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Sci-Fi Television

Netflix Remaking Lost In Space (ew.com) 169

An anonymous reader writes: Classic sci-fi show Lost in Space is making a comeback. Netflix is developing a new version of the series, according to Kevin Burns, the executive producer in charge of the project. "The original series, which lasted three seasons and 83 episodes, is set in a futuristic 1997 and follows the Robinson family's space exploration. After the villainous Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) sabotages the navigation system, they become helpless and, yes, lost. (The robot tasked with protecting the youngest child, the precocious Will, utters "Danger, Will Robinson!" — a phrase that still tortures this reporter.)" Burns has been trying to bring the series back for more than 15 years, and it looks likely he'll finally get his chance.
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Netflix Remaking Lost In Space

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  • Lost in Space? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Saturday November 21, 2015 @08:08PM (#50978197)
    I was a little kid when I saw that show, and even then, it was obvious it was a piece of crap.

    The bottom of the barrel, we scrape it here.

    What next, "My Mother, the Car"?

    • Re:Lost in Space? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2015 @08:21PM (#50978235)

      You may be confusing quality with intrinsic value.

      Yes, the mutant carrots and aluminum space suits were camp, but there's still the possibility of a decent story being made from the bones of the work.

      It will really depend on how they handle Doctor Smith. If they can have him sabotage the craft, enough to make a good attempt, but fail to do it as he wanted, but come up with a good explanation as to how he was trying to fix things, well, then that'll show they're working at it.

      They probably won't be able to cast an actor as good as Jonathan Harris or Gary Oldman, but they may get somebody able to do it halfway decently.

      • by murdocj ( 543661 )

        I'm actually not sure there is the possibility of a decent story with that background. Lost in Space is a single family, a few people on an alien world. The original show turned into a bizarre series of encounters with random aliens. With nothing except the nucleus of a couple of people, it's not clear how else it could work out. Yes, it's based on Swiss Family Robinson and their adventures, so I suppose you could have "man vs. nature" for a while, and in fact the original show tried that for an episode

      • The pilot for LIS, which lacked both the robot and Dr Smith, was very promising. Guy Williams stood out very well in the pilot and was grossly underutilized in the series. I would go so far as to say the pilot for LIS was better than the original pilot for Star Trek (the one with Christopher Pike).

        I could go either with respect to Dr Smith in a new series - the pilot had a hokey run-in with "asteroids" causing the Jupiter II to go off course, which was part of the plot for an episode in the third season -

        • The character of Dr. Smith was added after everyone involved realized there wasn't enough dramatic tension to carry it more than a few episodes.
          In the first episode with Dr. Smith, he is quite malevolent, later his character was reduced to just lazy coward.
          • The character of Dr. Smith was added after everyone involved realized there wasn't enough dramatic tension to carry it more than a few episodes.

            In the first episode with Dr. Smith, he is quite malevolent, later his character was reduced to just lazy coward.

            I think it was specifically the lazy coward and how nearly every episode revolved around him that made me (as a kid) tire of the show the first time around. To this day I have issues with characters who are basically a waste of skin. (I wasn't a big fan of Gilligan's Island for the same reason, despite Mary Jane. (Mmmm. Mary Jane...))

            In the movie, Smith was a foreign operative, and much more convincing as a bitter sociopath than Harris' lazy coward. (Sorry, I have nothing against Harris.) I also liked

      • As soon as you said "how they handle Doctor Smith" I thought "Gary Oldman", who is my favorite actor. I read on and, holy shit, you then suggested Gary Oldman for the role. Maybe we should start a petition. :)
      • by jd2112 ( 1535857 )

        You may be confusing quality with intrinsic value.

        Yes, the mutant carrots and aluminum space suits were camp, but there's still the possibility of a decent story being made from the bones of the work.

        It will really depend on how they handle Doctor Smith. If they can have him sabotage the craft, enough to make a good attempt, but fail to do it as he wanted, but come up with a good explanation as to how he was trying to fix things, well, then that'll show they're working at it.

