That should read “UNoriginal”

I missed a week of HTC because life has been busy, and it’s been very difficult to get through 3 episodes of this show. It hasn’t been difficult because life’s been busy, though. Read on to find out why.

What’s a Hat-Trick Critique?

Hat Trick Critiques attempt to answer the question “Is this a good show?”. The answer is based solely on the first 3 episodes, and use Goethe’s 3 criteria to make the decision. Those criteria are:

  1. What were the creators trying to do?
  2. How well did they do it?
  3. Was it worth the doing?

And so... On to the critique.

What Were They Trying to Do?

This one is rather simple. The creators were trying to tap into the nostalgia for the original Lost in Space, and update it to fit more modern sensibilities.

They wanted to reimagine the story (which was, itself a reimagining of Swiss Family Robinson, which was a reimagining of Robinson Crusoe.

How Well Did They Do It?

I know your cliche, little boy

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Terribly.

This show is a trainwreck of cliches, enveloped in a blanket of factual errors, wrapped up on a plot with more holes than ratty fishnets.

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I wrote over 600 words of “quick notes” as to why the execution of this show is terrible—and I’ve got at least that much in my head that I never wrote down. Here’s a quick list:

  • There’s no way that meters of ice freeze up in seconds
  • The number of cliches trotted out in the first 20 minutes would break TVTropes.com
  • I can only guess that the writers had an algorithm of cliche lines that the linked to their word processor. “Where’s Will?” I honestly expected the response to be “he fell down the well”.
  • The cinematography is just as cliche as everything else.
  • Why would the Jupiter pods launch inward?? That’s just asking for a collision that makes everything all explodey
  • Don’t even get me started on Robot’s “super-heaty mode” that magically makes water disappear (it’s not evaporating—because the humidity isn’t going up and it’s not condensing anywhere—it’s just vanishing)
  • Speaking of Robot: Why is he humanoid? The in-story reason is lame, but why was that decision made in the writers’ room? We have an opportunity for something wonderfully alien—and they blew it
  • Whomever came up with the “story” behind “Dr. Smith” needs to go back to General Hospital. Evil twin? Seriously?? If they hadn’t gender-swapped the character, I would have expected a scene of him shaving off his goatee.
  • Mountains don’t work like that. Under 1G of load, those “fingers” would have broken off long ago. There’s a reason our landscapes look like they do.
  • And.. glaciers don’t work like that, either.
  • “I’ve never seen anything like it!” It’s an eel—Penny even says so a short bit later.
  • Robot can say “Danger Will Robinson”, but nothing else? Hammer home that nostalgia, boys!
  • The super-advanced spaceships that are crossing light years run on swamp gas??
  • All that high-tech and the need to crawl down into the belly of the ship and turn a valve with a “torque wrench”?[1]
  • How much fuel does the ship hold? And how many of those eels are there? Because.... I did the math[2].
  • And finally... a military-run colony ship doesn’t have a justice system set up?? Hells... such a ship doesn’t require some sort of pass-code to get on board? Not a physical key that can be stolen, but an actual pass-code, or biometric scan (which would be different even for twins).
  • And I won’t even get started on all the cliche personality types and the cliche situations they’re put into so that they can recite the cliche responses.

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Was It Worth the Doing?

Far superior... and it’s just so-so

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No.

This version of Lost in Space brings absolutely nothing new to the table. It expects people to like it because of the name, but gives them nothing of what the name represents.

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Quite the opposite. It throws out everything fans loved about the original show and replaces it with “grimdark” and “intense drama”—but can’t even get those right.

Hat Trick?

No

I actually had to force myself to watch the 2nd and 3rd episodes so I could write a valid Hat Trick Critique.

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No “torque wrench” required

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[1] A) that was not a torque wrench. It was a ratchet/socket-wrench.

B) A torque wrench is a metering tool used to tighten bolts to a specific tightness (traditionally measured in foot-pounds).

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C) Opening or closing a valve doesn’t need a torque wrench. At most it would need a plain old wrench. But in reality, it would need... someone to turn the handle.

D) Valves are specifically built to open and close easily. I know—I used to work in a valve factory. And I still want to know why it wasn’t a solenoid that could be opened and closed with the press of a button.

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[2] A Boeing 747 carries just under 240,000 liters of fuel. Methane has about 4 times the energy density of jet fuel. Let’s assume the “hybrid methane” doubles that, and that the Jupiter ships have the same mass and flight characteristics of a 747 (which is blatantly false, but, at this point, who cares?). That would mean, for a 10-hour burn potential, a Jupiter ship would be carrying 30,000 liters of fuel. Based on the diagrams of the primary and reserve tanks, let’s say that 60% is in the primary tank. And let’s be generous and say that the fuel levels dropped by 1% every 10 seconds (it was faster than that, but... maybe that was editing). That means the eels were “eating” 18 liters per second—and not stopping. And then the reserve tank opens (now we’re looking at 30,000 liters) and they still don’t stop eating. Looking at the size of the eels, 1 liter should satisfy their hunger. So... are there 30,000 of them on the ship?

All of which ignores the elephant in the plumbing: Somewhere there’s a hole in the fuel system that allowed 30,000 9-inch-diameter eels to get in—but they apparently closed the door behind themselves, because the fuel “isn’t leaking”.