Netflix released its remake of the classic 1960’s television show, Lost in Space. To be honest, I’ve never watched the original series. I also have not seen the movie remake released in 1998. Considering the movie received a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it doesn’t look like I missed much.
This review may contain spoilers to Lost in Space.
Lost in Space is a series about a group of space colonists whose spaceship gets knocked off-course when they are attacked on-board by an alien robot. The series is set 30 years in the future and follows the struggles of the Robinson family and their fellow surviving colonists as they try to get off the dying planet they are stranded on.
The cast is excellent. Parker Posey received a lot of the headlines for coming on board to play the role of Dr. Smith, and rightfully so. She plays quite the con-woman and there are PLENTY of times where you feel for her character over any member of the Robinson family, including Will. House of Cards’ Molly Parker and Black Sails’ Toby Stephens do a really good job as Maureen and John (Mom and Dad) Robinson.
Visually, Lost in Space is freakin’ amazing. It really is stunning. You could tell that dump trucks full of money was poured into this series. The props look fantastic. The robot was executed flawlessly. The ship looked like something designed by Apple. It was very white, very cleanly designed and had some questionable retro-styled gadgets (like the Apple Pencil). Lens flares are used sparingly and softly. JJ could learn a thing or two from this series.
For some the build may be too slow. This wasn’t the case for me. Some may come in looking for your typical “monster of the week” format, but I was grateful it wasn’t there. Netflix is fortunate in that their platform was built for binge watching and because of that they can stretch out a story. You do see Netflix lose sight of this in some of their original series when they get into multiple seasons.
Parker Posey is so good in the role of Dr. Smith that everyone else kind of fades away. I want to like Don West. I want to like the Robinson kids. Heck, I even have a hard time liking the Robinson parents. All because Dr. Smith is so convincing. You end up siding with her and getting irritated by all the rest.
I know this is supposed to be a crew full of super geniuses, but some of the things they do make you scratch your head. There was a moment when they discovered a solution to a problem and Hiroki (the stereotypical wise, old Asian man) already knew the solution, but wanted them to figure it out themselves. Something about that whole scene irritated me.
I found most of the characters in Lost in Space lacked depth. The use of the flashbacks is supposed to provide some context and spotlight to some characters, but it seemed forced and didn’t contribute much to the story. I found a few occasions where a flashback contributed little to nothing in providing context to the viewer with respects to whatever the current situation was. The flashbacks also don’t add much to the characters. We know they’re smart. We know they’re doctors, engineers and/or pilots. That’s about all we know. We don’t know what drives them. We don’t know what some of them left behind.
The first season of Lost in Space was decent. I feel like some tweaks need to be done to the story in order for more cast members to shine, specifically the children and other colonists. Their story arcs were pretty meh, especially Penny. I’d like to see Ignacio Serricchio’s character, Don West, be more than just comedic relief. I want more story behind why they left Earth in the first place. What strings did Mama Robinson pull in order to get Will to join them despite him failing the exam? The visual effects and cinematography was excellent. More of that please!
Considering how the finale played out, I am left worried about the second season. I’m sure they will introduce new characters for the Robinson family to interact with, but I’m hoping they don’t end up giving into pressure and move towards a “monster of the week” format. I am cautiously optimistic for next season.
Lost in Space debuted April 13, 2018 and is currently available on Netflix.