Thunderbirds are Go...again!

Originally published at: Thunderbirds are Go…again! | Boing Boing


So much nostalgia for these series. Especially Thunderbirds.

The remarkable thing about it is that the puppetry seems to support the escapism that the series depends upon. It’s fashionable to try to nitpick old media, but how on earth do you do that to Thunderbirds?

Person 1: "The idea of an ex-astronaut having enough money to build a hypersonic rocket plane - let alone multiple fantastic vehicles - is ludicrous! Astronauts just aren’t paid that much!
Person 2: They’re puppets. Just look at them. What on earth made you think this was aiming for realism?

I think that’s why the nostalgia is so strong for these shows. Here in the UK Thunderbirds comes around every decade or two without fail, and capture another audience of young minds…

(That having been said, there are some pretty poor racial stereotypes and some sexism in the shows. Nothing is perfect, and they were made in the 60s.)


All I can say is: F.A.B.


Thunderbirds documentary on Blueray is go!

I was hoping the documentary was reshot with Sᴜᴘᴇʀᴍᴀʀɪɴᴀᴛɪᴏɴ!

I remember stumbling across this show as a kid, long after it had been syndicated, and discovering it was a delight. It was and is an exciting show, that in it’s modern incarnation that combines real world sets and props with computer animation, that still grabs attention.

Each week I remember waiting with anticipation to see Thunderbird 2 and what the guest star of the week it contained.


What would you marinate it in? (Sorry, open goal there.)

There’s also this, which is a different documentary about Gerry’s personal life. I just missed it as it was on Britbox when I had a temporary sub. May have to sign up again.


This is what I also like about early Star Trek. You did not have a realistic computer-generated planet - you had a studio set with papier-mâché rocks. It’s like Shakespearean theatre - you have the main characters, and the stage was Illyria or Elsinore or wherever, and you accepted it if the story is well told enough. it is either that or cross the uncanny valley, and be perfect. Take away the puppets, and you have UFO or Space 1999: good in their way but not the same.

For me, the surprising thing is how many things he got right. Look at Thunderbird 2, for example. That is a subsonic aircraft where the body is the airfoil. But, unlike many flying wing designs, this has a tail. And the tail has what looks like a linear aerospike engine. And the little wings point forward.

Or Lady Penelope’s car. Two wheels at the front and one at the back. This combination is sometimes called a "Chinese Combo’. It is hard work to drive but will give the smoothest ride for someone in the back, and gives good control when breaking from 300mph.

Thunderbird 5 was silly. Can’t all be gems.


As seen a decade or so later with the Tyrrell P34 Formula 1 car:

(In that case the six wheels were to allow the wheels to fit behind a front wing whose size was limited by the rules, while still having enough of a contact patch.)


Just to really show my age, I can remember the earlier Jerry Anderson puppet series Torchy The Battery Boy and Four Feather Falls, followed by Supercar, then Fireball XL5 - I’ve got a couple of lovely die-cast models of those two, the decent stage cabin of Fireball comes off, it’s held in place by magnets, they’re both about ten inches long. Lovely things.


Thunderbirds GIF by GerryAndersonTV

Thunderbirds GIF by GerryAndersonTV

Thunderbird 1 Launch GIF by GerryAndersonTV


Every paramilitary organization needs a duty station for problem personnel. If John or Alan can’t learn to cooperate with the rest of the team, some time away from earth may be in order,


But in UFO, the far off moonbase was where the hotties were in command.



You forgot to mention “Supercar”. My all time favorite.

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Also… Space Patrol…

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I had never heard of Torchy, the Battery Boy before so i googled it. Sheesh, there’s some nightmare fuel!

As for UFO, i always imagined a reboot where Stryker is called into the HR department and is releived of duty in the first epidose, then Gabriella Drake, Wanda Ventham and Ayshea Brough take over.


I also remember Twizzle with the extending arms.

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The exchangeable mission-specifc payload modules are also a work of genius at a time where the standardised shipping container was brand new technology. It’s something that is being used more and more now.


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