Awesome Con: Lost in Space
When I first learned of the remake of Lost in Space coming out from Netflix, I was both excited and nervous. It was such an iconic show – and one I have fond memories of… I clearly remember sitting there cheering for Will and the Robinson family, all while simultaneously yelling at Dr. Smith through the TV. Remakes and reboots make me nervous. Will they live up to the original? Will they change too much? Is Dr. Smith still going to be the same pain in the butt that forced my frustrated screams at the TV? Only one way to find out… (And I asked the creators!)
Hooray For Awesome Con!
When I had an opportunity to screen the first episode from Netflix at Awesome Con – I absolutely had to see it. Nothing would get in my way. (Except the fact Awesome Con is SO big, I got lost working my way to the main stage! But that’s a story for another day…) Without spoilers and without giving too much away, here’s my thoughts on the upcoming series.
Lost in Space stars Toby Stephens (Black Sails) as John Robinson and Molly Parker (House of Cards) as Maureen Robinson along with the Robinson kids: Taylor Russell (Falling Skies) as the older, strong-willed and tough Judy, Mina Sundwall (Maggie’s Plan, Freeheld) as middle child Penny, and Maxwell Jenkins (Sense8) as the young, but iconic, Will Robinson. Parker Posey (You’ve Got Mail, Superman Returns) joins as Dr. Smith – A conscious and interesting decision from the co-creators to cast a female for the role. More on that in a bit…
Right off the bat… The cast fits. Well. I can see some of the original Robinson family in them – but they do a great job of making themselves a Robinson family all on their own. Nothing seems forced from them and they all are easily believable as characters. So much so – that the first episode IS a roller coaster ride and it’s easy to get emotional following their stories.
There are some obvious (and some subtle) family issues while in the midst of a interstellar crisis and each character creates their own atmosphere that demands your attention. And I have to tell you – Maxwell Jenkins is one hell of an amazing Will Robinson. With so many things that can make or break a television series – The casting of young Maxwell is sure to solidify and “make” Lost in Space a huge success. His portrayal is flawless from the beginning – and all the vulnerabilities and strengths of the young Robinson are easily mastered and conveyed by the actor.
You’re probably wondering about the robot, right? Sorry – Not spoiling the brilliance of the “new and improved” robot for the show, but needless to say – They did it right and he might just be my favorite character. I will tell you that he earned a huge round of applause from all of us in the audience.
Location/Set, Special Effects
Per the creators and information provided by Netflix, location was super important for the series – as they wanted it to be as legitimate as possible for a “Goldilocks Planet.” (A term in the scientific community about a planet that’s suitable for human life.) They wanted natural light and natural areas for the show – and picked Vancouver, British Columbia as their ideal location. So far, from the first episode – It seems they made a great choice.
We did get a few good looks at the inside of the Jupiter spacecraft in the premiere, and it looks pretty futuristic, but at the same time – believable and comfortable for a space travelling family. The creators of the show brought in some top talent for visual effects – top special effects people, and crews that worked on shows/films like Game of Thrones and Iron Man. Nothing came across as over-the-top or pushing-the-limits. So far, an impressive set of visual and special effects for the series and I’m looking forward to more.
The spacesuits worn by the Robinson family look fresh and perhaps even comfortable (even if a little hot!) for a spacesuit. Some fun facts provided by Netflix on costuming:
● The spacesuits were built at FBFX Studios in London, which is the same company that built the spacesuit for the 2015 feature film, The Martian.
● The spacesuits have 9 different fabrics and feature sublimation printing on neoprene, as well as lycra, leather, nylon and metal components.
● The spacesuit gloves were custom made by a glove maker in the UK at a cost of 950 GBP per pair.
● John Robinson’s expedition jacket (worn by Toby Stephens) was made out of 59 pattern pieces – more than any other garment used in the series.
● Some of the fabrics used in the building of the costumes were flown in from as far away as Japan, Germany, and the UK.
● The spacesuits took 2 months to design and much longer to build!
So, Was The Premiere Good?
Fantastic may be an understatement! The premiere gives both a glimpse of the current situation for the Robinsons as well as some “flash backs” that explain a little of the back story. Trouble finds the family basically from the start and you’d be hard pressed not to be rooting out loud for a different family member every few minutes. It was easy to become emotionally invested in the episode and there were a few moments where tears may or may not have been shed. I’ll never tell.
Cheering and applause were also present from the audience during the screening and I certainly took part. It’s easy to like this family and the actors forced my various emotions with ease.
I mentioned that I was both excited and nervous for Lost in Space… That was certainly true, but now I’m more excited and anxious for more! And while this may be considered a “remake” – there’s no need to be nervous – they’ve done the original justice and have set course for a new and unique journey for both the Robinsons and the viewers. You will not be disappointed. (I’ll post the trailer below in case you missed it!)
The Panel and Lost in Space Experience at Awesome Con
Awesome Con 2018 brought both a “Lost in Space Experience” and a panel after the premiere episode screening. The panel featured the two co-creators, Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama along with two NASA astronauts/engineers. The main focus of the panel (besides chatting about the show, of course) was about the future of space travel and the current state of space exploration.
Both Burk and Matt brought in real space experts to ensure the series had an air of authenticity – even if we aren’t currently able to totally reach the stars. It was pretty fascinating to hear about the current use of robots and some artificial intelligence in space exploration and the possibilities of things to come. A little scary, too!
I knew that I’d be able to ask a question to Burk and Matt – and was stuck deciding between two: Why cast a female in the role of Dr. Smith – OR – How/why did you come up with the final design for the new robot? After deciding that the robot needed no further explanation due to how amazing it is… I went with the Dr. Smith question – with an added twist. I asked, “What was the deciding factor in choosing to cast a woman for the role of Dr. Smith – AND – will she be as much a pain in the butt as the original?” (I know, I know…but I couldn’t help myself!) They even giggled before answering:
Second answer, yes! The first part… Jonathan Harris’s performance was so iconic, and we thought to have another actor try to step into those footsteps would seem like just an imitation…
At least we know some things never change, Dr. Smith!
The Jupiter Chair, Spacesuit, and a Rock Wall!
Netflix allowed fans of the show a small visit into the Lost in Space world with a mock set up of the Jupiter craft including one of the chairs you could strap yourself into. (Side note: It wasn’t that cozy and the “seat belts” aren’t easy to use! Darn space travel!)
As you walked through the mini-set of both spacecraft and new world, you could take a look at the space suit they wear, “meet” the robot, and then have a picture taken with the robot super imposed – almost “attacking” you… Almost.
At the end of the experience is a rock wall where fans were invited to sign it – A way to be remembered for future travelers, I suppose. Quite a few people left their signatures. Amy and I made sure to leave our mark, and in the event this rock wall were to find itself lost in space – and then found by aliens – they would know So Many Shows existed. After all, aliens watch TV too, right?
The Lost in Space panel and experience was a lot of fun and it solidified my excitement for the show. Whether you watched the original or not – This show is worth checking out. The drama and emotion from this spectacular sci-fi series may even keep you up at night! Danger, Will Robinson, danger…
Don’t miss the “lift off” of the Netflix Original: Lost in Space when it arrives on April 13, 2018!
The Official Trailer:
Special thanks to Awesome Con for access to the show! Be sure to go next year: April 26-28, 2019!
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