Great to see originality in the TV industry :-/
Ah well - hopefully it'll be fun for the kiddies anyway.
Brit television outfit ITV has announced the return of the Tracy family in Thunderbirds Are Go! - a fresh take on Gerry Anderson's classic puppet series promising "a whole new level of action-adventure animation for today's audience". Out goes Supermarionation and in comes "CGI animation", although we're promised "live-action …
Nevr did get to see that remake, neither did my 7 year old son (at time of first broadcast). I remember the idiots running ITV scheduling took what ought to have been a popular series and inserted it into the middle of some Saturday morning moronic studio crap; guaranteed to minimise audience.
I only watch the first DVDs worth (four episodes?) of the Captain Scarlet remake, and I was very disappointed. They messed with the format so much that only the fundamental details survived.
It appeared to be the case that they went completely down the action route, whereas the original series demanded that the kids follow the story. I wonder how much of 'kids have short attention spans' is reinforced by providing programs that need no degree of attention to watch. Possibly a self-fulfilling statement.
IIRC it was billed as "Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet", so I wonder what Gerry actually thought of it. The reason why he hated the live-action movie so much was he had lost control of the franchise (he sold the complete rights to finance one of the later series), and so had no input at all. I agree that it was barely worth watching, apart from the cameo reverse-format puppet hand at the Thunderbird 1 controls, which was the sole amusing bit of the film.
But to me it never had CGI wow.
Maybe I need to watch it again, but to me it looks to have been animated using the Max Steel or Action Man CGI rendering engine, which make movements look unrealistic. I know it was probably a different company doing it, but the Starship Troopers CGI series looked better.
Hopefully, they will use a better engine for the Thunderbirds remake.
Only 30 minute episodes? The original episodes were a shade under 60 minutes long which allowed for much greater story development and the extended launch sequences that we all love. When they re-edited the shows down to 30 minute jobs with cliff-hangers and "Last time..." they became almost unwatchable.
I don't know if it's attention span... I think the new Doctor Who format suffers from lack of story development because of the time constraints. The old 4x30 minute story is, IMHO, better than the 1x55 minutes story. Do you remember Jon Pertwee sitting around in a lab trying a dozen revisions of gadgets and potions? Much more real-world than "oh, let's wave the sonic and resurrect 1/3 of the population" we've seen of late.
"The old 4x30 minute story is, IMHO, better than the 1x55 minutes story."
I used to think that, then I saw The Invasion of Time again and noticed so much padding (eg The Doctor and companions wandering round the inside of the Tardis aimlessly while pursued by the Sontarans) that didn't add anything to the storyline.
But on the other hand, it did leave the kids hanging and they 'had' to remember the previous episode to watch the next. A bit of brain training for them. Helps them focus over a longer period of time.
There are some very good insights into the production problems that Doctor Who had in the 30 minute-an-episode days contained in a book and audio-book by one-time Dr Who producer Barry Letts, called "Who and Me". It is serialised on BBC Radio 4 Extra on their rotation. It's a good read/listen.
There were so many scheduling, budget and logistical issues around this production format (like the sets had to be taken down every week during the episode filming - no wonder they were flimsy) that once you know, you wonder how the show was ever made!
My personal feeling is that the episodic story line was both a benefit and a curse, but I think that it was good training for handling long-running issues in life, and definitely made it more of an event in the week than the current self contained stories.
Invasion of Time can be seen as two stories - the 4-part Vardan one and the 2-part Sontaran one. Doesn't make it any the better, though. But then it was written in under 3 weeks and shot around a strike at the BBC. (The story of the original run of Doctor Who is one of working on little resources and around problems.)
The 4x25 minute Who episode format could be its own straitjacket. Requiring three cliff-hangers at cerrtain points. It took a good writer/script editor combination to get the format to work without (obvious) padding.
It can be a tricky balance to pad one part out and tighten in something else so the potential cliff hanger moments land at the right spot.
The old black and white serials spring to mind with the effort it would have taken to get all those cliff hangers over the space of a 20 part show. It was quite a clever format. You have to watch it each week to find out how the hero escaped from certain doom, but if you missed an episode, you could still catch up on the story line.
Back in the 60s we only got to watch half hour Dr Who episodes
Except a single story was told over several episodes so you had to be able to follow a storyline for several weeks .... and each episode started off where the last ended - you didn't get 5 mins of "previously on ..." intro to remind you what had happened. Whereas now you get 45-60mins self contained episodes (occasionally you get some 2-part stories but in current Dr Who series think they've said that they have abandoned this).
