Tag Archives: the hood

Thunderbirds are Go 1.14 – Falling Skies

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.)

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Thunderbirds 3.2 – The Abominable Snowman

Yes, this episode has a good deal more meat to it than the previous one. It’s a really zippy half hour in which the Hood has another convoluted scheme to blow up a bunch of uranium processing plants while simultaneously abducting slave labor in the Himalayas to work in his own mine, while also leaving some “abominable snowman” footprints to frighten the locals into calling for International Rescue so that he can kidnap whomever they send.

On the one hand, yeah, that’s about as convoluted and ridiculous a scheme as some of his other sixties tomfoolery – “Martian Invasion” certainly comes to mind. On the other hand, this is actually the only time that the Hood actually confronts our heroes in person in this continuity. He gets away and they never learn his name, but he straps Lady Penelope to a beam to menace her with a Goldfinger-style industrial laser, and then trades gunfire with Scott, who comes to the rescue.

Stephen La Rivière directed this episode, and he and his team deserve credit for alarming our son for the first time in quite a while. The scenes of Lady Penelope threatened by the laser really did freak him out a little. I can’t remember the last time that Thunderbirds had him worried. “Attack of the Alligators,” maybe?

I thought the story was certainly slight and dated, but there’s not a lot that could be done about that. It’s probably a little more impressive than the original audio adventure, though. Bulked up with six or seven minutes of additional material, it actually starts with a big explosion-filled rescue at a uranium plant – named for Derek Meddings, which is awesome – using some dropped-in vocal lines for Scott and Virgil from TV episodes, and it looks fantastic. The Himalayas material also looks really good. There’s one medium shot of the puppets fleeing from the soon-to-explode mine – what happened to the prisoners? – where I think they’re moving a little faster than the marionettes ever did in the sixties, but otherwise it’s another very solid recreation of the original style, so seamless that you can easily pretend this was an original half-hour episode that Gerry Anderson and his team elected to shelve rather than bulk up to an hour when Lew Grade decided the show should be hour-long episodes.

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Thunderbirds are Go 1.11 – Under Pressure

Daniel’s favorite episode of the original Thunderbirds is probably “Path of Destruction,” in which a runaway great big piece of unnecessarily complex technology needs to be stopped before it causes an environmental catastrophe. This episode is largely the same, and even the runaway vehicles have some similarities in appearance, only this story doesn’t have the insulting yokels with the filthy kitchen. Oh, yeah, and it’s underwater.

The human stuff is a little disappointing this time, although the mayhem of the disaster is even more entertaining than usual and downright terrific fun. I didn’t like that the presence of any hidden bad guy automatically made Lady Penelope and John instantly realize that the Hood was behind it. It seems that his plans in this series are far more complex than in the original; this scheme simply must have been in the works for months. I’d prefer they used this villain a little more sparingly if the heroes are going to realize it’s the same guy every single time anybody does anything malevolent.


Fire-Breathing Dimetrodon Time will return next week, viewers!

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Thunderbirds are Go 1.5 – Unplugged

Remember back in 2005 when that alien ship crashed into Big Ben’s tower in an episode of Doctor Who and everybody cheered to see something that visually amazing happen in Who? I actually felt a little resentment about it tonight, because Thunderbird 2 gets hit with an electromagnetic frequency field that shuts down all the electrical power in London and in the skies above it. Thunderbird 2 crashing into Big Ben’s tower would have been the most beautiful juxtaposition of two British icons, ever, but they couldn’t follow in Who‘s footsteps like that, so they had to settle with taking the ship down across Trafalgar Square and knocking off Nelson’s hat.

The plot of this show is pure kidvid simplicity – Virgil, Grandma, Lady Penelope, and Parker track down the Hood and the gang of Luddites he has allied with for nefarious reasons – and we really had to turn our brains off and accept that when one of the biggest, busiest cities on the planet has a massive power outage, everybody stays indoors, keeping most of the streets cleared, and waits out of sight so the animators don’t have to bother depicting a city like London dealing with a blackout. Even Daniel wasn’t all that taken this week, but in fairness he did binge through eight episodes of the original yesterday and this episode, by comparison, is pretty light on mayhem.


