Netflix launched its newest and surprisingly family-friendly adventure series Lost In Space last week and it’s as bingeable a watch as you’d imagine. A blockbuster-sized television adaptation that drastically outpaces the actual blockbuster film of the same name from two decades ago, this new iteration of the Robinson family’s wayward adventures in outer space brings plenty of changes to familiar characters, restructuring not only their family dynamic, but also certain aspects of the original series' conceit. In season 1 the Robinsons aren’t lonely castaways tossed into the unforgiving void of space; they’re part of a significant colonization effort of Alpha Centauri.
The addition of more castaways — temporary though their situation may or may not be — beyond the Robinsons, (not) Dr. Smith, and the intrepid Don West makes a huge difference for Lost In Space in its first season. It suggests a reinvention of the series that goes beyond cosmetic and casting changes, or turning the franchise’s famed robot into a deadly alien construct rather than a helpful automaton with a vocabulary on par with Marvel’s intergalactic talking tree. That reinvention, then, helped the series overcome reboot fatigue (it’s about as real as superhero and sequel fatigue) while still working to deliver the kind of story a title like Lost In Space implies.
Easier and more rewarding to binge than most of Netflix’s Marvel offerings, or even the service’s other expensive sci-fi series released this year, Altered Carbon, Lost In Space season 1 delivered a fun first season, by streaming standards or otherwise. Some of the episodes were hit or miss. That was largely due to how much screen time was devoted to watching a giant humanoid machine toss a baseball with a semi-neglected 11-year-old, but it also had to do with the series’ inconsistent episode lengths and overreliance on stretching dramatic tension well past the breaking point. Nevertheless, it made for an entertaining if not must-watch series that’s a welcome addition to Netflix’s massive catalog.
Let’s take a look at what worked and what didn’t in Lost In Space season 1.