Lost in Space shows the kids are most definitely doing all right…
Reboots, remasters, revivals…the concept dominating media right now is nostalgia. Lost in Space falls into that category but the new version manages to embrace the concept of the original while putting its own narrative spin on things. The big success though? Generation Z are celebrated.
Lost in Space makes the real heroes the teenagers and preteens. Not only that but the show has embraced diversity. One of the most annoying tropes in any story, but particularly fantasy or sci-fi, is when the story is concentrated around an entire family but this is a trope because it is always around a white family. The most iconic symbol of this is probably the Skywalker legacy. This is an issue because to concentrate a narrative around one white family means to shut out other voices. It, whether intentionally or not, ends up giving a platform to the idea that white characters matter more. Lost in Space immediately challenges this entire concept, and while the family are largely white, the parents have a daughter of colour.
The choice to make Judy a young woman of colour sparked a backlash from some fans who saw it as pointless or about pandering to diversity, and some even were furious at the fact it wasn’t made immediately obvious that Judy was with the family due to adoption or other means. But this is delivering reflective representation. Many families have different make ups and only all white families would argue otherwise. It is also racist and horrifically intrusive to know how a child came to be with a family – as invasive as asking same gender parents how they had a child.
Lost in Space sets the entire series up around the kids, and nothing will stop their incredible stories. The show isn’t afraid to put the series on their shoulders, which is ultimately empowering and a refreshing way for younger characters to be treated. Penny, Judy and Will all save the day at different times but face the biggest difficulties. While the parents, the chicken and the smuggler offer great lines and stories too, it is the kids that everyone is counting on. They’re the ones who find the solution, Judy is the only doctor, and Will grows hugely throughout the series, helping to save all of their lives in the end.
“Lost in Space sets the entire series up around the kids, and nothing will stop their incredible stories.”
How the older generations treat the three main characters is also often under scrutiny, whether that’s their father putting impossible standards upon them, or Dr Smith trying (and often failing) to manipulate them. Throughout it all, Will, Judy and Penny are the ones who get everyone through each situation. They won’t compromise themselves or their morals, shown by the fact Penny utterly refuses to accept the grovelling of a boy completely unworthy of her.
The series itself may get off to a slow start but it’s the kids who save it, as much as the robot. Season two should continue to put its faith in Will, Penny and Judy. Ultimately, they’re the ones who are telling the stories which really matter.
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