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!
What I was saying last time about the suspension of disbelief being completely tabled? We hadn’t seen anything yet!
If only our kid had a big oil drilling platform to split in half in the bathtub, he’d have all kinds of fun recreating this episode with his Thunderbird 2 and Thunderbird Shadow. Maybe we can find him one before he gets too old for toys in the tub…
This is a very fun little change of pace episode written by Rob Hoegee and Patrick Rieger. Once a year, our heroes decamp to an isolated ranch once owned by the Tracy boys’ mother’s family for training and relaxation. Somebody has snuck on the property and needs rescue, and somebody else has snuck on the property and disabled their tech. Fortunately, there’s some much older tech gathering dust in a storage locker. We’d seen these sort of hoverbikes once or twice on the original series, most notably in “Attack of the Alligators!”, but “sleds” like these were common in the earlier Supermarionation shows like Stingray and Fireball XL5 as well. I do love these little winks to the past.
Our son enjoyed everything about this one, but his favorite bit came, again, right at the end, when Gordon and Alan up their sibling rivalry and insist on sitting in the same chair. He often tries much the same trick whenever his mother gets off the sofa for any reason or length of time.
We took a few weeks off from Thunderbirds are Go, but resumed tonight with an incredibly entertaining episode written by Paul Giacoppo. John gets pulled out of Thunderbird 5 for a night schmoozing and socializing, wearing a tuxedo custom-designed by Brains for spy missions, which everybody assures him this isn’t. John doesn’t do well with crowds.
Of course, it turns into a mission. Wouldn’t be Thunderbirds if it didn’t, really. There’s another evil scheme by the Hood, a completely terrific midair fight between Kayo and some criminals with jetpacks over an altogether ridiculous landscape, and Brains’ silly tux-gadgets, all of which, bizarrely, manage to come in handy. Huge fun from start to finish.
I’m afraid I have to say that I wasn’t all that thrilled by Rob Hoegee’s “Power Play.” That’s okay. Our son was crazy about it. The Mechanic and the Hood butt heads again, this time over a power source for “Project Sentinel.” They’d worked on it together, but now the Mechanic plans to carry it out by himself. The baddies squabble while our heroes try to keep a hydroelectric dam from bursting. Just not a lot in this one to appeal to grownups, I guess, but he was in heaven.
“Look up!” Our son absolutely loved this one. I know I say that a lot, but this time he was so excited he was slapping out a drum beat on his knees. It’s the one about a runaway cargo zeppelin that’s rapidly losing altitude and bound for a big Australian city. There’s a malfunctioning loading claw inside that’s got two people trapped, and the rescue requires Kayo to put on one of those big exoskeletons like Ripley used in Aliens.
This is the second script for the show by Dan Berlinka, who wrote “Tunnels of Time” in the first series. He has a lot of fun with Brains trying to focus on the problem while battling zero-gravity “spacesickness.” I enjoyed the heck out of this, but not even close to how much our son did.
Langstrom Fischler’s back again for more ill-planned and unsafe scientific stupidity. I’m really enjoying series two more than the first because it has all these recurring… well, even “antagonists” is a little strong. If series one had a flaw, it’s that the only villain in the show was the Hood. This time out, the Mechanic has shown up three times, and Fischler and Lemaire twice each. It’s really fun getting to say “him again!” each time these very different thorns in our heroes’ sides show up.
Fischler’s latest scheme is using drones to generate storms to bring needed rains to desert areas. Everything goes haywire because he cuts corners and doesn’t understand his own tech. The script by Len Uhley keeps the character as obnoxious as ever, while Parker and Lady Penelope manage to steal the show without stepping out of FAB 1 until the show’s over.
Our son was a ball of energy, loving the all the ships and drones chasing each other and throwing lightning everywhere. This is a really fast-paced episode, even for this show, and he was the most excited kid in the state tonight, watching the aerial dogfights and rescues.
After nine ridiculously dramatic entries, they were due for a fun comedy. Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler, who wrote “Crosscut” in the first series, are back for a really silly rescue that has all the hallmarks of Francois Lemaire getting in over his head again. But Kayo reasons that if this is Lemaire, then he should be milking his stupid adventure for maximum publicity, and she can’t find any evidence of that on any of the 3000 channels that Tracy Island receives. All they seem to be able to pick up are old episodes of Thunderbirds.
Never mind what Kayo is actually saying in this shot, I figure what she’s thinking is “Did I really used to look like that?”
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.
Thunderbirds are Go started its second season in October of last year. Amazon UK told me the DVD of the first thirteen episodes, which I preordered an eternity ago, would be here today. I told my son and you have never seen such excitement. Christmas wasn’t like this. I got home from work and he about exploded. “A BOX CAME! IT SAYS AMAZON ON IT! I THINK IT’S THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!”
And it didn’t disappoint. This season, we’ve got a brand-new villain with a ridiculously over-complicated arsenal of machinery and tech, and an unlimited line of credit from the Bank of Baddies. He’s called the Mechanic and he’s incredibly fun. It’s really neat seeing International Rescue stymied by gadgets outside Brains’ and EOS’ experience, and improvising. I can’t wait to see what the writers come up with for him next, and how he’s tied in with the Hood.
In her ongoing bid to appear in every television program made in the UK this decade, Jenna Coleman has a small role in this one. The people that our heroes have to rescue are often very amusing – Ned and his fool flower most of all – but I got a big laugh at the lengths Scott has to go through to get the driver out of the car stuck in the ravine this week. Add Kayo being awesome and the genuine sense of danger as we don’t know what the Mechanic can do, and this is twenty-two solid minutes of brilliance. Looks like we’ll be watching this through April, by which time I believe the next thirteen should be airing in the UK.
One thing’s definitely changed for the better in entertainment in the fifty years since Thunderbirds first took to the skies: series build toward big conclusions. Well, I say that, but when the show screws the landing – like Doctor Who does almost every stinking year – it really does make me want to smack my face into a wall, repeatedly.
Here? Not only did Rob Hoegee and the producers almost succeed in completely thrilling us across 26 half-hours, they wrapped it up wonderfully. This was a great, great episode that builds on all of the hidden secrets of Kayo and the Hood, and is built around, inevitably, the Hood’s invasion of Tracy Island. It ends with some questions being restated and others answered, and if Kayo spent much of episodes 1-23 being underused, they made up for it over the last three stories. This was terrific.
It was also one of the most exciting things our son has ever watched. He was a mess! When things looked really bad for the Tracys, he retreated with his security blanket behind the sofa, and the climax had him a babbling, gabbling explosion of jumping and half-dancing. This was a fine, fine little bit of television.
So that’s it for Thunderbirds are Go for now. The next batch of episodes – probably 13 – is believed to launching in the UK in the next month or so. We’ll definitely pick those up when they’re released on DVD and tell you all about them, probably in the winter. But these 13 are only the beginning; 52 have actually been ordered, bringing the total to at least 78 episodes. There’s a lot more action and excitement to come!