Lost in Space episode 1 review: Start of Netflix's trying space-adventure series is low on 'impact'
With Lost in Space, Netflix attempts to bring back endearing robots and gigantic space shuttles. Is it worth a watch?
Set 30 years in the future, the Robinsons head to Alpha Centauri with a group of space colonisers on a spaceship called The Resolute. The family is led by the charismatic matriarch of the family, Maureen (Molly Parker). Right at the outset, you can tell that this isn't the same beloved Robinson family of the 1960s as Judy (Taylor Russell), Maureen's eldest daughter, refuses to hold her step-dad's hand during their slump. Will, the couple's youngest child (Maxwell Jenkins) and Penny, his sister (Mina Sundwall) cut the cold war between their dad and Judy with some occasional wit and humour. Seconds away from a mid-air collision, the family is instructed to get on a smaller, separate shuttle called Jupiter. After the collision, family finds itself on a strange planet with a snowy landscape. To make things worse, the Jupiter slips into a large crack in the ice (full marks for production design) and that's when you know — they are, wait for it, lost in space.
The one-hour-long episode is marked with accidents which are mostly spectacular to watch, bad news that you don't want to hear and a discovery that leaves you baffled. However, there is not much that can be said in defense of its unnecessarily long run time. No matter how visually stimulating it is, you can't have poor Judy stuck under that hard cover of ice for hours — the folks here on earth are not that patient. And that's the thing about the show — it tests your patience to the point of exasperation. Adults might find it especially hard to get through the first episode because it isn't exactly made for them. It is good for a little weekend Netflix catching up with your kids because at its very core, Lost in Space is a family show about absolutely ordinary space colonisers.
What brings life to this expensive-looking but slightly boring show is the robot. He is the Hodor of the Robinson family — giant, loves the boy and has to make do with just one dialogue which he unmistakably repeats three times: "Danger, Will Robinson". The so-far hidden fact that he is responsible for what transpired on The Resolute is exciting. But will that change his relationship with little Will once the truth is out in the open? We'll soon find out. Till then, he can follow him around like kids chasing butterflies in spring.
So far into the show, the characters of Lost in Space are one-dimensional except for Will, who displays fear and yet is brave enough to use his smarts to wriggle out of tricky situations, and Dr Smith. Parker Posey is shady as Dr Smith. She stole the real doctor's coat and she isn't afraid to say, 'I've done it once, I'll do it again'. Her character is what truly saves Lost in Space, apart from the kids. You can tell that she loves playing the twisted, almost psychotic Dr Smith and that the re-imagination of the original character has truly liberated her. Penny, with her sardonic one-liners is also a delight while her sister Judy is the Betty of the gang. She is perfect in every sense (except for when she screws up and gets stuck in ice for what seems like a year). But, like the rest of the characters, these two fall prey to the predictable writing.
The parents — Maureen and John — are both such great actors. John is the typical military dad who loved his uniform more than his family. Things might have been different on ground, but in space, he is the hapless one and Maureen is in charge. In the first episode, nothing about the two really stands out, which is funny because they took exams to be in space. They must be gifted because from what I hear, those exams are pretty tough. Maybe it's too early to judge.
There are a few characters here and there, which the makers (Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless and Irwin Allen) could have done without. Well, they could have done without a lot of things...but the real irony is that the first episode is titled 'Impact'. It does leave an impact, just not enough for you to think about Lost in Space throughout the day, as is the case with better Netflix shows.
Updated Date: Apr 16, 2018 17:48:00 IST