Paying homage to the original series, Lost in Space is reimagined and modernised for a Netflix Original Series. Set thirty years in the future, Earth is suffering and humans have learnt the ability to colonise space. The Robinson family are on course to their new home but they are abruptly put off course and crash land on an alien planet. The sci-fi adventure will aired globally on April 13, 2018, on Netflix.
I never watched the original, but after one episode of the revamped Lost in Space, I instantly came to the depressing conclusion that this is the type of series you watch on a Sunday afternoon, whilst feeling sorry for yourself on a full stomach, knowing that tomorrow is the start of another week at work. Lost in Space should be a weekly show to be enjoyed leisurely, whilst you switch your brain into a dream state. The Netflix Original Series is not TV you should obsessively binge. Occasionally the episodes are an hour long, sapping your soul and helping you question your existence. The series is a laborious story about a family trying to solve personal and scientific issues in space, with a cast assembled purely for the purpose of performing in the most generic way possible, and writing that is so artistically simple that anyone could have written it. It’s just a dumb, family orientated, space adventure series and I could not help but hate myself watching it.
The Robinson family sell themselves as ordinary, who have the skillful parents courageous enough to be one of the groups venturing out to space in a titanic moving space station. In the opening, the family is nervously playing cards whilst chilling in their space suits, with the parents keeping the situation tentatively calm. The family is about to crash land on an alien planet due to an attack that has caught them off guard, putting their colonization mission on hold. It is clear from the outset that this family is dysfunctional; holding secrets that only they know, ready to reveal to the audience. The problem is, none of their issues are noteworthy. The alien planet causes a range of issues that provide major setbacks for the Robinson family and the other crew members who have also, unfortunately, crash landed. There is also an alien robot, that Will Robinson (Maxwell Jenkins) forms a preoccupying relationship with. Adding to all the drama, there is a lot to suggest that the planet is falling apart. There are other crew members from the space station, all with different incentives and agendas to get off the planet. Lost in Space has a lot going on, and the amount of forced problems feels tiresome.
You have to question whether or not there is an appetite for a family space adventure in today’s climate, especially as we are spoilt with exceptional sci-fi stories. The Robinson family look like the typical, good looking and generic American white family. There is a box-ticking exercise to appease the diversity crowd by making sure that one of the children is black. The storyline, for all intents and purposes, is typically cheesy, which provokes cringeworthy moments despite the evident money spent to craft the settings. With the number of sci-fi stories we are subjected to every year I do not think a family trying to enact the American dream in space, whilst coming across disastrous life-threatening obstacles, is something to heartily care for. To add to the lost cause, the first six episodes are painfully dull, lifeless and almost empty. You will not be entertained by the forced stale family adventure, mixed up with the odd scientific jargon demonstrated by Maureen Robinson (Molly Parker).
It is abundantly clear that a lot of money was spent putting Lost in Space on Netflix, except in the writing. The dialogue between characters at various times is nonsensical and unforgivable. In moments where a character is trapped under ice or an unknown species starts an assault, the dialogue should be at its strongest; those scenes should bring out the desperation of the characters and help form chemistry between their peers. The action only makes matters worse, because it is difficult to comprehend the lack of thought behind the story. A lot of disregarded problems just happen, without any real story progression or development of a character.
Lost in Space does hold one positive: the narrative between the alien robot and Will is cool. Everyone is wary of the danger the robot could bring and is the only story that has an appreciable impact on the group. The problem is, the alien robot does not help save the sci-fi family adventure, and what made me feel even more fed up is that everything is set up for a second season. Stop wasting your money.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.