Back in 1965, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson created the British television series, “The Thunderbirds.” It followed a secretive organizaton, International Rescue who, with their ultra high tech vehicles, would save people from disasters around the world and in space. Now, fifty years later, Wetta, the company behind the special effects in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, has relaunched the series.
Unlike the original, which used “Supermarianation” puppetry, this series uses a combination of miniatures, special effects and CGI. It is an unusual but very effective method. The miniature sets are build and shot on a sound stage, then the characters are added in later with CGI. To see how this works, check out the behind-the-scenes documentary, “Reggie & Thunderbirds: No Strings Attached.”
The documentary includes a walk-through of the Wetta offices, which are full of models from the original series, as well as props and prosthetics from the various movies Wetta has helped to create. Founder and president of Wetta, Sir Richard Taylor, was a big fan of the original Thunderbirds and the show was a big inspiration that led him into getting into the special effects industry.
The ships as well as the characters have been updated, but still have the same flavor of the original, with the ships even having some new abilities.
Even Thunderbird 5, which in the original was just a monitoring space station, plays a part in a rescue in the first episode. Plus, some of the characters even have some secrets we have yet to learn about!
There are two members of the voice cast worth noting. Fifty years after the debut of the original series, David Graham returns to voice Parker, Lady Penelope’s butler/chauffeur. Plus, in one episode, co-creator Sylvia Anderson, who originally voiced Lady Penelope, returns to voice lady Penelope’s grand aunt.
As of this writing, thirteen episodes have aired, but only in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Reading through the “Thunderbirds Are Go” Facebook page, most reviews are positive and the show is trying to get air dates in the United States. Their YouTube channel does have some videos, but half of them you can’t see in the States. After a lot of research, the Second Geekhood IT Department (TimeSiren) did find a link where you can view the first episode. Other episodes are noted in the sidebar at this location. Episode one is actually one and two. So if you want to see more, go to episode three. The video is a bit pixelated and the channel does have the tendency to drop commercials in when you don’t expect it, but the episodes are still worth a view.
I guess the lesson here is that if you’re in danger, International Rescue is on the way!…unless you’re in the United States, then you’re screwed.
-The AFOL Husband