Netflix’s Lost in Space finds women front and centre
James R | On 30, Mar 2018
With the spring blockbuster season almost upon us, Netflix is squaring up to drop its own big hitter: an all-new Lost in Space series targeted squarely at family audiences.
A reimagining of the classic 1960s science fiction series, the show is set 30 years in the future, when colonisation in space is a reality, and the Robinson family is among those tested and selected to make a new life for themselves in a better world. But when the new colonists find themselves abruptly torn off course en route to their new home they must forge new alliances and work together to survive in a dangerous alien environment, lightyears from their original destination. The show stars Toby Stephens as father John Robinson, joined by Molly Parker as mother Maureen, and their kids are played by Taylor Russell, Mina Sundwall and Max Jenkins (as the curious and sensitive Will Robinson, who is guaranteed to find danger). Stranded along with the Robinsons are two outsiders who find themselves thrown together by circumstance and a mutual knack for deception. The unsettlingly charismatic Dr. Smith – a master manipulator with an inscrutable end game – and the roguish, but charming Don West (Ignacio Serrichio).
Dr. Smith is perhaps the most notorious member of the ensemble, after Will Robinson, but the villainous figure has been updated for 2018: Dr. Smith, in Netflix’s incarnation of the story, is a woman, played by none other than Parker Posey. The move was a conscious one from writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold, Last Witch Hunter) and showrunner Zack Estrin (Prison Break), as it updates Irwin Allen’s for a more modern, diverse world, with women front and centre.
Speaking at Wondercon, Estrin (who was in attendance last weekend, along with Stephens, Parker, Jenkins, Russell, Sundwall, Serricchio and Posey) explained that this was not an all-American show about Americans saving the day.
“You’ll be seeing people all over the world,” he said, acknowledging the series’ sizeable international cast.
Posey added that she “loved Doctor Smith” as a kid.
“When I heard they were going to offer me the part it was really touching for me. I loved that they made her into a woman. You’re going to see over 10 episodes how this new Doctor Smith evolves.”
“I love the original [show] and I certainly love the original Maureen,” Parker continued. “But we live in a different time of gender dynamics. The women [on the show] could do whatever the men do – it isn’t even a question. It’s just the reality. It’s incredible to play a woman as smart as she and at the same time, has these flaws and has to connect with her kids.
“It’s 30 years into the future and we have imagined a reality we would like to see. We will hopefully be in a place where we want to be in terms of class, race, and gender.”
The series premieres on Netflix on Friday 13th April.