Impressions of the ‘Lost in Space’ Premiere Episode, ‘Impact’ (Netflix)


On April 13, 2018, Netflix released Lost in Space, a re-imagining of the classic 1965 series of the same name. Does it make an impact?

The First Big Question: Are You Into Science Fiction?

Let’s face it: Not everyone’s a sci-fi fan, and plenty of people have never seen the original series, or have limited exposure to it. This was the case with me. However, it may be why I was interested in checking the show out. Had I seen the original first, I would constantly be comparing and contrasting the two versions, as opposed to starting out fresh.

As another potential hurdle, you’ll have to be into hearing space terms, like “Alpha Centauri,” and generally appreciate the idea of a space epic. If you can handle that, you should be able to value Lost in Space, and wonder what’s in store for the new Robinson family after they’ve crash-landed on an Earth-like planet.

Where the Robinsons Landed

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Impact spends a lot of time on a glacial bed, where their ship, the Jupiter 2, breaks through the ice and slips into the water. The Robinsons know they’ll face sub-zero temperatures and likely die without a certain battery left in the ship.

So, the eldest Robinson child, Judy (Taylor Russell), actually dives into the water to recover it. Unfortunately, the water freezes over before she can reach the surface, so she is trapped with a limited supply of oxygen.

Obviously, much of the story revolves around her precarious situation, but we learn about the others through their reactions. For example, Will Robinson (Maxwell Jenkins), devises a plan to melt the ice with magnesium, which indicates he is a smart young man. His father, John Robinson (Toby Stephens) aids him in his quest for magnesium, demonstrating his willingness and courage to be a father.  This is despite his stressed relationship with mommy Robinson, Maureen (Molly Parker).

Meanwhile, after some initial bickering, Judy and her sister Penny (Mina Sundwall) discuss classic literature, even bonding over passages from Moby Dick. However, that’s interrupted when their injured mother requires immediate medical attention — an opportunity to reveal that Judy has some potentially life-saving medical knowledge.

It’s a decent, action-packed intro to our family of heroes, and none of the drama made the show drag — which is a definite risk if things get too soap opera-like. Basically, the show has respectable, relatable characters and, despite its roots in classic sci-fi, things are given an air of plausibility.

The Lay of the Land

Everyone’s entitled to an ET moment. (‘Lost in Space’, Netflix)

Very quickly in our adventure, we learn that it’s not just an ice planet. Will falls down an ice chute, but on the other end is a forest. Unfortunately, it’s not a thrill that he can share with his father, who is left choosing between locating his son or saving Judy.

As the story unfolds we see a burgeoning forest fire, a giant humanoid robot and a gentle butterfly.  There’s also almost out-of-place flashback where a female character (Parker Posey) steals an identity to board an escape vessel (a hint of character clashes to come), just before a mothership is destroyed.

Fire and Ice

There’s an obvious contrast between the two elements, though they’re similar in extremes. It’s a glimpse into extremes the Robinsons will face, and it’s both literal and figurative. Much like Gilligan’s Island, Lost in Space offers a sort of microcosm.

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It will be interesting to see how they will react to different extremes — both in their new habitat and between each other. Yes, they have a robot space alien to help them, but they’ll still face interesting things. So, this may be a series well worth following, assuming you don’t get lost along the way.