Tag Archives: Netflix

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When I first heard that Netflix rolled out a reboot of “Lost in Space,” I reacted with “Danger, Netflix! Danger!”

The TV series, which aired from 1965-68, was a childhood favorite of mine.

It featured space exploration!

And aliens!

And a very cool robot cleverly named Robot!

And, oh yeah, two young female leads, who were pretty hot, but I digress…

The “Lost in Space” movie from 1998 was also surprisingly good, but an entirely new series?

Hmmmm….I was skeptical.

To quote Dr. Smith from the original series: “Oh the pain, the pain!”

But you know what? I am here to tell you the new series is every bit as good as the original and even better.

It has been updated to reflect modern advancements while still staying largely true to the underlying plot: The journey of the Robinson family goes about as straight as a corkscrew.

In the Netflix series, the family seeks out a new life after fleeing a decaying and endangered Earth.

I was utterly hooked from the very first episode. I was emotionally invested and, yeah, at several points on the verge of tears because of the high-stakes situations characters found themselves in.

Among the striking things about the show: the true-to-life family dynamics right down to the tensions between parents and children, the strong female leads (the mom is played by Molly Parker, who is a favorite of mine), the display of smart people finding smart solutions to crises, and the use of music to build suspense.

The other things that impressed me were the gorgeous scenery and investment in sets, costumes, vehicles, design, etc.

In the original series, you will recall the family Robinson was outfitted in space suits that looked like they were wrapped in yards of aluminum foil or some funky velour body suits.

And the props and costumes? Let’s just charitably call them primitive.

When you look back on it, the campy sets and special effects of the original TV show makes this dramatic trailer put out by CBS even more hilarious.

In it, the narrator described the series as “adventures farther out in concept than television has ever gone out before.”

It continued: “‘Lost in Space’ is a top-budget, top-quality show designed to dazzle the eye and ear with the most impressive production values and spectacular effects ever lavished on any TV series.”

Well, yeah. Maybe for its time.

I think that kind of hyperbole applies much more aptly to this Netflix reboot.

If you were fan of the original series, you will not regret going along for this latest ride on the Jupiter 2.

Related:

How I Got My Very Own Robot from “Lost in Space”

 

 

Was “Breaking Bad” The Best Ever? Not So Fast, Sparky…

Dear fans of “Breaking Bad”:

I realize that what I am about to say could get me dumped into a melt-resistant plastic barrel, my body bathed in a chemical stew and shipped off to hazardous waste facility somewhere but I have this to tell you after having just finished all five seasons:

“Breaking Bad” was good. Did it live up to all the hype? The “best TV ever” as some proclaimed? Addicting as blue meth?

No, not by a long shot.

Don’t get me wrong. I think what Vince Gilligan did aesthetically with the show — especially his use of light, his play with shadows and with the off-kilter, strange point-of-view camera angles — was just inspired. And I also liked what he did with the musical soundtracks woven through different episodes.

I enjoyed some of the interplay between Jesse and Walt, some of the harrowing situations they got into and, of course, the comic relief of Saul Goodman.

But I just could not get knocked off my feet like a meth head taking another hit on a pipe.

Sure, I get it: Walt White is transformed from a meek, but brilliant and undervalued high school chemistry teacher into a thug drug kingpin who in the end is portrayed as trying to redeem himself from his wicked ways.

I thought the first season was the best of the bunch. But for the life of me, I cannot see how viewers could binge watch on these episodes. Dark, exploitative and at times weirdly uncomfortable to watch — like watching your friend’s parents argue in front of you, the shows were sometimes stultifying. I mean, I watched some and then just wanted to run away from the TV set, never mind watch another episode right away.

To Gilligan’s credit, no detail was too small to observe and weave into the plot or episode. And I do admire the titles he gave to the shows. I found Aaron Paul’s performance as Jesse to be outstanding and convincing; Bryan Cranston’s as WW, well, here’s where the show kind of left the rails for me.

After you’re about halfway into the series, it’s clear that Walt has crossed a line from which there is no turning back, yet the show’s writers still tease the viewers into believing that somehow Walt’s intentions are not so bad: He cares about his family. He cares about Jesse. He really wants to take out the “bad guys” and somehow do right by others.

Lost in all of this is that this guy is cranking out meth, for crying out loud.  Not to sound like a Nancy “Just Say No” Reagan acolyte, but
I’ve seen what kind of damage meth can really do to people. It ain’t pretty or trivial.

Walt starts out almost as a sympathetic Willie Loman-like character who you practically can root for. But well into Season 3, Walter was clearly the anti-hero, if not the anti-Christ. Why should I as a viewer be invested in him?

I couldn’t ID with his distorted values as a dad, bread winner or husband. The guy was a stone-cold killer who engendered no sympathy from me. He became an ordinary criminal who just happened to have a genius for science and chemistry. I felt a greater emotional connection with Tony Soprano, even after he whacked his cousin, than I did for Walter.

The wrap-up of “Breaking Bad” left me with an impression that the writers wanted us to feel that Walter had redeemed himself by making amends and seeking out what we were supposed to believe was much-deserved revenge. Even the closing scene had Walter splayed out, almost Christ-like.

C’mon.

No, in the end, unlike his myriad hungry customers both in North America and overseas, I wasn’t buying what Walter White was selling.

In the end, Walter White left me feeling pretty gray.