This episode begins with a spacewalk by Professor John Robinson to again effect repairs on the outer hull of the spaceship. An approaching comet adds extra danger to this situation. Later in his read-aloud journal entry, we hear the head of the Robinson family reference the “increasingly annoying extra passenger Dr Smith”. Regular viewers might no doubt be tempted to add, “Sorry, but when it comes to the
good Doctor you ain’t BEGUN to know annoying yet.”
The Jupiter 2 then encounters its first (of many) alien spaceships. It promptly gets sucked into the guts of it accompanied by evil sounding organ music and howling wind (in space?) effects. Will and Dr Smith (still on at least one occasion referred to in this episode as ‘Colonel Smith’) encounter a creature that communicates via a series of crackling electrical signals. Will is having an engrossing ‘conversation’ with it before Smith grows impatient and zaps the paper-mached thing set on wheels with a lazer gun. The Robinsons are forced to make a hasty retreat from the Planet having now earned the ire of the friends and relatives of this incensed paper-mache creature.
“The Derelict” also features a shortened version of what will go onto become Dr Smith’s most recited catchphrase – “Never fear. Smith is here.” On this occasion we are treated to the more concise and less memorable “Never fear.”
LOST IN SPACE ran for 3 seasons. Although it never made it to a 4th Season it came close. In early 1968, while the final third-season episode “Junkyard in Space” was in production, the cast and crew were informally made to believe the series would return for a 4th season.
Producer and show creator Irwin Allen had ordered new scripts for the coming 4th Season. A few weeks later, however, host network CBS announced a list of television series they were renewing for the 1968–69 season, and LOST IN SPACE was not included. The show had sufficient ratings to support a 4th Season but it was expensive to make. The budget per episode for Season One was $130 980 but by Season Three had risen to $164 788.