Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Get Lost

When I was a kid I watched reruns of Lost In Space, but it didn't take long for me to outgrow it.  Sure, it offered some campy fun, and Marta Kristen was pretty sexy, but by my teens I was into Star Trek and never looked back.

In 1998, there was a big budget film version of Lost In Space, starring William Hurt and Gary Oldman, but it was awful.  Now Netflix is offering an updated Lost In Space series. Is it worth it?  I watched the pilot yesterday, and my answer is...I don't know.

The reboot takes us a few decades into the future. (The original series was set in the late 1990s, I believe.) Earth is threatened--is there any genre more pessimistic than sci-fi?--so certain families have been selected to colonize space.

The first hour mostly concentrates on the Space Family Robinson.  They've got the same names as in the original, and the kids are about the same age, but it's a different sort of family.  Husband and wife John and Maureen have had marital problems, and their oldest daughter Judy comes from Maureen's previous marriage.

Also, the females are far more accomplished this time around.  Sure, John's a former Navy SEAL, but Maureen is an accomplished aerospace engineer who's in charge of their mission.  Also, teenage daughter Judy appears to be the doctor of the group.

Needless to say, things go horribly wrong--right from the start the family crash lands on a new planet and everyone is in mortal danger.  (The entire mission involves numerous colonists, and they're in trouble, too.)  Most of the action deals with the family just trying to stay alive.

Along the way youngest child Will Robinson gets lost and runs into an alien robot.  He saves him (it?) and ends up saving the family.  Also, before the hour is over, we meet engineer Don West and "Dr. Smith"--a woman (played by Parkery Posey--the only regular on the show I know well) who appears to be some criminal or psychopath who steels the uniform of the real Dr. Smith (a cameo by Bill Mumy of the original series).  Presumably, these two will meet up with the Robinsons and join in their adventures.

I thought the pilot was okay.  If it had a problem, it was that they leaned too hard on action.  You want conflict, but they dialed it up a bit much. The family is about to land when everything goes nuts.  Fine, but once they land, it's one thing after another.  Maureen has broken her leg.  Judy, diving down to the capsized Jupiter ship that crash-landed, gets stuck in the quick-freezing ice.  Will, on a trip with dad to find magnesium, gets lost and then almost perishes in a fire.  And the whole family has to worry if they'll freeze to death once night falls.  Piling on one thing after another doesn't necessarily make for great drama--more likely it just tires you out.

The bigger question is do I want to follow this family through their adventures.  I watch too much TV already, so to make my rotation, I need to be invested.  All 10 episodes of the first season are available to binge. I suppose I'll wait until there's not much on and check out the second episode--then it better be going somewhere or I'm out.

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