It’s kind of astounding that despite Netflix’s $8 billion annual content budget and its hundreds and hundreds of original TV shows and films, the streaming service hasn’t yet made a show set predominantly in space.
That’s about to change in a big way.
Netflix has released the trailer for its reboot of Lost in Space, based on the 1960s TV series of the same name about a family of space colonists who veer off course and crash-land on an alien planet. The series has been reimagined twice before: once as a TV pilot in 2003 that never saw the air, and then as a much-maligned movie remake starring Matt LeBlanc of Friends fame.
A middling success when it first aired, the original Lost in Space has become a cult classic in sci-fi communities, renowned for its campy ambition. Netflix’s reboot, however, looks to be a much darker and more stylish version of the story:
As The Verge pointed out, the robot featured in the trailer looks conspicuously like the infamous Demogorgon in Netflix’s hugely popular sci-fi series, Stranger Things. In the original series, it looked more like a boiler.
It makes sense that the streaming giant’s first journey into space would take the form of a big-budget remake of an already well-known property—something it has already done several times and across many genres. It’s a safe play, especially for a company with cavernously deep pockets that has little to lose by investing heavily in another franchise.
The bigger issue for Netflix’s Lost in Space, however, will be whether or not it is able to stand out in the increasingly crowded genre of space exploration.
After a brief post-Star Wars lull in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the number of films set in space has grown steadily over the past 20 years. In the last five years, we’ve seen Gravity, The Martian, and Interstellar, in addition to new installments of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Alien, and Star Wars franchises, to name just a few.
And television has followed suit. Lost in Space will join Fox’s The Orville, CBS’s Star Trek: Discovery, and Syfy’s The Expanse as popular TV series about space travel. Launched last year, the premiere of The Orville was watched by 14 million people and became Fox’s most-watched series premiere since Empire in 2015.
The phenomenon is unlikely to slow down at a time when commercial space travel is beginning to look like an imminent possibility, and one of the world’s foremost cultural icons is a space entrepreneur who wants to colonize Mars.
Lost in Space will debut globally on Netflix on April 13.