Press Start Reviews: Lost In Space (Netflix)

I love TV, and I watch a ton of it, especially since I have a lot of free time. I wish I had the energy to write more TV/Movie reviews, so I’m going to make the attempt… but don’t expect this to be a super frequent thing.

When I review something, I like giving the short answer at the top, and if you want to read why then read further.

Good production values. Acting is iffy, but fine. It’s pretty good so far. I’ll be watching more.

I never really watched the original Lost in Space TV show. I mean I’m old, but I’m not THAT old. But it’s a piece of pop culture history that was seared into the collective consciousness for decades. “Danger Will Robinson!” was a meme through the 80s and 90s, so we all knew about it in some sense. This weird show about a family of explorers that crash land on an alien planet. And there’s like a mean dude that’s their friend but not really?

This… I have no idea about this. But it’s a thing, and it was a movie with Joey that was blah and now Netflix is trying it again.

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How you doin’?

 So I’m coming at this from a layman’s perspective. I don’t have any real attachment to the show, and I’m not really expecting all that much because let’s face it – its predecessors didn’t really pack any sort of punch.

But yet again, Netflix has decided to take an old ass property, pour money into it like they were filling scrooge’s Money Bin, and slap it online for all to see.

DUCKBERG
Pictured: Netflix headquarters

And really? It shows. The production is quality. They crash on a planet with glaciers, lush forests, and rocky terrain, and it feels very real and at the same time slightly alien. The colors of the plants can look slightly off. The weather doesn’t act or feel the same. They are in an alien environment and we all get to experience that first hand.

Story wise they’ve flipped some things around. It’s still a family venturing off into the unknown, but instead of just being colonists on an alien world, they are trying to escape an earth that is on its last legs. Pollution is so rampant you need to wear gas masks to walk outside.

Instead of the kids just being… there, they are super crazy geniuses that had to go through rigorous training to get onto the mission. Some do better than others, but they are all experts in a particular field. This is something that took me out of the story for a bit, but not too much. It’s the future kids will clearly be doing calculous at age 3.

They have the expected futuristic technology, and they really play that up. The sets look really good. And of course… the robot.

robot
Clearly where the bulk of the money went

 

I was wondering how they were going to give the kid a pet robot in a show that is trying to be more “realistic” – and honestly the way it happens kind of works? It looks really cool and I want to know more about its history, where it came from, how it works… so far it’s my favorite character, but I’m a huge nerd so that tracks.

The acting. Its… good. They got a good group of people for the most part. Instead of a close knit family trying to survive together through the power of love, they are kind of falling apart. The father is in the military and never home, which causes a rift between him and the mother. The kids all know what’s going on even if they don’t say anything.

Protip for any couples that are going through some troubles: your kids know. Seriously, they can tell and there’s really no use hiding it. Anyways.

The kids are child actors. If anyone watches live action shows where the kids are expected to be dramatic and all, then you know what I mean. They are fine for the most part, but there are a lot of parts where you can tell the youngest is trying SO HARD to do his lines well. But its TV what are you gonna do.

I have no idea what the eeeevil Doctor Smith’s deal is. They don’t feel like they fit in anywhere. Maybe that’s by design, but every time they pop up or they have a whole scene I’m waiting to get back to the family. Which I suppose is a good sign. The family’s chemistry really shines.

The one big problem I have is with the eldest daughter Judy, played by Taylor Russel. She’s actually my favorite human character, but she really sets off my tokenism bells. Apparently she is the daughter of Maureen Robinson from an earlier marriage. This isn’t really mentioned, and if it was I missed the whole “explanation” of why they have a random black kid with them. They wanted some color up in this show, so they got a cute black girl, and put in a throwaway line to tell us why she’s there with a pale as hell family.

Look I’m not saying don’t cast black people if there isn’t a good reason for it… but it’s not a mixed race family, and she really stands out.

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I mean seriously.

We have two PoC on the cast, which is appreciated. But you couldn’t make the family mixed race? Or a mixed race couple? Or maybe they adopted a couple black kids? I don’t know, I’m just spit balling here… All I can tell you is her character is great, Russel portrays her really well, but every time the whole family is together I can’t help thinking “wait, why is she there?” And… well she’s from a previous marriage. But a darker actress couldn’t hurt.

Yes these things matter. BUT. She’s fine, and it doesn’t ruin the show whatsoever. Just minor gripes.

All in all I like it, and I’m going to keep watching it. I’ve been trying to stay away from spoilers for this show, but I did catch a few hints about upcoming storylines and tone shifts, and it sounds interesting.

And yes, the robot says the catch phrase in the first episode.

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