Out of this world

The clas­sic 1960s TV se­ries Lostin Space is re-imag­ined in a dra­matic Net­flix re­boot, writes HOLLY BYRNES

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

WHEN news first broke that ‘queen of indie cool’ Parker Posey would play Dr Smith in a Net­flix re-imag­in­ing of Lost In Space, fans of the sci-fi clas­sic em­braced the cast­ing call.

Un­like the con­tro­versy which sur­rounded the gen­der switch made by pro­duc­ers of Doc­tor Who, Posey had a long pedigree for mak­ing the weird seem won­der­ful.

Or as one fan­site ar­gued: “If any­one can play self­ishly evil and funny at the same time, it’s Parker Posey.”

She nailed just that as Tom Hanks’ laugh­ably self­ab­sorbed girl­friend Pa­tri­cia Eden in ro­man­tic-com­edy smash You’ve Got Mail; just as she did in a string of other TV ap­pear­ances in­clud­ing New Girl, Louie and her first Net­flix role in Mas­cots.

But so beloved and iconic was Jonathon Har­ris’ camp per­for­mance as Dr Zachary Smith in the 1960s orig­i­nal, the task of re­cap­tur­ing that de­li­cious mix of good and evil brought with it some risk. Posey tells TV Guide it was a thrilling and nos­tal­gic chal­lenge to ac­cept.

“I was re­ally touched to ac­tu­ally play some­one so orig­i­nal as he was,” the 49-year-old says.

“[Har­ris] had a very in­ven­tive per­son­al­ity, and he came on the show and kind of stole it from ev­ery­one else … he was such a char­ac­ter.

“He was al­ways funny. He was kind of evil, but you al­ways liked him, you know.”

Set 30 years in the fu­ture, where coloni­sa­tion in space is a re­al­ity, the Robin­son fam­ily “find them­selves abruptly torn off course en route to their new home” and must nav­i­gate the dan­gers and un­fa­mil­iar con­di­tions of a new alien en­vi­ron­ment.

This new ‘world’ was ac­tu­ally the wilds out­side Van­cou­ver, mak­ing this 10-part sea­son look very dif­fer­ent to the orig­i­nal, which was filmed on a dusty sound stage in Hol­ly­wood.

Black Sails star Toby Stephens plays fa­ther John Robin­son, a mil­i­tary veteran, op­po­site Dead­wood’s Molly Parker, his aero­space en­gi­neer wife Mau­reen, who signs her fam­ily up to the space ex­per­i­ment.

Their chil­dren – Judy (Tay­lor Rus­sell), Penny (Mina Sund­wall) and Will ( Sense8’ s Maxwell Jenk­ins – have all in­her­ited their par­ents’ smarts and sur­vival skills.

Will and Dr Smith share a unique bond, de­spite the fact Posey’s char­ac­ter is ma­nip­u­lat­ing his fam­ily and not what she seems.

Posey cel­e­brates the smart way the young char­ac­ters are de­fined and the credit the show gives to its au­di­ence, across gen­er­a­tions.

“I re­ally love when I see en­ter­tain­ment that treats kids like they know what they’re say­ing and what they’re talk­ing about … like they’re young adults,” she says. “In the re­cre­ation of [ Lost In Space] I hope it brings in all those feel­ings that those good shows did that I loved as a kid … ’cause I loved shows that had kids in them that were feel­ing some­thing … that were mis­fits or dif­fer­ent.”

The strength of the fe­male char­ac­ters was also “em­pow­er­ing”, says Parker, who Posey de­scribes as “her neme­sis, her shadow” in the new se­ries.

“They are smart and there is never any ques­tion that they are com­pe­tent and strong and as able as any of the men in the show,” Parker says.

Parker de­scribes her cos­tar Posey as “just bril­liant” not­ing her abil­ity to switch from light to dark, from one mo­ment to the next. “Her com­edy chops are so strong. She just kills and then she can turn on a dime and you re­ally feel for this per­son.”

Fresh spin: Parker Posey and Maxwell Jenk­ins star in the Net­flix re-imag­in­ing of LostInS­pace.

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