It’s the wildest, funniest, most amazing game of “pass the parcel” ever, when the parcel is being passed between four aircraft and a submarine, and the parcel is a rescue pod containing the Hood, and when they’re all keeping the parcel away from the Mechanic, who’s gunning for him with a solar-powered laser satellite.
So it’s the end of the show’s second season, and once again they go out with a bang and a slight change to the status quo, including the arrival of a couple of new characters right at the end. The third season’s already started in the UK and so I know who these newcomers are, but our son will have to wait several months to meet them. We’ll catch International Rescue again down the line, when the complete DVD set of season three, with all 26 episodes, is released. In the meantime, stay tuned for more classic TV at your favorite fire-breathing blog!
We had to cheat and watch this episode of Thunderbirds are Go on Dailymotion. “Inferno” was not shown in the UK because the network thought it was too similar to last year’s real disaster at London’s Grenfell Tower, where seventy people were killed in a high-rise building that burned for most of three days. I can understand the sensitivity about broadcasting the episode, but not including it on the DVD is taking things a little far, ITV. The episode was streamed on platforms like Amazon Prime, so at least the episode wasn’t totally buried.
Since the network forced a comparison to something that actually happened, “Inferno,” which was written by Benjamin Townsend, is remarkably low-key. There is indeed a stupidly tall building on fire, but there are only about six people in the thing. There are a couple of good jokes about even taller buildings always being erected in Dubai, and Thunderbird 2 actually gets damaged, even if its mostly a cosmetic bruising. Our son enjoyed it, although we really had to question the point of the building having an extinguisher system that could take out the blaze… but only after it is completely evacuated, as the gas is lethal. Nobody ever thinks these things through, do they?
Earlier this evening, my son did the same thing he did about a year ago when Amazon UK sent the DVD of part one of Thunderbirds are Go‘s second series. Part two arrived today and he had the package in hand, knowing what was in it. He met me at the door, because he wanted that box opened immediately.
Because I’m ridiculous when it comes to scheduling, I’d calendared all this stuff we’re going to watch together over the next several months and wasn’t expecting this set until April, when something I’ve preordered ships, and then Amazon said I could have it early. Weird timing; these twelve episodes, along with an additional one that’s been omitted from the package, just debuted on Amazon Prime in the US this past weekend. I asked myself: do I want to stick to my meticulous and borderline insane spreadsheet of TV to watch, or do I want to make my kid happy? Blasted youngun wins out again.
Here we go with “Volcano!,” written by Benjamin Townsend. These episodes ran from September to December of last year, and this one’s mainly a solo outing for Brains, with his loyal robot Max. Mark Gatiss guest stars as Professor Quentin Questa, who’s convinced that a volcano in Iceland is finally going to erupt after several years of false predictions, and forces Brains to check it out by way of a scientist honor code called Newton’s Fourth Law.
Of course, this wouldn’t be Thunderbirds if Questa was wrong, and so Thunderbird 2 gets to bring two Moles for twice the drilling fun to vent some escape shafts. The present-day multi-use machines are smaller, you certainly couldn’t fit two of the giant Moles from the original series in Thunderbird 2’s cargo pod. Moles and lava: two of my son’s favorite things.
It really has been a heck of a long time between batches of episodes. They’re already promoting the third series in the UK, or at least the first thirteen episodes from it. It’s great that we’ve got so much of this show to enjoy, and we’ll sprinkle these twelve here and there in our rotation over the next couple of months.
Well, that was ridiculously fun. As Thunderbird 3 gets into a punch-up in outer space, our son was hopping up and down and applauding, and I don’t mind saying that even your cynical and jaded writer let out an exclamation of very pleasant surprise when Kayo finds somebody to put her boot into.
While admitting to being swept up in the edge-of-your-seat thrills, Mommy briefly questioned just how plausible the Mechanic’s crazy technology really is, even in the far-flung future of the 2060s. She did have a less Dr. Science point toward the end, though. The cameras in the original series lingered on all the guest vehicles long enough for kids to really get a grip on what they look like, and they certainly didn’t keep unfolding to reveal new weapons, gadgets, and telescoping arms. It’s probable that big things like the Crablogger in “Path of Destruction” will inspire far more drawings and Lego reconstructions than anything the Mechanic will build. But as for the visceral thrill of seeing these amazing events unfold, I think they do just fine.
Years ago, Col. Jeff Tracy was forced to eject from the cockpit of the very first International Rescue craft, a prototype called TV-21, which should bring a smile. Today, a survey team finds its wreckage deep within the Marianas Trench, which is a heck of a coincidence…
Well, this story by Benjamin Townsend is just about the most amazing thing ever. Our son was punching the air as Gordon was being clever and inventive and saving the day. His latest little catchphrase is shouting “PERFECT!” for some reason. Not sure where he picked that up, actually.
Something happens in this episode that has never happened in any Thunderbirds before. We’ve seen International Rescue’s ships get damaged before, but not to this degree. We can’t wait for part two.
BONUS MATERIAL: Parker is kicking down doors and being awesome for Lady Penelope in this episode. I believe, therefore, that the good news that he received at Halifax Bank must have arrived later. You must see this delightful commercial from the team that animated those three half-hour episodes of the original series last year.
The danger, of course, in going undercover with a metal suitcase to buy a stolen supermagnet is that the bad guy can use that against you! This was a really fun episode by Benjamin Townsend that just kept piling one new obstacle atop each other. We enjoyed the daylights out of it, and, for those who read Saturday afternoon’s post, our son was able to enjoy the entire episode from the safety of Mommy’s lap without accidentally injuring her this time.
Daniel says that the best part of the episode was learning that Lady Penelope can drive, “just like Parker can!”
Benjamin Townsend, who had earlier written the terrific episode “Heavy Metal,” also scripted this story, in which Virgil has the odd dilemma of having to rescue a rude fellow from a collapsing glacier, a fellow who does not want to be rescued. As the story progresses, we learn that he’s on a rescue mission of his own.
Watching this show, I do occasionally get the feeling that they’re skipping over way too much travel time in these “only seconds are left before everything explodes” nick-of-time rescues. “Relic” has the same issue, but the visceral thrill of seeing the ice start to crack underneath Thunderbird 2 while Virgil is still a couple of thousand meters underground is enough to make you stop quibbling for a few minutes and grab on for the ride. Daniel absolutely loved it, and grumbled at Dr. Peck for putting Virgil in more danger. The final race back to safety had him hopping in excitement.
(Note: I can play them, but I’m not presently able to get screencaps from Region 2 DVDs, so many of these entries will just have a photo of the set to illustrate it. Click the image to purchase it from Amazon UK.)