I am a child of the 70’s. I grew up watching reruns of all the great shows, Star Trek, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and of course, Lost in Space. I remember the black and white episodes being a bit more serious than the later color seasons but I loved it regardless. Sure the show was cheesy but it was fun. I would like to forget the episode with Stanley Adams as a giant carrot but sadly that is burned into my memory forever. Fortunately, Netflix has revived the classic series with a darker and more serious take on the Robinson’s adventures in space.
I should start by saying that I am basing this review on only the first 2 episodes since I don’t want to burn through the entire season then have to wait a year or more for season 2. In this new version John Robinson (Toby Stephens) is a soldier who spends more time deployed than with his family. Maureen (Molly Parker) is a scientist raising 3 children Penny (Mina Sundwall), Judy (Taylor Russell) and Will (Maxwell Jenkins) mostly on her own. When the opportunity to emigrate off-world comes up she opts to take the children and start a new life, but when a catastrophic event occurs en route to the colony this new life becomes a fight to survive.
The show is filled with homages to the original series such as the original Will Robinson, Bill Mumy in a cameo as Dr. Z. Smith, a crewman named Angela Goddard in reference to both Angela Cartwright and Mark Goddard, both from the original series, and a new found critter named “Debbie”. Also, the person posing as Dr. Smith (Parker Posey) is named June Harris, sharing a last name with the actor who played the original Dr. Smith, Jonathan Harris. These are just the ones I have noticed in the first couple of episodes; who knows how many others we will come across. I may stop watching if there is a reference to The Great Vegetable Rebellion.
Seriously, I do like the darker, more realistic tone to this reboot. We no longer live in the picture perfect world of Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver; this family has a dynamic that fits into our current world. I do really like the fact the Will isn’t some know it all, like Wesley Crusher from Star Trek. I like how the family seems to work through problems together. I like the idea of using teamwork to solve problems, not just one person always being the savior. I do think having the Robot imprinting on Will, like a baby bird gives us a similar dynamic to the original series. The Robot and Will were good friends and this version takes it one step closer. I just want to Robot to say something other than, “Danger Will Robinson.” Though at the same time, it is an iconic line he needs to say more.
There are some things in this reboot of the classic that I don’t like and that would be the annoying children. I know that when Irwin Allen pitched this show it was “Space Family Robinson” and I guess you need kids to pay homage to the original but they are a bit annoying. I am sure as the episodes progress I will find the Robinson children less annoying. I can hope.
I have enjoyed what I have seen of the Netflix reboot of Lost in Space. The production values are incredible. The spacesuits, the equipment and the vehicles are highly believable and look like something that could be used on an alien world. Netflix has gone to great lengths to make this series look good. In my opinion, they succeed.
I am not sure how the rest of the season will play out and am fighting the urge to binge this one; I am pacing myself, for now. If you were a fan of the original series this version may be a bit dark for you. The fact that “Dr. Smith” is a cold-blooded killer and not just a self-centered buffoon may be off-putting to a hard-core fan. I personally like the fact that there were other survivors from the main ship which means there can be new characters introduced.
I will be giving the entire season a chance. Netflix continues to impress.