5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Thunderbirds are Go! The remake of the highly acclaimed and much adored 60s television show has launched onto our television screen for family Saturday night viewing.
The highly hyped and much anticipated return of The Tracy Family and their fabulous machines blazed across the television screen introducing a whole new generation of young eyes to the daring deeds of the Thunderbirds. Gone are the puppetry and strings, as the cast have been fully rendered into CGI ; so to0 have the sets and the vehicles.
This episode went straight into the action; no pre-titles, no preview of the action that was so prevalent on the original show (or even in the updated Captain Scarlet CGI cartoon that was made in 2005). A minor rescue required for a balloon and its father and son occupants, that introduces Thunderbird 2 (that’s the chubby green one for those unfamiliar with the show).
From this quick rescue there is the famous 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Thunderbirds are Go! by the original Jeff Tracy and a few bars of the original theme by Barry Gray and that’s it. There was no iconic music used, indeed there was no hummable theme throughout the entire show.
The characters are introduced very quickly with little or no introduction; though this could be explained due to the opening titles and to save time on the plot. The plot itself was very simple; aside from another minor mission for Thunderbird 3 (the red one) repairing a satellite so that the world can watch repeats (oddly enough the show featured briefly a glimpse from Stingray from a previous Gerry Anderson show); there are a number of under sea earthquakes.
The Thunderbirds team investigate and have to rescue an undersea lab (the nose of whichis exactly like the cockpit of the Eagle from Space 1999 (another nod to a Gerry Anderson show). From dealing with this, International Rescue (that’s the organisation the Thunderbirds go by) uncover a plot by their arch enemy, The Hood!
The writing was pretty standard for a kids’ cartoon show, complete with high fives and a few “F.A.B”s thrown in for good measure. Though one of the most vital ingredients from the original series was missing; the call from someone in distress uttering “Calling International Rescue”, sadly this line was repeated via each of the Thunderbirds. Annoyingly is also the subtraction of the iconic music as the vehicles launch; instead all that we hear is the 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Thunderbirds are Go! – great for the first couple of times, but very in grating after the fifth!
The vehicles look used and not fresh out of the box as they did in the woeful film a number of years ago. The Tracy Island set pieces also look very good and you can tell a lot of time and effort has gone into the exact detail from the original series.
Those were sadly the only good points from the updated show.
The animation at times was extremely ropey where it looked like the creators have taken live action scenery and superimposed the CGI characters on top of it. This gives the show an overall feel of an amateur production, more akin to the tongue-in-cheek Robot Chicken series.
The only character to have the original voice for this show is Parker, who now looks like a London heavy and not the gentleman from the original show. The rest of the brothers look like a boyband. As for Brains, his ethnicity has now become of an Indian origin. I personally have no problem with this, but why didn’t they cast an ethnic actor to portray the voice? There is also the remnants of a slight speech impediment that is virtually invisible at the start of the episode but somehow progresses to a stutter or repeating of words.
Worst of all though is the character “Kayo” Kryano – presumably this is is a direct reference to Tin Tin; except now she is a Security Advisor. Whilst the original Tin Tin helped out on the show every now and again on different missions, this one seems to be co-pilot of Thunderbird 3 and even worse is given her own vehicle at the end of the show – Thunderbird S – for Shadow – another nod to a Gerry Anderson Show UFO.
Also International Rescue are no longer the secret organisation they used to be, but their identities and indeed components are now known to the World Security Council as they work with them, meaning that this show is no longer about helping people, but another way of introducing covert secret espionage elements – this goes completely against what the original show stood for and indeed why so many fans still love it today.
Oh, and as for the Espionage theme? Check out the Astin Martin DB5 when Lady Penelope leaves the Royal Premier!
Very young children will love this, but fans of the original will be leaping for their DVDs of the original series to blot this out – a great disappointment!
2 out of 5 Nerds