"Warning! Warning! Warning!"
"Destroy!" (altered from "Kill" in the original script)
The impressive Lost In Space start continued with Tony Leader's second and final installment behind the camera for Lost In Space, Season One, Episode 3, Island In The Sky.
Leader, as a director, ran filming off schedule for two episodes, the two longest in the series' run in The Reluctant Stowaway and Island In The Sky. As a result of these cost and time overruns, Island In The Sky would be Leader's last working for Irwin Allen. Leader would move on to direct Gilligan's Island (6 episodes) and even Star Trek's For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky (S3, E8).
Additionally, this would be Norman Lessing's only scriptwriting contribution to the series. Lessing would write for Hawaii Five-O, The Fugitive, Bonanza, Baretta, family favorite Eight Is Enough and more.
Third episode Island In The Sky is loaded with firsts for the show. Apart from the declarative battle cry of Robot (see above), we are introduced to the hardware that is The Chariot. We are also given to the delight of Debbie the Bloop, Penny Robinson's new lost in space companion. Angela Cartwright's character, Penny, was an associative student of zoology which made her natural association to animals on the series rather logical.
"Don't trust him. He's as slippery as a bucket of eels," declares Major Don West as he is as clear-headed as anyone about the character reality of Dr. Zachary Smith. This is the first openly distrustful entry in the war between West and Smith during season one.
Robot is manipulated yet again by Will Robinson's impersonation of Smith (arguably that's a tough one to accept). This is just one of the many clearly non-scientific absences of genuine logic in the series and Island In The Sky is certainly replete with them. Just keep those aspects of the show in perspective through the proverbial suspension of disbelief and you'll have a blast.
Visually, Island In The Sky also treats us to some wonderful scenery and location shooting as the episode utilizes some considerable footage from pilot No Place To Hide's crash landing sequence. Judicious editing in these first five episodes is impressive in its own right. And even the set production is top notch and a joy to explore within each entry. Director of photography Gene Polito plays a big part of the look for the series.
Composer John Williams returns for his second tour infusing scenes with suspense and tension where sometimes it's rather required. That score cannot be underestimated in its ability to fill space.
Island In The Sky is yet another hour of a gorgeously restored space adventure. This fan of the classic series, one of his favorite science fiction shows in the history of science fiction, is ever so grateful for the preservation of this television series in its current form. Even Rotten Tomatoes recently noted series worthy of binge watching and noted the original Lost In Space in its August 2018 list. For me Lost In Space is an island unto itself on a purely artistic level and is generally underappreciated by those outside the lure of its orbit.
Writer: Norman Lessing/ S. Bar-David.
Director: Tony Leader.