What happens if the Thunderbirds are less about rescuing internationally and more about fighting galactically? You get Terrahawks, a 1980s series from Gerry Anderson and co-creator Christopher Burr.
Earth is being invaded by Zelda, an alien android from a world where the robots overthrew their slavemaster humans, and now has an issue with all humans in the universe. Earth’s humans are her next target but here the Terrahawks work with their robotic Zeroids to oppose her. Leading the group is Dr. “Tiger” Ninestein, ninth in a series of clones so you know they’re equal opportunity in this future. The show follows the various members of the team in their battle to protect the planet from the invaders.
Terrahawks uses the same models as previous puppeted and live-action shows produced by Gerry Anderson, but instead of Supermarionation they opted for Supermacronation, using hand puppets to get over the weird walking issues the marionettes tend to have. The show also leans a bit more on light humor, though not necessarily a comedy, which sadly means the Japanese guy gets to be made fun of because the Japanese language doesn’t have the “l” sound, and those who don’t adjust tend to use “r” instead. It’s really the only flaw in the first episode, as Zelda and her forces establish a base on Mars after attacking a NASA base manned by a woman who is clearly forcing something resembling an American accent, then making her first move on the planet. As a bonus I have a behind the scenes video for you. Enjoy!
You can catch the full series over at Shout Factory TV’s streaming site. Additionally, Big Finish has produced a series of audio dramas based on the show as well as an audio “novelisation” of the two-part first episode. Whether or not they’re the planned scripts for the canceled season I couldn’t tell you, but many of the voices return for this production.
Meanwhile, from the official YouTube channel of Gerry Anderson productions here’s a look at the making of Terrahawks.