        They probably won't be able to cast an actor as good as Jonathan Harris or Gary Oldman, but they may get somebody able to do it halfway decently.

        Bill Mumy (Will Robinson) once expressed interest in playing Dr. Smith in a reboot.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What next, "My Mother, the Car"?

      Nah...I'm holding out for "The Flying Nun".

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by whoever57 ( 658626 )
      Even as a child, the series seemed stupid to me. Why, after all the things that Doctor Smith does to sabotage them, do they not just push him out of an airlock? There is only so many times someone can be forgiven when lives are on the line.
      • Re:Lost in Space? (Score:5, Informative)

        by glitch! ( 57276 ) on Saturday November 21, 2015 @09:28PM (#50978431)

        Why, after all the things that Doctor Smith does to sabotage them, do they not just push him out of an airlock?

        Why don't we kill all the politicians who betray us? Why do we forgive their lies and actually keep supporting them? It is because they are psychopaths who are experts at lying and manipulating us. Most of us don't know the first thing about psychopaths, and have no idea how dangerous they are. I think Doctor Smith shows a good example of an average quality psychopath (as opposed to the street thug and the polished politician.)

        • Why don't we kill all the politicians who betray us? Why do we forgive their lies and actually keep supporting them?

          For the same reasons that people in power have always got away with their crimes: they are protected and the criminal nature of their actions is not clear.

          However, when presented with irrefutable evidence that someone tried to engineer your death multiple times and zero consequences for lethal retaliation, of course you would push them out of the air lock.

      • If you watch the first few episodes, Dr. Smith started out as an intelligent villain working secretly to sabotage the mission, who actually contributed to the story. Somewhere along, the writers morphed him into a 2-dimensional whiny, bratty troublemaker you wanted to push out the airlock. I guess they got tired of having to write an intelligent antagonist.
        • One problem, IMO, is if they had stuck with the evil Dr Smith, at some point Maj West would have just killed the SOB while the rest applauded. As the bumbling Dr Smith, he could get by with more without getting killed.

      • It's the same reason the castaways didn't kill Gilligan, there wouldn't be a show.

    • Re:Lost in Space? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rwyoder ( 759998 ) on Saturday November 21, 2015 @08:33PM (#50978287)

      I was a little kid when I saw that show, and even then, it was obvious it was a piece of crap.

      The bottom of the barrel, we scrape it here.

      What next, "My Mother, the Car"?

      A quote from director John Huston: "There is a willful lemming-like persistence in remaking past successes time after time. They can't make them as good as they are in our memories, but they go on doing them and each time it's a disaster. Why don't we remake some of our bad pictures - I'd love another shot at 'Roots of Heaven' - and make them good?"

      I also remember seeing "Lost in Space" when I was a kid. Yes, it sucked badly, so if any show ever needed to be remade, (and fixed), that was it.

      • by quenda ( 644621 )

        Netflix has done a great job on the remake of House of Cards. But then, the original was brilliant too, not a steaming pile of Irwin Allen.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Netflix has done a great job on the remake of House of Cards. But then, the original was brilliant too, not a steaming pile of Irwin Allen.

          A little respect please. Voyage to the bottom of the sea was campy as hell but so much fun. When growing up in the eighties I actually preferred the Seaview to watching the Enteprise and Kirk. Now this is a series for which I would like a modern remake less the american cold war jingoism.

    • Re:Lost in Space? (Score:4, Informative)

      by ProzacPatient ( 915544 ) on Saturday November 21, 2015 @08:36PM (#50978299)

      I guess that show is in the eye of the beholder because I have the series on DVD and I really enjoy it. Yes it did get cornier in the later seasons which is why it probably got canceled but the first season really stimulated the imagination (in particular the episodes 'Mr. Nobody' and 'Wish Upon a Star' comes to mind) and I'm looking forward to seeing someone trying to bring it back.

      • I guess that show is in the eye of the beholder because I have the series on DVD and I really enjoy it.

