Reboot, Will Robinson!
The Robinsons will be ditched into space for the third time on April 13th. Netflix is rebooting the classic Irwin Allen television show that tapped into America’s dream of the space race, and hopes to wrap the reboot in our own contemporary desires. While we struggle to accept climate change, science-fiction writers have been alerting us to our certain doom for decades. Do we ever listen? Can 10 episodes cover such urgency?
As we saw from the previous teaser, the new Lost in Space urges the human race to adapt or die. Humankind has evolved through ice ages, plagues, wars, and armageddons from above. We’ve adapted our skills, our languages, and our very bodies to keep the race alive, and if our home is no longer safe, it’s time to find a new one in the stars. Earth’s colonial space mission is a necessity, but they probably should have brought a few of James Cameron’s bug-hunting marines along with them.
Doing Star Trek before Star Trek, the original Lost In Space series was an adventure show that perpetually put the youngest traveler in danger, and used Will Robinson as the means for the audience’s education. Based on this new trailer, Netflix appears to be keeping that tradition alive, but also pushing the social science-fiction a little further.
Watch the trailer here:
In the original series pilot, a sudden meteor storm caused the Gemini 12 to stumble off course and lose contact with Earth. This trailer shows a meteor storm shattering a space station orbiting our blue marble with the Robinson’s saucer ship detaching just in the nick of time. Of course, another disaster will have to occur to send them hurtling through space. Enter, the good/bad doctor.
When the 1965 program finally launched into its first season, they reworked the pilot, renamed the Gemini 12 to the Jupiter 2, and introduced Dr. Zachary Smith and the Robot. They also explained their galactic abandonment through his nefarious sabotage of the hyperdrive. Could we be seeing that here? This trailer shows glimpses of Parker Posey as the new diabolical doctor, and she seems to be a surprise guest on the saucer.
“Who are you?”
Will Posey take the same path of the original Smith: introduced as a psychotic character but slowly transforming into the bumbling comic relief? Posey has stolen whole films with her scenery chewing villainy (* cough * Josie and the Pussycats * cough *), and here’s dreaming she poses a true threat to Max Jenkins‘s Will Robinson. The kid doesn’t stand a chance.
A big change from the original show is the Robot. Bob Stewart’s design from the ’60s has been replaced with a slick, CGI biped. Judging by Will’s voiceover, this Robot might actually be the first human discovery of alien intelligence and will certainly be the driving mystery of the first season. The Dick Tufeld voice of the creature has been slightly altered, but it’s close enough to the gargle we fell in love with as kids glued to Nick at Nite reruns. You can’t have Lost In Space without “Danger, Will Robinson.”
It’s a little unclear as to how much space hopping the Robinson’s will do. We see their saucer crash into a Hoth-like planet, but we also see stark Icelandic rock, forests, and an aquatic region. Based on the shot of their ship plunging beneath the ice water, and their access to range rovers, I’m guessing these scenery changes are just glimpses of one planet’s various locales.
Time is of the essence in these 10 episodes. Molly Parker gives an ominous warning to Toby Stephens. They only have weeks left. Weeks of what? Food, most likely. Time for the Robinson clan to bone up on their farming skills. Stick together, and you’ll be fine. Just keep a side-eye on Posey.
Lost in Space feels like a natural fit for Netflix. We need more serialized space adventure. CBS All Access can’t hold the fort down with Star Trek: Discovery. Lost In Space is a show that can push the warm and fuzzies with their family dynamic, but can also urge the hope of the human adventure as well. We all need a good dose of that right about now.