@deshepherd "Except a single story was told over several episodes so you had to be able to follow a storyline for several weeks"
Yes and it was mostly tedious, IMO, having watched a few of them in recent years. It was obviously (?) a cost-saving exercise for which the plots were rarely up to the job. Shorter formats give so much more freedom to explore the Who-verse, I would never want to go back to that absurd serial format.
I have to say that I bought the boxed set of Saphire and Steel a couple of years ago and was a bit underwhelmed. The nostalgia was there but I was amazed that it seemed to just consist of them wandering aimlessly around trying one thing after another until they happened to eventually hit on the solution.
Rose tinted spectacles I suppose.
Still - it passed a few hours and I'm glad I bought it. It's just that not everything back then was as good as we might like to think when we look back from 30+ years :)
Apart from Joanna of course. She still looked good :D
Well, the BBC has [Doctor Who], [Merlin], and sometimes [The Sarah Jane Adventures] and [Wizards Vs Aliens] are shown as one hour (nearly) instead of two half-hours. Of course most of those shows are Russell T. Davies and/or Welsh in some degree. And two of them aren't being made any more, since they ruled out regenerating Sarah Jane Smith or doing her in CGI. At least, they didn't do it... actually they -did- bring in a replacement one time, but she turned out to be an alien with a nasty evil plot. Come to think - do the BBC not still have the identical android Sarah Jane Smith that was in [The Android Invasion]? ...What? Oh. :-)
There is no such thing in TV and films anymore, it seems.
had a friend who has just come back from 4hr each way flights and he said that out of 6 films he saw, 5 were part of a franchise/sequel/prequel.
Oh, to have SOME originality!
(Mind you....has anyone seen Utopia on Ch4? Well worth a watch....imho)
<<<<< cos it's the only way to get through most films....
the point about Thunderbirds, is it is NOT going to be 'original'!!! unless you mean EXACTLY like the original???
If you are an old fan of StarTrek, the new 'prequel' film ripped most of the heart out of it.. the kids loved it of course, but not the fans...
I can only wonder what freakishly new designs, backstory, characters they will make up to make the 'kids' happy, but not the old fans.... :( :(
I dunno - I liked the Thunderbird series, when I was really young....
But as my good friend Malcolm McLaren said, "That old Necrophiliac - Rock and Roll."
I think some things that were a part of some peoples lives, a LONG time ago, really ought to stay dead and buried.
I think when it's hustlers reanimating the corpse, and pushing it to sell advertising with the show, while the initial idea is good, recycling it, generally isn't.
The models on strings that fly better than obviously fake UFO's, the glitchy special effects like rockets firing and all the crap-tastic effects that made it so good.... well that was great for a preteen audience.
But polishing it up and making it all CGI - unless it's a technically superb job, with a really intelligent plot and all that to make it a decent show, vs. using a recycled idea to create a crap show.....
Then it's probably and hopefully doomed to fail.
I mean the originals like "Bill and Ben - the Flower Pot Men" and "The Magic Roundabout" - were great - and it was their shittiness and basicness and simplicity that made them great.
To me it's all just ratings, marketing, sales, and hype and bullshit - usually by original non-thinkers, or was that non-original thinkers....
I think the only way to use the original material is to replay the original material.... as hour long shows, and not as some other writer commented, "To fuck it all up by putting it in little bits in some Saturday morning kids show."
As far as the music and special effects /sounds thereof go - Gerry Adams, recycled the lot, from Space 1999, UFO, Fireblade, Thunderbirds etc....
Forgive me if I am a touch vauge.... Twas such a long time ago.
Hopefully this will stay more faithful to the original than the film did. Even my son who tried watching the film a few months ago said it was rubbish compared to the tv show version that we had watched earlier in the day! This from a 7yr old, says a lot really doesnt it
Look forward to seeing this, just hope after the first episode I can look forward to the second and so on!!
God, I remember having all 26 of the original books, and the Johnny Morris LP-sized recording of Three Railway Engines: "There once was an engine attached to a train..."
Oh, and I doubt it was a 45 *inch* recording, nor 45 *seconds*. 45 *rpm*, maybe...
And I also had the fold-up (Ordnance Survey style) map of Sodor... Does that make me a geek?
