HomeTelevisionNetflix's Lost in Space Needs to Find Itself

Netflix’s Lost in Space Needs to Find Itself

Lost in Space Will Robinson
Photo Credit: Netflix

Lost in Space Series Premiere, “Impact” Plot Summary:

After crash-landing on a mysterious planet, a family of space colonists struggles to survive.

It is no news that we are officially living in the age of reboots, reimaginings, and revivals. Networks and studios have been going back to the well and banking on nostalgia for decades, but our current media landscape is positively inundated with remakes. Executives and producers are no longer content taking a bucket to the well; they are pushing us in the well headfirst and holding our heads under the water.

The fact that a campy sci-fi show from the 1960s has been brought back as a dark, gritty Netflix series (that no one wanted) is further proof of our metaphorical drowning, especially considering a film remake already came out in 1998, starring Gary “I Played Every Bad Guy in the ’90s” Oldman and Joey from Friends.

That all being said, Netflix’s Lost in Space is much better than the show has any right to be. Despite some questionable plot decisions, unlikable characters, and sub par CGI, the series premiere is undoubtedly engaging and intriguing. After a quiet opening that drips with a foreboding sense that something is about to go terribly wrong, “Impact” slams the Robinson family with one catastrophe after another that exhaust the audience as much as the characters.

Additionally, the episode lays the groundwork for a number of mysteries that would certainly, if the show aired episodes weekly like a standard television series, become Reddit fodder for fan theories. The combination of mysteries and a desperate fight for survival is a winning formula and harkens back to Lost and other popular sci-fi properties.

Unfortunately, Lost in Space doesn’t quite stick the (crash) landing with these elements. As much as the premiere sets out to create a suspenseful atmosphere, the show all too often undercuts this tension. By cutting to flashbacks and giving the characters plenty of time to contemplate and panic over their impending doom, “Impact” prevents a feeling of dread from fully manifesting. Think of a bullet speeding toward you at a snail’s pace; you certainly recognize some level of danger in the situation, but there’s no sense of urgency. If the show truly wanted to keep viewers on the edge of their seats and holding their breath, the premiere shouldn’t have even given the audience a chance to breathe.

Likewise, exploring the characters’ abilities, personalities, and shared histories is a good idea on paper and generally an important step in building empathy for those characters. But the effort falls flat because none of the characters are particularly likeable. While the family may be incredibly smart and talented, they lack the chemistry, relatability, or admirability to be likable. Without any clear reason to root for the Robinsons, the stakes feel much lower than they should; in a survival adventure like Lost in Space, that shortage of empathy is a verifiable kiss of death. I am hopeful, though, that the show will address this issue as the season progresses.

Lost in Space may not be the next Stranger Things, but I am still impressed that the show works as well as it does. While the suspense may lag at times, the mysteries and dangers are just compelling enough to keep viewers tuned in and ignore the show’s shortfalls…at least until the next gritty remake that nobody particularly wants comes out.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10


Josh Sarnecky
Josh Sarnecky
Josh Sarnecky is one of Pop Break's staff writers and covers Voltron: Legendary Defender, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things. His brother, Aaron, also writes for the website, but Josh is the family’s reigning Trivial Pursuit: Star Wars champion.

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