The 2018 version of Lost in Space from Netflix is a slick looking space drama about the Robinson family and their struggles to survive on an unknown planet. It’s full of excitement and relationship drama.
I haven’t seen any of the earlier versions of Lost in Space. I don’t have any preconceived notions of what this story ought to be. In fact, I was quite surprised to learn that the expression, “Danger, Will Robinson,” I have heard people use came from Lost in Space. I never understood that expression until now.
The Robinson family includes Maureen (Molly Parker), John (Toby Stephens), and their three kids Will (Maxwell Jenkins), Judy (Taylor Russell) and Penny (Mina Sundwall).
Brian Steele plays The Robot, possibly the star of the series. He’s big and lovable (most of the time). The Robot has many a heart swelling scene with Will Robinson.
Parker Posey is Dr. Smith. Don’t get your Parkers mixed up, because Molly Parker as mom is the brilliant space scientist who saves everyone time and again while Parker Posey as the villain does horrid things at every opportunity.
The story is that the Robinsons and numerous other families were all headed for a new life on Alpha Centauri. Each family had its own ship called a Jupiter. The mother ship they all traveled on was under attack and damaged. The Jupiters took off. They landed on an unknown planet. It had glaciers and snowy mountains, lush forests, earthquakes, tar pits, violent storms, erupting volcanoes and all sorts of perils that caused havoc during the efforts of the survivors to escape from the planet and get back on course toward Alpha Centauri.
Every episode was fraught with danger. There was epic struggle (accompanied by epic music) in each episode. Mixed with that was family relationship drama, the story between Will and The Robot, and interactions with the other survivors.
Other important survivors include Don West (Ignacio Serricchio), who was a hero in spite of not wanting to be one, Raza Jaffrey as the leader of the expedition, and Ajay Friese as his son Vijay. Judy Robinson had a bit of a crush on Vijay.
The visuals were a mix of up-to-date sets and CGI, tossed in with very 2018 technology like iPhone type communicators and car-like vehicles. I’m not sure how some of the technology will play 10 years from now. It may look pretty old fashioned. The matter of zero gravity vs. gravity was treated with amazing forgetfulness. Some of the science seemed a bit iffy to me. Character development was the strongest part of the drama, especially among the Robinsons.
I think the most loyal and impressed fans of the Lost in Space experience will be young boys who identify with Will and his robot friend. However, there is material there for adults, particularly the relationship between the Robinson parents and the psychology of villainy acted out so well by Parker Posey. Themes around the choice whether to save the one or the many, guilt, honesty, and loyalty will also resonate with adults.
The excellent cliffhanger is saved until almost the last second of the last episode, but it’s there. It leaves the way open for another season of this space thriller.
I’m happy to say there were some women writers and two women directors (Deborah Chow and Alice Troughton) working on the series. Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless developed the new series based on the original characters by Irwin Allen.
Have you seen the new Lost in Space? What did you think of it?