Lost in Space (Netflix Pilot)
When Netflix makes a programming it ranges from classic television show updates to new shows that have an interesting premise but often don't follow through. But the choices that Netflix makes in choosing their content shows that they are willing to take chances on episodic television that would not normally get attention.
"Lost in Space" is a reboot of the 1960's television series that followed the often campy and vaguely Star Trek like family who were literally lost in space. The series followed the family and how they are surviving as colonist while the mischievous Dr. Smith consistently attempts to sabotage the family's efforts and act as a mildly evil comic foil to the industrious and nice Robinson family.
The new "Lost in Space" takes place in 2045 when humanity is sending out colonists to discover new world after an apparent object that crash landed is causing natural disasters.
The Robinson family has trained to explore new worlds despite having "modern" family issues. Mr. Robinson (Toby Stephens) is a war hero who is never at home. Mrs. Robinson (Molly Parker) runs the family and tries to keep them together. The three children (Judy, Penny and Wil) are typical siblings who despite not having a father figure, get over their differences to be a family.
Due to an emergency on the space station they are on the Robinson's escape using the spacecraft they are assigned to. It crash lands on a planet which has harsh artic conditions. The soon lose access to their ship and despite their best efforts end up being in a tense situation involving one child being stuck in ice, the other being confronted by aliens, and mother having a broken leg.
Despite this pilot having a large budget and support from Netflix leaves a lot to be desired. The plot is very campy. The writing resembles something you would find in a typical "feel good" television series or movie. Everyone is dysfunctional and due to a circumstance, they overcome it to become a family. Stephen's Mr. Robinson is a bit more than a sketch of a typical absentee father and is given little to work with to help us want to get his character. Molly Parker though very talented and has several good lines, is memorable as Mrs. Robinson. The pilot leaves the audiences with questions about her and her motives. Two of the three teenagers are pretty much sketches that hopefully get filled out by the end of the 10 episode run. Maxwell Jenkins' Wil is the focus of good part of the hour pilot and by the end, it's hard not to want to get behind him. The problem with the writing is that deus ex machina plays a big part. The way the writers solved the situation points to how the rest of season can resolve just about any position.
"Lost in Space" is an interesting modern take on a classic television show with good performances. Though it will probably get renewed due to nostalgia more than anything. 6/10