Netflix debuts new version of classic sci-fi series
There’s new danger for a new Will Robinson, and for his fellow travelers, too.
Previously reintroduced by a 1998 movie, one of television’s iconic sci-fi series gets a fresh reboot as Netflix’s version of the Irwin Allen-created “Lost in Space” premieres a full season of 10 episodes Friday, April 13. Toby Stephens (“Black Sails”) and Molly Parker (“House of Cards”) now star as John and Maureen Robinson, the couple who embark with children Judy, Penny and Will (Taylor Russell, Mina Sundwall, Max Jenkins) on an intergalactic trip to a new colony.
However, their trek aboard the Jupiter 2 goes off course – literally – leaving them stranded on an unknown planet. Also on the journey: Don West (Ignacio Serricchio), who isn’t exactly a willing passenger in this case; the devious Dr. Smith, now a villainess as played by Parker Posey; and, of course, Robot … who isn’t entirely friendly in his present form.
“I’m sure I had seen the (original) show at some point,” co-star Parker says of the 1965-68 CBS edition, “but when I was growing up in Canada, we had, like, two channels until I was 12 or so. I ended up watching a lot of it while we were shooting this with my 11-year-old son, whose name also is Will, as it happens. I really loved it, but it was new to me.”
So is the bounty of special-effects work required of Parker, whose career largely has involved independent movies (“Waking the Dead,” “Wonderland,” etc.) with decidedly smaller budgets than “Lost in Space.” She notes that her new on-screen “husband” gave her a major assist.
“I’ve hardly done any ‘green screen’ work, or work on shows where there are a lot of physical sets, so it’s a new experience … which is wonderful. Having come off ‘Black Sails,’ Toby was so helpful to me at the beginning. Sometimes, you’re walking across this spaceship like it’s supposed to be on its side, or fighting crazy aliens. I was like, ‘I don’t know how to do this!,’ but Toby just encouraged me to throw myself into it 100 percent. And there’s such joy in that.”
While Parker says she “loved what June Lockhart did” as the original Maureen, “because this is decades later, we wanted to present a modern idea of family and a modern representation of women. The Maureen Robinson of our show is brilliant; she’s an aerospace engineer, and she’s also the matriarch of this family. When the producers first talked to me about the show, they approached it as Maureen essentially being a heroine. They really wanted to hold onto the essence of the original, which was fun and suspenseful, but in a new way.”