I was a huge, HUGE fan of the Irwin Allen television show “Lost In Space” back when I was a tyke. Every kid I knew was a fan, because all the kids I knew figured it was more or less inevitable they would grow up to be astronauts. We were all born in the sixties; of course we were going to be astronauts! And what was Lost In Space about? Spaceships, aliens, a talking robot, and a kid who was an astronaut! We all eagerly and uncritically watched every episode, even the one with the talking carrot, and when it was over, we counted the minutes until next week’s episode.
Then there was the 1998 theatrical reboot starring William Hurt, Gary Oldman, and Matt LeBlanc. I paid good money to watch that stinker. As a grown-ass adult, I should have known better than to mess with nostalgia.
So it was with no little trepidation that I sat down to watch the first few episodes of the Netflix reboot. It wasn’t awful. But I have quibbles. Just as a for instance: In the opening scene of the first episode, as the Robinson’s space ship is about to crash, a computer voice tells them they’re at 5,000 feet and falling fast, but the display they’re looking at indicates their altitude is 5,000 meters. It’s a little thing, but it’s such a needlessly stupid mistake that I saw that and my immediate reaction was, “Really? Come on!” Sort of takes away from the rest of the episode when the opening scene makes me go, “hmmm.”
And I was a little weirded out by the robot, who was not part of their crew when they left earth in this reboot. Instead, the robot is the only apparent survivor of an alien ship that crashed on the same planet, in almost the same place, where the Robinsons crashed. What are the odds of that, eh? Wait, it gets better. The robot happens to be on the same branch in the same tree Will climbs to get away from danger. Of course they bond, because Will’s pure heart wins the robot’s loyalty, so the robot saves Will from danger and, a little while later, it saves Penny from being frozen, too, so the Robinsons accept it into their family. Just like that! An alien robot! That they know nothing about! Other than that it can melt glacial ice with a wave of its hand! What could possibly go wrong?
And Dr. Smith is a psychopath this time around, a straight-up amoral killer, which I thought was unnecessarily dark. I guess the show’s writers thought Smith was way too warm and fuzzy the last time around. I’m thinking here of the comic delivery of Jonathan Harris, not Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Smith.
So I think after three episodes that I’ve had enough of this year’s gritty reboot of Lost In Space. I may have to finally re-watch the original series again, just to cleanse my memory banks of these last two reboots.