The ‘Lost in Space’ created by Irwin Allen in the 60s was a pretty huge success. And banking off of that success, the series was adapted into a film in 1998 with an all-star cast that included William Hurt, Gary Oldman, and Matt LeBlanc. But the movie was completely disposable, and that’s what Netflix’s reboot is as well — disposable.
Netflix reimagined the classic series intending to rejuvenate it while retaining the original spirit, and it put a massive budget behind it to push it through. Of course, it’s progressive, flashy, and shows that family dysfunction remains the same no matter where you go, but the sci-fi extravaganza gives us nothing to sink our teeth into.
It’s clear that the showrunner and series writers were very ambitious with this cinematic reimagining. They took inspiration from ‘Lost’ to structure the story but tried not to become a carbon copy in the process, and it shows. The narrative is moved forward with too many flashbacks that are just dumped with exposition. You can see the inspiration in many examples but the execution misses the mark.
Episodes kill time with uninteresting plot points that are not at all natural and are designed just to serve the end game. There’ll be points where you’ll even forget what’s going on and find yourself on your mobile playing games with casino bonuses.
The series is set 30 years into the future. Earth is literally full of garbage and the Robinson family is chosen to be one of the many families to go to space and make a life for themselves elsewhere on a better planet.
But going to space does not automatically eliminate familial dysfunction among the five members — Toby Stephens as John, Molly Parker as Maureen, Taylor Russel as Judy, Mina Sundwall as Penny, and Max Jenkins as Will. The parents have a rift between them, the girls have to deal with the hormonal tribulations of adolescence, and the son is confused about his place in the family.
When the Robinson family and other colonists get thrown off course while on a ship to their new planet, they end up on a strange, dangerous planet where they encounter problems on top of problems. We follow the characters as they try to navigate through this new environment and figure out a way to get to their original destination.
The need to pump out content — good or mediocre — has consumed Netflix and ‘Lost in Space’ is the product of that mentality. Though the series is by no means a feat in cinema, it turns out many people did end up liking it. Because it is probably one of the best family-friendly sci-fi series on Netflix.
A strong family unit is at the centre of the action, the parents love and trust their children, and the kids often save the day by taking responsibility. It gets the parents in the audience talking to their kids about the importance of courage and teamwork, the idea of science fiction, and what are the reasons behind creating a remake of something.
But apart from a whole-family viewing choice for sci-fi fans, ‘Lost in Space’ blasts off with confidence but fails to reach full orbit.