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.
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.
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!
Well, just as the Filmation programs we’re watching have threatened to smother us with their earnestness and slow pace, we’ve got thirteen more wild episodes of Thunderbirds are Go to watch! This should keep us on the edge of our seats for a little while.
The first series of 26 Thunderbirds are Go episodes were shown in the UK in two chunks: 13 shown from April to June 2015, and 13 from October to January of this year. For American viewers, those first 13 – renumbered to 12 since they combined the two-parter into one – are still available for Amazon Prime members. Since there’s no word yet on this second chunk, I went ahead and ordered the set from England. 52 additional episodes are in the works; I haven’t seen a premiere date yet, but I believe the third batch of 13 is supposed to start in a few months.
And when those make their way to DVD, we’ll totally be buying them, because this show is just terrific. This time out, it’s another rescue in orbit. On the side, Brains has been developing self-constructing nanotechnology to build a prototype hotel in space. The only flaw is that once again it’s the Hood who’s the saboteur. I do wish they’d create a few more bad guys with some different motives. Lady Penelope is present to urge calm, Kayo’s on board to chase the villain through twisty corridors as the center of gravity shifts, and, flying Thunderbird 3, Alan has to try some desperate maneuvers to keep the space station from crashing into central Florida, because the nanotech will shield the station from burning up on reentry.
It moves at breakneck speed, pausing just long enough for a few cute quips. Daniel was completely thrilled, and, when Kayo was left in a depressurizing compartment for a moment, just about panicked. We really do love this show.
(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 link to purchase it from Amazon UK.)
“In case you were wondering,” Alan tells his brothers, “the back side of the sun looks exactly the same as the front.” This is a terrifically fun episode by the show’s lead writer, Rob Hoegee, which kept our son completely hooked as Alan and Kayo’s space rescue runs into one complication after another. It’s an incredibly fast-paced and exciting story, and if the science might be a little implausible here and there, at least they thought enough of the audience to make it all seem like they really considered the situation and the best possible outcomes and solutions. It’s a smart program.
I can’t have been the only person watching to have thought that Journey to the Far Side of the Sun would also have been a cute title, right? Cheeky it would have been, but calling it “Slingshot” sort of gave away the resolution. It was incredibly fun all the same, thankfully.