[Editor’s Note: The following article contains spoilers for Netflix’s "Lost in Space” Season 1.]
Imagine, if you will, that the 2018 version of “Lost in Space” began with a crash landing — not the Robinson family’s icebound spacecraft, but the robot’s doomed ship. Instead of seeing a pedestrian, unfinished game of Go Fish, viewers could’ve been introduced to a strange new world through the eyes of a strange new machine.
What if “Lost in Space” was told from the robot’s point of view?
Much of the story doesn’t need to change. The robot still could’ve wandered in the wilderness until it spotted a young boy, and, after chasing him down, it could’ve been flipped; what was once malicious (or, at least, devastatingly self-protective) could then become friendly to a human (a human the audience instinctually trusts because he’s got the bland haircut of all adolescent Disney kids).
Read More:‘Lost in Space’ Review: Netflix Successfully Reboots the Robot, But the Rest Is Strictly for Kids
From there, the robot (which, let’s be honest, deserves a real name) could’ve been introduced to the rest of the family, slowly earned their trust, been painfully discarded (out of safety concerns), and later turned to the dark side by the twisted mind of the so-called Dr. Smith (Parker Posey). Imagine the power of scenes where the robot is asked to walk off a cliff or reveals his loyalty to the evil human: If those scenes worked for viewers who identified with the robot because they first identified with Will (Max Jenkins), they’d be doubly powerful if the robot was their primary hero.
The only major changes to the show would’ve been formal: Since Robot is about as loquacious as Wall-E, much of the show would’ve been executed like a silent film (or at least the modern equivalent, where dialogue is nixed but other diegetic sound remains). That’s not an extreme shift given how much of “Lost in Space” is driven by action, and all the precious educational value — like Papa John Robinson’s magnesium trick or the parents using helium to escape a tar pit — could’ve been imparted to the robot instead of around him. Just have him watching in the background, either observing from afar (out of curiosity) or restrained from …read more