A stalwart children’s classic from my dad’s generation, a retro remnant of mine, I was excited to see that British channel ITV were re-inventing Thunderbirds for the 21st century. It will hit UK screens early next year, American audiences can be forgiven for being less thrilled with this news than I am. I approach this news with some caution, however, considering the 2004 movie featuring Ben Kingsley and Bill Paxton failed miserably at the box office.
In teasers thus far the crew involved seem to be determined to use what has worked well in the past and discard what has not. The new series will dispense with puppets, but also dispense with the live action employed in the movie. Instead the show will be a mix of CGI and live action model sets. The marionettes employed in the original Thunderbirds and other Anderson productions are iconic in British Science Fiction, and I shall be sorry to see them confined to the past.
Created by Gerry Anderson, Thunderbirds first aired in 1965 and was set in the year 2065. It focused on the Tracy family, the team behind a group known as International Rescue. From their island in the South Pacific, the five Tracy brothers sought to protect and serve humankind. Using their five unique vehicles—the Thunderbirds—the brothers, Brains The Scientist, and a team of underground spies worked tirelessly to this end. Think James Bond meets Black Ops Brothers.
No word yet as to the voice talent—please David Tenant, please David Tenant—but there will be some familiar voices. Former Bond girl Rosamund Pike will voice Lady Penelope, and original cast member David Graham will reprise the role of her stalwart butler Parker. So obviously we still have butlers in the 21st century.
The first image released, pictured above, holds true to the original style. I just have no idea what they are doing in Hollywood!