The Inverse Review

Netflix’s most underrated sci-fi series is finally complete

Lost In Space used to be the campiest sci-fi show ever. Now it’s one of the the best.

The Robinsons’ journey is over. But if you’ve slept on the Netflix reboot of Lost in Space, you can now binge the entire story. As of December 1, 2021, all three seasons of the most underrated sci-fi series in years are streaming.

Here’s what to expect from Season 3, and why the series as a whole is one of the most surprisingly elegant and compelling science fiction shows of all time. No major spoilers ahead.

Molly Parker and Toby Stephens as Maureen and John Robinson.Netflix

It’s tempting to say that the final season of Lost in Space represents the best of the series so far. It’s only eight episodes long, as opposed to 10 each in the previous two seasons, but Season 3 might be the most effective simply because everything feels more urgent. Although the show is about space, there are other ways the Robinson family and the crew of the Resolute colony group get themselves lost. What makes Season 3 different is that, at this point, the heroes finally know more about the galaxy than their enemies.

Like another sci-fi drama rebooted from a cheesier progenitor — Battlestar Galactica — the goal isn’t just to find a suitable home, but also to keep that new planet protected from murderous robots. And like the ending of Battlestar, Season 3 of Lost in Space has a lot of robot questions to answer. Why does the alien SAR want to destroy humans? And why is the regular “Robot” so loyal to Will Robinson (Maxwell Jenkins)?

Lost in Space answers most of these questions better than the ending of many sci-fi series, including Battlestar. In a series built on dangling threads, its conclusion stands out because it’s not leaving the audience in the dark anymore.

In the season’s first episode, “Three Little Birds,” the message is clear: cliffhangers are out. Instead, the characters are climbing over huge cliffs, or riding down them in space rovers. Lost in Space became so good at cliffhangers that it mocks the idea with hilarious visual metaphors. And when Penny (Mina Sundwall) is questioned about a cliffhanger in her pseudo-memoir, she jokes about being “lazy.”

But Lost in Space Season 3 isn’t. It dares to have a real ending, and the ending works. It leaves you wanting more, but lets you walk away satisfied.

Parker Posey as Dr. Smith.Netflix

If your only knowledge of Lost in Space is the vague idea of the 1965 sitcom or the bizarre 1998 film, the entirety of Netflix’s Lost in Space will feel like a breath of fresh air. The series takes itself much more seriously than the campiness the original fell into, but also stays true to some of that show’s darker origins. Just like in the old series, Dr. Smith (Parker Posey) is an amoral villain. But, unlike on the classic show, the character arcs are natural and surprising.

In opposition to a lot of prestige TV, the mystery boxes of Lost in Space are less important than they seem. Watching the series feels more like reading an old-school science fiction novella than it does watching a TV show. You’re always concerned about what’s happening in the moment, so when world-building pops up, it feels like a bonus. You never feel like you’re owed answers to big questions in Lost in Space, so it’s nice when the show answers them anyway.

This adds up to great binging. There are many shows critics claim are great to watch back-to-back, but Lost in Space’s mix of big questions and immediate thrills crowns it the binge-worthy king. Now that we have the whole story, Lost in Space is a thrilling, original, and comfortable sci-fi adventure. It may not be pushing the boundaries of what new science fiction can be, but it’s a masterclass in what old-school space opera sci-fi should be. Go experience it for yourself.

Lost in Space Season 3 premieres on Netflix on December 1, 2021.

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