Remakes are always suspicious to dedicated fans, and there are few fandoms more dedicated than those of classic golden and silver age science fiction. However perhaps the sting is not so bad when a remake, of a remake, of a remake, of a classic is once more, remade.
As the first years of the 1800’s rolled past, high in the cold mountains of Switzerland a father watches his sons growing in what is possibly the safest, most developed country in Europe. He is concerned about their dependence on modern technology and their seeming apathy towards natural science. Perhaps it is because of how utterly uninteresting the current teaching methods make this most crucial of sciences. The father decides to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. He takes up his pen and begins to write. One son illustrate the book, another edited and published it.
The resulting work, “The Swiss Family Robinson” would remain in print for nearly a century and a half, being translated into many different languages, before Disney got his mitts on it. The resulting movie of the same name became a classic, installing itself in the hearts and minds of the world. Five years later Irwin Allen would take that fertile material and produce the first “Lost in Space” series. Like the Disney movie “Lost in Space” became a beloved classic to multiple generations. In the 90’s there was an attempt at a big screen movie that had the concept and the flash but missed the heart. Now Netflix has stepped into the twenty year void and taken up the heart of the two century old franchise. After watching the first season (binging actually) this author things that heart is in good hands.
This show is so good that even a diehard fan of the 1965 show like me didn’t mind the changes, and there were a lot of changes.
First and foremost the Robinsons are not actually lost in space for the majority of the first season. Judy is a half-sibling. Debbie is not a chimp. Dr. Smith is a plot twist that really must be learned by watching the show. The robot is, well the robot is a meme unto himself on the internet at the moment but its catch phrase is still the same.
Like the original work there are lessons in science and natural history wrapped in adventure. While the science is usually good there are a few issues. A coprolite with fragments of every known fauna species in it suggests a scavenger, NOT an apex predator. The issue of why there are examples of both temperate and tropical rainforest biomes in the same place could use a little more explanations. There is a very good reason they couldn’t harvest the ell’s food (nutrient gradient folks) but it is never addressed in show and should have been. Otherwise it is a fun science romp.
The relationships are real and natural. Though the question of why no one has at least slapped Dr. Smith yet stands. The feel is wholesome and engaging at the same time. The visuals are stunning (not really hard in British Columbia). All told this is a great series that will find a solid place in the heart of the fandom and beyond.