How netflix’s lost in space goes old-school to find the future – cnet gas vs electric oven efficiency


To that end, we definitely geared more towards almost old-school mechanical switches rather than touchscreens that you might have on your smartphone now. Because these days, as you know, technology will fail. If anything, in our show things will break and go wrong.

So we wanted the technologies to reflect the fact that it’d have to be prepared for anything to go wrong, so we almost had an old-fashioned view of technology. The ISS and the space shuttle had a lot of older technology on board because it was more stable. The last thing you want to have in space is having your computer crash, because then everybody dies.

Sharpless: You know, there’s a moment in the first episode where Penny has a smartphone from Earth and it’s packed with photos and memories and books. Our thought was now that everybody has a smartphone on Earth, that’s probably something we don’t think is ever going to change, right?

The wrist computers you see them have, what we tried to do is think of what would you want if you were going to be in an action situation, so we were inspired by some of the stuff we’ve seen in outdoor magazines such as Popular Mechanics and to give it sort of an outdoorlike, going-to-Everest kind of things the mountaineers used.

Our outdoor tent also had sort of a rugged look, in the color orange and stuff. We wanted to give that sense of adventure and survival gear. You see a lot of outdoor gear for our tent. Our Chariots are all based on what we would see today but they have electric engines and solar power. But the insides, the controls are very much what we see today.

Matt Sazama: Yes we did. Which it turns out is very difficult to have them run properly. The Chariots were built from scratch from the ground up. We did not use an existing car or a chassis or anything. We learned that car companies actually take many years and many rounds of R&D to make a car and we’ve built ours in a matter of months. We did have some challenges in filming it but they were pretty amazing machines.

Sharpless: The cast didn’t get to drive that much so what you see on screen is not them driving but stunt drivers because they’re too fast. A lot of the shots you did see were the real Chariots. We did have a few shots that were digital, but a lot of what you see is real.

Sharpless: We used science as a starting place for every idea on what the Robinsons confronted. What we wanted to do was to keep the show relatable enough on sort of a ground level. So the audience could enjoy that sort of "what would I do" question. After all, you know the show hearkens back to the Swiss Family Robinson, right? So there’s something kind of fun about trying to figure out what would you do in that situation.

To actually bring an audience into that is to start with real science, so certainly it has to be something that we knew about, we had read about, we were excited about. And we designed it kind of what like we thought that would be a version of that 30 years in the future.

Other things, and I know that this isn’t exactly tech, but the stuff about the black hole being in the rotation around the sun and a binary black hole system, that’s based on things that astronomers believe actually exists and so these are the things we can sort of go through in the show.

Sharpless: Part of making a show like this is finding that sort of intercession between the pleasure of the audience and the science. And the Jupiter was ultimately a spacecraft that was designed for a callback to the original and to fulfill sort of like the fun and the needs of a family.

So, obviously, the Jupiter would fly just fine in space. The way in which it launches, the VTOL [vertical take-off and landing] aspect is definitely not the way an astrophysicist would envision it. However, we will say that in episode eight, the sequence with the destruction of venting engines, all of the business of trying to make a ship lighter, and all of the business of the different kinds of methane-based fuels that they used, well we need quite a bit of research for that. I think we used to jump back to the older NASA days to create a fun experience for the audience.

The idea was that Jupiters were kinda like campers, that even every family would take their Jupiter and at the end of a journey, would become the centerpiece of their homestead. This is why the ships have the pop-outs and extend out to make their ship a little bigger. Think of them as space Winnebagos.

Sazama: We felt like asking audiences to believe that the Robinsons and Earth in 2046 had interstellar travel was too big of a jump, and now that everybody has watched the show, you can see that we didn’t go there. The ability to travel quickly is an interstellar matter and actually is a big science fiction leap like you might see in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

It’s definitely well beyond our ability, particularly the "alien engine" that you see in episode 10. While it’s not magic, the science that it’s using it is so far beyond humans that it’s very hard for us to understand. It’s also a bit of a nod to the book and movie of Contact, if we’re to come in contact with really mind-boggling alien technology, that’s how it would be.

Sharpless: Also in the show, we’ve used gravity as one of those things to differentiate between a thing that human technology could achieve in 30 years and something that’s way beyond anything that we could do probably in 300 years, so you have to look to aliens for help.