The first half of series two comes to an end, unsurprisingly, with another big fight with the Mechanic, this time involving the Hood as well. It’s kind of low on shocks and wows; most of Rich Fogel’s story is FAB 1 driving down a gigantic tunnel that the Mechanic has dug, and driving back very fast as his big new device reverses direction. Meanwhile, Virgil and Gordon carry out a very meticulous rescue. I was pleased that they made the choice to pay attention to something so laborious and repetitive instead of the usual edge-of-your-seat bit of grabbing somebody at full speed in the nick of time. Nice change.
Our son loved it, full stop, and asked questions about the Mechanic’s weird technology and wires that are plugged into his back. The episode ends with our heroes left more than a little wrong-footed, setting up some more stories with these villains when series two resumes later this year. About which… I haven’t seen a date for when it’s due back. Probably in September, I imagine, and we’ll write about it here as soon as ITV Studios gets a DVD in the shops!
“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?”
“Impact” is the first episode of Thunderbirds are Go by writer Len Uhley, who’s been scripting American adventure cartoons for almost thirty years, darn near everything from the superhero shows to Ben 10. It brings back that dimwit profit-obsessed quack Langstrom Fischler from back in season one, along with Capt. Ridley O’Bannon from earlier in this batch. Ridley and John Tracy seem to be spending a lot of time together playing zero-gravity handball in Thunderbird 5. Does this show inspire fanfiction? If it does, I guarantee some people on Tumblr are writing about this cute outer space couple.
Our son and I really enjoyed this one as well. It’s full of nail-biting moments as Thunderbird 3 tries to destroy a comet that’s headed straight for the Global One space station, and Ridley using her recently-acquired zero-g skills to get away from debris as she has to do vital work on the outside of her station, while John risks everything to try towing it out of the way. It may not be the most scientifically plausible story, but it’s incredibly fun.
Interesting timing. We watched Journey to the Center of the Earth just two weeks ago, and here we are in Atlantis again, with Francois Lemaire, the reckless trillionaire adventurer we met in the series one episode “Comet Chasers,” splashing around the geologically dangerous site in his mini-sub, the Jules Verne. Brains wants a good look at the place as well; there’s allegedly an ancient steampunk supercomputer to be found. Lemaire just wants to prove that Atlantis was populated by mermaids.
This is the first script for this series from Elly Brewer, who has been writing for several British children’s series over the last quarter century. It maybe puts Francois Lemaire as too much of the center of attention at the expense of our heroes, but all his talk of mermaids had our son laughing out loud at him, so it seems like it was the right decision.
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.