Review by James Lindorf
Netflix has partnered with Legendary Television for a reimagining of the classic Sci-Fi series, Lost in Space. While the show will be available worldwide on April 13th, Netflix gave a sneak peek to the crowd at Washington DC’s Awesome Con this past weekend. Lost in Space is set only a brief 30 years in the future, where space travel is not only possible, but a necessity. The Robinson family is among the lucky few who completed the difficult testing process and have been granted permission to make a new life for themselves among the stars. The series stars Toby Stephens as John, Molly Parker as Maureen, Taylor Russell as Judy, Mina Sundwall as Penny and Max Jenkins as Will. The Robinson family is joined by Parker Posey as Dr. Smith and Ignacio Serricchio as Don West.
Co-creators Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless described the show as a 10-hour summer blockbuster that was broken up into 10 episodes. Based on the trailer and the first episode, I say their description is right on the mark. There is still is a lot of time left before I can decide if it is more like a Marvel movie than 2012, but whatever complaints people may have, it won’t be about the look of the series. There are some obvious green screen moments but that is to be expected. The sets and models that the production team built are very impressive and the CGI elements were above average as well.
Sazama and Sharpless made a few changes to the family in order to up the personal drama in the series. John is no longer an astrophysicist. He is, instead, an officer in the Marine Corps who spends his career traveling from one classified destination to the next. He will most likely serve as the family muscle, keeping everyone safe. But as the only family member who is not a genius, there could be feelings of inadequacy. The ages for Judy and Penny were altered, making them approximately the same age, instead of the 8-year age difference from the original. It may help them relate to each other better, and there will also be tension between the two teens. In addition, they changed Judy’s race. How she came to be a Robinson isn’t addressed in the first episode and may not be, as being a family is more important than how you become a family. However, I will be extremely shocked if it doesn’t lead to a confrontation at some point, most likely with John, who Judy has an obvious issue with during the first episode.
I think everyone did an excellent job portraying their characters, but while they were well written, there were times I wished we were following another family. Everyone but Will is mad at someone over something that we don’t understand at the moment. The first episode had a lot of flashbacks and I expect that to continue, at least through the next episode or two, until we have the entire backstory and the family is truly united. There were times I wanted to yell at the screen, “will you stop pouting and get back to trying not to die?” Thankfully, each character was well rounded and had sweet or humorous moments to balance out the angst. Based on the collective gasps and cheers at Awesome Con, I am not the only one excited for the 13th and getting more of the Robinsons, the robot, and their search for a home.