Apr 14, 2018

Is "Lost in Space" Worth the Trip?

Baby Boomers remember Lost in Space  (1965-68) fondly for its crazy plotlines and endearing characters: the Robot, the blustering gay-vague Dr. Smith, cute-as-a-button Will Robinson.

But you really had to be about eight years old to enjoy it without noticing that it was Gilligan's Island in space: seven stranded castaways and steady stream of visitors, space pirates, space gypsies, space hippies, and miscellaneous weirdos, who could help them get home,but don't.

There have been a number of remakes, pastiches, and sequels: a 1973 animated movie, with different characters, except for Dr. Smith; a 1998 movie stunt-casting Matt LeBlanc as pilot Don West; a 2004 movie that loses the family in the midst of an alien invasion; a 2015 sequel that gets the Robinsons back to Earth; and the latest, a reboot series on Netflix.

Is the latest worth the trip?

I've dipped into several episodes.

The campiness is gone. 

 The humor is gone. 

The aliens are gone, except for the Robot, who looks like a man in a space suit.  

The strange new worlds are gone.  The Robinsons and other survivors are stranded in Yosemite National Park (actually several provincial parks in British Columbia).

 What's left is Lost: the castaways struggle to survive, forming alliances, promoting hidden agendas, driving around in their runabouts, having conversations about the importance of family.

The heterosexual nuclear family is everything.  

No gay characters, no gay subtexts.  The bumbling, gay-vague Jonathan Harris as Dr. Smith has been replaced by the tough, no-nonsense Parker Posey. 

I saw Victor Dhar and Vijay Dhar in the cast, and dared to hope that they were a gay couple.  Nope, father and son.

No beefcake, hardly any men.  The original had some cute guys to look at, John Robinson, Don West, and for the kids, Will Robinson..  The remake does cast several hunks: Toby Stephens (top), Raza Jaffrey as Victor Dhar  (second photo), and Ignacio Serricchio as Don West (below).

But what you see on screen is mostly women and a little kid (12-year old Maxwell Jenkins as Will Robinson).

Discussing the importance of family.

Executive producer Ken Burns has also produced: How Playboy Changed the World;  Holly's World; The Bunny House; The Girls Next Door; Bridget's Sexiest Beaches; and Inside the Playboy Mansion.

So I'm guessing that gay characters and beefcake are on the bottom of his list of priorities.

Right next to creating an interesting plot.


  1. The inspiration was actually Swiss Family Robinson; at the time, the name Robinson had even come to be a metonym for being marooned.

    Another Boomer show Nickelodeon had in the 80s or early 90s.

    Also, Dr Smith's a pedophile, not gay. The joke is that because he's always going off with the preteen boy whenever they split up, there's some prurient reason for it.

    1. No evidence of pedophilia. Dr. Smith expresses interest in lots of adult women who visit, and never expresses any erotic interest in Will; they just hang out together because Smith is a big kid himself.

    2. You have to understand, those of us in the post-1970 set, we have to add all kinds of dark themes. Everyone's either on drugs or screwing their family or runs a slavery ring.

      We're very pessimistic.


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