Season 2 of Netflix’s “Lost in Space” is better than the first. No question.
Not that season 1 was bad. In fact, I really liked 2018’s 10-episode adventure, which reimagined the classic 1960’s series with a more action-packed, gritty storytelling style.
And in many ways, I felt that season 1 was a solid family-friendly science fiction series to watch with my (then) seven-year-old son.
Season 1’s Challenges
But the first season was filled with any number of ‘challenging’ moments better designed for adults than kids. It was hard to figure out some of the complex characters, and it took time to determine whether they were ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ (And some were left in the gray zone.)
Even though the series is rated PG-TV, a few of the alien encounters in season 1 might be a little too scary for younger kids. Though there wasn’t any serious violence, there were plenty of intense moments involving life and death.
And then, there were a few examples of salty language thrown in that you might not want to expose your kids to. (Episode 9 at 14 minutes was the worst offender.)
All of these factors point to the reality that you’ve really got to watch season 1 of “Lost in Space” with your kids. You’ll also probably want to deconstruct some of the plot elements with them as teachable moments.
Season 2’s Improvements
“Lost in Space” season 2 successfully addresses all of these ‘weaknesses’ as a family-friendly vehicle.
Most of the problems with the Robinsons as a family unit have been worked through, and we’re left with an overachieving A-team that’s more unified in confronting every life-threatening challenge that’s thrown its way. The result is more adrenaline-fueled adventure for the viewer.
Simply put, season 2 has more thrills.
And the cinematic-level special effects continue to dazzle, especially for a TV series.
But this series is not only about the action. The great cast also continues to be a major asset. The actors are consistently solid, embodying both strong male and female characters.
In fact, if you had to pick the dominant character, (which is difficult) it’s Molly Parker’s Maureen Robinson. And Parker Posey’s Dr. Smith continues to mystify and satisfy.
Positive Course Correction
Season 2’s storytelling has also moved towards a simpler structure, which kids will be able to digest more easily. That may not be a positive change for some adult viewers who enjoyed the “Battlestar Galactica” type complexities in season 1. But the enduring ‘heart’ from this “Lost in Space” has always set this sci-fi series on a different, more optimistic course.
As for the salty language issue, the writers have cleaned up their act. There’s nothing of concern to parents in any of these ten new scripts.
While season 2 has simplified its structure, it’s also benefited from any number of continuing story elements, most importantly the idea of growth and evolution that comes from experience.
(Minor spoiler: the Robot changes.)
Figuring Out the Details
The only small beef I have with season 2 is there are certain quick plot twists than are slightly confusing. I think some pivotal moments literally happen too quickly, requiring a 30-second rewind. Others appear part of the ongoing mystery behind the connection between the aliens and the humans.
And there are a few expected payoffs that you don’t get by the end of season 2. I’m sure that’s because some of the cards are being held for season 3, which is clearly set up at the end of the episode 10.
That said, enough gets wrapped up in season 2 that I am satisfied with the overall experience of “Lost in Space” (as opposed to being entirely drained by the end of each of the “Stranger Things” season cliffhangers).
“Lost in Space” season 2 is a whole lot of fun to watch for the entire family. As a geeky father, I don’t feel that it’s lost anything by becoming more family friendly. In fact, I believe it has clearly locked its identity in this season.
While “The Mandalorian” on Disney+ has sucked all of air out of sci-fi water-cooler conversations, you may have missed the arrival of this next Robinson family chapter.
Now’s the time to follow its orbit.