I used to watch Lost in Space every day after school. It was on after Gilligan's Island and before Hogan's Heroes. I loved it.
Naturally I jumped right into the Netflix reboot as soon as it dropped. I'll cut to my take now; I enjoyed it hugely. But I can already see there are some who don't.
Over on the Book of Face, Cam Rogers, elbowed his way through all the Russian trolls and adverts for colostomy bags (I told the Zuck I was born in 1901) to lay the following smackdown on the reboot:
What is it with so many current generation TV shows being populated with characters I don't want to spend five minutes with?
The Lost In Space reboot: flat scenes, irritating characters you wanna see die ASAP, minimal sets and locations, boilerplate structure, hacky as fuck, the Dad is yet another stoic soldier-as-father-figure agitprop cliche, the kids are entitled and self-aborbed brats, boring, or talk like a middle-aged LA writer - all without telling us anything about them *at all*.
Just die already.
Ok. Thanks Cam. I can see you have issues. And some of them are even nudging legit. The structural critique is spot on, but so what? It's like trashing an old Saturday matinee pirate movie for inadequate consideration of inequities in the maritime labour market which predisposed underclass workers to unauthorised redistributive tactics.
It's Lost in Space, not Twin Peaks, or even Battlestar Galactica 2.0. The teenaged characters are indeed often self absorbed and bratty, which just makes them very accurate portrayals of teenagers.
Toby Stephens' John Robinson is totally another stoic soldier-as-father-figure, but there's not much agitprop there. He's a much deeper and well realised character than Guy William's jump-suited Mike Brady Brand hunk of beef. The pilot dips its toe into cliche, with some early family flashbacks to happier days, and then it all turns to shit, much more interesting shit, as Stephen's absent marine loses contact with his family, and then almost loses the family altogether.
I have no probs with the sets or scenery. I used to build out my own imaginary Jupiter 2 in a cubby house in our back yard as a kid, and if I had a couple of million bucks to reimagine it today, it'd look pretty close to the Netflix version. I'm only three eps into the series, so I don't know where they'll end up in future story arcs, but given the restrictions of actually filming on Earth, I thought the mash-up of Hoth and every bucolic Stargate forest planet ever was a pretty reasonable start.
Parker Posey's Dr Smith is a fantastic gender swap, and she's so far done a great job of making her Smith every bit as creepy and villainous as Jonathon Harris's character was campy and ridiculous. The original Smith was a pantomime villain. Posey is way more dangerous.
Each episode appears to pose one major problem for the colonists to solve, within a larger meta narrative, and I'm cool with that. I've enjoyed it so much so far that I'm having to stop myself rushing through the whole series in one or two sittings. Instead i'll probably do a slow binge. One ep a night until I'm done.