Lost in Space: Season Two
December 26, 2019 6:21 PM - Season 2 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The Robinsons continue to find themselves in a series of perilous predicaments in space.
posted by DirtyOldTown (22 comments total)
This show is essentially an engine that delivers predicaments for the Robinson family to escape from... The production delivering that stuff is slick and competent. I'm glad I have this to watch with my kiddo, but I do zone out fairly regularly.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:31 AM on December 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah, at least it took them a couple of episodes for them to go "oh well, we need able bodies, c'mon Dr. Smith, come out and stab us some more! We haven't forgotten, we're just stuck with you."

Still, as you said, it's good enough and doesn't demand a close viewing to make a ton of sense.
posted by Kyol at 12:05 PM on December 27, 2019

Not terrible, not great. A step down in writing quality.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:05 PM on December 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

It is definitely not a great series (either of them) but not much else available to binge in this genre.

Some good bits
When Smith says that Penny may not be the best Robinson but she's the only available Robinson.
Maureen dismissing as idiotic the idea of someone engineering a ship with a self-destruct option.
Addressing the issue of the robot essentially being a slave.
Agreed on the slick production.

Some bad bits
Wouldn't the horse have run out of food by the time the Robinsons got back to the Resolute?
Was that a space whale that knocked the Robinson parents off-course?
Smith sneaking aboard the ship with the kids and Maureen not noticing.
Torturing a robot for months them suddenly changing your mind and dying for it.
The throwaway line that hundreds of colonists would be just fine with a 19 yr old captaining a ship full of their kids. Alone.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 8:49 PM on December 28, 2019

Don’t forget the total lack of security on the Resolute, allowing Smith to delete security
footage and change personnel record without so much as a password.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:05 PM on December 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

I liked the first two episodes a lot; I guess I understand why we need other people besides the main cast, but...do we really, tho? It seems to be a much better show without all these extraneous folks. I don't care about Penny's boyfriend, or his dad, or the Harvey Weinstein-looking villain I was momentarily convinced Maureen had murdered (oh well). In both seasons, the tension immediately evaporates when these lame people appear on the scene. Maybe we could see some aliens? The original Lost in Space seemed to get by okay that way.

I'd also like to see a bit more movement vis a vis the robots. The show's not really giving me the sense it knows what it wants to reveal about them, but hopefully they'll think of something between seasons.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:49 PM on December 28, 2019

It seems to be a much better show without all these extraneous folks.

Hunh - see, I have pretty much the opposite reaction; I just got through ep 4 last night and I immediately thought "Thank god we've found more people again!" Without other people to interact with the Robinson family dynamics are grating and the plots of the shows become too repetitive. (I felt this way about season one, too, FWIW.)

When it's just the Robinsons (+ Don & Smith), it's as DOT describes it, a relentless series of predicaments, but the writing and directing aren't good enough to make it "competence porn" - they never have a Plan B, they never even seem to stop to consider what to do if things don't go 110% they way they expect, there's not enough time and energy spent on showing us all the nifty jury-rigging they devise and what we do see is confusingly shot, and basic common sense appears and disappears at random (fer example, use and length of safety ropes while they're clambering around the wet slick metal top of the Jupiter in spacesuits while "sailing" it in Ep. 2 - "Oh no someone is sliding off despite being hooked to a safety rope let's all just jump & run to save him on this slippery surface without hooking up to our own safety ropes!!!!")

And then despite John and Maureen being all "family family family family" they all hide things from each other; Maureen in particular appears to have no clue at all about her children's actual thoughts and feelings despite the fact that pretty much every episode has at least one of the kids (justifiably) complaining about being ignored, under-appreciated, underutilized, and overprotected and somewhere in there there's a big "You're right, we won't do that anymore moment" that lasts for all of about 5 minutes until the next predicament. The only interesting part to the Robinson family dynamics is how it gives Smith lots of opportunities to dig into these stress points in the family for her own gain, and even that's starting to get a little tired.

This definitely a "well, why not" series rather than a "must watch" for me.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:50 AM on December 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

I am pretty find of Don, who is essentially this show's Romo Lamkin, a character who, in a functioning society would cheerfully choose to be a good-for-nothing crook. But, in the absence of a functioning society, if he has to will rise to the occasion and do great things.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:23 AM on December 29, 2019

Agreed about Don DirtyOldTown. The series leaves a lot of unrealized potential to pine for but Don is an interesting, complex character that I'd like to see more of. At least at this point; we'll see when I finish the second half of this season.
posted by mce at 10:30 AM on December 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would gladly watch a Don + Debbie space buddy adventures show. Or at least a series of shorts to tide us over until whatever improbable conundrum Judy engineers everyone out of at the start of S3.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:07 PM on December 30, 2019

I would gladly watch a Don + Debbie space buddy adventures show.

I am so glad they rebooted Debbie as a chicken, and not as a bloop.
(Frankly, I wouldn't have blamed Judy the Chimpanzee if she savaged her trainer over that shit.)
posted by mikelieman at 2:10 AM on December 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Cool, I remember thinking the only problem with season 1 was the writing.

Not terrible, not great. A step down in writing quality.

posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:32 AM on December 31, 2019

Dr. Smith LIVES!
posted by zengargoyle at 7:59 PM on December 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure if I like it or not. It is basically just bad things happen to family and then worse thing happens every episode. It got me and I watched the whole damn thing in two days so I guess it's good? Compelling at least. It's interesting because I really am enjoying the Witcher but I am not at all compelled to watch more than 1 episode of that a day.

My 6yo has zero interest in Witcher but hears the Lost in Space music and comes to watch and ask me endless questions about what's happening.

