Lost in Space (2018)
Starring: Molly Parker, Toby Stephens, Maxwell Jenkins, Taylor Russell, Mina Sundwall, Parker Posey, Ignacio Serricchio
Created by: Irwin Allen, Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
My 2 Cents:
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!
The First Three Episodes:
The opening episodes demonstrate the extreme range in quality that becomes a fixture during the entire first season of this show. Starting with episode 1, ‘Impact’ which was terrible, and episode 3, ‘Infestation’ which was an absolute delight. Episode 2, ‘Diamonds in The Sky’ is thankfully better than episode 1 and does enough to reassure you that the show is worth your Netflix subscription and valuable time. This is, in part, due to a great performance from Parker Posey as Dr. Smith. She turns out to be one of the more reliable elements in this show.
Episodes 1, 2, and 3 set up the main characters well, and the production design is of the highest quality. This looked expensive for a TV production. The changes from the original show are interesting, and the viewer is left with lots of intriguing story elements to explore. The Robot’s origins are fascinating and the family dynamic is fraught with relatable conflict. The flashbacks fill in the details nicely and do a great job of differentiating each character’s strengths and weaknesses, as they tackle each challenge thrown at them.
Episode 1’s meeting between Will Robinson and the Robot is most certainly the low point of the entire season. It made no sense. I got that Will’s “thorn in the lion’s paw” moment was supposed to create a bond between the two characters. But the way this was arranged with them both perched on a tree branch looked ridiculous and made no logical sense.
After episode 3, I thought the show had hit its stride and all the bugs were ironed out. I was wrong and for every inspired moment that followed, there was a poorly thought out character turn or plot development. There were too many moments that required supposedly ‘Right Stuff’ space adventurers to act dumb as bricks in order to move the plot forward.
Episode 7, ‘Pressurized,’ is a great example of this quality divide. On the one hand there’s a nicely acted and written tar pit adventure with Maureen and John Robinson. On the other, a stupid rescue drama involving a man trapped by a tanker of life saving fuel. An easily solved situation (you’ll come up with a couple of ways to save the fuel and the man yourself, I guarantee it) that is turned into a boring, needs of the many vs. the few, morality argument.
The season finale, ‘Danger Will Robinson’ is also a mixed bag of tricks, mostly due to the awful pacing of the action. The story requires we jump between several locations and people, but the time spent in each location is all wrong. While Will, Maureen, Judy, and Penny are battling the Robot, you’ll be wondering what Dr. Smith, John, and Don are up to. Their parts during the finale’s action have to wait for other elements to finish, and it just doesn’t ring true within the timeline of events. I honestly pictured Dr. Smith sitting in the cockpit of the Jupiter 2, twiddling her thumbs, waiting for her cue to move.
The finale does, however, answer some important questions and sets up season 2 nicely. The final moments are interesting, and the show as a whole was entertaining enough that I’ll be happy to watch more.
MVPs of the show: Molly Parker as Maureen Robinson, Toby Stephens as John Robinson, Ignacio Serricchio as Don West, and Parker Posey as Dr. Smith.
Needs more development time: Maxwell Jenkins and Will Robinson, Taylor Russell as Judy Robinson, and Mina Sundwall as Penny Robinson.
Best Episode: 3
Worst Episode: 1