Title: Lost In Space
Director(s): Tim Southam, Neil Marshal, Deborah Chow, Vincenzo Natali, David Nutter, Stephen Surjik, Alice Troughton
Writers: Irwin Allen (creator), Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Vivian Lee, Kari Drake, Katherine Collins, Zack Estrin, Ed Mc Cardie, Daniel McClellan, Simon Winberg
Starring: Molly Parker, Toby Stephens, Maxwell Jenkins, Taylor Russel, Mina Sundwail, Ignacio Serricchio, Parker Posey
Duration: 10 episodes 1hr
Lost In Space was originally a classic series, one of several created by Irwin Allen, that reflected the style and mod camp approach of the era that gave it birth. This time around its more like a Hallmark Family Spacial or maybe one of those After School Specials that used to air for kids that took special care to not include anything that might have any questionable influence on the young minds they were made to entertain while guiding their thoughts along socially acceptable lines. If you are looking for grim and gritty you won’t find it here, this is entirely pasteurized stuff and meant to be wholesome family entertainment.
The journey of the Robinsons this time around might have been titled The Perilous Picnic on Planet Murphy (for Murphy’s Law). I say this because for most of this production’s effort it never felt like they were on an alien world even while they were experiencing the nearly non-stop otherworldly perils that felt contrived to entertain during its duration. The settings just seemed too earth-like throughout the entire series. It was like they were on the worst camping trip ever right here on good old earth. There were brief periods of excellent outer space CGI footage, but once they landed no sense of an alien world was forthcoming despite the attempts to make it seem otherwise.
As for the perils they face they are nearly endless and all lined up as if awaiting the arrival of the explorers unfortunate enough to crash land on Planet Murphy, each becoming a little more contrived than the one that preceded it. There is one thing I did like about this series, and that was the role science played in figuring things out and solving problems. With more focus on this aspect of the show, it might have improved.
The writing likewise fell short of what might have been, For some reason, the decision was made to make these people (the Robinsons) the blandest and most uninteresting people to ever travel into outer space. Imagine the cleanest cut Mormon like people ever with saint-like ideals they expect everyone else to live up to their superhuman standard of behavior. These are types, not people and seem somewhat two dimensional in their construction. The series starts following the modern trend of depicting the scientist mom as smarter, stronger, etc. than her male counterparts, but it did surprise me by establishing a less prejudicial depiction soon after that.
The series goes on to show each had their strengths that balanced things out. They are depicted as a family with minor issues to work out between them which did not serve to make them any more interesting. One of the main plots the series depicts is a slightly different version of the plot of the modern animated classic Iron Giant focusing on the relationship between Will Robinson and a mysterious alien robot that under the right circumstances converts into a deadly killing machine capable of massive destruction. Same story, different robot. Yes, the robot does say, “Danger Will Robinson,” several times.
Parker Posey was slightly more interesting than the rest of the cast as the opportunistic sociopathic Dr. Smith, the identity she stole off an injured passenger she replaced (In an early cameo by Billy Mumy). The Robinson’s (genius-level intelligence all around) never suspect her rather obvious duplicitous behavior causing me to wonder how intelligent are these people? The show saved its best moments until the end of the last episode which made it seem like the entire first season was just a set-up and introduction, an appetizer meant to whet the appetite for the entree of season 2, reported as already under construction. Those last moments were the most interesting in the entire first season
Don’t get me wrong I didn’t hate this series; it just struck me as not very interesting in several ways; it seemed surprisingly dull. It was disappointing after first hearing about this project a couple of years ago and waiting for it to arrive while letting my imagination go crazy thinking how much fun it could be if done right. Oh well.