Mass Effect: Andromeda (opens in new tab) arguably borrowed from the '60s classic Lost in Space, which sees the Robinson family driven off course on a colonization voyage to Alpha Centauri and stranded, so it's only fair that Netflix's reboot of the show gets to take inspiration from Mass Effect. And boy does it ever.
Maybe I'm just seeing general sci-fi trends replicated, and not actual, direct inspiration, but the similarities have been impossible to ignore. I mean, one of the first things the Robinsons set out to do after crash landing on an alien planet is find some magnesium. Doesn't get much more Mass Effect than that.
And have a look at the robot who gets to deliver "Danger, Will Robinson" three times an episode:
Nah, doesn't look familiar at all. (Here's a minor spoiler for the first few episodes, which there will be more of ahead: while the robot is now friendly toward Will Robinson, it or its kind were part of the attack on the human colony ship that caused their crash landing, making everyone suspicious of it. Legion, is that you?)
Now check out the Robinsons' all-terrain vehicle:
Alright, it's not identical to the Mako or Nomad, but it still looks like it could be Mass Effect: Andromeda concept art, the 'J2' mark standing in for an M28 or ND1. And just wait 'til we get to the garage on the ship where it's stored:
Or how about the color schemes of the futuristic displays?
But there isn't like, a round meeting table at the top of the ship with a ring light above it, right?
How about a big holographic galaxy map?
I could find more similarities if I spent another hour looking, but you get the point: Were a big budget Mass Effect series ever made, it'd look a bit like this.
And it isn't just visual. The Robinson parents, Maureen and John, both sound a lot like Shepard (if Shepard's crewmates were children), with no-nonsense crisis solving that's warmed by a few Paragon choices, such as when Maureen softens her survival-first commander voice to care for her kids' emotional needs.
Outside of distracting myself by taking note of every Mass Effect-ey bit, I'm enjoying Lost in Space well enough so far, though it's not gripping sci-fi by any means. The constantly escalating crises and preternatural scientific insight the Robinsons deploy to solve them (somehow they can predict climate patterns seconds after landing on a new planet) are painfully silly for how seriously they're delivered. And the characters so far get one trait each. After a traumatic experience, eldest Robinson daughter Judy flashes back to it again and again to indicate that she isn't giving herself time to mentally heal. Penny vies for more responsibility and self-determination. Will feels inadequate and struggles to overcome his fears. And so on.
But I'm gonna watch anything expensive-looking that has a spaceship in it, and Lost in Space is by far not the worst thing with a spaceship in it to watch. The world design is gorgeous, and Parker Posey's take on Dr. Smith is excellent—she really ought to have all the screen time.
Older kids especially should enjoy Lost in Space's simple themes and scientific problem solving, though be aware that it does get bloody in a few scenes, such as a medical procedure involving a scalpel, and a corpse being looted for boots (how Mass Effect, again). Despite the PG rating, there's a drugging, a murder, and other not-so-kid-friendly stuff that you might want to skip ahead to check out first. I wouldn't worry about any sex scenes with blue aliens, though—not unless Mass Effect actually gets a Netflix series.