Thursday, December 20, 2007

Schlock Treatment: Or, How the Space Family Robinson Loused Up in Space...

TV Guide's critics had perhaps the most definitive capsule description of the Sixties' Sci-Fi series Lost in Space: So bad it's actually good.

It had both a campy charm and a grundgy likability, thanks in no small part to the virtuoso performance by Jonathan Harris as the comically villainous Dr. Zachary Smith. Harris' take on the role was a classic textbook example of the show's writers zeroing in on Harris's comedic skills and running with it. The show itself is a spiritual descendent of the campy Maria Montez/Jon Hall camp-and-sand epics like Cobra Woman and Arabian Nights. As Pauline Kael observes, "What made (them) camp classics is that they had elaborate production values, yet every plot device is stamped Grade B." Same for Lost in Space and its far less successful template replication, Land of the Giants

Sometimes, you can only find lightning inside a bottle once.

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