Awesome Con Review: Netflix's 'Lost in Space' Episode 1

The pilot episode of Netflix’s new Lost in Space reboot had its premiere at Awesome Con this past Saturday, and for a multitude of reasons I’ll get into in just a moment, I really enjoyed it. That being said, when I learned of the screening, I decided to familiarize myself with the original 1960’s cult classic show by watching the original pilot episode (currently on Hulu) and doing some background Wikipedia-ing, which I feel tremendously helped make a fan out of me.

Both series follow the Robinson family, who (after high intelligence testing) are chosen to be among several families sent into orbit to colonize a new planet after series of natural disasters leave the earth’s future up in the air. Unfortunately, the title happens, and the Robinson family find themselves stranded on a new world.

The original series reminded me a lot of the original Star Trek series. Slow moving, heady, campy. And much like the recent reboot of that franchise, Netflix has decided updating that for modern audiences means loading it with intense and violent action. And much like with the J.J. Abrahms Star Trek reboot, I imagine this move to be a bit polarizing for die-hard fans of the original. Some might view it as cynical that the new pilot features characters being frozen alive, breaking limbs, operating on each other, facing off with robot alien spiders (I’ll come back to that), and getting trapped in wild fires, whereas the most action packed moment of the 60’s pilot was a campy space-walk to go connect one rope to another rope. That’s not to say the action is inappropriate or out of place in this new version. It did work for me for the most part. Except for the robot spider aliens. Let’s talk about that now.

The original series is famous for its robot sidekick and his catchphrase “Danger, Will Robinson!” It’s very clearly just a dude in a silly robot costume waving his arms around, but that’s part of its charm. Our rebooted robot is a multi-limbed alien being they encounter. He crash-landed and is dying on the planet the Robinsons are stuck on. He’s big and CGI and has a lot of super powers that can get them out of trouble, and, to me, went just a step too far into the reboot-land-of-no-return. This was the only aspect that didn’t feel organic to the project and instead felt like gritty fan service. Once again, I’m glad to have watched the bit of the original that I did. I do fear that without that back-knowledge, this new reboot might not make a lot of sense.

Lost in Space features the streaming service’s signature cinematic visuals and gripping storytelling. I could definitely see myself Stranger Things-style binging through the series when it drops in full. The characters are compelling. The dialogue is witty. The action is fun. I’m a fan, but I’m also a fan now of the original, so take this all with a grain of salt.

From the looks of it, Netflix’s Lost is Space is gonna be pretty rad.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5