Lost in Space is Lost in Feminism
It’s always a dead giveaway that you’re getting the feminist version of something when one of the male characters is inexplicably and gratuitously cast as female; add in the Black female survivor character and you know that the feminists are of the Canadian man-hating variety responsible for such misandry as Van Helsing, Wynonna Earp and The Magicians.
Netflix’ remake of the iconic 60's series Lost in Space basically eschews everything that gave the original worth (what used to be called “family values”) in favor of empowering women (which seemingly all shows want to do these days, in spite of the fact that men still watch TV too). The original story details what happens when a family of scientists gets blasted off-course and find themselves crashed on an unknown and potentially hostile planet. There’s a loving mom, a stalwart dad, two teenage daughters and a young son — all pretty straight-forward roles with very little room for ambiguity. The writers of this version tend to disagree!
It’s always distressing when political agenda is put above good old-fashioned storytelling, and Lost in Space is a fine example of how bad this can be. The production’s first feminist ploy was to break up the male-block casting of the original series (and the faithful 1998 movie) which both featured 5 male voices: John Robinson, Major West, Dr. Smith, Will Robinson, and The Robot. During the first 3 episodes, three of those voices were silenced by writing choices that made Dr. Smith female, Don West absent, and The Robot mute. In watching an old episode it was shocking to see how much male interaction took place in the story, as well as the family dynamic which managed to give each of its 7 characters something to do every week. In this new feminist version, John Robinson is the only adult male lead on screen for the first third of the series, with young Will popping in from time to time. And even more distressing is the fact that all other previous incarnations of Will Robinson depicted him as a science prodigy, while this feminist version takes him down a peg by making him not smart enough to pass the test required for the mission. Indeed, it is his mother who must pull some strings to get her sub-par male son included. This style of writing serves to discount and diminish the role of men in settings (wartime and space) where they would naturally be present and excel.
Over the course of the 5 episodes I was able to endure, the writing tended to create scenarios in which the female characters were able to shine and achieve, while the one (or occasionally two) male characters basically “sat everything out”. And when another male character is finally introduced (an Asian scientist), it is his two daughters who have all the speaking lines. By the time Judy breaks Don’s nose in episode 5 (for no real story reason other than to show her empowerment), it is obvious that The Feminist Agenda is in full-swing!
But this begs the questions:
- why do the men have to disappear or be marginalized in order for the accomplishments of women to shine;
- why do we need to see that on TV, a medium ostensibly meant to entertain everyone;
- Can’t powerful women co-exist alongside powerful men in today’s television landscape?
Granted, 60's Maureen Robinson was definitely of her time, being as she was a wife and mother and not a feminist pioneer. The movie’s remade version was basically a 30-years-later version of that same theme: loving wife and mother. However in 2018, The Feminist Agenda has determined that, in today’s culture, Maureen needs to be a bitter, domineering harridan, angry at the man who chose war over her and who never lets anyone forget that there really is no need for men because she can do everything herself. But this is, again, feminist writing in a show ostensibly meant to entertain everyone of both sexes. Canadian feminist writing always maligns the man of the piece, as though it had an unspoken agenda to work out. John Robinson is capable and male, but he is rarely given any authority in the family he spawned, and which is largely comprised of women. Does this show, then, seek to build a largely female audience? Possibly, but why not point that out rather than insulting half the thinking audience of men who are just looking for an hit sci-fi show? And why bog the show down with family dysfunction drama when it should be focusing on space action drama and strength in family unity?
Much is being said about Dr. Smith’s unnecessary transformation to female, But Parker Posey’s only real contribution is to show another woman having her way in a male-dominated world, and to (at times) show her mentoring a young boy. I dont feel that gender politics like these help a show, but rather they alienate and polarize their audience. I will never finish the show (and I’m sorry I’ve already paid for it, thanks Netflix, nice trick!) but I look forward to a return to just plain television where everyone is equally important and equally valid — regardless of gender.