        Nostalgia doesn't make something good, it makes you dumb. No, literally. It impairs your thought process. At minimum, nostalgia impairs hindsight.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Space 1999, U.F.O. (The British show).
      • Space 1999, U.F.O. (The British show).

        Plus "The Starlost" (Canadian show), writer Harlan Ellison.

        As a child I was a sucker for anything space related. Still am. :-)

        • by AJWM ( 19027 )

          Technically "The Starlost" was by Cordwainer Bird, the pen name Ellison uses when the show (in his opinion) sucks.

          Ellison's pilot script was adapted to a novel, "Phoenix Without Ashes", by (Nebula-winner) Ed Bryant, recently reissued. (Harlan is donating his share of the royalties to Ed to help cover some medical expenses.)

          There's also a graphic novel version.

          • Technically "The Starlost" was by Cordwainer Bird, the pen name Ellison uses when the show (in his opinion) sucks.

            ITYM technically it was credited to. Things are by whoever they are by. They are credited to whoever they are credited to. One doesn't make the other.

    • What next, "My Mother, the Car"?

      Green Acres, starring Kanye West and Kim Kardashian in a dual role as both Lisa and Arnold.

      • What next, "My Mother, the Car"?

        Green Acres, starring Kanye West and Kim Kardashian in a dual role as both Lisa and Arnold.

        With her backside playing Arnold Ziffle the pig.

    • by linearZ ( 710002 )

      I was a little kid when I saw that show, and even then, it was obvious it was a piece of crap.

      I said the same thing about Battlestar Galactica. But the first 2.5 seasons of the new version may have been the best Sci-Fi in the past 15 years. I'm now withholding judgement on any "reboot".

      • I was a little kid when I saw that show, and even then, it was obvious it was a piece of crap.

        I said the same thing about Battlestar Galactica. But the first 2.5 seasons of the new version may have been the best Sci-Fi in the past 15 years. I'm now withholding judgement on any "reboot".

        Perhaps if they changed the whole premise.

        One thing's sort of funny. When I was a kid and watched it, I thought Angela Cartwright was cute. I just looked at some of the old cast photos and realized that it was actually June Lockhart who was the hottie out of that crew.

    • I was a little kid when I saw that show, and even then, it was obvious it was a piece of crap.

      A little kid in the 1960s when it originally aired, or later decades when it was in syndication? The special effects and such need to be viewed in that context. We were barely putting people into orbit at the time, viewers had little reference for "space". Silver spray paint on army surplus boots was pretty common, even in feature films. At least until Kubrick's 2001 increased consumer expectations.

      The 1970s Battlestar Galactic had special effects and production values and plots that we laugh/cringe at t

    • I was a little kid when I saw that show, and even then, it was obvious it was a piece of crap.
      The bottom of the barrel, we scrape it here.

      Yeah, it was dreadful, no two ways about it. It sucked miserably.

      What next, "My Mother, the Car"?

      Oh god, kill me now.

      I'd rather watch reruns of Johnny Quest [youtube.com] or Clutch Cargo [youtube.com]. Or Speed Racer [youtube.com] (the original crappy cartoon), which was the absolute worst piece of shit ever to hit the airwaves.

      • Oh god, kill me now.

        I'd rather watch reruns of Johnny Quest [youtube.com] or Clutch Cargo [youtube.com]. Or Speed Racer [youtube.com] (the original crappy cartoon), which was the absolute worst piece of shit ever to hit the airwaves.

        Clutch Cargo, with Spinner and Paddlefoot! That show creeped me out. no real movement, only superimposed video lips. Maybe it could be used for punishment today.

        "If you don't pick up you're room, you're going to have to sit on this couch and watch Clutch Cargo!"

        Please - no reboot!

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          I applaud the animators for their attempt at innovation, but I'd say it fell well short of the mark. The effect really was strange at best.

        • "Below in the deep there's adventure and danger... that's where you'll find Diver Dan"

          Oh yeah... now we're talking!

