The annual WonderCon convention is in many ways a little brother to the behemoth that is San Diego Comic Con. It is less crowded and easier to obtain a badge, but still has a large amount of “Hollywood” content. This is most likely due to its location in Anaheim, California, close to so many of the production companies creating these films and shows.
That is how I found myself, along with about a thousand other convention goers, on a Saturday afternoon, taking in the first episode of Netflix’s new Lost in Space series. The large domed arena, utilized for the panels that are expected to draw the largest crowds, was about 80% of capacity. The crowd seemed very engaged in the story unfolding on the screen, I know I was enthralled, so much so that I didn’t notice the gentleman squeezing by to seat one seat down from me until he was right in front of me. I thought nothing of it and continued to watch the compelling science fiction story.
I noted the extremely high production values, great special effects, solid acting and overall tone of the series. It has a familial quality to it, but very much a sense of menace. The actors also do an incredible job of showing the complexity of family relationships. All those emotions that we feel for our parents or siblings. Even when they aren’t always positive, they aren’t always definable, yet those people are still our family. Those things left unsaid are somehow encapsulated in this show, in its story, in it’s tone, perhaps within the very relationships of the actors themselves. The chemistry between them is so believable, it is a highlight in a show filled with highlights.
The original Lost in Space was often summed up succinctly as “Swiss Family Robinson in space”, this felt similar but modern. The tension and danger that the Robinson family finds itself in during the first episode felt palpable. Still I am going to blame my uncharacteristic emotional reaction to the climax of the first episode on the exhaustion of covering a big, hectic convention. Many a friend will tell you that I normally do not show emotion easily, so I was surprised myself as I wiped away a tear or two. This show is good though, maybe it even got to me a little, there I admit it. I sort of have to make that admission, because here’s the thing … I got called out for that reaction.
I got called out for that reaction by none other than Jon Jashni at the Lost in Space Press Room later that same day. Remember that guy that showed up late and sat one seat down from me? Yep, it was Jashni, for those not aware, Jashni is one of the executive producers of Lost in Space. In fact, according to fellow EP on the show, Kevin Burns, Jashni was an integral part in putting the right team together to bring the show to life. You can imagine my surprise as he approached my press table and remarked how he had sat next to me at the screening, as I began to reply he followed up with “… and you cried.” I was a bit taken aback, but Jashni followed up by saying that usually it is the executive producers who are crying because they fail but in this case my reaction means they won.
I’ve got to agree with Jashni, Lost in Space feels like a winner to me.
Lost in Space premieres on Netflix with all 10 episodes of the series available on Friday April 13th.
The clips below are from the Lost in Space Press Room at WonderCon
Max Jenkins (Will Robinson) on working with Green-Screen and his friendship with Parker Posey
Mina Sundwall (Penny Robinson) on relating to Penny and being funny (with Zack Estrin – Executive Producer)
Mina Sundwall (Penny Robinson) on what she will make Lost in Space stand out from other Sci-Fi shows (with Zack Estrin – Executive Producer)
Toby Stephens (John Robinson) on relating to the disconnection John Robinson to the rest of the family
Molly Parker (Maureen Robinson) on being Super Mom and the role of gender in the show
Parker Posey (Dr Smith) on her favorite part of playing Dr Smith
Ignacio Serricchio (Don West) on Don West going from loyal crew member in the original to being needed but not trusted in this version
Taylor Russell (Judy Russell) on the challenge of balancing intelligence and emotion in Judy Robinson
Taylor Russell (Judy Russell) on her preference for physically demanding scenes versus quieter moments
Jon Jashni (Executive Producer) on the timing of bringing back Lost in Space
Kevin Burns (Executive Producer) on choosing to work with Netflix