In previous Saturday Night Showcases we’ve seen the original Thunderbirds “Supermarionation” series and the anime semi-sequel Thunderbirds 2086. Well, a new one just became available for us to look at, so let’s check out Thunderbirds Are Go, the 2015 CG animated series not to be confused with the 1960s movie based on the original show alongside Thunderbird 6. We’ll ignore the live-action movie.
I called 2086 a semi-sequel because I’m not really sure it was a continuation since outside of the group being called International Rescue there weren’t a lot of references to the old show. This new show however appears to be a remake rather than a continuation. Given that the character models and animation style, though updated, takes a lot of cues from the old puppets and sets (kind of like how SSSS Gridman looks like it could have been done in live-action even though it moved the battles outside of the computer world) I find it odd that they wouldn’t just continue the series, or even just use the base designs and not try to be the old show visually. It’s an odd choice but it does admittedly look darn cool.
Sadly, Shout Factory TV still only posts the first episode so this is ends on a cliffhanger, but I’ll be linking to the full series afterwards, or at least the first two seasons as of this writing. Until then, enjoy.
It kind of throws me off that everything looks like the old sets, updated “puppets” of the old characters, and even the designs of the Thunderbird ships themselves have little change, and yet the story is so different. Tintin is replaced with a security expert who doesn’t even share her name, Brains is now Indian (as in from India, or that’s what I’m guessing from the accent), and Jeff Tracy is now missing, replaced by I’m assuming his mother and not the late wife’s mom. They aren’t bad characters, don’t get me wrong. I just miss the originals and I’m a bit confused why they were replaced.
Additionally the Tracy brothers seems kind of young compared to the originals, not as bad as the live-action movie but still maybe late teens for the younger brothers to early twenties for the elders. Momma Tracy must have had all her babies pretty close together. And yet the Hood is still their threat, when in the original we got to see their first run-in. It’s like the show doesn’t know if it wants to be a continuation or remake but leans toward the latter.
There are some nice nods tossed in. Parker, who still says “yes, milady”, which made me and my friends laugh when we watched the namesake movie to this show, driving on the right side comes from the original series. For some reason Gerry Anderson was convinced someday in the future England would start driving on the right side of the road instead of the left. They appear to be abandoning that but they do have some fun with it. (Lovingly, I hope, but these days I can’t be certain with all the not-stalgia and mockstalgia out there.) The TV show we see when the TV satellite is realigned is another Supermarionation show, Stingray, which was another previous Saturday Night Showcase entry. The theme song is a nice update of the original, but using the countdown as part of the launch sequence kind of pulls me out a bit. Is that automated or just for the audience?
The original show inspired other high-tech rescue teams in fiction, from the Rescue Heroes to the Rescue Bots of Transformers fame, among others not as well known. It’s nice to see that kids have a chance to see a new take on this show and minor adaptation curiosities aside is really good. I believe the show has run for three seasons but as of this writing the first two seasons are up on Shout Factory TV, which no info on home video releases. I hope it gets one because 2086 never did while the original show and both movies have had DVD and Blu-Ray releases.