Director: Leo Penn
Writer: Carey Wilber
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Jonathan Harris
Composer: Herman Stein
Air Date: 10/6/1965
Production #: 8504
After Will averts the Robot’s attempt on his life, the Robinsons are faced with a new set of dangers when a cyclops is discovered near the campsite. In addition, a rapid drop in temperature requires the family and Major West to vacate the Jupiter 2 and venture south, where a cave containing the remnants of an ancient civilization provides temporary shelter from the elements; but not from a massive quake raging beneath the planet’s surface.
An exciting episode, “There Were Giants in the Earth” will appeal to Lost in Space fans with its adventure-themed subject matter. Also worth mentioning are the emotionally stirring family moments contained in this entry, which further strengthen the loving bond between Will and his father.
By limiting Dr. Smith’s meddlesome antics to the initial scenes, Carey Wilber’s narrative maintains a strict focus on the Robinson family and Major West at all times. Such an approach will no doubt give viewers the opportunity to become acquainted with the central characters and their interactions with one another, with a particular emphasis on John’s firm but affectionate means of disciplining Will for his defiant behavior. Notwithstanding any dated special effects, the iconic cyclops sequence should also be commended for allowing Will a chance to rescue Don and John, even though he must once again disobey his parents in order to do so.
None, barring any minor inconsistencies between original footage and recycled material from the unaired pilot (as an example, the Robinsons and Major West appear to change clothes immediately following the second giant encounter, despite being confined to the Chariot the entire time).
As indicated earlier, Professor Robinson’s relationship with Will is explored with penetrating insight at various points, thus setting the foundation for an unbreakable father-son bond between the two. Specifically, a scene in which John reprimands Will for tampering with the Robot serves the purpose of highlighting the former character’s remarkable patience when correcting the ill behavior of his son. This, along with Professor Robinson’s stern conversation with Will after being rescued from the cyclops, demonstrates that John can show tough love without succumbing to anger, thereby establishing his position as a model parent.
Additionally relevant are the first hints at a potential friendship between Will and the Robot, which would eventually become a defining aspect of Lost in Space. Will’s display of fondness for the Robot makes for a truly poignant addition to this episode, especially when considering that the Robot had previously attempted to kill the Robinson boy while acting under orders from Dr. Smith.
Despite borrowing a great deal of material from “No Place to Hide,” “There Were Giants in the Earth” adheres to a coherent and original plot thanks to Wilber’s talents as a science fiction writer. By combining riveting action sequences with excellent family dynamics, this episode earns its place as a series classic.
Overall Quality: 10/10
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