Diamonds in the Sky
The Robinsons Were Here
Danger, Will Robinson
Netflix’s rebooted Lost In Space series is likely to be the most divisively received series released this year. If you can ignore the plot holes, cheesy dialogue and illogical science then you may well find this family-friendly sci-fi series enjoyable but it really bears no resemblance to the original series or film in anything other than name. Despite the breathtaking visuals and epic, orchestral score, Lost In Space has far more similarities to shows like The 100 than it does the original Lost In Space making it a bland, emotionless series lacking some much needed charm.
The story begins with the Robinson family on board their spaceship, Jupiter 2, playing cards. After a collision with flying debris causes them to crash land on a nearby planet, the 10 hour-long episodes see the Robinson family trying to fix their ship and escape from the hostile planet whilst struggling with the creatures and harsh environment in this alien world. The story shifts its focus between the five members of the family from mum Molly (Maureen Robinson), dad John (Toby Stephens) and their three kids Judy (Taylor Russell), Will (Maxwell Jenkins) and Penny (Mina Sundwall) with the overarching story vaguely familiar to the plot line of old.
There are some obvious changes in personnel and gender for key roles which may irk sthose that see this as a political agenda but to be honest, it doesn’t really affect the plot in any substantial way and can be easily ignored. The story properly gets going when Will Robinson stumbles upon a robot after getting separated from the group whilst during a violent storm the rest of the Robinson family pick up another survivor, manipulative Dr Parker. The episodes that lead up to the finale see Dr Parker continuously manipulate and pull the strings of the various personnel on board the ship before an ending that leaves the door wide open for a second season.
Each of the Robinson family have a good amount of screen time too and throughout the 10 episodes there’s a real effort made to progress each of the characters whilst presenting a dysfunctional family with numerous tense and drama-fuelled interactions together. Compared to the charismatic characters of old though, Lost In Space struggles to make any of the lead protagonists likeable. Ironically, Robbie The Robot is probably the most endearing character here with his familiar line of “Danger, Will Robinson” and a revamped look that suits the style of the show. It’s worth mentioning too that there’s some really terrible product placement and as much as we all love Oreos, seeing a good 5 minute bite of dialogue about how good they are is completely off-putting and one of the most incredulous bits of product placement seen in quite some time.
It seems to be a common trend with sci-fi at the moment to paint a bleak, moody picture of the future and Lost In Space is no exception as it boasts a dark, dull colour palette for most of the series. The various flashback scenes do hold a bit of variety but for vast periods of this season Lost In Space has far more stylistic similarities to a Ridley Scott picture than it does an optimistic, family-orientated sci-fi. Whilst this may sound nitpicky, looking back on this era in film and television, Lost In Space is likely to be lost among the myriad of other sci-fi shows adopting this style. Despite this, the CGI is excellent and some of the establishing shots of the illogically placed topography are outstanding. How a barren, desert wasteland can co-exist so close to arctic, polar conditions is open for anyone’s interpretation but the landscapes are beautiful nonetheless.
How much you’ll enjoy Lost In Space really comes down to how much you liked the original series and your threshold toward poor dialogue, plot holes and illogical science in a TV series. There is fun to be had here and Lost In Space certainly has its moments with its familiar plot around the Robinson family but there’s a profound lack of likeability for any of the characters. Coupled with some really poor acting for the kids in particular, it makes this a difficult one to recommend. As a family-orientated science fiction show, Lost In Space is a series designed to be watched with the whole family but those with fond memories of the series of old should be prepared for a bit of a culture shock as this moody reboot is familiar in name and story only. With so many choices in this crowded, competitive genre of science fiction, Lost In Space just doesn’t bring enough to the table and has far too many issues to be considered anything but a very average, disappointing reboot.
Verdict - 4.5/10