After grim, dystopian sci-fi series and films like Altered Carbon and Mute, Netflix’s new show Lost In Space is more family-drama than it is in the sci-fi genre. The reboot of the classic 60s series and movie, the series is a modern update to the old storyline with suitable changes. So does that mean space-lovers have found another binge-worthy watch? Unfortunately not.
The story is of the five-member Robinson family who set out to colonise a new planet Alpha Centauri, after conditions on Earth aren’t viable enough to sustain life for much longer. The Resolute (the main shuttle carrying families to their new world and new life) gets attacked and the family lands on an alien planet with a (conveniently) viable environment. The youngest member of the family meets an alien-robot crashed on the same planet and thus begins the emotional journey of friendship, trust, betrayal and a lot of said as well as unsaid family matters.
The series relies less on thrills and more on drama. Being stranded on an alien planet, the Robinsons keep battling their weaknesses and fear instead of battling or exploring this new, unknown land, which, again very conveniently, has almost no threatening life form that could overpower humans with no weapons. The basic rule here isn’t survival but compassion for others, even if that means compromising the lives of 30 other people for one dying soul.
There are certain inconsistencies in the storyline, which either maker kept deliberately to keep the viewer guessing or to make his own stories or simply didn’t care enough to complete.
The one hour long episodes neither offer the quintessential alien-life thrills nor does it offer heart-wrenching drama, it’s somewhere in between ending up more like a hopeful tale of survivours with (almost) happy endings. The pace of the story and actors do keep you invested but in a ‘two-episode-a -day’ kind manner. In two hours you get mentally exhausted by the repetitive emotional lines and few predictable scenarios. You know who the hero is and you know who will end up as the ultimate villain.
Talking about the cast, while all others fit their bill perfectly it’s Parker Posey’s Dr Smith who takes the cake. Dr. Smith is manipulative, selfish survivor who keeps the interest alive in the series. She knows what she’s doing is wrong but is in denial at accepting herself as the villain of the story. Posey’s sincerity in few scenes and vulnerability in others make you sympathise with her often. Talking about the central character Will Robinson (Maxwell Jenkins), the young 11-year-old boy is just too naive and innocent as compared to the situation he is in and the kind of family he’s grown up in. There are moments when you feel the Will character has been written only as a tool to create perils and not as a personality to exist among the other members.
Overall, Lost In Space isn’t a worthless series but yes, Netflix does offer better options. It isn’t binge-worthy but if you are looking for a show on familial ties based outside of earth, this might just be your pick. Plus the note with which season 1 ends, gives you hope for a more thrilling and fast-paced season 2. For now, its a pretty average watch where favourable things keep happening in unfavourable circumstances.