In January 2016, Netflix had announced a 13-episode straight-to-series order for Lost In Space, a remake of sci-fi master Irwin Allen’s 1965 cult TV classic. In the time since the announcement, only one cast member had been revealed with Falling Skies actress Taylor Russell locked-in for the part of Judy Robinson, the eldest daughter of the Robinson family. With that one casting announcement, Netflix revealed this version of the Robinson family will either be an all-black or a bi-racial family.
With a progressive prerogative clearly in mind, Netflix has just revealed another unexpected but welcome change to the Lost in Space cast.
Actress Parkey Posey has signed on to join Lost in Space. She will be playing the role of Dr. Smith, the overly dramatic and whiny villainous saboteur of the story.
In the 1965 series, The Robinson family was supposed to set off on a five-year mission to explore a distant planet, but an act of sabotage by the scheming Dr. Zachary Smith — who managed to get himself trapped aboard the spaceship — leaves them adrift in space for three years. The late Jonathan Harris portrayed the dastardly, cowardly antagonist Dr. Zachary Smith in the original series. The role was later played by Gary Oldman in the 1998 movie.
In the early episodes of the original series, Smith was more intelligent and menacing, later becoming more of a comic relief with such overly dramatized cries of “Oooooh, the PAIN the PAIN!”. Harris’ over the top antics made Dr. Smith a fan-favorite character and also made what was an otherwise bland show, about a family struggling to survive in space, worth watching. In the 1998 movie, Oldman’s portrayal was more a straight up conniving psycho, with the script turning this character into an all-out villain and later on in the movie a mutant bug monster, for some reason. That turn to complete heel, really undermined the character. Dr. Smith is a selfish and mischievous arsehole, yes, but he’s like that member of the family, everyone has one, that always f**ks up and everyone complains about…. but underneath all the drama, there is the semblance of a decent and forgivable human being.
Netflix wants to swap genders, that’s cool. But how are they going to treat the role? Is Posey going to emulate to sniveling, frantic, and treacherous behavior that is synonymous with the character or is her version going to be something completely different? Parker Posey tends to be in peculiar and goofy movies, so imbuing herself with the characters notable traits is well within her skill set. Whatever twist she brings, the core of the character should stay intact – making for a character that, by all accounts, should be floated out of an airlock but is pitied just enough to hold out hope for.