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Netflix To Debut Its Rebooted Version Of 'Lost In Space'


Science fiction TV fans might remember this catchphrase.


DICK TUFELD: (As The Robot) Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's from the campy 1960s TV show "Lost In Space." Netflix debuts a rebooted version on Friday. And NPR TV critic Eric Deggans has this review.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Netflix's version of "Lost In Space" is a lot more high-tech and serious than its often goofy predecessor. It's still a show about a family of five, last name Robinson, stuck in space. But they're joined by a bunch of other families headed from Earth to colonize a new world when a calamity forces them to evacuate to an unknown planet.

In a switch from the old series, the leader here is not the dad but mother, Maureen Robinson, a scientist and the brains of the family. After they crash in a wintry environment, it's Maureen, nursing a broken leg, who tells them how much danger they're in.


MOLLY PARKER: (As Maureen Robinson) In six hours, the sun's going to go down. And indications are it will drop to 60 degrees below zero, at which point our power cells will die.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) And so will we. We can't go anywhere because of your leg...

PARKER: (As Maureen Robinson) I'm still figuring it out.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) What if you can't?

PARKER: (As Maureen Robinson) Then, you leave me here. You descend the glacier. It'll be warmer down there.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) No.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) No, Mom.

DEGGANS: There's a lot to like about this new version. The special effects are lavish. And the storytelling balances an intriguing sci-fi premise with the intimate tale of a family struggling to stay connected. Other female characters also take center stage here. Daughters Judy and Penny are skilled, snarky and whip-smart, while younger brother Will Robinson can be fearful and hesitant.

And Netflix's show changes classic male villain, Dr. Smith, to a female character casting Parker Posey. In the old show, Smith was a preening obvious con man played by Jonathan Harris. Posey's Dr. Smith is a smooth calculating psychopath who's unapologetic when Maureen finally confronts her over selfish actions that nearly got the family killed.


PARKER: (As Maureen Robinson) Do you ever feel guilty about anything you do?

PARKER POSEY: (As Dr. Smith) Guilt is like a stomachache from overeating. Make all sorts of promises while you're feeling it. Once it passes, you just get hungry again.

PARKER: (As Maureen Robinson) Those people are not like you.

POSEY: (As Dr. Smith) Everybody's like me. I'm just not in denial.

PARKER: (As Maureen Robinson) Denial about what?

POSEY: (As Dr. Smith) The fact that I just look out for myself.

DEGGANS: They even have a new version of the show's popular robot character with a new take on its classic warning/catchphrase.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As The Robot) Danger, Will Robinson.

DEGGANS: That sounds a lot more contemporary than the classic version. The original "Lost in Space" debuted in 1965 as a spacefaring version of "The Swiss Family Robinson." Producers added Dr. Smith and The Robot after the show's pilot. They lightened stories with goofy scenes, like this moment when The Robot got rusty on a mission with Will.


BILL MUMY: (As Will. Robinson) Robot, what happened to you?

TUFELD: (As The Robot) I am in a condition of near inertia.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) Good heavens. He's developed jungle mildew, I think.

TUFELD: (As The Robot) I shall need a rubdown with Dr. Smith's massage lotion. And I will be fine.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) Indeed. All the impudence.

DEGGANS: Yeah. Stuff like that doesn't play so well in 2018. Instead, Netflix's show gives us dark humor from dad, John Robinson as Mom, Maureen tries to be optimistic about their situation.


PARKER: (As Maureen Robinson) Wherever we are, it's a Goldilocks planet - Earth-like atmosphere, air pressure, gravity. Clearly, no lack of water. It's like winning the lottery.

TOBY STEPHENS: (As John Robinson) Why not die in a car accident? It's like winning the lottery until you remember you're in a car accident.

DEGGANS: On the Netflix show, there are times when the Robinsons seem like the unluckiest family in the cosmos. At least five major calamities happen to them in the first episode. But they somehow keep surviving. Still, Netflix's "Lost In Space" is the TV reboot we didn't know we needed, transforming a 1960s-era TV curiosity into a thrilling modern space adventure. I'm Eric Deggans.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN WILLIAMS' "LOST IN SPACE (1965) THEME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.