I grew up on reruns of the original Lost in Space tv show from the ’60s, and always held a warm spot in my heart for the show; especially for the iconic Jonathan Harris, whose Dr. Smith was a totally original and delightful character. And of course, the dynamic of a boy (geek icon Bill Mumy) and his robot. When the 1998 movie came out, I liked it – it was a nice update on the visuals of the show, but it was too much a blockbuster sci-fi actioner, and missed much of the heart of the old show. Thus, when a new TV series was announced, I kind of let it pass me by.
This weekend, however, we were browsing Netflix to find something to watch, and noticed the show had made it into a second season, which seemed like a sign that it might be better than expected. So, we gave it a shot. Now, halfway through the first season, and we are hooked.
First and foremost, this Lost in Space is a show about a family filled with smart, driven people, dealing with internal struggles while trying to survive in extraordinary situations. I won’t go into too much detail, because I want you to discover as much as possible for yourself, but in broad strokes, the Robinson family has headed out with a large group of colonists to reach Alpha Centauri to start a new life on a new world, and escape the collapsing ecosystem on Earth. Something goes awry on the mothership that was transporting them, and the survivors crash land on a planet in a system that’s a long, long way from where they were supposed to go.
The youngest Robinson, Will, discovers and befriends a damaged alien robot that becomes his protector. There’s a mysterious Dr. Smith, who appears to be some kind of escapee with her own agenda, and a wheeling/dealing pilot named Don West, who seems to be the rogue with a heart of gold. Mom is the driven genius holding everything together, and dad, who was gone a lot helping deal with environmental catastrophes when they were back on Earth, is trying to re-join the family, with awkward results. All the components/characters from the old series are there, but updated nicely and given more to do and deal with. And the science seems pretty well-thought out, which makes me happy as a geek. Indeed, this show makes me think a lot about another stranded-colonists sci-fi show I really enjoyed back in the day: Earth-2. If you remember, and liked, that show, then you’ll be very happy with Lost in Space. But in general, if you’re looking for some enjoyable sci-fi adventure, with strong characters, and a realistic family dynamic, give this show a shot.