          Baron Barracuda would make a great villain.

          Is anyone else as old as me and has memories of this?

      • Probably not healthy to hate Speed Racer that much. How can anyone hate a show where the car had more gadgets than James Bond, and in particular, the car had a fucking camera drone 40 years before anyone else ever thought of that idea.

        Lots of characters died, not so much in the edited version but they still did.

        And you missed the 1996 remake version (no not the movie) where the car got some serious upgrades and ultimately a sort of FTL warp drive which spawned huge plot of about a demonic empire from the

    • by labnet ( 457441 )

      I was a little kid when I saw that show, and even then, it was obvious it was a piece of crap.

      The bottom of the barrel, we scrape it here.

      What next, "My Mother, the Car"?

      Yep. Even as 12 year old, I thought I was wasting my time. Even land of the giants was better than the turn of Lost In Space.... gosh even the Muppets take off of lost in space was better....

    • Funny. I thought they were referring to a NASA documentary.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      No kidding. If you're going to bring back a Sci Fi show from that era, why not do one with good writing, like The Twilight Zone? Though somehow I don't think that'd be the same without the narrator smoking a cigarette...
      • No kidding. If you're going to bring back a Sci Fi show from that era, why not do one with good writing, like The Twilight Zone? Though somehow I don't think that'd be the same without the narrator smoking a cigarette...

        Hww about this reboot? Twilight zone as done by a couple stoners in the Colorado Rockies? Then thy could be smoking something.

      • No kidding. If you're going to bring back a Sci Fi show from that era, why not do one with good writing, like The Twilight Zone? Though somehow I don't think that'd be the same without the narrator smoking a cigarette...

        They have redone the twilight zone at least.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        The 80's version had an episode by J. Michael Straczynski, write of Babylon 5 and Jerimiah

    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      As was I (when it was in reruns in the '70s), and Dr. Smith was awesome, as was with his banter with Billy Mumy and the robot. The rest of the show was a steaming pile of pasteurized process space opera product.

      And the character wasn't intended to be important. Dr. Smith was only the star of the show because Johnathan Harris was so completely freaking awesome. "Oh the pain!" was such an awesome meme. He basically carried a completely bad show with his awesomeness alone, turning into the vehicle by which he

      • And the character wasn't intended to be important. Dr. Smith was only the star of the show because Johnathan Harris was so completely freaking awesome. "Oh the pain!" was such an awesome meme. He basically carried a completely bad show with his awesomeness alone, turning into the vehicle by which he got to the situations that he would react to.

        Yes, he was definitely the highlight of the show.

  • if you are over eight years of age.
  • The shows Netflix makes are of little value. I use the service to get quick, legal access to the umpteen series other people have made.

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Saturday November 21, 2015 @09:05PM (#50978357) Homepage

      Some of the shows Netflix has made have been hailed as great programming. I personally can't speak for what I haven't seen, but Daredevil was fantastic. I highly doubt that any network TV station could have produced anything of that quality. It would have degenerated into Criminal Of The Week stories, forced pre-commercial cliffhangers, post-commercial recaps, and a story that didn't flow as nicely from episode to episode. Only HBO might have been been able to do Daredevil as well as Netflix did. (Which isn't a coincidence as Netflix wants to have more original programming like HBO does.)

      On the comedy/sitcom end, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was funny in a way that I wish more sitcoms were. Again, no commercials meant they didn't need to pause the episode's story to show ads.

      This doesn't mean a Netflix produced Lost In Space is guaranteed to be fantastic, but - based on their past successes - it means there's a good chance that it'll be good.

    • Amen. I want Netflix to be what it used to be: a single place where for one reasonable monthly fee, I could get just about any movie or recent TV show I was in the mood for.

      • I agree. The problem is, now-a-days, there's no money in showing someone else's content. You need to own it all.

      • That's what a lot of people want. It doesn't happen because the content creators don't want it.
      • > I could get just about any movie or recent TV show I was in the mood for.

        I love Netflix too but greed over licenses is really hurting Netflix.

