"Return from Outer Space"

Return from outer space

LiS episode
1x15 / 15th of 83 aired
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Last week, as you recall, Dr. Smith, Will, and Penny were returning from a rock-gathering expedition - unaware that hidden in the undergrowth nearby lay an alien machine of unbelieveable powers...


Will is able to use the Taurons' maser device to transport himself back to Earth. However, nobody in Hatfield Four Corners, Vermont will believe that he is one of the Robinsons, or that they are shipwrecked.

Background informationEdit

  • This is the first episode to give the name of the Robinson's crash site as Preplanis.  Will mentions that this world circles Tau Ceti, which as of December 2012 astromoners believe to have five planets, with one perhaps in the habitable zone around the star.  However Tau Ceti has a larger debris disk than our sun, and this would lead to many "meteorite storms" in the parlance of the series.
  • The Robinsons have learned that the creatures from "The Sky Is Falling" were called Taurons - how they learnt this when they were unable to communicate with them is not explained.
  • While the rest of the United States has gone beyond "television" to "video screens", Hatfield Four Corners still has magneto phones and an operator that connects all calls, including local calls.
  • Some of Cyril Mockridge's charming score from "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947) was used quite effectively in this episode. Mockridge would also contribute original music for the episode "The Sky Pirate."
  • Carbon tetrachloride, used here as a component in the food preservation system on the Jupiter 2, was once used as a refrigerant and as a fire extinguishing agent. It is also toxic and causes liver damage and has not been sold over-the-counter since the 1940s. However, it seems to still be stocked in the Hatfield Four Corners hardware store.
  • Given the large number of mutants and contaminating microorganisms on the planet, it's odd that the bird egg would be edible.
  • The maser matter transmission device is stated to be Tauron technology, a product of the race that attempted to colonize the planet in "The Sky Is Falling" several episodes back.  However, the device does not resemble the device used for that purpose in that episode (it was a small dome on a lighted pad).  Plus the Taurons took all their equipment with them at the end of that episode so this must be from another failed colonization attempt or just production constraints/sloppiness.
  • The date of Will's trip to Earth seems to be in contention. The Jupiter 2 lifted off from Earth on October 16, 1997. Aunt Clara says they all remember the Robinsons and that it was last year when the launched from Earth. There is a Christmas tree visible in Aunt Clara's home and Davey wishes Will a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. This would seem to indicate that the month is December and the year was 1998. Yet, when the Jupiter 2 passes near Earth months after Will's trip to Earth in The Ghost Planet, the controller says the Jupiter 2 was lost a year ago, setting back earlier than Christmas 1998.
  • The only solid evidence of Will Robinson's presence, other than a press photograph, was a hand-held communication device which was non-functional, but was quickly repaired by Alpha Control technicians and confirmed by manufacturing details and serial number as one of those with which the Jupiter 2 was equipped prior to launch.
  • This is one of very few episodes to be shot on the general Fox lot rather than any special stage.
  • Keith Taylor, who played one of the boys in the orphanage, would return as one of the "Space Hippies" in "The Promised Planet" (Frosh, Baby). He questions Will asking if Will knows what a stellar interferometer is. Will correctly responds "It's a device for measuring the diameter of stars" - a rare instance of LiS getting the science right. This real device was the brainchild of Albert Michelson, perhaps the first physicist who rigorously measured the speed of light.
  • When asked how many miles are in a parsec by one of the orphanage boys, Will gives the answer as 19 million 150 thousand miles.  The correct answer is approximately 19.17 trillion miles.  Will should have said 19 trillion 150 billion miles as a decent approximation.
  • Will also states that the distance to Alpha Centauri from Earth is 5.3 light years.  The correct answer is 4.37 light years.
  • Helen Kleeb played the telephone operator and was concurrently filming Fortune Cookie in the same role.

Links and referencesEdit

Main castEdit

Guest starsEdit


Alpha Control; Christmas; Earth; Hatfield Four Corners; maser; Preplanis; Tauron; Vermont

External linkEdit