I didn’t even notice this as we watched the original Thunderbirds over the last year, but it was made at a time when rocket launches were incredibly uncommon, and posited a future that would be much the same. Any time a rocket was ever going to take off, it meant interminable launch preparations and people reading figures from computers, and audiences tuning in from around the globe to hear some commentator breathlessly shout something along the lines of “This is it, viewers! The Jupiter Seventeen mission is in the final stages of countdown!”
The new show has taken advantage of fifty years of viewers getting their brains around science fiction. The upper atmosphere is packed full of space junk and debris from decades of old rockets jettisoning stages of their exoskeletons, which Thunderbird 3 periodically cleans. But the really amazing sight is that it’s also freaking full of active spacecraft all the time. In this episode, Alan accidentally wakes up a twenty year-old nuclear mine, left over from a global conflict in the 2040s, and has to keep it following Thunderbird 3 while Lady Penelope and Parker track down the kill code. What would have blown everybody’s mind in 1965 is this: there are so many other ships in space that the mine keeps retargeting to lock in on one of the dozens of other ships flying around up there.
The script for this episode is by Ian Carney, and it’s really taut and full of energy. Alan and John have some playful back-and-forth and a little gallows humor, and while the outcome is never really in doubt, I admire the way it kept us guessing exactly how things would turn out, and whether Parker was going to have to crack some skulls to get that code. It’s really, really fun, and this show is awesome.
This series will be available for streaming to Amazon Prime members from April 22.