Thunderbirds are Go 1.1 – Ring of Fire

Holy freaking anna. You guys. Oh, you guys. They did it. It’s fantastic.

I’ve been impatiently waiting for somebody in the US to pick up Thunderbirds are Go, the new animated series that launched in the UK a year ago, and was just about to finally give in and order some DVDs from England, what with me having a region-free player at last, when two wonderful things happened. First, we finally got word that American audiences will be able to enjoy the show via Amazon Prime, and secondly, a little bird brought a nice press copy of the first thirteen half-hours for us to watch.

And you guys. Daniel and I sat down to watch “Ring of Fire” and had the best time ever. We’ve enjoyed all 32 episodes of both the original Thunderbirds series and all of Captain Scarlet over the last twelve months, and we’re looking forward to the three new ones they made at the Slough studios to arrive pretty soon, so his interest in Supermarionation is pretty high. This? It’s a little different, but it’s terrific. He loved it, and so did I.

To put it quite plainly: if you have children between the age of four and eight in your home, you must let them watch this show. It’s your duty as a good citizen. It will blow their minds.

Grownups? You should like it just fine. Any quibble that I could grumble – the crowd scenes are almost as bereft of bystanders as if they had to build a new puppet for each, the camera seems oddly reticent to let the characters fill the frame – is like complaining that you could see some strings sometimes. I love the urgency and the energy, and if there’s a sense of loss because the load-n-launch sequences are not quite as thrilling because anybody could do that with computers, then they made up for it by taking the already brilliantly unnecessary complexity and amping it up to eleven.

I love the hologram and touchscreen technology, I love the Stingray and Space: 1999 Easter eggs, I love that they got David Graham back to do the voice of Parker, I love that Lady Penelope has a pet dog, and I love that Grandma Tracy can’t cook. I love that Kayo (formerly Tintin) has a million new things to do and that the Hood is established from the start as a villain they need to track down, and that, in the mysterious absence of Jeff Tracy – lost in an accident – John in Thunderbird 5 is in charge of organizing things. It is a great, great show.

A silly note on numbering: The American episode count has “Ring of Fire” as a single double-length episode, the first of a North American season of twelve. The original episode count has it as a two-part episode, the first of thirteen in a 26-episode series. This blog will use the North American numbering.

This series will be available for streaming to Amazon Prime members from April 22.


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