How would you react if you got stuck inside a small spaceship with nobody other than your immediate family, and everything started going wrong? That's the question that drives Netflix's Lost In Space remake. Originally a science fiction television series made in 1965, this new adaptation maintains the character's names and family structure, but that is about it. This adaptation has a unique plot and backstories for each member of the Robinson family as well as a few other changes to some critical characters and motivations. Does this new story take the story of a family lost in the depths of space to a new level? Well, let’s discuss this new series and the journey of the Robinson family.
The Robinson family, consisting of parents John and Maureen and their children Judy, Penny, and Will, are onboard an interstellar spacecraft, the Resolute, traveling with many other families to the colonize the Alpha Centauri star system. During their journey, the ship comes under attack from an alien robot, resulting in an emergency evacuation of the ship in smaller, short-range ships that double as housing units for their family. The evacuating families, including the Robinsons, crash on a nearby planet, which is habitable for human life. From there, we follow the Robinsons as they survive dangerous circumstances, look to get back to the Resolute, and begin to understand the value of family.
Actors/Actresses and their Performances
Every single person who makes up the Robinson family gives a stellar performance, but there are four that standout. The first is Maxwell Jenkins, who plays Will Robinson, and he gives a fantastic performance. Will Robinson, in the show, is the youngest of his siblings (9 years old in the show) and a prodigy in electronics and computer technology. His story is a coming-of-age story as he begins to grow into his role in the Robinson family and comes to terms with his skills and how they can help his family’s efforts. His relationship with his father, one that starts off as strained if not downright cold, slowly turns into one of mutual respect and love and continues throughout the runtime of the show to develop into a proper father-son relationship. Maxwell Jenkins is only 14 years old, but he embodies this character as he grows from a child into a young adult. The number of experiences that this character has and how much the character changes throughout the show would be difficult even for an experienced actor to portray convincingly. Still, Maxwell does a fantastic job and deserves to be commended for it.
The next standout performance is two-fold: Molly Parker as Maureen Robinson and Toby Stephans as John Robinson. Since the characters are married, their relationship to each other needed to be convincingly portrayed from the start, and Molly and Toby accomplish this very well. From the moment we first see them interact with each other, we can see that their relationship is strained, but they are trying to do what is best for their children. It would also be too easy for one of them to end up dominating the family, but Molly and Toby make sure that their characters, through their on-screen growth as spouses and parents, end up leading their family together with grace and love. They are also, in some ways, much better equipped than most parents to handle the crisis affecting their family with Maureen being an aerospace engineer and John being a former Navy SEAL. Still, the actors sometimes turn this advantage into a disadvantage by making sure that their characters come into conflict when their areas of expertise overlap with one another. The growth of these two characters is incredible to behold. Both Molly and Toby deserve to be applauded for their performances.
The final important performance is Parker Posey’s Dr. Smith. While there is no traditional main antagonist in the show, Dr. Smith is an essential character as much of her decision making is based on self-interest, and many of her choices have out-sized impacts on the other characters. She is also a constant danger to the Robinson family, but sometimes she is helpful and gets them out of some dangerous circumstances. This continuous air of tension and mystery that surrounds one character makes the job of portraying her a challenge. Making the audience go from comfortable to on-edge just by having this character makes a brief appearance on screen takes enormous skill not only in dialogue but also expressive and physical acting, and Parker Posey evidently has the necessary skill in all these areas. She should be commended for her character's facial expressions alone, as you think you can see what Dr. Smith is planning, but her facial expressions make sure that you are never fully sure of her motivations or what she is planning.
The first thing that must be said about this series for this section: the CGI is spectacular. All of the scenes that take place in space are incredible. There is even a mostly CGI character that comes in after the first few episodes, and there are times where it seems that practical effects were used. Still, it is not always obvious when the effects are practical or computer-generated when this character is on-screen. One of the traps that sci-fi series and movies can fall into is an over-use of CGI, but Lost In Space avoids this and uses CGI tastefully and well.
The shots of the scenery on this alien world are amazing, and the series does enough to tell you that this world is not Earth through subtle changes to flora and fauna while still leaving enough to convince you that the planet can support human life. Scenes are well built, and the locations chosen are amazing and beautiful. The cinematography here is just amazing and is applaud worthy.
The dialogue is another strength of the series. Every single character has appropriate dialogue for their character, and interactions are written well and convincing. There are very few wasted words, and nearly every line serves to deepen the characters and bring them to life.
There are not many shortcomings for this series, but they're a couple that must be mentioned. There are a few moments that the Robinsons, especially the parents John and Maureen, ignore something or refuse to listen to one of their children even though there are no reasons given for this that make sense. There are also a couple of instances where Dr. Smith makes a choice that seemingly goes against what her character has been built up to and doesn't make sense until much later when more of her character is revealed. These issues are ultimately resolved as the characters develop and don't amount to anything that will dampen the experience.
Lost In Space is a wonderful family-oriented sci-fi adventure series and deserves to be watched by every single person who has a Netflix subscription. The characters are well-written and well-acted, and the cinematography will blow you away. This series is a must-see for anyone who loves science fiction and family-based stories.
Final Rating: 9/10
3: Painfully Below Average
4: Below Average
6: Above Average
Ryan O’Connor is a fifth-year senior studying physics at CWU. He is an avid gamer and nerd and loves to share and hear opinions about anything related to these things. He is also the DJ on Electropolis known as LYNX.