When I first heard, last year, that Thunderbirds was being re–made, I was sure it would be a disaster. And when, a mere few months later, I saw the first picture of the all new, CGI-overloaded characters, I was absolutely convinced it would be a total disaster. I think my heart was just about in my mouth when I saw this picture; I couldn’t form a coherent sentence, or even thought, for a long time. My cousins (10 and 5) think the old puppets are creepy, and consider this as passable – “great”, even. Yet I could quite happily say the puppets, strings and all, are much more normal looking than that disaster – Lady Penelope was even worse.
I read the other day that the first episode of the new series was debuting today, the 4th of April, so out of curiosity I looked up the trailer. Honestly, it was as bad and ridiculous as I expected it to be, but at the same time it made me really intrigued – and so I decide I would watch the first episode. I watched Thunderbirds a LOT when I was young, and I went to see the live–action film with all the girls in my class for my 8th birthday (over 10 years ago!), which I personally enjoyed but I know many hated it. But watching the new trailer brought back a lot of memories of the old episodes, which my brother and I owned on video, and just yesterday I went and bought myself the original soundtrack – a huge nostalgia kick! I knew that the new series would be nothing like the original, and I went into it with very low expectations.
And yet, strangely enough, I kind of enjoyed it. Of course it was exceptionally cringe–worthy at times, and the dialogue often fell flat, but at the same time there was something good about it – good enough to have me saying “sit down, Finlay! Sit down!” to my younger cousin many times whilst watching it; he would stand right in the middle of the screen, preventing me from seeing what was happening. I’m pretty sure that wanting to see it all is a good sign, though, because if I hadn’t cared about only seeing half a screen, then what on earth would that have said about the show? Admittedly, I was a little uninterested in the opening scene, but when they started to play the intro, I was just about dancing where I sat. Sure, it was a variation of it, and not totally the original theme, but it’s always been one of my favourite things about the programme – it’s such a recognisable theme, but my favourite part (without doubt) is the part with “5…4…3…2…1… Thunderbirds are go”. I love how they zoom in on the number of each Thunderbird, then pull back to show the full ship, and the bare minimum of sound effects, then BAM! You’re straight into that wonderful tune. I’ve been sitting for the past half an hour replaying the intro over and over again; I love it so much. I can’t describe just how great it is, so take my word for it – and listen to see (hear?) for yourself!
Despite the episode being an hour long (well, that’s a lie; with the advert breaks it was more like 45 minutes), it did seem a little rushed and like they wanted to introduce every single character, old and new, to us at once. Take Lady Penelope and Parker, for instance: I swear they did just about nothing of note in this episode, but they were there anyway. They may have played a minor role, but I certainly can’t remember it. And Kayo (essentially Tin–Tin, but under a new name), well I suppose it was fair enough to involve her, but I’m not keen on the fact that she essentially appears to be becoming a new member of the Thunderbirds. You’re allowed to be Head of Security, that’s acceptable, but Thunderbird ships are reserved only for those bearing the Tracy name! …Wait, I bet she’ll get married to Alan or someone, and then she’ll officially be a Tracy… As long as The Hood doesn’t reveal her secret first!
Speaking of The Hood, he reminds me quite a bit of Ben Kingsley’s incarnation of him in the 2004 film, which (unless I’m just imagining it) was a nice wee nod there. However, he is another character I think was thrown at us a little too quickly – again, I think that’s to do with the episode length. Perhaps if it had been half an hour, there’d have been more of a build up to him, but at the same time I can understand them not wanting to make the first episode into a two–parter. Some of the things he was saying (I’m not quoting, so as to give nothing away… because people are totally going to watch it…) did make me anticipate the next few episodes – okay, the rest of the series – because I really want to know how a rather big event in the Tracy brother’s life actually happened. What with this only being the first episode, we’ve not quite got a feel for the characters yet, but the one I know I can’t stand at the moment is the grandmother. Everything about her is annoying me so far: her ridiculous outfit, her voice, her dialogue. She’s a bit wooden at times too, and so far I’m not a fan – maybe that will change with time, but right now she’s right at the bottom of my list of favourites.
Even though I only watched the episode a few hours ago, I can’t remember terribly much about what actually happened; lots of little things, leading up to them foiling The Hood’s plan (that was unexpected!) and not terribly much else, it has to be said. Hopefully in the next episode, we’ll get some more character development from everyone, and I’m rather looking forward to watching more – I’ve certainly got my Saturday morning viewing sorted, at any rate!
The show certainly has many flaws, which I expected from minute I heard it was being remade, and it’s not a patch on the original – and the CGI is really just atrocious, it has be said, but at the same time I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll make of it (the show, not the CGI – there’s no hope for that). As previously mentioned, one of my favourite parts was the intro being almost the same, but what I didn’t mention is that the launch sequences are nearly identical too. The launch sequence for Thunderbird 2 was always my favourite, as T2 was clearly the best Thunderbird, so seeing it in an updated, and potentially totally different, form was a bit of a worry. But it’s okay, because it’s pretty identical, if sped up somewhat, and with a few changes. IT’S STILL SO COOL THOUGH:
I wish I could say I think this series will be F.A.B, but I don’t yet have high hopes for that – maybe I’ll be surprised! We shall see…