It can be hard to find a TV series that young children and adults can enjoy equally.Netflix’s “Lost in Space,” released last spring, is a family drama that mostly succeeds, albeit with some stumbling and fumbling.
The show is loosely based on a 1960s TV series, which was very loosely based on the 1812 novel “The Swiss Family Robinson.” This is a version for 2018, in which traditional roles are upended. Leading the ensemble cast is the talented actress Molly Parker (from “Deadwood” and more recently “House of Cards”) playing Maureen Robinson, mother and a brilliant aerospace engineer. She has pulled the strings for the family to join a space colony after a catastrophe imperils the life on Earth. Toby Stephens plays father John Robinson, a military veteran whose absence has strained the marriage near to breaking. The three children range from the oldest, Judy, a prodigy and a doctor in training. She’s also black. How this fits into the family’s history is not explained in the first season. Then there’s Penny, a moody teen with some engineering skills. Son Will only seems to have one skill, putting his family in danger because of poor decision making.
The series has a meandering pace, and many viewers will be turned off by Dr. Smith (played by Parker Posey) who has to be one of the most manipulative and annoying characters in TV history. However, the mystery of the robot the Robinsons encounter keeps the show intriguing. Another positive is that this is a sci-fi series that heavily highlights science and its value. Some of the ways the family manages to scrape out of situations are pretty unbelievable, but I’m willing to overlook that in order to enjoy something with my school-age children.
Netflix has renewed the series for a second season, set to be filmed in Vancouver this coming spring.