New “Lost in Space”is an other-worldly adventure

TV’s “Lost in Space” (1965) was a hokey television program that did not really hold my interest. The trouble was that the series with Guy Williams, June Lockhart and Jonathan Harris was very outdated.

Maxwell Jenkins, left, Molly Parker, Taylor Russell and Mina Sundwall in “Lost in Space.”

Maxwell Jenkins, left, Molly Parker, Taylor Russell and Mina Sundwall in “Lost in Space.”

A movie incarnation of the television series was done in 1998 with William Hurt, Mimi Rogers, Matt Le Blanc and Gary Oldman with director Stephen Hopkins. That version did not fare any better, given the so-so visual effects and a ridiculous backstory that did not go anywhere. On the A-F scale, I think I gave it a C-.

Maxwell Jenkins, left, and Brian Steele as the robot in “Lost in Space.”

Maxwell Jenkins, left, and Brian Steele as the robot in “Lost in Space.”

 

Now, Netflix is putting its hand in the cookie jar by updating the premise with a new take on the Robinson family and its predicaments in space. The newest version follows the Robinson family’s dilemmas with mother Maureen (Molly Parker), dad John (Toby Stephens), son Will (Maxwell Jenkins), daughter Judy (Taylor Russell) and other daughter Penny (Mina Sundwall).

This all-new tale is more fluid and dynamic compared to Hopkins’ mediocre version from the 1990s. That film just felt flat and seemed uninvolved with characters that viewers couldn’t care less about.

The plot twists and turns in the new series are intriguing, to say the very least. For the first time, Mr. Smith is a Ms. Smith with indie darling Parker Posey as June Harris/Dr. Smith. That is only part of the intrigue, since the series takes some major shifts with the dynamics of the storyline.

The actors all fit the bill in this well-done presentation that excels where the others have failed. This new version is set 30 years in the future and takes liberties in its setting and storytelling. Like Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” viewers watch the tale and forget the pseudo reality while the events unfold as pure entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less.