As Netflix gets ready to reboot the classic space adventure Lost in Space, we take a look at the trailer and discuss what must and shouldn’t be changed after 50 plus years.
Lost in Space has to introduce itself to an entire new generation, which means quite a few changes to the show will need to occur. Audiences are savvier these days and they expect a whole lot more than some kitschy plot of the week scenarios. It looks like Netflix is ready to go all in with the rebranding.
What may be most interesting however, is everything Lost in Space didn’t need to change in order for it to be relevant to a modern audience. Read on to see what we mean.
There are obviously a lot of visual and stylistic changes to the show, but honestly it’s unfair to compare the two in this regard. Netflix’s reboot more closely resembles a Christopher Nolan movie than it does an science fiction show originally created in 1965. But this shouldn’t be surprise anyone in the least. Television is a completely different medium these days… Changes like this go without saying.
Robot is actually alien life
Funny enough, on the original Lost in Space ’Robot’ was the character with the most well defined arc. He started out being nothing more than a useful tool that the Robinsons sometimes played chess with — but eventually he became a thinking, feeling, autonomous being. Eventually Robot formed a close bond to Will and a sassy relationship with Dr Smith. Watching him find an identity genuinely made my heart swell.
With the Lost in Space reboot however, there seems to be one dramatic change occuring. Robot is alien life and not man made. Honestly it’s a pretty genius factor to change. Not only does it just make more sense on a logic level, it allows for this incredibly advanced tech/being have this complex and rich history our protagonists know nothing about. I love it.
Genderbent ‘Mr’ Smith
Pretty early after announcing that Lost in Space was getting a reboot, it was announced that Mr Smith was going to become a Mrs Smith. The infamous Parker Posey will be playing the genderbent Zachary Smith, and apparently the change is going to be addressed in the show in some way. “In the pilot we actually pass the torch from Jonathan to Parker Posey with a nod to fans of the original series,” says executive producer Zack Estrin.
My prevalent theory is that Parker Posey will be playing a descendent of Zachary’s. Granted it’s not a shocking or mind bending idea, but I mention it because Zachary’s family actually popped up on Lost in Space sometimes. Yeah… In all the universe, sometimes they’d bump into people they already knew. It was a weird silly show guys, best not to think about it too much.
I’m sad to say that in a two-minute trailer, the women of Lost in Space have already shown more agency than in the entirety of the original show. I’m not going to mince words — the original Lost in Space was deeply sexist. I wish I was joking when I say that in the first three episodes of the show all we see Mrs Robinson do is cook, fold laundry, and faint…
Every now and then there were some shining moments of feminist empowerment, but they were rare. Extremely rare. So I’m more than ready to see Maureen, Judy, and Penny get to kick some intergalactic ass in this reboot. And if the trailer is anything to go off of, it looks like I’ll be getting my way.
People of color actually exit
That’s right everyone. Believe it or not, it isn’t only white people who occupy all of space! Made in 1965, it probably goes without saying that Lost in Space was an extremely white show. Context is everything though, so we can’t really be surprised by that fact. Personally I think it’s more interesting to look at the current cast and wonder if we’ve made as much progress as we like to think we have.
Not to diminish the choice of casting Taylor Russell as Judy in the remake, but it’s frustrating that once again the Robinson family defaults to white. Luckily we also have Ignacio Serricchio and Raza Jaffrey included to flesh out the world and make things look a little more realistic. But you can’t help but think about how far we still have to go. Our science fiction vision of the future says so much about who we are in the present.
The more things change the more they stay the same
Another interesting element is that quite a bit of the show seems to be relatively unchanged. Will Robinson and his family leave earth for both humanitarian and environmental factors, they get LOST, and then the planet they land on becomes the primary adversary against their survival. Fifty plus years since the original Lost in Space aired we see that the core theme of the show doesn’t need to be altered. Not bad. If done right, the staying power could be strong with this one.
The Robinson family, part of a highly trained mission to establish a new colony in space, is unexpectedly pulled off course forcing them to crash land on a lost planet. Danger will find them. Lost in Space premieres April 13, 2018.