Director: Irwin Allen
Writers: Shimon Wincelberg and Irwin Allen
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Lamar Lundy
Composer: Bernard Herrmann
Air Date: 4/24/1993
Production #: 6023
In this exciting introduction to one of the most iconic science fiction series of the 1960s, the Robinson family (Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, and Angela Cartwright) and “Doctor” Don West (Mark Goddard) embark on a 98-year journey through space, with the ultimate goal of colonizing Alpha Centauri. Things go awry, however, when the spacefaring vehicle Gemini 12 (referred to as the Jupiter 2 in future episodes) encounters an unexpected meteor storm, thus forcing the Robinsons to crash land on a mysterious planet located light years away from their original destination.
Though lacking in human conflict, “No Place to Hide” contains a series of adventure-themed vignettes which, in addition to their entertaining qualities, provide fans with a fascinating perspective on how Lost in Space would have played out if Dr. Smith and the Robot B-9 had never joined the show.
Visually stunning despite many obvious limitations, Winton Hoch’s cinematography works to showcase the alien planet’s unique environment, which becomes particularly apparent when Professor Robinson utilizes a futuristic jetpack to search for Penny and her pet bloop, Debbie. While certain special effects suffer from budgetary and technological constraints attributable to the time period (the cyclops sequence serving as the most famous example of this), the production crew should be commended for translating Irwin Allen’s epic vision to a then magnificent scale.
Also worth mentioning is Bernard Herrmann’s recycled score from The Day the Earth Stood Still, which is used quite suitably on a number of occasions. Notably, Herrmann’s creepy organ music accentuates the spooky atmosphere stemming from an ancient cave and its macabre contents, while the opening and closing credits are accompanied by an ominous, otherworldly theme that foreshadows the bizarre encounters awaiting the Robinsons as they explore the nether regions space. Because John Williams’ classic score was ultimately used to complement the animated credits of seasons one and two, Herrmann’s beautifully haunting music distinguishes “No Place to Hide” as a standalone entry among Lost in Space’s line-up of episodes.
An episodic structure allows “No Place to Hide” to maintain a swift pace while moving from one adventure to another. That being said, the disaster theme grows a tad repetitive by the third or fourth time the Robinsons overcome any natural obstacles in their path, which will no doubt leave many viewers longing for a more traditional antagonist to add some variety to the mix. While Jonathan Harris tended to overshadow the other actors with his hammy presence, the absence of a strong villain in “No Place to Hide” seems to prove that Dr. Smith’s meddlesome antics were essential to the unprecedented success that Lost in Space would achieve over the next three years.
Many subtle differences between the initial characterizations of the Robinsons and their counterparts from canonical episodes are present, yet “No Place to Hide” still succeeds in endearing audiences to the main characters, all of whom exemplify values such as loyalty, respect, and unconditional love for fellow group members. Though not without their share of flaws, the Robinsons and Don West survive numerous challenges by banding together as a functional family, first in the pilot episode and later throughout the entire series.
“No Place to Hide” fails to embody the same level of conflict as the first Lost in Space episode to be broadcast on television, “The Reluctant Stowaway.” Nevertheless, this unaired pilot contains enough action, adventure, and futuristic technology to satisfy fans of the science fiction and family genres alike.
Overall Quality: 9/10
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