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Few would recognize the "Lost In Space" franchise as a reworking of the classic 1812 novel, "Swiss Family Robinson." The series was originally developed during the space race era between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the 1960s before it was rebooted in 2018 for th Netflix streaming platform.
"Lost In Space," tells the story of the Robinson family as they join a group of colonists looking to start a new life far from the Earth in the Alpha Centauri solar system where habitable planets have been identified. The colonists are traveling on a much larger craft, The Resolute which is designed to house them comfortably as they undertake their long journey to a new home.
The colonist's ship is attacked by an alien species which forces the passengers of The Resolute to seek shelter within their small landing craft not designed for long journeys through space. The Robinson's are onboard their Jupiter 2 craft while Dr. Zachary Smith and Don West are escaping on the Jupiter 18 spacecraft which follows Robinson's ship closely.
As they make their escape, Jupiter 18 and Jupiter 2 are sucked into a wormhole which drags them to a planet much like Earth but with many major differences. The Jupiter 2 craft crash lands in a swamp forcing the Robinson family to evacuate before they are dragged under the icy waters with their ship. Mission Commander Maureen Robinson is injured in the crash landing of Jupiter 2 and her daughter, Judy needs power equipment from the sinking ship to rescue her mother. Judy dives into the icy waters and finds the equipment she needs but is left encased in ice, only saved by her wetsuit which is filled with a few hours of oxygen. As Will Robinson and his father, John looks for magnesium to defrost Judy safely, the doctor guides Penny Robinson through the procedure needed to save the life of her mother.
Eventually, Will finds an alien robot which he assists in self-repairing over the course of the first episode. The robot returns to the site of the Jupiter 2 crash with Will and provides its skills to help the family as they look to secure the area and save the various members of the family. In the meantime, Dr. Zachary Smith makes her way to the site of the Jupiter 2 crash and tries to assist in raising the sunken ship. As she assists the Robinson's, Dr. Smith goes through a series of flashbacks which provide us with a glimpse into her true identity.
The first season of "Lost In Space" was overseen by the producing partnership of Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless who had previously worked together as writers on various projects including the adaptations of games, "Missile Command" and "Clue." The pair have been attached to the Netflix reboot of "Lost In Space" since 2015 when it was announced by the streaming giant.
Among the impressive cast of "Lost In Space" is former "Deadwood" actress Molly Parker who has also appeared in the Netflix reboot of the political thriller, "House of Cards." Alongside her role as Maureen Robinson in the reboot, Parker has appeared in a number of independent movies for which she has been nominated for various awards.
English actor, Toby Stephens takes the role of John Robinson, the former Navy SEAL husband of Maureen who works to try and help the crew return to Earth. Stephens was known as a stage actor when he was plucked from relative obscurity to take the role of the villain in the 2002 James Bond movie, "Die Another Day." Since his breakout role in the James Bond franchise, Toby Stephens has been working steadily on TV, film, and on the stage including roles in shows such as "Black Sails."
The character of Dr. Zachary Smith is taken by the American actress and musician, Parker Posey. Posey has split her time between TV and film work including a number of Christopher Guest mockumentaries, including the classic, "Best in Show." The career of Parker Posey has also included a range of TV shows such as "Boston Legal" and "The Good Wife."
The large budget of the Netflix-funded science fiction production led to the hiring of feature film director Neil Marshall as the director of the pilot and second episode of the series. "Lost In Space" is the latest production Marshall has been involved in after making his name as the director of British horror movies, "Dog Soldiers" and "Descent." The impressive list of directors includes the series finale being helmed by "Game of Thrones" regular David Nutter.
Rebooting "Lost In Space" has been mooted among industry insiders since 2014 when Legendary Television and Synthesis Entertainment announced they were planning a new version. "Lost In Space" was filmed in and around Toronto, British Columbia, Canada for season one with season two including filming in Iceland for the yet to be released installment of the show.
The show has seen fair to middling reviews from both fans and professional critics who have given the show praise for the depiction of the Robinson family making their way across the universe. Rotten Tomatoes gives the show a rating of 59 percent and Metacritic provides a similar score for the show as it completed its first season but felt the major issue facing the show was the villainous character of Dr. Smith.
Netflix has not released details of the number of viewers "Lost In Space" has received over the course of its initial release on the platform. However, it has fared in a similar fashion to its fellow science fiction reboot, "Star Trek: Discovery" which also faced mixed reviews for its opening season.
Few of the cast had acted in a science fiction series before with Molly Parker expecting to spend the majority of her time acting in front of a green screen. However, the shoot was largely location-based and resulted in Parker and Toby Stephens being happily surprised by the time they spent in their Canadian locations. Netflix decided to keep it in the family when they set about constructing sets for the show by giving the role of construction foreman to Molly Parker's brother.