“Lost in Space” – Danger Will Robinson!

At many times we as media consumers will get a leak or upfront info about a program that’s in production. As a casual peruser of such rumor mills, I often miss these tidbits of information. This probably works to my favor in the sense that I’m often setup for a pleasant surprise when a movie or TV show is officially announced. This was the case with the Netflix reboot of “Lost in Space”. I completely had no idea it was being done until it was finished and showed up in my Netflix cue. It was a pleasant surprise to be sure.

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For those not familiar with the series “Lost in Space” 2018 is based on the original show that ran from 1965 to 1968 with 83 episodes under its belt. It goes that the nations of the Earth are in a heated competition to be the first to colonize space and the United States is, of course, first to develop the Jupiter program that will allow for humans to travel to a habitable planet in the Alpha Centauri system. The Robinson family is selected from millions of candidates to be the first to embark on a 5 year journey at light speed that will take them to this planet. The competition is so fierce to be the first to achieve this that one of the nations hires and insider, Dr. Zachary Smith, to sabotage the program and prevent the Robinsons from succeeding in their mission. During the sabotage attempt by Dr. Smith though, he inadvertently gets caught on the Jupiter 2 spaceship with the Robinsons and the robot he has re-programmed to destroy the systems and they are all thrown off course into the unknowns of space. It was a unique premise at the time and I still believe it to hold true despite folks dubbing other shows as having a similar premise. For instance, “Star Trek Voyager” and “Battlestar Galactica” have been accused of this but in each one of those shows the crews knew exactly in which direction home was. The crew of the Jupiter 2 were truly lost in space with no tether to their previous world.

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Reboots can be an iffy endeavor to be sure, but some can hit it right out of the park. For instance, the previously mentioned “Galactica” eventually swayed the crowds in the direction of its ideology and take on space opera. I honestly froze up at the big change with the Starbuck and Boomer characters but they managed to pull it off with flying colors. I think this “Lost in Space” reboot may be another winner. Some of the biggest changes come in what seems to be via SJW influence. For instance the character of Dr. Smith is changed to a woman and played by Parker Posey. I was ok with this because I figured Ms. Posey could pull it off with her quirky style of acting and so far she has proven to be complex and intriguing. The changed the character of Judy Robinson to be played by a black actress Taylor Russell. She’s a Robinson for sure and they take literally a split second to explain how, which turns out to be enough. They make Mrs. Maureen Robinson the professor instead of the father John Robinson who turns out to be a Navy Seal who has estranged himself from his family. The other change is with Don West who turns from esteemed military officer in the original to conniving mechanic in the remake. Will and Penny Robinson stay pretty much the same which adds familiarity to the original storyline. And the Robot? Yes, the Robot. He’s not the same as the original and his premise is quite different, but it’s safe to say that he is something extra special and I look forward to seeing where they take him in season two.

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Before I continue, I should point out that the premise of the show has been altered of course, beginning with the reasons they’re going to Alpha Centauri. This time it’s not just about national pride or greed or nations trying to gain power and prove something. This time it is shearly about survival. The Earth at this point has had a natural catastrophe that is causing the Earth to die. The world has no choice but to reach out into space to find a new home. Thousands of people are selected for a program that will launch the most qualified people into space for the purpose of colonization, the Robinsons being amongst them. Now I’m sure it’s mentioned somewhere about why the original Robinsons were going to Alpha Centauri but it wasn’t quite as evident and critical as noted in the re-imagined series. You always have the sense that everyone is desperate to complete the mission and this adds an intensity drives the show.

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Who This is For

I’ve mentioned before that I crave good science fiction shows and they are the ones I’ll usually consume first. I realize though that audiences are diverse in taste and the story has to reflect that universal appeal if it is to survive the ratings war. “Lost in Space” is certainly on the level of telling a very human and relatable experience. The dysfunctionality of the Robinson family is compelling enough, but the idea of one’s survival in the hostility of space ups the ante for those wishing to see characters fight through the worst of challenges. Even the character of Dr. Smith, with all of her duplicity, has garnered a measure of sympathy until you’re reminded that she’s a self-serving scumbag. So, if you’re into shows with a good depth of drama with the scifi aspects kept in check, then this will certainly tickle your fancy. If you’ve seen the first season, comment below and let me know your thoughts on it.

***Scale of 1-10: 8.5

Created by Irwin Allen
Developed by Matt Sazama

Burk Sharpless

Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10 (list of episodes)

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