The “Lost in Space” reboot just released on Netflix is actually very entertaining. There are some big changes from the original series, but the heart and intrigue of the stranded Robinson family is mostly intact — aside from Mom, Maureen Robinson (Molly Parker), consistently belittling her husband, John (Toby Stephens) for little apparent reason.
The rebooted Robinsons are a highly educated and trained family of five sent off to a space colony ahead of the impending destruction of Earth. Things go pear-shaped on the hull en route to colony planet, Alpha Centauri, and the family is forced to evacuate on their Jupiter 2 spacecraft. They crash land on an unknown but habitable planet, where they quickly realize they are not alone. Fellow survivors of the exploded hull, and other intelligent life are also on the planet.
Will Robinson, the youngest of the three children, encounters his buddy robot when he gets lost, and finds the wreckage of an alien space craft. The 2018 robot is from another planet, and although it initially appears hostile, takes a shine to young Will after the boy helps him out of a tree. The family takes in the robot as kin with little question, taking his good intentions as a totem of loyalty to Will, and therefore the rest of the family. Hey, blind trust of a giant robot alien with claws on a completely unknown planet seems logical, right?
In episode three, John (Dad) attempts to access the onboard 3D printer, an item I assume to be standard on all futuristic spacecraft, to print a gun for protection of his family. His print attempt is thwarted by a pop up message indicating the printing of firearms is prohibited because of some sanctions on Alpha Centauri. Well of course, why would you want to allow the future of humanity to become the massive bummer modern earth is because of the existence of guns? Let’s all naively blast off into the space frontier with no way to defend ourselves other than our college degrees and cunning instinct.
Undeterred from his printer rejection of his right to protect his loved ones, John moves on with his day, fixing things, and trying not to be eaten by space eels. Maureen (Mom) later uses the 3D printer to print up some space ship parts, as you do, and sees that the last use of the machine was outside of the legal parameters, and then notices that metal residue in the print tray, indicating that the illegal action had actually been completed.
She confronts John, assuming he is the culprit, immediately chiding him with, “You know how I feel about guns in the house!” Lady, your house is a wrecked space ship on a completely unexplored alien planet, and the man you are currently talking to like he is an unstable relative with a tendency toward “one too many beers” is actually a highly trained Marine. Not just a Marine, but a highly respected Marine who was carefully vetted and selected along with the rest of his family to colonize the new world in space. He is the most qualified person, maybe ever, to have ready access to a weapon. In fact, he should have a lot more than one.
John admits that he tried to print a gun, but was not successful. He weakly attempts to defend himself, saying he should be able to protect his family from whatever else they don’t even know about yet, citing that the alien robot, a giant weapon whose powers are vast and unknown, is basically sleeping in their son’s room at this point. Maureen is undeterred from her misguided convictions, and reaffirms the trust they have in their new robot friend. “It’s protecting Will!” she says. Probably. We think it is.
Throughout the season, and especially in the first few episodes, the Robinsons encounter a multitude of life-threatening situations, which they narrowly escape from. Maureen barely bats an eye of parental concern. Her family is tough, well-trained, brilliant, and quite capable of fending for themselves when necessary. They agreed to leave everything familiar behind and become one of the first space families. When it comes to guns however, there isn’t even a conversation. She dismisses the idea of having a single handgun for defense in a new world as swiftly and directly as I would decline a second helping of mutton.
It is a notable plot point, because the show is, for the most part, apolitical. This is a major exception, and such an eye-rolling, anti-gun message in a place where it absolutely doesn’t belong. No reasonable person would head into unchartered water without protection. It’s not violent, it’s just common sense — no one on the planet would load their three children into a fallible space ship, on a one way trip, without considering they might encounter hostility along the way. Even if they were absolutely certain they would make it to Alpha Centauri without crashing on a strange planet, wasn’t there even a little concern that they might encounter other humans who may want to do them harm? What kind of noble protector would blindly trust a completely unknown future in an unknown land? Even the 1960’s Robinsons had ray guns.
Overall, the series is quite good. I could live with a few less flashbacks, but the plot moves consciously and efficiently, and the cast is strong. The awkward and clunky dialogue damning gun ownership in the face of all logic only slightly detracts from the decent quality of the show.
C’mon, would you want to live on the frontier without a gun? Of course not.