“Danger, Will Robinson.”
This phrase will soon be on T-shirts, mugs and fan art. Because Lost in Space reboot is a killer show. It features the Robinsons, a family of five who have left earth as it will soon become unliveable and is devoid of proper sunlight. It's what we humans do. We give in to our greed and keep hacking away at resources until nothing remains. The Robinsons travel with many other families in search of another planet to live on peacefully—and maybe eventually destroy that too.
The original black and white show aired back in 1965. I vaguely remember watching a few reruns as a kid, eventually giving up because it was too sugar and spice nice like any usual 60's shows used to be. A 1998 movie starring Matt LeBlanc and some cheesy outer space graphics was a fun affair. 2004 saw a reboot directed by the legendary, pigeon flying in slow motion, action scene specialist John Woo. It was a decent pilot with very good characters but no one picked it up. Possibly, because—it was not gritty enough. This year, it was Netflix's turn with their massively bulging wallets, to try a reboot.
It stars Toby Stephens as the full-time Marine and part-time estranged dad John Robinson. Molly Parker plays the super intelligent, slightly angry mom— Maureen Robinson. The kids get thrown in the mix as Taylor Russell plays the confident Judy trained as the medic. Mina Sundwall playing Penny is the quick witted, comic relief middle child followed by the youngest, Will Robinson, played by Maxwell Jenkins.
The first season with 10 episodes begins with their vessel crashing on a new planet and things going horribly wrong. It plays out like a very interesting, non-cheesy soap opera where things start to get better only to go very wrong.
Why would you want to watch it? The characters are well played and develop very well even though for a family of super smart people, they make some really dumb choices. It has a villain who is annoyingly manipulative played brilliantly by Parker Posey as the fake Dr Smith. Brilliant because you can't help not hating her.
And it has the most traditional heart string-pulling TV trope of all: a young kid and his budding relationship with a sidekick. Usually the sidekick is a dog that may or may not die. We hate it when a dog dies and ends up making such a show famous. Remember John Wick? Here, the friend is a killer alien robot.
Why you wouldn't watch it? The characters are dysfunctional and that may not be your thing if all you want is a rosy version of life. Things constantly go wrong much like in an Indiana Jones movie. And the villain is super annoying, so much so you wonder why people do not just tie her up and leave her in a cave full of killer flying birds. She is so inherently untrustworthy.
Verdict: It's a sci-fi action series with a stellar cast that could still do with some more work. And yet, it works. The entire premise of the suspense is not about who will die but all about how they will survive. And that will get you binge watching the last few episodes.
Ehsanur Raza Ronny is a confused dad, all-round car guy, model car builder, and cartoonist. He is also Editor of Shift (automobiles), Bytes (technology), and Next Step (career) of The Daily Star.