The updated Lost in Space series is now out on Netflix. It’s the third take on the story of the marooned Robinson family, after the classic 1960s TV series and director Stephen Hopkins’ 1998 film. And if you don’t remember that one, it had time travel, and Gary Oldman turned into a spider.
This new run aims to provide different adventures for the stranded heroes. Its initial release will include 10 episodes that feature some familiar faces but a new style and exotic setting while still staying true to the original’s roots. And its creators say it will be full of surprises.
Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the new Lost in Space…
Sci-fi for the family
Showrunner Zack Estrin and his fellow creators tried to make a “family show.” And that doesn’t just mean that it’s literally about characters who are related. They hope to make something that parents can watch with their children, and everyone gets something out of it.
“Lost in Space is a show that I can finally watch with my children,” says Estrin. “We can sit together as a family and all find something in the show to fall in love with.”
The showrunner of the revival is Zack Estrin, who’s no stranger to TV. He’s worked on several other popular series as both a writer and producer. His previous work includes Charmed, Prison Break, and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
An alien world
Rather than follow the original series’ format of having the Robinsons visit a new alien planet each episode, the new series will take place on a single alien world. And even though they’re fairly landlocked, they’ll still have plenty of danger to find. According to episode descriptions, their perils will include a deadly storm, a frantic search for fuel, and hazardous terrain on their temporary home. It will also have the usual domestic drama typical of most family trips… except these will be in space.
Unlike previous versions, Will Robinson’s robot friend won’t be an original member of the Jupiter-2 crew. Instead, the family discovers him on the “Lost Planet.” And it isn’t even much of a robot, either. Its design is more of an organic metal look with a huge, glowing “eye.” It’s way more intimidating than the older Robots, and its motivations aren’t entirely clear. It’s just mysterious all over and potentially more of a wild card than the deceptive stowaway, Dr. Smith.
Speaking of Dr. Smith, the new incarnation of the conniving series villain won’t have the original’s bumbling, campy incompetence. In fact, it won’t even be a man. Indie film darling Parker Posey is the new Dr. Smith, and she’s bringing more complexity and ambiguity to the role of the treacherous baddie. Publicity materials describe her as “part villain, part anti-hero,” which means she won’t just be trying to make things difficult for the Robinsons. She surely will do that, of course, but we’re sure she has her reasons.
30 years in the future
The original series took place in the far-flung future year of 1997, which seemed like a long way off in 1965. This new version makes a similar leap. Its events will be 30 years into our future. Odds are pretty good that once we actually get there, this show will seem as quaint and outdated as the original does now.
The new Will Robinson is more than just the precocious child prodigy we’ve already seen. His smarts come at the cost of being a social outcast and a target for bullying. It’s so bad, in fact, that by the time the show happens, he suffers from panic attacks. Some of the dramatic arc of the show will be how he overcomes these issues and his latent insecurities to find ways to protect and help his family.
Bill Mumy, who played the original Will Robinson in the ‘60s, will have a role in the premiere of the Netflix series. He’s billed as “Injured Man,” so it doesn’t sound like things go particularly well for him. Selma Blair (Hellboy) will also make a guest appearance in the third episode.
Considering the series takes place partly in outer space, costumers created elaborate spacesuits for the Robinsons on their travels. They come courtesy of London’s FBFX Studios, and the gloves alone cost over $1,300 a pair. The helmets created some unique problems for shooting since they’re completely soundproof when the face shields are down. The production crew had to wire up headsets inside so that everyone could communicate.
Impressively, the crew shot very little of Lost in Space on sets. The alien world the Robinsons are stranded on is an actual, dressed location instead of a bunch of sound stages papered with green screens. The idea is to add some authenticity to the sci-fi setting while still mixing in the unfamiliar possibilities of a distant planet. Series writer Burk Sharpless describes it as “one foot in reality and one foot in wonder.”
All episodes of Lost in Space are now streaming, only on Netflix.