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Old 27-05-2014, 01:37 PM   #1
Richard Baker
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Default Now my Fiance is impressed with Thunderbirds...

Last night we watched episode 2 (Pit of Peril) and episode 3 (City on Fire) all together in the living room. She is NOT a SciFi person, only seen a couple of episodes of TOS Trek and Firefly (loved Dr. Who though).
The puppets threw her a bit- she was wondering why to go through all the trouble of making them and performing them when you could just hire actors. I pointed of that with smaller scaled sets you could do a lot more with less money and how they had evolved over the years to where they could give a good performance.
Her next question was about the SFX- she kept thinking they were CGI, which was nonexistent back then. Nope- I told her, just strings and wires on physical sets, no compositing blue screen or fancy effects. "Oh, like the models you and Ryan build"
We watched the shows and while the Thunderbirds was not exactly her 'cup of tea', she did say she was very impressed with the painstaking level of detail and the amount of effort it took to create a whole unique world. She may not like it as much as we do, but she was impressed...
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Old 27-05-2014, 01:53 PM   #2
boatshewsd2
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Yes, I do believe she "gets it"! Perhaps, too, she might find more enjoyment in some of the other episodes...

Those Tracy boys do have a tendency to grow on you!
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Old 27-05-2014, 03:46 PM   #3
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It's funny how we get accustomed to accepting puppets.

I watched Team America: World Police for the first time recently and thought it was hilarious. My teenage son said he didn't get it. Funny thing is he is a huge a fan of South Park, yet he just couldn't get over the whole puppet thing. However the CGI New Captain Scarlet he accepts much more readily as he enjoys the graphics being a Playstation fan. So he is fine seeing characters as computer generated 3D models yet has had very little exposure to puppet shows and finds them hard to accept.

I guess I just grew up with puppet shows as a way of telling a story. I remember many other puppet based series being shown here in the UK for very young children, so was very use to it before seeing the very upbeat Gerry Anderson shows.
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Old 27-05-2014, 04:57 PM   #4
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You're lucky.

My wife still calls it , " that doll show".

So then I talk about how in 'city on fire' the crisis is caused by the horrifyingly bad driving by a female driver....
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Old 27-05-2014, 06:09 PM   #5
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I am very visually orientated and proportions are important- Bobble-Heads and Egg-Planes make me cringe. I must confess the the classic Captain Scarlet series where they had the heads more inline with human proportions I find a lot easier to relate to.
Thunderbirds, however, had such strong characters and dramatic story lines I can accept them as people. It is kinda weird sharing them with others who have never seen one of the puppet shows before. I grew up with Space Patrol, Fireball XL-5, Supercar, etc... and so my head is already prepped.
The other things the kids watch on TV, both CGI like the new Tron and traditional animation all have a special style all their own, GA's world is yet again another way of looking at things...
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Old 28-05-2014, 08:22 AM   #6
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One thing I've observed is that as the GA series progressed the plots were regarded as increasingly 'dark'. This has been attributed to several things, even to his personal life.

Sadly because of this Captain Scarlet was generally less well received than Thunderbirds and in the UK UFO was a scheduling hot potato.

I wonder how much of this perceived change was due to increased realism, rather than any deliberate move to darker plots? Did the plots really get much darker, or did it just seem so as the characters moved away from being obvious puppets to much more realistic and then actual actors? I think it certainly helped to make the later shows seem darker to some extent.
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Old 28-05-2014, 01:57 PM   #7
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The GA shows always had some darkness- the good guys carried guns and shot people at times. The Hood set up a nuclear powered aircraft to destroy a city JUST to attract International Rescue so he could take some pictures. When Lady Penelope chased him down in the stolen car and blew it up my Stepson said- "wow, she means business!".
Captain Scarlet was set up with a very dark premise- people were killed before the first commercial, sometimes in mass numbers. Instead of light hearted adventure or dramatic rescues, they were struggling to save the world from Alien attack, a theme carried over to UFO.
The funny thing is that his shows were always considered children's entertainment, but they had some very adult themes. I think one reason the Thunderbirds movie was such an abomination was that they just copied the vehicles but turned it into a Spy Kids clone, shoving it into a demographic that it never was intended to go.
I was alright watching the shows when growing up, my Stepson is fine with them now. We have them on DVD and we will be watching them as a special treat instead of ripping through the seasons. People may be killed, cities may explode but we will be enjoying every moment together.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:27 PM   #8
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Its an interesting point about the 'darkness' of some of the shows; Thunderbirds is quite dark in places, and as has been noted above, the good guys carry guns (was watching the Perils of Penolope episode the other day, with them rescuing her from the monorail tunnel, and our brave hero rescue-technicians happily open fire on baddies with the guns they carry as a matter of course in their daily duties). But every episode needs peril in order for IR to be called at all.

Captain Scarlet is darker still, just because the plots require at least one death an episode, but in a story about Earth versus an attacking alien force, the theme would be dark. I also like the moral ambiguity presented by the fact that the whole plot stems from a genocidal attack on the (up to that point) non-hostile Mysterons by humanity; Earth, and the supposed 'good guys' basically levelled a strange city out of knee-jerk fear.

As an aside though, there is a lot of positives with Scarlet; how many other shows at the time would have had a cast of heroes which included black characters and female fighter pilots?
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:57 PM   #9
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Scarlet is my favourite of the puppet shows, probably because I caught it at that right age. My older sisters (who had grown up with Thunderbirds) and Dad watched it too, the Angels seemed to go down equally well with all.

No mention of Joe 90 yet? I thought it could be very dark in places, I found the whole concept of a child acting out adult missions after being brainwashed, no mother figure (to say, "what on earth are you doing, you can't do that to the poor boy", etc was all very dark!


Glad to say Gerry didn't lose it to the end, having now finished my first viewing of New Captain Scarlet, it gets the thumbs up from me. Dark and brooding just like the original, but with the added bonus of relationships between the characters. It's a fitting end to an amazing career that has undoubtedly changed many of us for the better. Wouldn't life had been just so dull without Gerry Anderson!
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odahs View Post
No mention of Joe 90 yet? I thought it could be very dark in places, I found the whole concept of a child acting out adult missions after being brainwashed, no mother figure (to say, "what on earth are you doing, you can't do that to the poor boy", etc was all very dark!
Joe wasn't even professor McClaine's natural son! Can you imagine a TV producer trying to sell Joe 90 to a modern TV channel, they would have a fit of outrage at the thought of a young child who's adopted by a single man who intends to perform experiments on the mind of said child. The studio would probably report the producer to the police for coming up with such a "preverted" program.

Mourn the lost innocence of the 60's.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorpio46 View Post
a young child who's adopted by a single man who intends to perform experiments on the mind of said child.
Mourn the lost innocence of the 60's.
We have that legally all the time, it's just called something different.
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Old 04-06-2014, 01:14 PM   #12
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I missed Joe 90 but I am familiar with the premise and never got a chance to see the CGI Captain Scarlet (still hoping for DVDs to be released in Region 1 for it someday.
The thing is that most people considered Anderson's shows to be children's entertainment, after all they had PUPPETS as the main characters. While they did have elements for younger audiences, they had very adult themes and story lines, relateable characters and truly epic moments. They evolved over the years until he went live action with humans, those are the shows conventionally thought of as 'Adult. If you took UFO or Space 1999 and replaced the humans for the Scarlet style puppets but told the very same stories they would still work well.
J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5 was heavily inspired by Anderson's work. The elaborate launch sequence for the Star Furys was pure Thunderbirds...
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