I am a child of the 1960’s. I grew up on Star Trek, Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. I was a Star Trek fan above all, but I did however have a soft spot for Lost in Space. Even as an adult I felt that the special effects (mostly in the black and white episodes) were top notch. Looking back I think that Lost in Space didn’t get the recognition it deserved. Star Trek has seen many successful spin-offs but every attempt to revive Lost in Space has failed. There was an attempt at a cinematic revival starring William Hurt, Mimi Rogers and Gary Oldman which did poorly at the box office making all hope of a franchise disappear. Then in 2004 there was an attempt to bring the show back to television called, The Robinsons: Lost in Space starring Mike Erwin, Jayne Brook and Adrianne Palicki. This one never made it past the pilot. Now Netflix has rebooted the franchise and it may just make it past 2 seasons.
The Netflix version of Lost in Space has all the characters you know and love (or hate) from the original series. This new series stars Toby Stephens as John Robinson, Molly Parker as Maureen Robinson, Maxwell Jenkins as Will, Taylor Russell as Judy, Mina Sundwall as Penny, Ignacio Serricchio as Don and Parker Posey as Dr. Smith. The storyline is a bit altered from the original Lost in Space with colonists traveling to Alpha Centauri on a large colony ship with smaller ships used in the colonization process. The Robinsons are part of the 24th mission to colonize the Alpha Centauri system. Every other mission seemed to go off without a hitch until on this trip. The main ship, The Resolute, is attacked by unknown forces and the crew and passengers are forced to evacuate. Fortunately for the survivors they crash on a seemingly habitable planet.
Though the planet seems like a safe haven at first the Robinsons discover that an upcoming global catastrophe will wipe out all life. The Robinsons join forces with fellow survivors in an attempt to get off the planet before disaster hits.
The original Lost in Space aired on CBS from 1965-1968 with 83 episodes while the reboot currently has only 10 episodes with a second season coming to Netflix soon. While both of these shows have similarities the new Lost in Space, thankfully, lacks the campiness of the original. The new Lost in Space is a drama with some humor injected in, much like real life.
The new Lost in Space is a different take on the original, but it does have some of the staples of the Lost in Space universe such as the chariot and the robot. Actually I don’t think that it would be Lost in Space without the robot. Speaking of which, in the original un-aired pilot (included as an extra in this set) there was no robot. You need the robot. This inorganic character even gave us the iconic catchphrase, “Danger, Will Robinson!” I can’t imagine this series without the robot. Of course in the reboot the robot adds so much more to story than the character did in the 1960’s.
The complete first season of Lost in Space is being released by 20th Century Fox Home Video. The complete first season includes all 10 episodes and some great special features.
The Special Features are:
• Deleted Scenes
• Bill and Max-Lost and Found in space with Bill Mumy and Maxwell Jenkins
• Bill Mumy visits the set-A behind the scenes look
• Designing the Robot
• Lost in Space Sizzle- Another behind the scenes look
• “No Place to Hide”-The unaired pilot from Lost in Space 1965 now colorized
The special features are nothing really special but they do contain some interesting facts. Out of all of the special features I found the un-aired pilot the most interesting. The original pilot was lacking two things most people associate with Lost in Space; that would be the Robot and Dr. Smith. I don’t think Lost in Space would have made it in the 1960’s without the B-9 robot. The friendship that developed between he and Will was truly the heart of the show.
The addition of Dr. Smith to the cast gave the show an antagonist who served to move plot lines and story points along. He also added a level of comic relief to the show which allowed viewers to take all he did with a grain of salt. His character was a bumbling buffoon that fans could get angry with but not totally hate. Jonathan Harris was perfect for that role. He walked a fine line between sinister and just plain silly.
Personally I was a bit worried when I read that the un-aired pilot was colorized. I was worried because I always felt that the special effects were more believable in black and white. Fortunately, colorizing the episode didn’t affect the special effects. It amazes me that the effect shots from the 1960’s still look good. I think that what they did in 1965 without CGI looks better than some of the effects on the Syfy channel movies.
I found the Netflix reboot of Lost in Space to be an enjoyable, solid show with well written scripts and incredible sets and effects. I think that this show is worthy to carry the torch of the original series. I like this adult take on the show. There isn’t enough adult science fiction and Lost in Space helps to fill that need.
I like all of the characters on this show, with the exception of one, Dr. Smith. I have to say that Parker Posey does an amazing job portraying the conniving doctor. When Jonathan Harris portrayed Smith, he was as I stated before comic relief. Posey’s Dr. Smith has yet to show any redeeming qualities and she is very easy to hate. She is really doing her job making viewers dislike her. Seriously, I wish they would just jettison her (no offense Ms. Posey).
If you are a purist maybe the reboot of Lost in Space might not be for you. If you are a fan of good science fiction, drama and fantastic locales you should definitely check this one out. Lost in Space the Complete First Season is out now and has a runtime of 551 minutes. This set retails for 49.99 for the Blu-ray and the DVD for 29.99 and is available now.