I really find the music in Lost in Space with it's ridiculous crescendos to work well too.
posted by M Edward at 8:17 PM on December 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is popcorn TV to be sure but I think it's more interesting than the Mandalorian and much more watchable than the Witcher (admittedly I gave up on that after the first episode). The CGI is really impressive IMO -- I think the robot fight in the finale was really well done, for example.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:34 AM on January 2, 2020

A few more episodes in and while the format continues to sort of bug me - it's a mumpty-mump episode season released simultaneously, the constant stream of different challenges is mildly exhausting and I sort of wish they'd stick with far fewer but better told challenges. THAT SAID:

1) The "last season on Last In Space" review before the first episode really totally missed the mark. Like, it felt like it completely ignored all of the minutiae of the Robot / Alien Navigator / Egg storyline, so massive chunks of their reintroduction in the 3rd and 4th episodes were sort of fuzzy. Like, Dear Show I get the interpersonal conflict and drama, that's sort of a given in the series and it's easy enough to pick up in a few minutes because it's human, but the sci-fi alien specifics of how the family ended up here and how they were planning on proceeding? That might be more helpful to remind us of kthx.

2) It feels like they're successfully walking the line between annoying Wesley Crusher hypernerd children and kids who are just there to pass the idiot ball around and be points for angst. Yeah, occasionally they act like young adults and teens, but they're competent enough that it's not all HEY WHAT'S THIS GLOWY THING *zot*.
posted by Kyol at 9:31 AM on January 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Still, as you said, it's good enough and doesn't demand a close viewing to make a ton of sense.

In fact, it demands desultory viewing in order to make any sense. It drives me crazy how many problems would be solved if characters just used common sense--particularly with Dr. Smith. I am a pretty peaceful person but I would have murdered her sometime in season one, and I don't understand why they keep her around at all.
posted by chaiminda at 1:51 PM on January 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

A little further into the season (I keep forgetting about the shows that don't have an obvious HEY DUMMY YOU HAVE SHOWS IN THIS APP TO WATCH indicator kthx app devs in our balkanized media landscape) and oh god I mean I know Dr. Smith is annoying and frustrating and ugh but damn does Parker Posey just _sell_ it.

So good. So so good. Everybody else is about as good as the show needs them to be, no complaints there really, but Parker manages to get the line between "she's evil, space her!" and "but she can be useful!" so very right.
posted by Kyol at 11:32 AM on January 15, 2020

So I finally finished and... I dunno, it feels like it peaked early? The actual season climax was maybe 2 episodes before the season ended (i.e. the mutiny and gas dive), and it kind of limped along uncertainly after that.

I mean, oh no what ever will the kids do without their parents. Narrative expectations mean that whole setup cannot _possibly_ be resolved to any satisfaction. S3E2 will be all "oh yeah hey turns out you were only like behind the gas giant lol" and hey hey it's the Maureen and John Robinson show again.

Still, it's fun and moves along at a good clip and it's family friendly, so hey.
posted by Kyol at 8:33 AM on January 17, 2020

We’re part way through — and I’m not worried about spoilers as mr. Icing is the one who’s more keen — and it’s okay. I’m a little desperate for a sci-fi space show as favs aren’t dropping for a while (Orville, Expanse, Mandalorian). Parker Posey is annoyingly good. Liz from Hellboy! Good to see Selma Blair physically able to work again! Cast is pretty good and the direction is pretty solid. VFX is really very good - some water scenes are done so well that I can’t figure out if it is blue screen or water set or location. It’s just that good. Music is majestic fun. Touch of John Williams in there. But story quality . . .

I kept getting irritated that no one tossed Dr. Smith’s quarters when she escorted to toilet. Or pat her down every now and then.
posted by lemon_icing at 9:00 PM on January 18, 2020

I am pretty find of Don... [...] in the absence of a functioning society, if he has to will rise to the occasion and do great things.

"When you want someone who gives 70%, you call Don West!"
- Don West

Lost in Space is just fun to watch, period.

I kind of hate-watched season 1, but after bingeing this season (2 eps to go) I'm a fan.

Once I suffocated my objection to characters doing foolish or nonsensical things and just treated it like a theme park ride I really started to enjoy it.

While there are short-term stupid plot elements that serve only to maneuver events into place for conflicts the writers want to get to, the larger plot elements are pretty good. And is it any worse than Star Trek: Discovery in that regard? I'd argue that it's better actually.

What really makes it though is the assembly. The pacing and the attention to keeping the A, B and C stories moving is great. There's always at least one full-on adventure thread, a mystery thread and a relationship thread. You're never more than a few minutes away from something really exciting happening. And The balance between episodic and arc plot is very well-calibrated.

The art direction and vfx are great. The vfx shots are just beautiful.

I don't think every heroic character needs some grimdark backstory, but I like that it's coming out that Maureen cheated to get Will into the program.

And I like the actors a lot. Parker Posey is a standout, but everyone does solid work that elevates the material.

Is the main title theme in 5/4 time? I like it a lot, its tone matches the show really well.

If you can just accept that this is an alternate universe where the best and brightest sometimes do bafflingly stupid things, it's a hell of a ride. It's been a long time since there was a space adventure show I was excited about because it was fun to watch. (I'm excited to watch The Expanse for other reasons.)

More representation of gender and sexual diversity would be welcome of course. I'm fine with the general absence of sex/sexiness on the show, but Vijay could easily have been written as a girl (just as a quick example) without coming close to the guardrails they need to maintain for whatever definition of "family show" they're working under.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:46 PM on January 3, 2022

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