Land of the Giants Review

Land of the Giants was an American TV program that was aired in the 60s. It was created and produced by Irwin Allen, a notable television and film director.  The TV series is an hour long science fiction program which lasted two seasons with 51 episodes and was shown on ABC.  It was released by 20th Century Fox Television.  The entire series was filmed in color and was considered as one of the most expensive television shows produced, costing $250,000 per episode.  Actors portraying the roles in the series were required to be physically fit since they had to do all the stunts featured in the TV series.

Land of The Giants #3Land of the Giants was supposed to be a mid-season replacement but then changed and was aired for a full season in fall of 1968.  The first of its 12 episodes were shot during summer and fall in 1967.  Some episodes of the program were played in an out of orderly manner which caused confusion to its viewers.  An example was the episode “Ghost Town” which was the 14th episode filmed but was aired as the 2nd episode.

The program is about the story of the passengers and crew of the spacecraft called “Spindrift” that was suppose to travel through an ultra-fast route of parabolic trajectory from Los Angeles to London.  But the Spindrift came upon a strange space storm which accidentally transported it to a strange planet.  This planet looked similar like Earth but everything on it is twelve times larger than Earth itself.

The inhabitants of this planet were unbelievably tall, about 72 feet, which caused the crew to call them “the giants”.  The giants resemble humans and in some ways their society is similar to the US government in the 60s.  Having known that aliens have invaded their planet, the giants offered a reward to those who will capture the Earth people.

In almost every episode, the giants try to capture one of the crew or passengers while the rest will have to rescue him or her.  The characters in the TV program were able to avoid being captured most of the time since their spacecraft crashed and is hidden in a forest outside the giant’s city.  Also, the characters tried to build alliances from some giants in exchange for things which were beneficial to both giants and Earth people. Here are more fun facts about the sci-fi TV program Land of the Giants:

*Some cities of the strange planet were named through the series, but the name giants’ planet itself was never revealed.

*Chrysler Corporation was the automaker of the series, so nameplates on cars and trucks were clearly shown and is visible despite that the setting of the story is supposed to be in another planet.

* Spindrift’s flight number and the date of its crash (June 12 1983) is the program creator’s (Irwin Allen’s) birthday.

*The guns and computers used as props in Land of the Giants were also used in The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, Batman (1966) and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

*Land of the Giants came from the mystery novel written by Agatha Christie called “And Then There Were None” which was then published in 1939 as “The Ten Little Indians”.

*The actress who played the role of Betty Hamilton was pregnant for most of the shows in the second season.  Most of her shots were filmed from waist up, was taken out of previous episodes or she wore baggy clothes.

*The giants often had alien-sounding names.  Only three of the giants were given creative names which were “Flat Broke”, “Also Broke” and “Lad” spelled backwards.

Lost in Space Review

“Lost in Space” was one of the many successful science fiction television series in the 60s. Irwin Allen created and produced  the series, while CBS aired it. 20th Century Fox Television on the ther hand filmed it.  The series had a total of 85 episodes. This includes “No Place To Hide (the pilot episode that was left unaired). “Lost in Space Forever” is also included, and this was a special 1998 episode.

Originally, the title of the series was supposed to be “Space Family Robinson”, which Allen based on the film “Swiss Family Robinson”, but with space and comic oriented version.  Yet, Allan was unaware of the Gold Key comic that had the same theme and name.  Though Gold Key publishing had all the right to sue 20th Century Fox studio and Allen for infringement, this didn’t happen. To avoid this, Allen made some changes to his series by adding a new character, Dr. Zachary Smith who caused most of the conflicts in the series and the comic relief to the show.

Lost in Space is a story of a family who was chosen to be on a mission to journey to a planet near the star Alpha Centauri.  Space probe shows that this planet has an environment capable to sustain human life. So, the Robinson family together with a military pilot boarded a space craft called Jupiter 2 on a five and a half year exploration.  Yet they were unaware of Dr. Zachary Smith’s plan to sabotage their mission.

As compared to its rival Star Trek, Lost in Space retained a moderate rating success. It even ranked 32nd by the end of its first season.  It was also nominated for Cinematography-Special for photographic effects and “Achievement in visual arts & makeup”, but didn’t win any.  Despite all of this, Lost in Space was unexpectedly cancelled. Though the executives of CBS didn’t state the reason or reasons as to why the show was cancelled, five suggested reasons were presented by series executives, the critics and fans.

First, it was maybe because the budget was too high.  The set used for the interior of Jupiter 2, Lost in Space’s space craft, cost about $350,000, making it the most expensive set for a TV series at that time. Its 1st season budget per episode cost $130,980.  On its 3rd season, the increase on the actors’ salary made its budget shoot up to $164,788.  The actors may have been the cause of series cost issues as well. Actor Williams wanted to have close-up shots of him and Irwin on the other hand gave in to his request, that according to director Richardson.  Yet, taking close-up shots would be time consuming and would need more lightning which in that time would be a big problem.

The series was then going to have a 4th season as claimed by Billy Mumy and other sources.  Allen mentioned that the series could not continue with a cut budget.  So, during the meeting for Lost in Space’s supposedly 4th season, chief executive Bill Paley of CBS mentioned that the budget would be 15% less than the previous season.  Yet, Allen insisted that the series could not continue with a cut budget.  The negotiation on Lost in Space’s 4th season budget led Allen to walk out of the meeting which by that means led to its cancellation.

Another reason was because one of the executives of CBS didn’t like the show, said Robert Hamner.  He said that chief executive Paley really hated the show that he used the excuse of cutting off the budget in order to put the show to an end.

The 4th reason as to why Lost in Space was cancelled was because its cost was increasing yet the ratings were going down.  Allen acknowledged that the show had an evident decrease of adult audiences and an increase in number of children viewers.

Partly responsible for Lost in Space’s being cancelled out was that director Richardson and actress Lockhart were no longer thrilled about the show.  Lockhart unhesitatingly joined Petticoat Junction, another CBS’s series, when she was told about the show’s cancellation by head of CBS programming, Perry Lafferty.  Director Don Richardson was already informed about the probable cancellation of the show.  Should the show still continue, director Richardson has decided to no longer be a part of Lost in Space’s 4th season.

Also, Bob May (the man inside the Robot) and Jonathan Harris may have had some issues that when the series was about to an end, Harris would not allow May to step in his dressing room. Guy Williams was also getting tired of his role that his acting became exaggerated after the first season, and this fact was not a secret to everyone.  Yet, it was not announced if Williams would still be in season four or not.

In the end, the Robinson’s got stuck in space and never returned to Earth.