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I rarely review TV shows but I simply had to touch on this one.

First, a little background.  “Thunderbirds” was a British TV series produced by AP Films between 1964 and 1966.
Set in 2050, the show was about the Tracy family; Astronaut billionaire Jeff Tracy and his 5 sons – Scott, Virgil, Ala, and John.
Assisted by their resident tech help “Brains”, and London agents Lady Penelope and Parker.

This semi-secret team makes up International Rescue who, with their various aircraft (Thunderbird 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) save the world, and people around the from various villains, disasters, and general mishaps from their base on Tracy Island.

The original series was comprised of scale models and marionette puppets on who, what can only be described as, flitted around – hands in front of them and apparently feet hardly touching the floor.
Close-up shots of hands and feet were replaced by actual actor’s hands and feet.
Really quite cheesy now but rather good for its time, I’m sure.

Of course, I didn’t see the original but the Thunderbirds shows have become such a cult classic that it is a part of British Pop Culture.

There was a live-action movie re-make in 2004 – entertaining but I’m not here to talk about that.

On to 2015 – ITV and Pukeko brought the Thunderbirds back to the masses with a computer-generated series now available to stream through Amazon Prime – I’ve been watching (rather a lot of) it, and I like it!

Transitioning from dolls on strings, to CG wouldn’t be easy, but it does work.
Certain intricacies that only observant fans would spot make it even better – certain jerky movements, water ripples are that are disproportionate to the models/landscape, the take-off areas, and more.
Lots of little things that make a geek like me smile.

It looks like they may even still use some miniatures and sets.

The characters aren’t ultra-realistic. More a cross of the best that CG can do, and the old-school marionettes. They’re not terrible though.

  • The character Tin-Tin is now Kayo, apparently because of copyrights vs. Tin-Tin.  Kayo ain’t your original kimono-wearing friend, that’s for sure.
  • Peter Dyneley, the voice of Jeff Tracy died in 1977 but his voice still resounds throughout the new series every time there’s a “5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Thunderbirds are go” – it’s nice that they reused his voice.
  • David Graham reprises his role as the voice of Parker.
  • There are many references to Jeff Tracy, even though he’s not in the new series and there doesn’t seem to be any mention why.
  • The characters don’t have guns in the new series, they don’t have their hats either – though there is reference to them.

Take a look at the IMDB Trivia page to learn a lot more about the series. 

At the very least, it’s entertaining, feel-(kind of) good, non-violent entertainment. Even worth a chuckle in parts.

Search your Amazon Prime account to watch.

You can watch a lot of clips on the official Thunderbirds are go Youtube Channel

Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
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