Adventure takes flight in “Lost in Space: Season 1 – 2018”
(1) The Robot (Brian Steele) and Will Robinson (Maxwell Jenkins) connect after the boy rescues it. The Robot's message is familiar: "Danger, Will Robinson!" (2) The family Robinson - Maureen, Will, Penny, Judy and John, played by Molly Parker, Maxwell Jenkins, Mina Sundwall, Taylor Russell, and Toby Stephens - have another close call.
“LOST IN SPACE: SEASON 1 – 2018”
Blu-ray, DVD; 2018; TV-PG: streaming via Amazon Video/Prime, FandangoNOW, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu
Best extra: Deleted scenes
WOW – sci-fi series in the 1960s never looked like this! The "Lost in Space" reboot has no miniskirts, Christmas lights, silver jumpsuits or rotund robots. It also boasts stories that engage adults as well as kids and teens.
Yet John Williams’ main theme remains, with an updated punch from composer Christopher Lennertz. He apprenticed with the late Michael Kamen (“Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”) and Basil Poledouris (“Lonesome Dove”) according to Variety. It’s adventure driven music promising fun and excitement reminiscent of the 1977 “Star Wars.”
“This was an old-school classic … the opportunity to write for a show that’s got kids and robots and exploding planets. I’ve been waiting for this for 46 years.” — Christopher Lennertz, Variety
The story begins in 2048 after a meteor has hit Earth, devastating the planet. The Robinson family is selected to become part of an exodus to the Alpha Century system, but only a few qualify. Some jump on despite ineligibility, but they’re all in the same trouble when events hurl some of the Jupiter ships onto a hostile and unfamiliar planet. Another change from the Irwin Allen classic is more colonists. Now helmed by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the team who co-wrote “Gods of Egypt” (2016) and “Power Rangers” (2017), the Robinsons aren’t the only ones lost in space. They have become separated from the main ship, and must return before this planet self-destructs.
Mom Maureen Robinson (Molly Parker, “Deadwood”) is the science officer and captain of the Jupiter 2. Husband John (Toby Stephens, “Black Sails”) brings muscle and military space experience. Yes, he takes orders from Maureen. They’ve gone through a recent split and their relationship is still quite raw.
Oldest child Judy (Taylor Russell) is biracial from Maureen’s earlier marriage; she is also a doctor. Penny (Mina Sundwall) is the ship's mechanic, and the youngest, Will (Maxwell Jenkins) is … young. Surrounded by his big, smart family, he’s understandably insecure, although genius level smart, with a heart as big as the galaxy.
Former heartthrob character Don West (Ignacio Serricchio) has a heart of gold beneath his rough exterior. He’s a mechanic and a smuggler, with an unusual good luck charm.
The long trek to a colony on another planet creates odd neighbors. Parker Posy steps into the role so memorably enacted by the late Jonathan Harris. As “Doctor Smith,” she is a conniving manipulator, and spookier than Harris ever intended. So is the robot, a mechanism found and repaired by Will. He also has a new backstory.
It all works. “Lost in Space” 2018 makes space adventure fun again. Chemistry is good throughout; Its characters are strong and relatable … although I wanted to shake Judy and Penny after a few episodes. They have no impulse control, emote in snark, and create trouble wherever they go. They’re predictable. No show needs predictable.
But everything else is great fun; it even tugs the heart.
“Lost in Space: Season 1 2018” received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Visual Effects. The 1080p transfer (2.00:1 aspect ratio) from 20thCentury Fox shows them off very well. It’s easier to feel as if we’ve stepped into a movie rather than series TV, but Netflix frequently delivers film quality visuals on its programs.
Filmed in Canada, Sam McCurdy headlined cinematography. Remarkably, the story drives the effects, not the other way around. It was digitally filmed on the RED Weapon 8K and mastered with Dolby Vision HDR10 as per IMDb. This provides a stable, balanced picture with brilliant saturated color, natural skin tones and an excellent mesh of natural photography and green screen elements. Detail is good in close and wide shots. Wisps of smoke drift over a realistic tar pit; caves and landscapes are perfect down to leaf and stone; ship interiors look as though people live and work there. We see detail down to the mesh fabric on space suits, and layers within the robot’s glass face. Light effects are awesome.
Sound is delivered through a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track, providing clear dialogue and effects that never overwhelm the story or characters. After too many dynamic, ear blasting booms, this is a real pleasure. Some of us don’t want explosions to shake the room. We don’t need to be startled out of the story. Thank you for reigning in the bass.
Meanwhile, that amazing Lennertz score and iconic Williams’ theme keep us up for the next episode.
For those who want a flashback, Fox supplies the original unaired pilot, “No Place to Hide,” for the CBS series. It’s colorized and fun nostalgia for fans.
Bill Mumy, the original Will Robinson, leads “Lost and Found in Space” with his young counterpart, Maxwell Jenkins. They talk about the differences between the first series and its Netflix reboot. Mumy tours the set in “Bill Mumy Visits the Jupiter 2.” Both are geared to the very young, but there’s info for everyone to enjoy. “Designing the Robot” details the original series’ automation and its new counterpart. (Note: Mumy has a cameo in the series.)
“Lost in Space Sizzle” is a gag/outtake reel. Deleted scenes are especially good.
Bottom line – I was never a fan of the original series. At 15, I was too old when it first aired; Classic “Star Trek” was my “mature” choice for galactic adventure. “Lost in Space” was kid stuff.
Not anymore. The 2018 remake gets it right on all engines, fore to aft, kids to adults. Maureen, John and Will, the Robot, Don and Dr. Smith keep us involved. We are so ready for Season Two, scheduled to premiere this year.
— Kay Reynolds