I hear Netflix has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to Lost in Space, a remake of sci-fi master Irwin Allen’s 1965 cult TV classic, from Legendary TV. The streaming service landed the project for development in November in a competitive situation, with multiple bidders. It is eyed for a 2018 premiere.
The new Lost in Space takes its cues from the original series, centering on the Robinson family, who is forced to come together in a time of crisis. Stranded light years from their intended destination, they find themselves battling a strange new alien environment and also their own personal demons. It was written by feature scribes Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold), who executive produce with Zack Estrin (The River), who has come aboard as showrunner, Kevin Burns and Jon Jashni of Synthesis Entertainment, as well as Neil Marshall and Marc Helwig of Legendary TV-based Applebox. Marshall will serve as producing director and direct several episodes of the series.
“The original series so deftly captured both drama and comedy, and that made it very appealing to a broad audience. The current creative team’s reimagining of the series for Netflix is sure to appeal to both fans who fondly remember the original and to create a new generation of enthusiasts around the world,” said Cindy Holland, VP Original Content at Netflix.
Lost in Space has been a longtime passion project for Burns, founder and president of unscripted production company Prometheus (Kendra, The Curse of Oak Island). In 1999, Burns, along with Jashni, formed Synthesis Entertainment, aimed at bringing new life to Allen’s creations with remakes and sequel projects. The company first tried reviving Lost in Space at NBC as a telefilm, but that project went away following the death of original co-star Jonathan Harris. During the 2003-04 season, a reboot of the series landed at the WB in a bidding war, where it went to pilot written by Doug Petrie and directed by John Woo but was not picked up to series. Meanwhile, a feature adaptation was released in 1998, written by Akiva Goldsman and directed by Stephen Hopkins. Burns had been working closely with Irwin’s widow, Sheila Matthews Allen, and since her death in 2013, he has been solely spearheading Synthesis’ efforts.
When Jashni was president and chief creative officer at Legendary, he and Burns reteamed in their efforts to launch a Lost in Space series, first when Legendary TV was pod at Warner Bros TV and later when the company launched as independent. The project gained momentum in 2014 when Sazama and Sharpless were attached as writers, with Marshall and Helwig coming on board as part of their first-look deal with Legendary TV. The four worked on the pitch that was taken out, landing at Netflix in November. (Jashni left Legendary in February and will now exec produce through Synthesis.)
At Netflix, Lost in Space is believed to be part of a push in the arena of big scale, four-quadrant family entertainment led by Brian Wright.
The 1965 series, set three decades into the future (1997), revolved around an attempt by the U.S. to colonize deep space by sending a single family, the Robinsons, on a 5 1/2-year journey to another planet. But an enemy agent, Dr. Zachary Smith, sabotages the mission, causing the ship to veer off course and become lost in space. Above, watch the show’s opening credits to the theme music by John Williams, who would go on to score the biggest space opera of all time, the Star Wars movie franchise.
The original series aired on CBS for three seasons and ended its run after 83 episodes over a combination of softening ratings and rising costs. It was produced by 20th Century Fox, which continues to syndicate the existing episodes but does not hold rights or have any underlying ownership in the franchise.
Lost in Space marked its 50th anniversary last year with release of Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space: The Complete Adventures on Blu-ray Disc, featuring all 83 episodes digitally remastered.
Helwig is repped by WME and attorney Carlos Goodman. Marshall is repped by WME and David Gardner at Principato Young.