What is the opposite of a cliffhanger? If you said “teaser,” you’re probably correct, but I suggest that where the cliffhanger endings in the first two seasons of Lost in Space were resolved in the teaser of the following episode, another type of cliffhanger present in a number of episodes was never resolved. That is, there are a number of characters or situations that occur in a given episode, but never appear again nor are they ever referred to again.
The dog in “One of Our Dogs Is Missing” (season one) just doesn’t show up again. Perhaps he eventually fell prey to the sand monster in that episode. One imagines Penny putting up “Lost Dog” posters on rocks around the campsite in the week before “Attack of the Monster Plants,” the next episode to air. This dog may have been a ‘red shirt,’ in fact, long before that infamous trope was used in Star Trek, a character to be written off and isn’t even given a name.
“The Lost Civilization” was the third-to-last episode of the first season. In “Blast Off into Space,” episode one of season two, Priplanus is destroyed. Whatever became of that cute little princess and her hoards of armed followers? Space dust by now, I suppose. To be fair, the Robinsons did have a lot on their minds when the discovered that the planet was about to destroy itself, and in truth, what could they have done to help the sleeping civilization anyway?
“The Forbidden World,” fourth in broadcast order in season two presents a similar problem. It’s all well and good that Tiabo decided to move to the other side of the Sector 6:30 Planet with his pet bird, but when that planet was destroyed by a rogue comet in “Condemned of Space” (the first episode of season three), what became of Tiabo?
As an aside, Tiabo commented that he had been alone and loving it for over a hundred years on the planet, then the Robinsons showed up and ruined it. And how. Just look at the number of alien visitors they encountered over the course of the second season. Surely Tiabo must have been annoyed by all the noise coming from over to the Robinsons. You also have to ask about the effect of the presence of our space family on property values. Two seasons, two destroyed planets—guess who’s not getting their damage deposit back.
And what ever happened to Jeremiah Smith after “Curse of Cousin Smith”? I like to think that Little Joe got him in the end, but the issue was never resolved in the series. We didn’t even find out, really, how Smith had got out into space in the first place; at least we knew that Alonzo P. Tucker (“The Sky Pirate”) was an alien abductee.
There are many other continuity issues like this in the series… the Robot’s replicator (originally seen in “The Space Vikings”) for example. How could that not have solved most of the Robinson’s problems? Things like fuel stocks, food stores and water supplies were all in conveniently short supply when an episode’s plot required it. Even in the first season, the extreme nature of Priplanus’ weather is given a nod in several episodes (the Robinsons sweat a lot in the first season and are chronically short of water), but they never break out their parkas, or even a windbreaker in the second half of the season. But a true die-hard fan like myself can figure all these things out. The replicator had (unstated) limits on the size and complexity of its output. Canto’s fuel making device (“Follow the Leader”) was not complete before John was exorcised, and the blueprints were just gibberish to them after that, and so on. It’s Benson’s Law: when it doesn’t make sense, we make it make sense.