Friday, May 4, 2018

Netflix Brings Back Lost in Space

Count on the folks at Netflix to deliver us another winner. With the convenience of having statistics on their side (they know which DVDs were the most rented, which TV programs were streamed more than others) they chose to co-produce a reboot of the Lost in Space saga made famous by Irwin Allen in the mid-sixties. Avoiding the pitfalls of the Batman-camp style from the 1960s, this rendition is a tad moe gritty, dark and intriguing. A vast improvement for those who know the characters but disliked the cheap production of the original.

Set 30 years in the future where Earth has become a wasteland of pollution, and colonization on another planet half way across the universe appears to be mankind's only hope, the Robinson family join others through the silence of space for dangers unknown. Along the way something goes horribly awry and the survivors find themselves stranded on an alien planet. The first episode pretty much summarizes the first half of the first season, with the Robinson family facing more perils than most television protagonists face in a given season. 

Subtle nods to the original series are evident from one cameo, alias names (June Harris was obviously a tip-of-the-hat to original cast members June Lockhart and Jonathan Harris), and similar perils faced in the original series. Thankfully, no space hippies or giant vegetable rebellions here. The Robinson family is progressive with a black daughter from a prior marriage and a female rendition of Dr. Smith, while a tad dysfunctional as they gather their bearings on the new world. John and Maureen also have an ongoing marital relationship on the rocks and it takes a number of death-defying perils for them to settle their differences.

Parker Posey as the evil Dr. Smith
Overlapping the entire premise are a number of teasers: just how did we get such advanced technology so fast without alien involvement? Why did the robot go crazy and start killing humans on the space station? What did Maureen trade in return for that favor from a mysterious figure so Will could qualify for the mission? Such questions may be answered in the second season.

The casting is superb: everyone who plays a role was perfectly cast. Standing above all others is Parker Posey as Dr. Smith, both lazy and incompetent, but always with a hidden agenda that benefits one. Will Robinson bonds with an alien robot via Spielbergian touches, and it does not take long for the catch-phrase to utter from the robot's mouth.

If you try to compare this new rendition with the original, you will be disappointed. If you are looking for something to binge watch this summer, and were on the fence about streaming the remake, take my word for it: this is worth watching. I am so looking forward to the second season.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

One should note that the original Will Smith (Bill Mumy) portrays the REAL Dr. Smith in the new series.

Anonymous said...

^
Um, oops.

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