- Based on Lost in Space (1965 to 1968) created by Irwin Allen
- Developed by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless
- December 24, 2019 to December 1, 2021
- Maureen Robinson-Molly Parker
- John Robinson-Toby Stephens
- Will Robinson-Maxwell Jenkins
- Judy Robinson-Taylor Russell
- Penny Robinson-Mina Sundwall
- Don West-Ignacio Serricchio
- June Harris/Zoe Smith-Parker Posey
- Robot-Brian Steele
After an impact on Earth threatens humanity’s survival, a family is selected along with others to make a trip to the human colony on Alpha Centauri but find themselves struggling to survive against malevolent alien robots.
To be forthright, I was never a big fan of the original Lost in Space series. It came off as too silly and just one big goof. I am not against family friendly or child friendly, but the original series just was dumb. It talked down to any potential audience. It was stuck in “science fiction is for kids.” Not only that but, and this has been said numerous times before, Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) was creepy in a pedophile way. Would you let your kid go off alone with that character?
This Netflix iteration of the concept fixes what I felt were many of the flaws in the original series and also managed to update it for modern times without making it downbeat and dour. While dealing with negative things, the core characters still strive for higher ideals. Not common at all these days.
Perhaps the best improvement of all in this series from the original though were the core characters. Their natures did not seem changed too much but rather their presentations matured.
Molly Parker takes over the role of Maureen Robinson from June Lockhart (who does get a voice cameo in this show). Rather than have her cast as a biochemist (she was basically a cook and housekeeper) here she is an aerospace engineer who serves as the mission commander of the Jupiter 2. Like a few characters here, she has her secrets but not to the point of being a terrible human being.
Toby Stephens takes over for Guy Williams as John Robinson. Rather than being an astrophysicist in this iteration he is a former U.S. Navy SEAL. Considering this show has more of an action lean than the original this change makes more sense. Stephens makes him uncertain at times of what to do in his unique situations but always with an eye towards protecting his family.
Maxwell Jenkins takes over for Billy Mumy (who has a small yet important role in the series) in the role of the youngest child Will Robinson. Much like in the series he is a child prodigy and forms a bond with Robot. He is less precocious child and more youth trying to fit in and adjust.
Taylor Russell takes over from Marta Kristen as Judy Robinson. Rather than make cute with Don West like in the original series (CREEPY!) she serves as mission doctor courtesy of accelerated medical training and gets her medical license by age 18. Holy shades of Doogie Howser! I am glad there was no flirtation or anything between her and Don here. Who on the staff of the original thought that was a good idea?!
This Judy is the adoptive daughter of John. Her biological father was Grant Kelly (Russell Hornsby) commander of the ill-fated Fortuna mission and, despite John filling the role, she still longs for a connection to a man she never got to know.
Mina Sundwall takes over from Angela Cartwright (who cameos as Sheila Harris) in the role of Penny Robinson. She is not the generic daughter here but rather a normal teen seeking to figure herself out. Eventually she finds her creative streak and this helps her to come into her own.
Ignacio Serricchio takes over for Mark Goddard as Don West-a man with a lucky chicken named Debbie. I take issue with the character of Don West going from a dashing pilot to a smuggling mechanic that is often comic relief. I understand some characters may need to be updated, and they were in this version, but a goofy guy with an obsession with a chicken strikes me as a bit too much of a change. The character is enjoyable but the increase in comical nature irritated me. He did get a bit of a rehab by season three though.
Parker Posey is June Harris/Zoe Smith, a petty criminal who takes on the identity of her sister Jessica to get on the colony ship Resolute to which the Jupiter 2 is attached. This is less a taking over for Jonathan Harris as it a reinvention of the character/concept.
Dr. Smith here is leaps and bounds ahead of Dr. Smith from the original series. Parker Posey is disturbing but not in the way that the original Smith was. Parker Posey is not going to molest Will Robinson while they are off checking out some weird thing over the horizon. Parker Posey might put a knife in your chest if it serves her purpose. She is a seriously emotionally disturbed individual who is dangerous because of her willingness to put her own needs and desires above those of everyone else and an inability to be a decent human being at any point prior to the events of the series.
At first she is a villain that is just looking out for herself but as the story progresses she finds some humanity. Her time with the Robinsons and seeing the bonds they have and the sacrifices they make while participating change her for the better.
Brian Steele performs as Robot who here is a machine of alien origin that is changed by his encounter with the young Will. Robot, its origins, and its purpose forms the overall narrative of the series. Robot moves from a comic commentator to a central figure in the series.
The first season starts out setting up the mysteries of the show which is fine. In this day and age most shows have an inter-connecting narrative. Episode A effects events in Episode B, C, D, all the way to Z and then some. Sometimes that is a plus such as it is here and sometimes that is a negative such as in Star Trek: Discovery. This gets the overarching narrative with a consistent villain idea right. Keep the focus on character and story and not making stuff look cool.
The first season also sets up John Robinson’s infidelity which led to his relationship with his wife almost dissolving. I was really worried they were going to go through the whole series with John and Maureen taking swipes at each other or just plain down disliking each other to the point it was completely unrealistic they were together.
I was wrong since before the end of the first season John and Maureen do manage to repair their relationship though there is tension between them. Not tension to the point of wondering why these two characters are still married but tension over what is best and what needs to be done as problems arise though in the end they do both work as a team.
Lost in Space aims for big science fiction ideas and intriguing science fiction concepts, and it mostly succeeds in that. The visuals are not the draw, but they are the payoff to the story. The narrative is character focused with uneasy answers to many of the problems with the characters in the end sticking together.
Lives are put in danger. And lives are lost. Yet the show still is family friendly. I would not say plop your kids down by themselves to watch but you can watch with your children. This show does not talk down to the audience. The show is about fresh starts and the wonder of discovery and even redemption.
The main villain of the series is a group of evil alien robots of which Robot is one. Why they do what they do and how they interweave with humanity and our journey to the stars is not made quite clear immediately. Rather it unfolds from the second season into the third and final. The unfolding mystery is well done and gives you just enough answers to feel satisfied as well as draw any conclusions about things that are not directly addressed.
There is not much wasted. Everything leads up to the finale. There are not plot threads that go nowhere. There are resolutions to storylines. And the show is not obsessively dark as is the norm these days in television. There is darkness but it is not consistent darkness and terrible people. There is hope and people strive to be better.
One thing I somewhat fault them for is the resolution of the whole storyline. At least how blatantly obvious at least to me it was. I marathoned from Season Two onto the end of the series so I maybe had a little bit better perspective than some other people but when I saw the bit that allowed for the end before the end, I knew what was coming.
Lost in Space is one of the few reboots that in my opinion vastly improves upon the original by leaps and bounds. I, like many viewers, wished it had gone on longer. Given the structure of the premise, I am not sure how much longer they could have pushed it. As it is this is the right number of episodes with a satisfying conclusion.
This Lost in Space is a fantastic reboot. It has action and great characters and amazing special effects and great costuming. The scripts are wonderful, and the direction is amazing. I cannot recommend this show enough!