Alien ships sometimes used these. Usually called a magnetic beam.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Promo for "Princess of Space" reveals that Poor old Fedor is a machine
  • Time Travel: In "Visit to a Hostile Planet", the characters accidentally wind up in a small Michigan town in 1947.
  • Transflormation: Temporarily inflicted upon Dr. Smith in "The Great Vegetable Rebellion".
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: In the pilot set in 1997, the space agency director's desk has a rotary phone, with a reel-to reel tape recorder and plenty of blinking lights on the wall behind, and not a PC in sight... but the producers deliberately did NOT make Dr. Smith a Soviet/Communist agent because they actually did guess the Cold War would be over by 1997. The Sci Fi Channel aired a marathon of LIS episodes (including the unaired pilot) on October 16, 1997, the Jupiter II launch date given in the second pilot.
  • 2-D Space: One of the standard-bearers of its era. Verged on 1-D space in an episode where the Jupiter II was set on a course to Earth, which was too dangerous to use because it passed directly through the sun. Apparently, the sun was too big to steer around. According to the dialogue in the scene, they didn't have the fuel to make it to Earth if they went around the Sun.note 
  • Wagon Train to the Stars: In the later seasons.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: "Hunter's Moon". An alien tries to force Professor Robinson to be the target of a hunt that will last sixty Earth minutes.
  • Villain Decay:
    • The well-known transition of Dr. Smith's character from a straight villain teammate to a campy Dirty Coward traitor. In the process he also lost all his useful skills as well, going from a legitimate medical professional in the early episodes to a completely useless Load once he underwent his comedic turn.
    • His Abhorrent Admirer Athena went from a legitimate threat to a swooning airhead by her second appearance.
    • The Saticons are also noticeably less shadowy, mysterious, and alien in their second appearance.
  • Villain Exclusivity Clause: Mix with a case of Just Eat Gilligan. In every episode Smith would endanger the family whether is for greed, cowardy, his obsession for returning to Earth or any other selfish reason.
  • Villainous Rescue: If it weren't for Dr. Smith eavesdropping on the aliens in "The Challenge", he and the Robinsons could've been killed.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Dr. Smith and The Robot.
  • Weird Science: Especially in the bizarre alien gadgets and the Monster of the Week.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Debbie the Bloop comes and goes throughout the episodes before disappearing entirely in the Third Season. This is cleverly explained in one of the comics, but there are numerous other examples, such as a dog who only appeared in one episode before never being mentioned again, as well as multiple rabbits and a frog in other episodes. There's also the matter of what happened to Smith's Cousin Jeremiah...
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: The frog creature from "The Golden Man".
  • Wizards from Outer Space: And dragons and knights and princesses...
  • You Can See That, Right?: Episode "Wild Adventure". When Dr. Smith sees a green alien woman floating around in space outside the Jupiter 2, he asks the Robot "You see her, don't you?"
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The series premise. Although they do make it back to Earth an awful lot...
  • Zeerust: Aluminum space suits for everybody! (Even if they look surprisingly like the Mercury/Gemini space suits from the mid-60s)