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

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Thunderbirds are Go 1.4 – Fireflash

It’s one of the iconic images from the original series, probably right behind the launch sequences: using “elevator cars” to catch an airplane whose landing gear has a major problem. It opened that series with something jawdropping, not just in the novelty of thinking up something so amazing, but putting it into nail-biting action.

They did right not to lead with this loose remake of “Trapped in the Sky,” starting their series instead with more original ideas that blew kisses toward the program’s history. Andrew Robinson’s script, which gives a “based on” credit to Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, changes more than just the tempo of the original teleplay. Since Kayo, the revised version of Tintin, is not about to sit still while the plane has a problem, she’s right in the thick of things, and so is the Hood, who has not placed a bomb on board in this version: he plans to hijack the plane entirely.

But despite the fast-paced action on board Fireflash, including an awesome fight between Kayo and the Hood, the story still has to get to the point of the crippled plane attempting a landing on top of the pods. The closer attention paid to how many of these things can actually be stored in Thunderbird 2’s pod means that Fireflash has one wheel down, and two cars are used. Unlike the original, these aren’t remote-controlled by Virgil; Alan and Gordon are driving them while Kayo attempts the landing. Brilliantly, they use the same triumphant musical score as the original, with the plane coming down to the cars.

Robinson does not adhere absolutely to the events of “Trapped in the Sky,” subverting expectations from start to finish. This was very, very fun, and had Daniel, who knows the original like the back of his hand, jumping up and down in excitement.


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

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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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Thunderbirds 1.17 – Desperate Intruder

WOW. This episode is AMAZING. The Hood is back, but he’s not the comedy wonk-wonk-wonk barely competent Hood that we sometimes see. This time, he ambushes and hypnotizes Brains and Tintin, beats their professor friend unconscious (offscreen, of course), and buries Brains in the desert sand up to his neck, demanding to know where the underwater treasure they’re seeking can be found. He is pure angry evil, not played for laughs at all, and he scared the absolute bejesus out of Daniel.

Daniel spent more than a couple of minutes either behind the sofa or in the library, and we weren’t surprised. This is an uncommonly intense episode, and, as we often see with his reactions watching Batman when Robin is endangered, he reacts badly when characters who are less able to defend themselves get in trouble.

In a really neat development, Scott, Virgil, and Gordon all choose to stay overnight with their craft to protect the others while waiting for the professor to be evacuated in a medical copter. Brains, rescued but feeling terrible for being a burden, goes out to find the treasure, dives back underwater and the Hood ambushes him AGAIN. Daniel ran for the hills.

The attention to detail in this episode is wild. Sure, there are problems with the plot as there always are, but the intensity of the situation covers up most of them, and the really neat production covers the rest. Brains spends most of the episode with chapped and inflamed lips after his morning trapped in the sun, and Scott and Virgil didn’t have time to shave before rescuing him the second time and the puppets have morning stubble!

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Thunderbirds 1.16 – Edge of Impact

Hooray, the Hood is back! Amusingly, the villain’s never actually named in the show, and so it wasn’t until we watched the 2004 film that we learned his name. And by “we,” I mean Daniel, because I know that’s his name. But this gave me the first opportunity to tell Daniel, “Oh, no! It’s the Hood again!”

And this time he has strings. Lots of strings. You know, normally, I can just ignore all the strings in these shows, but somebody was asleep at the wheel this week. Even the experimental Red Arrow fighter jet has a whacking great unavoidable hole cut in the top of the cockpit for strings about as big around a cowboy’s lasso to waggle the pilot’s head around. Quit interfering with my suspension of disbelief, strings!

Well, if you can ignore the strings, this is a fun one, especially if you enjoy family life on Tracy Island, because this has lots of good moments. It’s a good rescue, too, with two technicians stuck atop a TV transmission tower after the jet has crashed into it. Daniel had his usual blast watching it, and he seemed to like the Hood driving over a dismantled bridge and dropping into a river best.

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