LOST IN SPACE (2018), a new science fiction program on Netflix, re-imagines the 1960s TV series. An extinction level event hits Earth. The Robinson family boards a spaceship of human colonists to outer space. An attack by alien robots forces the Robinsons to abandon the transport in their small family ship, which crashes into a mysterious planet. The first episode features their crash landing. Each episode after that follows them as they desperately try to survive on this new planet, get to the transport ship and discover what disaster befell them.
Despite some contrived plotting, the new LOST IN SPACE is fresh, exciting and inventive. The visuals are stunning; the characters are appealing. LOST IN SPACE contains strong moral, Christian, redemptive values. The Robinson family models sacrifice and love. Their willingness to help each other at the cost of their own lives is inspiring. Other characters display darker values, that are shown to be wrong. LOST IN SPACE has lots of action, sometimes with light foul language, but also many prayers with reference to God. Otherwise, the program is appropriate for the whole family.
Science fiction programs have become a fixture in today’s world of television. New incarnations of programs like STAR TREK, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and DR. WHO have fundamentally changed the landscape of television by helping audiences to imagine what humans would do in a world very different from their own. How would humans react to strange new life forms? What would humans do with advanced technology? How would humans survive on a planet other than Earth?
Netflix’s new science fiction program, LOST IN SPACE (2018), deals with all of these questions, and more. The program is fresh and inventive, even though it’s actually a remake of the 1960s television program by the same name. Based on the classic novel SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, it follows the journey of the Robinson family whose spaceship veers off course and crashes into an unknown and alien planet.
Here, however, the basic story is complex and only shown to the audience a little bit at a time. Apparently, an extinction level event on earth has forced humanity to abandon Earth, but space is limited so only some people are chosen to go. These chosen humans have passed rigorous testing and received in-depth training for their new colony life. The Robinsons, a family of five, have been selected as colonists. Alongside many other people, the Robinsons board a large space ship headed for their new world.
However, along the way some sort of disaster (an attack by alien robots, the program reveals later) forces the Robinsons to abandon the large transport ship in their small family ship, which crashes into a mysterious planet. The first episode begins with their crash landing. Each episode after that follows the Robinsons as they try, desperately, to survive on this new planet, to escape back to the transport ship (and eventually the colony to which they were originally traveling) and to discover what disaster befell them.
LOST IN SPACE lives equally in the world of science fiction and the world of adventure. The Robinsons have incredible technology and meet strange new species, like in many classic science fiction stories. However, their setting, an uncivilized planet, also lends itself to scenes that could come from any adventure movie, including crossing a gorge on a fallen log, accidently falling into long twisting ice tunnels, running to escape a forest fire, taking shelter from a deadly storm, etc. This mixture makes LOST IN SPACE a fun program to watch as it tests the viewer’s imagination while also getting their adrenaline pumping.
The best part of the new LOST IN SPACE is the relationships between the members of the Robinson family, especially the children. The writing of the three children will feel very familiar to anyone with siblings. These siblings bicker, tease and poke at each other, but also have a deep and abiding affection for one another. Mina Sundwall as Penny Robinson is particularly good.
The visual imagery in LOST IN SPACE is stunning. The mysterious planet that the Robinsons are trapped on is like the most scenic, iconic, beautiful national park you’ve ever visited. Viewers can practically taste the crisp mountain air and experience the picturesque views alongside the characters. The computer-generated scenes of space flight are almost equally beautiful.
LOST IN SPACE contains strong moral, redemptive values. The Robinson family is a model of sacrifice and love, and their willingness to help each other even at the cost of their own lives is inspiring. While the family has some dysfunction (what family doesn’t?), their primary journey is growing into a deeper relationship with and care for one another.
Several characters that surround the family (other survivors) display darker values. For example, June Harris and Don West have a worldview that focuses more on self-preservation. However, the writing paints these darker values as wrong, and characters like June and Don are challenged to change because of their relationship with the Robinsons.
LOST IN SPACE sometimes has some very clear references to Christian prayer and God, marred by light foul language, and including some action violence. However, the show is appropriate for the whole family and will be enjoyed by all. Children will love the adventure plot in the Season One, the cool locations, and the robots. Parents and discerning adults will appreciate the deep moral values, the warnings about future earth, and the positive family relationships in the Robinson family.
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