Welcome to Season Three!
Note that this is our very own inscribed photo, not a cheap screengrab from somewhere!
Season Three seemed to be off on the right foot. The first few episodes show an effort to get back to more serious stories, in distinction to the silliness which characterized much of Season Two. We are introduced to the Pod, a quite realistic landing craft which was actually modeled on some early NASA designs for the lunar lander (remember, the first Moon landing was still in the future when Lost In Space ended!), and the actual Lunar Module bears a recognizable family resemblance to the Pod. Still, a clear trend towards a “formula” established itself early on: Dr. Smith does something predictably foolish and disastrous, Will tells the Robot, “We have to go help him!”, the Robot reminds him they aren’t supposed to leave the ship, and away they go. About as predictable as Timmy falling down an old well and Lassie bringing rescue.
Also, and most noteworthy stylistically, is that the crew are no longer stranded on a single planet for most of the season, but have managed to become spaceworthy again. Landings, takeoffs, and misadventures while underway provide more opportunity for meeting strange new creatures and visiting interesting new planets — including Earth, and meeting actual humans from Earth. (Visit To A Hostile Planet, The Haunted Lighthouse, The Time Merchant.) Season Three also brought another costume change. Most opinion we see (ours included) is somewhat disparaging of the new crew uniform, and we have said elsewhere that if you were to line them all up, they’d look like a set of Matrushka Easter Eggs. On the flip side, we do see them in their spacesuits a lot more, and actually looking like space travelers!
Penny also gets a new hairdo, occasionally anyway, with a more adult-looking short style, see photo above. There is much speculation that this was in fact a wig, and that her real hair was tucked neatly up underneath. Looking at the photo above, it does seem as if there is a suspicious bulge on the top of her head, and the difference between her (indisputably) real hair and a possible wig seems fairly evident. However, the simple fact that her hair changes from the short style above to her traditional shoulder-length is also explained by the shooting schedule: episodes were frequently aired out of the order in which they were filmed, so it is certainly plausible that she did have long hair for a part of the season and short hair for the rest of it.
Yes, Season Three certainly seemed to have the Jupiter 2 and her merry crew heading back in the right direction.
Then . . . then . . . then came The Great Vegetable Rebellion . . .