        * None of the Iron Man trilogy are available. (Iron Man 2 _was_ available but pulled a year+ (?) ago)

        * _Still_ waiting for Seinfeld...

    • The shows Netflix makes are of little value. I use the service to get quick, legal access to the umpteen series other people have made.

      Arrested Development, Lillhammer and The Trailer Park Boys

      I dunno how much involvement Netflix has or had in these shows being resurrected or allowed to continue...but they seem to claim some responsibility.

    • by captjc ( 453680 )

      As a fan of the House of Cards remake, I disagree. As long as they continue to make quality shows, I wish them the best. Much better than the vast majority of trash that constitutes TV today.

      I want quality content and support any and all who care to make it.

  • by NormHome ( 99305 ) on Saturday November 21, 2015 @08:40PM (#50978307)

    There was an attempted remake in 2004 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt07... [imdb.com] but the pilot was so terrible it was never picked up. You can find some clips on Youtube but it's painful to watch.

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Saturday November 21, 2015 @09:07PM (#50978367) Homepage

      There was also a horrible Daredevil movie, but Netflix made a wonderful series based on the character. Here's hoping Lost In Space follows this pattern.

      • by NormHome ( 99305 )

        Absolutely, with the right production values, casting and writing it could be good but historically it's not easy. Usually somewhere along the way someone makes a bad decision, I always feel like casting is the hardest. The two parts that will be hardest to cast are Professor Robinson and Dr. Smith, Guy Williams was awesome and Jonathan Harris was amazing.

  • A TV season was ~27 episodes? Now, they have the audacity to call a dozen episodes a season. Somebody turned the incredible grocery shrink ray on Hollywood.

    • by captjc ( 453680 )

      On one hand, I totally agree. The fact that seasons seem to be between 6 and 12 episodes these days with some shows going as low 3 episodes, it just seems to be too little content. However, looking back at some of my favorite old shows, I realize just how much is pointless filler. So on the other hand I prefer quality over quantity.

      Thinking about it, I would probably prefer 12 really solid episodes than 30 episodes of much more varying quality, half of which are just filler.

      • I think it's more about the economics of producing the show. Back then, it was relatively cheap to produce and residuals were smaller if the existed at all. And certainly, nobody in commercials got residuals.

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      A TV season was ~27 episodes? Now, they have the audacity to call a dozen episodes a season. Somebody turned the incredible grocery shrink ray on Hollywood.

      There is no shortage of quantity available. What we need now is quality.

      • Yes, but back then they number of outlets was tiny and there were no DVRs or VCRs so a show had to grab an audience's attention and hold it for six months. Now, it's more like: The season starts in late September and runs to December and then they're on hiatus until January i.e. next season.

        • And by then, everyone's forgotten about the series and started watching something else, and the networks wonder why the viewership has plummeted.

  • Only once in the third season did The Robot say "Danger, Will Robinson"

    other times he said "warning, warning" or "danger, danger"

  • God I saw this as a kid and I WANTED it to get good but every episode was driven by Dr Smith being an a-hole and the Robinsons forgiving him and taking him to the next episode free as a bird to screw them again. Talk about a lazy writing staff. This could be an interesting idea if they tried to take the original start and create something imaginative with challenges and resourceful responses. If they just reanimate the corpse it would have to stink pretty bad now because it stunk horribly before they burie
    • I would have shoved his ass into the protein recycler on the first offense.

      • They had the suspended animation tubes. They could have just frozen him, as long as they got control of the robot and ordered it not to thaw him back out. Then, he's a harmless popsicle until if/when they get back to civilization and turn him over to the appropriate authorities.
        • Obviously he could have schemed his way to escape, or Will would have unfroze him to get help with his homework or something equally stupid.

          • by Agripa ( 139780 )

            I have difficulty imagining Lennier requiring help to do homework.

