Irwin Allen Wiki
"The Derelict"

The derelict title card.jpg

LiS episode
1x02 / 2nd of 83 aired
Production #
First aired
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Written by
Directed by
Alex Singer
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Last week John Robinson, father of the first family to attempt colonization of outer space, found himself helplessly adrift, when his line snapped while trying to repair navigational equipment. It is now shortly thereafter, as Maureen Robinson desperately tries to reach her husband before he slips farther off into the trackless void of outer space...


The episode begins will John Robinson and his wife Maureen Robinson trapped outside the Jupiter 2, as a travelling nova like comet passes by the ship. The Robinson parents manage to be rescued by Major Don West.

While Professor Robinson checks on his family, he notices Doctor Smith tampering with the robot, claiming that his expertise could make vast improvements in the robot. John Robinson informs him that Smith is considered nothing more than a stowaway and will be treated as such. After trying to find away back on course, the ship is drawn into a giant derelict spaceship. The ship appears to be abandoned.

Strangely, Smith is under the notion, that this ship belongs to the secret operatives of Aeolus 14 Umbra, the organization that he used to work for, even though there is no evidence. After a brief discussion of the alien ships nature being human or not, John Robinson, Don West and Doctor Smith make their way to the control room of the derelict ship, then Smith wanders off to explore further. The ships interior seems to be made up of some sort of crystalline power structure. Meanwhile, Will Robinson (who left the ship contrary to orders) wanders off on his own exploration.

As John and the Major marvel at their discovery of intricate star maps, Will and Smith stumble onto a chamber where dozens of bubble-like creatures are in suspended animation. The humans' presence revives the creatures, and Will tries to communicate with them. Will Robinson wants to gain the bubble creatures trust, so he can have them help the Robinsons with the ships guidance system, but Smith, wants only to go back to earth. The aliens don't trust Smith and refuse to answer. Angered and annoyed with these horrid looking creatures, Smith starts blasting them with a laser when Will expresses regret that they don't seem to understand him. While running for their lives as the bubble creatures pursue them, Smith and Will find the other men of the group, and they all race to the ship. They safely reach the Jupiter 2 and the Robinsons are able to escape from the bubble creatures aliens. The Jupiter 2 exits the ship. The Space Family Robinsons in the Jupiter 2 venture onto toward the planet Priplanus to which they are destined to crash land upon. Maureen Robinson is hesitant and wants to venture onto their original destination, Alpha Centauri, but John and Don argue that unless land here to make repairs, going on further may never happen. The episode ends, with the Jupiter 2 moving towards Priplanus.

Background Information[]

  • There is no teaser scene before the opening credits.
  • Early on in various episodes,John Robinson is seen narrating a ships log. Unfortunately, this aspect of the series was dropped by the end of The Hungry Sea, with only a brief quote of the log being used in One of Our Dogs Is Missing.
  • The final new footage from the Alpha Control two-story set is seen, along with a brief, low quality shot of the facility's exterior.
  • The shot of the Jupiter 2 approaching Preplanis (and a revised appearance), and part of the opening scenes at Alpha Control constitute the pilot's footage used in this episode.
  • Will's and Smith's actions come under scrutiny a year later when the Robinsons are indicted for assorted offenses and put on trial in The Prisoners of Space.
  • The interior of their derelict starship consists of sets left over from the movie Fantastic Voyage.-mainly the brain tissue sequence at the end of the film. They were lit much darker here,to make the set unrecognizable and more alien and mysterious. The Jupiter's capture by the derelict spaceship is shot using several different models and is a wonder of special effects. No expense was spared in filming this sequence and it shows. The derelict's interior is obviously leftovers from the Jonah and the Whale episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, itself using sets borrowed from the film Fantastic Voyage.
  • This episode's musical score is unusual in that little of it was repeated in later episodes. Aside from the famous 'Family Theme', 'Frontal Robotomy' and the moody 'Derelict Title' which plays over the last shots of Alpha Control, the other parts of the score were dropped completely. (Occasional excerpts of 'The Treatment/Swallowed' and 'Rescued from Space' are the only others to appear). For Lost in Space this is an anomaly given that almost all the show's music was repeated continuously throughout the three seasons.
  • When the Bubble creatures are chasing the Robinsons to the Jupiter 2, the white shoes of the stage hands pushing the creatures occasionally come into shot.
  • The inside of the ship is a redressed version of the brain set from Fantastic Voyage.
  • The bubble creatures are truly alien, amorphous blobs. They have no appendages nor any mechanisms to help them hold or manipulate objects. How they could build or operate a spaceship is a mystery, especially since the ease with which Prof. Robinson and Major West can decipher and operate the controls suggests they were ergonomically designed for humanoids.
  • A terrible piece of science is used in this episode: the comet near the Jupiter 2 is supposedly extremely hot - when in fact comets are made of ice!
  • The plot of the Jupiter 2 coming across a derelict spaceship was reused for the Lost in Space 1998 film, although the inhabiting creatures in that version were not colonist Bubble Creatures but evil metal spiders.
  • When Professor Robinson is using the rescue line to return to the ship, you can see that it is a simple piece of yarn in addition to the wires that are holding him up. The yarn can be seen all bunched up and out of place.
  • When Professor Robinson is firing his laser to open the derelict spaceship's outer doors at the end of the episode, you hear the laser, and see the sparks where the laser is striking the wall of the derelict spaceship, but the special effects people forgot to add the laser beam itself to the film. Also, firing the laser at the doors could weld them close, sealing both them and the Robinsons' fate,
  • The idea that our space pioneers would be unable to get a fix on a nearby star is unlikely.  Alpha Centauri is 4.3 light years away, which is about 25 trillion (25,000,000,000,000) miles away.  Even if the ship traveled at the speed of light for eight hours it would only be about 5 billion (5,000,000,000) miles away.  Not being able to spot Alpha Centauri given these distances is the equivalent of not being to see something a mile away by simply raising your height by about a foot.
  • The landing and escape miniature sequences with the Jupiter 2 are skillfully done, of a much higher quality than other network science fiction programs both earlier and contemporary.
  • The derelict vessel was later re-used as the prison ship "Vera Castle" in the Season 3 premiere, Condemned of Space.
  • This episode has the best of the Jupiter 2 engine sound effects of the entire series during the scene when the Jupiter 2 enters the derelict ship.
  • References are made to "start the rockets" to power the ship and later a control in the panel labelled rockets can be seen. Never mentioned again throughout the series.

Production Timeline[]

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Special guest star[]

Uncredited co-stars (alphabetical)[]


Aeolus 14 Umbra; Bubble creature; Bubble creatures' spaceship; Jupiter 2; laser; Preplanis; Shakespeare; star map