WONDERCON 2018 [Pilot / Panel Reviews]: Lost In Space / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
A FIRST LOOK AT NETFLIX’S LOST IN SPACE (Saturday) – Having never watched the original series (boooooooo!!! Moody, you suck!!!), my expectations for the pilot were low heading in. What I did know from early teasers and trailers is that fans of the 50+ year Irwin Allen franchise were disappointed in the 2018 reimagining’s lack of camp. I mean, what else did you expect from Netflix? Thankfully, while the Robinsons’ interplanetary journey for survival does take a bit to get going — do we like this new family, or do we not? — many callbacks to the original and a classic quote here and there should be enough to satisfy the most fickle of fans.
I did like that Toby Stephens put on a few pounds to shed his shredded pirate image from Black Sails, making a more believable military pops among the flabbergasted family woes; John is just trying to make a difference without being the obvious superman to solve shit. His wife Maureen (Molly Parker) comes off like the brilliant, caring mom you can’t trust. I’m very intrigued to see where her story goes. The Robinson children — the strongwilled Taylor Russell (Judy), the sarcastic middle child Mina Sundwall (Penny), and the classically too-smart-for-his-own-good Max Jenkins (Will) — all come off as awkwardly likable enough, especially through an array of flashback scenes showcasing their longtime sibling competitiveness, that you just may catch some feels come pilot’s end. The nuttiest part of the series premiere easily goes to the presence Parker Posey as Dr. Smith, a character that was a male in the original. There isn’t enough in the episode to see how her villain plays out, but her role very well may add the campy vibe longtime fans have been looking for. 4/5 Bibles.
Some highlights of the panel:
- Stephens noted that his character, John, pushed him to be a better parent. “He’s not some ideal parent; he’s trying to be an ideal parent.” Yeah, maybe all the swashbuckling from his last lead role went to his head.
- Both Stephens and Parker appreciated the faults and flaws of the Robinson parents, adding a new dynamic that counterbalances the family’s traditional smarts and strengths.
- Jenkins bonded with the original Will Robinson, Bill Mumy, who he now considers a lifelong friend, over comic books and first heard the infamous “Danger” line from Family Guy.
- Executive producer Zack Estrin refers Lost In Space to a “global epic” with a wide ensemble of new and international characters the Robinson family will come across.
Netflix’s Lost In Space series will be available on April 13th.
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (Saturday) – Over the past four-and-a-half years, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has evolved from a show with no clear direction that tangentially connected to the larger cinematic universe to a superhero spy show that can stand on its own while existing in the MCU. As a matter of fact, over the past year and a half, in particular, AoS has become my absolute favorite superhero show on tv; so it’s great to see this show finally begin to get the credit it deserves as they were invited to present in the Arena at WonderCon for the first time.
It’s a little ironic that Clark Gregg wasn’t present for their largest panel (he was at the March for Life in DC), but it’s a testament to the strength of the characters that have been developed on this show and the cast that portray them that his presence wasn’t necessary. Ultimately, that’s all this panel was since there weren’t really any announcements or surprises and the footage they showed was only a clip from this week’s upcoming episode, but this cast is so entertaining that it was still a completely enjoyable experience. Jeff Ward, who portrays Deke, was particularly entertaining, both as an absolute goofball and the target of everyone else’s jokes. 3.75/5 Shields.
Some highlights of the panel:
- Jeph Loeb speaking about how from the very beginning they chose to go for a cast that represents the world and not what you see on tv. That’s created a very diverse group of powerful characters.
- A young woman in the audience spoke about how the character of Jemma Simmons inspired her to study biochemistry.
- Iain de Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge shared a memory from Season 1 where Iain had to where a skin tight suit in clear plastic showed that Iain, in his own words, “has the body of a 12 year old and it left nothing to the imagination.”
- Ward and Chloe Bennet rapping a verse from “Satisfied” from Hamilton. Bennet also sent Gregg a video of the Arena saying “We love you, Clark.” Moments later, Clark responded by facetiming Chloe to let the WonderCon audience know that he loved them in return, all the while interrupting the only time anybody complimented Ward.
Ultimately this turned out to be an entertaining, if uneventful panel.