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“Where's Dr. Smith?"

After the release of the Lost in Space movie, producers Jon Jashni and Kevin Burns initiated an effort to create a two-hour reunion pilot in the hopes of spawning a new continuation series. They successfully contracted all of the original actors who would continue their encounters with unusual space cultures in a more serious manner. The new approach was intended to provide more drama, showing a more sophisticated Robinson family. The effort fell apart in 2002 after the death of cast member Jonathan Harris. To the producers, without the famed Dr. Smith, the reunion film stood little chance of success.

Yet, the momentum wasn’t lost. Jashni and Burns revived their approach and began remarketing the idea as a remake series rather than a continuation. After gauging the support the reunion movie demonstrated, CBS, ABC, and WB fought for the rights to make a new Lost in Space series. Warner Brothers won out and scheduled the new series for the WB Network’s 2004 fall season. Their success was based mainly on their willingness to pay a hefty $1.2 million dollar per episode licensing fee.

John Woo was hired to direct the new series with Doug Petrie authoring the script. Six executive producers including Douglas Petrie (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Jon Jashni, and Kevin Burns were to closely oversee the pilot to ensure it laid a solid foundation for a long-running series and conformed to the requirements of Irwin Allen’s estate. Initially, this told fans that the new series would be given a lot of care and would deliver a solid product. That impression was blown when images of the design of the new series robot was leaked.

Fans were outraged by the robot design, hoping it to be a twisted internet joke. Whether the design is actual or fabricated, or remain for the actual series still remains to be seen. Concurrently, when they learned of the descriptions of the characters, they were a bit concerned about the intended portrayal of some of the characters. Like the 1998 film, the 2004 series intended to show a very different Robinson family. Most maddening of all, this series cast didn’t include the Dr. Smith character. Since Smith was at the core of the original series, this oversight confounded many fans. Some were unhappy with the description for Major Don West as well (see below).

In early 2004, the fans protests were heeded.  Coupled with production problems, the studio put a hold on the production with instructions to rework the project to a result more acceptable to the millions of potential fans, many of which had already expressed disappointment at the direction the new series seemed to be taking in practically every element of the intended series.

Regrettably, as 2007 becomes 2008, there has been no substantive word that the series is any closer to production than it was when the project was put on hold in 2004.

CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS:

John Robinson (Brad Johnson): In his 40’s and attractive, John Robinson is not the Dad you had— he's the Dad you wish you had. A former war hero now approaching middle-age, John's looking forward to putting his fighting days behind him, and to the family days ahead. John is strong, gruff, but kind (imagine an NFL player in his first year of retirement). He may not always do the most sensitive thing – he does not know how to talk to his kids yet – but he always listens and he always tries. Every decision John makes, he makes for the good of his family. Yet for all his strength, both physically and emotionally, John is no Superman. His back aches, he needs bifocals (but will never admit it). And while he can fight and defeat men half his age, he knows it'll cost him. His wife always knows what he's feeling. The kids love to tease their dad for being out of touch, but deep down they love him, because they know he'll always protect them.

Maureen Robinson (played by Jayne Brook): In her late 30s to mid 40s, she is also described as attractive. Maureen is a career woman who's smashed through the glass ceiling, had a family, and is now fully ready to get back to work. She's grown into the role of "Mom," but she's still a vibrant and sexual woman. Though she's never been in a physical fight, Maureen is brightly athletic, and in the toughness department, she's John's match in every way. Maureen simply does not know how to back down from a fight. She loves her kids, and speaks to them like they're adults, while still giving them the unconditional love all children need— she’s a momma lion. But to be honest, dealing with the boys is easier for her. Maureen's secret dilemma is this: she knows her teenage daughter Judy will be a woman soon. Maureen loves Judy, but there's a rivalry there, as all mothers and daughters must have.

Judy Robinson (newcomer Adrianne Palicki): Described as pretty, Judy's a teenage girl that is a genetic combination of her father's warrior spirit (a gifted soccer goalie) and her mother's inability to back down from a fight. She's also a motormouth. Judy has a huge vocabulary, impressible smarts, and once she gets started, she will never shut up. She's also a slave to her hormones, which are all racing through her. She's also described as boy-crazy and not being able to stand still; she's an emotional roller coaster with no brakes. In her mind, Judy is the center of the universe and no one understands her. Her mom, most of all, can't imagine what she's going through. When lost in space, her father lays down the law, Judy complies (mostly) but she knows how to manipulate him. When her mother applies the tough love, the fighting never stops. Her greatest nemesis is her little brother Will, whom she calls "The Worm." She mocks the Worm mercilessly - but if anyone else comes near her little brother - she'll protect him to the death.

Will Robinson (Ryan Malgarini): At 9 years old, the often-smiling Will Robinson looks like he's just stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting. But, inside, his heart is always broken. Will loves people and he hates being alone. But he's alone almost all of the time because the other kids won't go near him. It's not Will's fault he was blessed with a genius-level IQ. This makes him a freak to the other kids, and he is a genius. At five he impressed MIT laboratories with his designs for a pulse quasar drive system. At seven, he lectured in Japan. But none of this interests him. He wants to be a regular kid, with regular friends, eat peanut butter sandwiches (his favorite) and read comic books. His mother loves him without effort; his father tries to help Will be "normal" but it always backfires. They (almost literally) speak different languages, but they’ll both keep trying to find one another.

Don West (Mike Erwin): “Remember Fonzi?,” asks the casting notes. “This guy is Fonzi. Not the late-season, family-friendly cuddly Fonzi, but the early one. The dangerous one.” Don West knows how to fix any engine, seduce any daughter and win any barroom fight (and if he has to fight dirty, it’s an added bonus). Don's got nothing to lose— He's the youngest member of the elite Pilot Corps Squadron, the "Top Gun" of space programs. They'd love to kick him out for his show-boating and attitude, but Don can fly anything, and he's not modest about it. To him, the flying squadron is just another gang he can lord over. He pretends not to know that he is the most handsome guy a girl's ever seen - but he works it. Everyone knows this guy. Judy's (not so) secretly in love with him. David thinks he's a jerk riding for a fall. Will's scared sh**less of the mention of his name. His father looks down on him, but secretly - he reminds him of who he used to be, years ago. So there's jealousy there. Mom thinks he's bad news - and wants him nowhere near Judy. That's a turn-on to Don. And he thinks Mom's a MILF.

In this series, Penny Robinson will be an infant and a new character, David Robinson, an elder son.

CAST CREDITS:
  • John Robinson - (Brad Johnson  imdb) - father, retired military man
  • Maureen Robinson (Jayne Brook  imdb) - mother
  • David Robinson - eldest son
  • Judy Robinson (Adrianne Palicki) - teenage daughter
  • Will Robinson  (Ryan Malgarini  imdb) - young genius son
  • Penny Robinson - infant daughter
  • Don West - (Mike Erwin  imdb) - lone wolf pilot with a reputation as dangerous

CREW CREDITS:

  • Terence Chang - Executive Producer
  • Suzanne Zizzi - Executive Producer
  • Jon Jashni - Executive Producer
  • Kevin Burns - Executive Producer
  • Douglas Petrie - Executive Producer
  • John Woo - Executive Producer
  • Irwin Allen - Creator (Original Series)
    Douglas Petrie - Developer

 

- written by Russell Sanders and John Pickard