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Monday, April 16, 2018

Lost in Space Again

I just screened Netflix's re-imagining of Lost in Space. It's better than I anticipated, with a solid cast giving depth and nuance to each member of the Robinson family, who find themselves stranded on an alien world when their colonization attempt goes awry--the same premise as the original, but with far better production values. 

This time around, the Robinsons' Jupiter 2 is just one of a fleet of human spaceships fleeing Earth in the wake of an environmental catastrophe caused by a comet or asteroid strike. Unfortunately, the Jupiter 2 lands on a glacier, and the family evacuates just before the ship, white-hot from atmospheric friction, melts the ice and sinks, lost. Circumstances place plucky Will Robinson, the youngest member of the family, into an initially unsettling first contact situation, while oldest daughter Judy must be extricated from the ice. 

Drama on the new world is interspersed with flashbacks of the Robinsons' life on Earth before emigration. These brief segments provide important context and backstory for the characters, giving the audience reason to care about the jeopardy they face in the present. 

In fact, things look so bleak for the characters 50 minutes in that I began to wonder if, perhaps, one or two might not survive. The showrunners do a good job of amping up the stakes, although there's a bit of necessary - and literal - deus ex machina by the episode's close. 

The show also handles Dr. Smith and the Robot in a new and interesting way, though the other character from the original show. Major Don West, doesn't appear - or if he does, he's unnamed as of yet. There's a fun cameo, as well. 

All in all, I'm pleasantly surprised. 

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