'Lost in Space' - 2018 TV Review (first episode)

If you look back in this blog, you'll find that I've been watching "The Expanse" (Season 1, Season 2, Season 3). I was very pleased in the first season that they worked hard on doing the science accurately. By the third season I'd forgotten they were doing it, but they still were. And then I tried Netflix's 2018 version of "Lost in Space." It got passable reviews, and I saw one of those things on YouTube about "SF you should be watching" or something like that - and saw that it had Molly Parker in it. But oh, the egregious science.

The series STARTS with deus ex machina - in the first episode the robot saves the whole family. Deus ex machina is a thing because writers often paint themselves into a corner with their story line and the only way back out is by some god-like power saving the day at the end. They could have introduced the robot in a million different ways - but they started with deus ex machina when most writers see it as a last resort. Wow.

Water does not insta-freeze. Not when the air is at a human-breathable temperature. And not only are they clearly breathing the air, they haven't even bothered to put hats on. But if it DID insta-freeze around a space suit, it would crush it on the spot. Ice floats on top of water because it's less dense - that means it takes up more space than the same amount of water, and insta-freeze would involve a lot of upheaval of the ice surface they were standing on, and extreme compression of any gas bubbles (like a space suit) inside the water/ice. She would have died by crushing in approximately 30 seconds the way they played it.

We return to the scene at night, having been assured the temperature will reach "60 below zero." They're desperately trying to excavate our frozen heroine, when it starts raining. Yes, raining. Which fills the hole and insta-freezes. Wait, it was snowing earlier, and now that it's colder, it ... rains?

By the way, about a kilometre away at 500m lower altitude, there are plenty of green flowering plants. You can make arguments about "alien flora," but they're definitely going for Earth-like, and these two things simply don't match up. They may be on a glacier, but the temperature difference wouldn't be that extreme.

And that's all before we talk about the problems of burning a magnesium-oxygen-water mix right next to the helmet of a space suit.

Can I talk about the big ship? The interstellar ship has multiple rings around a central column - with the ranger ships attached to the open rings on the inside. They're attached to the rings, sticking out perpendicular to the direction of thrust of the main ship and apparently only attached/supported at their airlocks. The design is insanely bad in multiple ways I can't even begin ...

By the way, magnesium is a metal. It is not putty, to be removed by sticking a knife point in and levering. It's a "soft" metal, but it's nowhere near that soft.

Sure, speculative science is part and parcel of science fiction. But it's a lot easier to sell your speculative science when it's based on known science. And the way water behaves and freezes is about the best known science we have ...

Ironically, the acting, effects, and drama are all passable ... but the bad science, quite simply, broke me. And reminded me of one more reason to love "The Expanse."

I thought, I hoped, that "The Expanse" was a harbinger - an indicator that slowly but surely better science would prevail in media. But now I see that the world is steady state: when a series comes along with really good science, another one has to arrive with appalling science. And here we are.