Here in the first of five segmented reviews, I will discuss two episodes of
Netflix’s epic sci-fi reboot *Lost in Space*! In this first segment, I’ll
go over episodes 1 and 2. This will be followed up by the second article
about the next two consecutive episodes, and so on until we have covered
the entire season. The first episodes in order are “Impact” and “Diamonds
in the Sky.” The analyses will include what could be considered spoilers.
As a huge fan of the original series and the sci-fi genre as a whole, I was
really anticipating this reboot series. So far, it hasn’t disappointed. The
new rendition depicts the space family Robinson as a prime specimen of the
American family living in the 21st century – at least as far as tastes and
commodities are concerned. They like Oreos and classical rock music such as
“Drift Away,” an ironic song to be playing while traveling in space.
Like all families, the members of the Robinson clan have different
interests, anxieties, and comfort zones. Judy acts tough for a time, but
after coming within an inch of losing her life, she lets fear triumph over
her knowledge. This obviously leads to some problems with serious
consequences when she is given a certain degree of authority. She freezes
up, both literally and (later on) emotionally. She eventually overcomes
Judy’s sister Penny suffers from a good deal of stress, but unlike Judy,
she seldom lets that get the better of her. When she feels sick as she’s
forced to cut into her mother’s leg, she complains and winces during the
operation. But Penny still goes through with it. When Judy refuses to leave
the camp of the *Jupiter 2*, Penny makes the decision to drive the Chariot
herself, even though she doesn’t know how.
Will Robinson’s character, perhaps the main character of the original show,
has retained much of his curiosity and technical/scientific know-how. But
when it comes to heroics and action, he tends to freeze up kind of like
Maureen Robinson, depicted as having a mind that’s always calculating, is a
loving and concerned mother as all good mothers are. Early on in the very
first episode, Mrs. Robinson is injured. This aspect calls to mind her
health complication depicted in the original TV show over 50 years ago. The
way in which she is hurt in the reboot is a very classical element seen in
quite a few sci-fi productions.
She injures her leg; precisely, it gets stuck. The old leg injury depicted
in science fiction dates back a while. We see similar leg injuries in It!
The Terror from Beyond Space (1958). We also see it in Irwin Allen series
such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and even the original Lost in
Space. See here.
John Robinson is a good father figure for the most part. He’s a bit
demanding and stern in his commands at times, but I think a lot of this
attitude was instituted in his military training and service. In the
original series, both Maureen and John were scientists. Thus, perhaps their
psychic chemistries mixed better together. However, the John and Maureen of
the reboot series are at conflict with one another. They dispute who has
authority over the kids. Yet these differences are settled (at least for a
time) by the end of the second episode.
The brief introduction and departure of Dr. Smith’s character come as a
total surprise. It turns out, the character whose true name is Smith is
left for dead by a woman named June Harris who assumes the doctor’s
identity. She claims to be a psychologist, and Don West buys it.
Unfortunately, the liar dupes West, stealing the last signal flare. West is
left to fend for himself along with an unconscious woman who’s in pretty
We see quite little of the real Dr. Smith who was portrayed by Bill Mumy
who had actually played Will Robinson in the original *Lost in Space*! Of
course, the show would not be a traditional sci-fi program without a robot.
As of episode 2, the Robinsons know this entity’s body is artificial but
have not considered whether its intellect is artificial. The robot has a
history of violence toward humans. And other than attacking Will on first
sight, the robot doesn’t seem to show any signs of aggression toward the
As already touched on, the reboot does reflect some of the elements of the
original. Penny liked listening to music and literature on tape in the
original. In the new adaptation, Penny likes listening to classical novels
and literature on her iPhone. An android named Verda in the original series
has the heat-controlling capabilities which the alien robot of the Netflix
series also displays.
In addition, the sequence in “Diamonds in the Sky” when Mr. and Mrs.
Robinson discover the holocron-type image of a galaxy in the robot’s ship
is extremely close to the sequence in the second episode of the original
series called “The Derelict.” In it, Don and John discover a series of
images (inside an alien ship) similar to those which Maureen and John find
in the reboot.
The reboot has a lot of emotion, drama, action, suspense, sweeping
landscapes, everything. The music, though not redone by John Williams
himself, still has some of the main notes present in the original show’s
theme. Christopher Lennertz’s compositions
are extremely well done in every instance. Whether you like the original or
not, this reboot is definitely worth watching.