Lost in Space – a reboot that works!

I was never a fan of the original Lost in Space television series that aired from 1965 to 1968.

First of all, I wasn’t even born yet. I only caught glimpses of it years later as filler programing on late night cable. Secondly, I thought the acting was forgettable, the stories campy, and the production value poor by modern standards.

There was a film version released in 1998 that starred William Hurt, Mimi Rogers, Lacey Chabert, Gary Oldman, and Matt LeBlanc. Despite the star power in the cast and increased production value, the story was still forgettable.

So, let it be said I am not a die hard Lost in Space fan.

However, the new 2018 Lost in Space series now airing on Netflix is a winner. I simply love it.

The writers took a tired premise and gave it a complete overhaul. The story is gritty and entertaining with cliff hangers in every episode. The characters are well drawn out, as are their relationships to each other. And, the production value is through the roof cool.

Most intriguing is the character of Dr. Smith played in this incarnation by indie film queen Parker Posey. It’s immaterial to me that they changed the gender of Dr. Smith, what resonates with absolute creativity is the backstory of how Dr. Smith became Dr. Smith. I won’t spoil it for you, but it is a great plot twist.

This is not a retelling of the same old story, it takes the characters and general plot of the previous versions and injects them with true originality. In the original series and subsequent film, the Robinson family is marooned in space along with a robot, the mysterious outsider Dr. Smith, and all-American military flyboy Donald West.

In the 2018 version of the story, the Robinsons are not alone in their lost outpost. In fact, a whole tribe of characters join them in their peril – entire families of other space refugees who alternate between working together and plotting against each other. Don West is also no longer a military pilot, here he is a lowly mechanic who also smuggles luxury goods. In my opinion it is flawed characters that are the most interesting to watch.

Some might say the reboot is similar to that of what Sy Fy Channel did with Battlestar Galactica in 2004. In that series retelling, the producers took a campy storyline and turned it gritty and dark. In that regard, the Battlestar Galactica reboot and the Lost in Space reboot have something in common.

However, while I was a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica series as a child, and thus blessed with fond memories of it, I found the reboot a bit too dark and trying too hard to be different. That is not the case with Lost in Space 2018.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t have fond memories of the original Lost in Space series that allows me to so thoroughly embrace the reboot, or maybe it’s because the storytelling is so completely different that I like it so much. All I can say is that I binge watched the series in one weekend and can’t wait for season two in 2019.

Peace. Love Trust.

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