I just found out via my Twitter feed that Netflix is putting out a remake of the classic television series Lost in Space. Given how I defended the 1998 movie for the podcast Myopia: Defend Your Childhood, this was something of especial interest. Here's the article the original one links to, which has more detail about the project.
As I said in the blog post associated with that episode of the podcast, one thing I liked was that they attempted to use Lost In Space as the basis for a serious, coherent science-fiction story. There's a dark future, the still-ruling West is squabbling with various terrorists and Third World types over what little remains on Earth, and space colonization is the only hope. I posted some ideas about how Lost In Space could have been a much better film (it was incredibly boring, despite the good concept) and most of them could be applied to a television series:
*The film touches on the family drama that a prolonged family space mission would bring--the children who don't want to leave their lives on Earth, the husband and wife separated by too much work, etc. A television series could elaborate on this aspect of the story a lot more.
*Why exactly are they going on this colonization mission? The television series made it seem like this was an ordinary space mission, but the movie raised the stakes by depicting the Robinson family as the key to establishing a hypergate that will transport humanity off the dying Earth.
*The film depicted human political rivalries--the treacherous Dr. Smith is an agent for the terroristic Global Sedition--undermining the space mission, elaborating on the original series. If they retained Dr. Smith's canonical characterization and the Robinson family tolerates him--I suggested he could be a Token Evil Teammate whose skills as a doctor are too important for them to kill him despite his treachery--we could learn more about just who wanted to sabotage the mission and why.
The second article suggests the show will be about a family of explorers trying to stay together in the face of a hostile universe. That gives off Star Trek Voyager vibes to me--although the show had the hostility between the Federation and the Maquis crews stranded in the Delta Quadrant, the main focus was surviving the dangerous, unknown universe. That could be pretty cool too. And if they encounter other humans out there, it won't be something prosaic like some random space cowboy, but something more akin to the film's time-displaced spacecraft or my idea of a group of human rivals like Global Sedition.
The article suggests that Netflix's Lost In Space is intended to be more family-friendly, unlike its offerings like Hemlock Grove, House of Cards, etc. One can still tell a cool science-fiction story without excessive swearing or violence, sex, etc. -- Star Wars is a great example, as are most Star Trek offerings -- but I'm concerned that in trying to make it more family-friendly, it'd be too much like the goofy, campy original. They'd be better off trying to make it the next Battlestar Galactica, which wasn't for the younger set.
It won't be out for awhile yet. We'll see how it goes.
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