          • Yeah... the ever-present "Idiot Plot"; everyone has to be an idiot in order for the plot to follow the course the writers have plotted. Lost in Space was chock full of those. At least, to the best of my recollection -- I haven't watched any of them since they were originally aired, and the last one I watched was the walking carrot episode. (Old? Watch it, sonny, or I'll whack you with my cane.)

            The main idiocy through the run of the series being, it's a dire survival situation that sinister enemy agent D

  • I liked the movie. sure, there were problems. But you get an appreciation for it after watching Star Wars episode I.

    Suddenly, Lost in Space doesn't seem so bad...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I liked the movie. sure, there were problems. But you get an appreciation for it after watching Star Wars episode I.

      Suddenly, Lost in Space doesn't seem so bad...

      But but but Silicon Graphics is dead. Dead and buried. You can't remake Lost In Space without SG workstations peppered here and there. What's next L.I.S with Windows 10 or IOS ? Shit.

      • by Macrat ( 638047 )

        I liked the movie. sure, there were problems. But you get an appreciation for it after watching Star Wars episode I.

        Suddenly, Lost in Space doesn't seem so bad...

        But but but Silicon Graphics is dead. Dead and buried. You can't remake Lost In Space without SG workstations peppered here and there. What's next L.I.S with Windows 10 or IOS ? Shit.

        Atari has been dead and buried for a long time, but the name still lives on.

        Why not Silicon Graphics?

  • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer&earthlink,net> on Saturday November 21, 2015 @10:18PM (#50978621)

    I often wondered why there is such a tendency for reboots in TV and movies. Why re-make something when you could make something new? Then I realized something. In today's society of perpetual copyrights it is nearly impossible to create something new that would not be considered derivative of some existing work. The path of least resistance is to license a known entity to shield the show creators from a nearly inevitable barrage of lawsuits from people with rights to any movie, show, novel, comic book, or whatever, seeking to get a piece of the profits.

    The creators of the reboot can then derive freedom to re-invent the premise with even wildly variations on the theme so long as they retain enough of the character names, plot elements, and so forth that they can logically claim it is still a derivative of the original. The ability to bring in fans of the original work no doubt allows for some insurance of success for the series.

    This is why, IMHO, we can't have anything new. We've built up such a history of copyrighted works that anything that is not completely foreign to a potential audience will no doubt be considered a derivative of some existing work. Anything that is so foreign to be considered truly novel is so unlikely to be successful that the chances of finding someone willing to fund the effort would be very small.

    Lost in Space sounds like a basis upon which someone could build a very entertaining universe. It could also turn out as badly as the original and the movie.

  • Dear Lord, why?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    1. One character will be black.
    2. One character will be gay.
    3. Female characters won't be feminine
    4. The robot's voice will be femaie.
    5. They will be escaping the Earth's man-made climate change.
    6. Half the cast will be jewish (the best paid half)

  • 'Lost' was an alright show (although I hated its slow slide from sci-fi to spiritualism), but why are they remaking it in space? It's such a new series to remake, too. /s

  • The past repeats (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) on Sunday November 22, 2015 @12:17AM (#50978985)

    Back in the 60's, Star Trek had to compete with Lost in Space as some viewers and a lot of TV execs considered them basically the same. Which is silly. Star Trek rarely had costumed monsters of the week. Lost in Space never missed them.

    Both shows shared some writers, directors, guest stars, and even monster props by the same people. So the two shows DID have some things in common. But not premise or most content.

    And now, Netflix is remaking Lost and CBS is launching a new Star Trek series. They shall compete again.

    Nothing changes.

    • I have thought for a long time that Lost in Space is to Star Trek as The Munsters is to the Addams Family. Evidently every genre has a market for mediocre. Or maybe they were targeted for different age groups.
  • I used to like Airwolf as a kid. I mean, what's not to like? High tech (for the time) super-fast chopper zipping around blowing up the bad guys!

    Then I went back and watched it again years later. Oh man.

    Let your childhood television shows live in your mind as pleasant memories. Don't try to relive the moment. The truth is not pretty.

  • My brother named my nephew William. :-))

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