WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the reboot of Lost in Space, steaming now on Netflix.
The premise and character names are the same, but Netflix's new reimagining of Lost in Space differs significantly in tone -- and budget -- from Irwin Allen's 1960s sci-fi classic. Sure, the Robinsons are still marooned on an unknown planet while on a journey to colonize a new world, but the stakes seem higher, the conflicts more personal, and the family less forgiving of Dr. Smith's "antics," if that word can even begin to describe her manipulations and actions.
However, in its extensive reworking of the concept, this new reboot hasn't forgotten its roots. The Robinsons are definitely updated, yet remain recognizable, and Dr. Smith, although here a woman, is still scheming if more dangerous. Beyond that, though, Netflix's Lost in Space clearly has a fondness for the original series, and pays tribute to it in several ways, some obvious but others far less so.
The Classic Theme
Although Christopher Lennertz composed a new theme for Netflix's reboot, he incorporated elements from John Williams' original, written for the third and final season of the 1960s classic. Now renowned for his iconic film scores for such films as Jaws, Star Wars and Jurassic Park, Williams, then credited as "Johnny Williams," composed the more otherworldly theme used for Lost in Space's first two seasons, and then revised it for the third.
“It was such an honor to be able to incorporate such a classic melody from the man who made me fall in love with film music from the very beginning," Lennertz told Entertainment Weekly. That familiar melody returns throughout the first season of the Netflix reimagining, used to punctuate scenes of triumph, and in the closing credits.
'No Place to Hide'
It's not a tribute in the strictest sense, but you'll notice the credits for the Netflix premiere, "Based on Lost in Space 'No Place to Hide,'" a reference to the unaired pilot for the original series. Using theme music from the film The Day the Earth Stood Still, the 1965 episode introduced the Robinsons and Don West, traveling in suspended animation aboard the Gemini 12, on a nearly century-long journey to Alpha Centauri. However, en route the ship encounters a meteor storm and crashes on a planet light years from their destination. The name of the vessel and the length of the Robinsons' journey would change by the time Lost in Space actually aired, but the most significant difference is that the pilot didn't feature Dr. Smith or Robot.
There are similarities between plot of "No Place to Hide" and that of the Netflix pilot, beyond the general premise: In both, the family has to contend with rapidly dropping temperatures in the region where they crashed, but in the latter there's no giant cyclops to evade.