The records were unusual. They were 7" discs, but were played a 33 1/3 RPM. I'm fairly certain that my father still has the records somewhere.
When I was reading the stories to my children several decades ago, I found myself mimicking Johnny Morris' vocalisations. I guess that it must have had a profound effect on me.
IIRC, Rev. W Audry actually wrote 32 or 33 of the original books, before his son Christopher picked up the reigns. Each of the stories in the original books was said to have been inspired by real events on the railways, and I always though that made them much more believable. Once Britt-Alcroft started getting more stories written, it all went to pot, and the Rev. is probably spinning in his grave at the latest stories.
What I would like to know is whether the Chris Payne, who appears in the titles of the original TV series is the same Chris Payne who worked on computer controlled railways for his final year project at Durham University in 1980/81. If it is, then I knew him.
Listening to records of Johnny Morris reading the Railway Stories, and Ian Carmichael reading Winnie-the-Pooh, also on 33 1/3 7" discs are probably are some of my most enduring childhood memories.
BTW. There were also Century 21 Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet stories on vinyl disc. You've got to remember that there were no home video players back in the 1960s. Records and reel-to-reel tape were all there were.
Johnny Morris...am I the only one who feels a little sad and wistful whenever I hear recordings of him now? The way he read stories on Listening Corner or Schools Radio, or did the zoo keeper on Animal Magic, just brings it all back for me. One of the greatest pleasures when I was a kid was having a story told to me, and Johnny Morris was the best.
Makes me sad that kids today (bah!) don't have anyone like old Johnny to listen to, with kids' TV presenters being your cool older brother/sister rather than an esteemed uncle or aunt.
Oh, and i think this Thunderbirds remake is rather pointless...old fans won't like it, and young 'uns will be mystified by it!
Absolutely, it was just a means to an end for Anderson who didn't get to do want he really wanted, work with real actors, until Space 1999 (and the other series, the name of which escapes me). Puppets let them tell the stories they wanted to tell and, like Aardman, they put had the gumption to pay the attention to detail that made the all too obviously puppet world come alive for viewers.
They'll have to work on some of the scripts to make them slightly less twee, give the women some better roles but kidnapping high-speed planes and putting bombs on them "Flight 787" could cause the biggest mass panic since the 1937 War of the Worlds broadcast!
Could be like the CGI Captain Scarlet killed by being on a shit TV programme. The reboot was rather good and I remember the original.
Or it could be like the film I have seen enough clips of to KNOW it will be crap, I do not dare see it.
Main issue it is on shITV with their new moronic stupid permanent onscreen logo of utv.
Might be crap.
Thunderbirds were made as a short feature film. The way the X-files were
Both sets of creators wanted (to a certain extent) their results to be viewed as an "Event." Something you looked forward to seeing specifically rather than a piece of something bigger.
I will not that digital TV and DVRs with decent EPG's can help you pin a series together by time shifting to a reasonable time.
Not entirely. Thunderbirds was conceived as a half-hour show and Anderson and team were halfway through production of the first series when their backer Lew 'Low' Grade decided the length should be doubled. Which helps explain why certain TB episodes slow to a crawl in the middle as they desperately splice in offcuts to fill up the time. (Let's have another long shot of the meter edging towards critical... now a close-up of a bead of perspiration on Alan's forehead and his eyebrows set to "Frown"... now back to the meter getting infinitesimally nearer critical... back to Alan...)
On the other hand it did give them space to build up the characters a bit more, which was where TB really scored over (half-hour) Captain Scarlet.
However good it might be. It will be turned to crap by showing it in-between other shows on CITV. With the idiotic hosts explaining what you just watched 3 minutes ago before the ads. Then they'll play a non related game, then back to the show. Just show the full episode... please.
Thunderbird fans are middle-aged now, they would be the best target audience for this show. Kids will watch it regardless. But we all know it has to be cut up and re-packed to make it blend with the crap that will surround it.
I'll wait for the DVD so I can watch uninterrupted. By which time it will be cancelled.
"Thunderbird fans are middle-aged now, they would be the best target audience for this show. Kids will watch it regardless. But we all know it has to be cut up and re-packed to make it blend with the crap that will surround it."
I've gone AC, as I know this is dodgy ground, but, I have to admit, I have found myself imagining how the Tracy boys would have tackled 9/11 and Fukushima etc. I know, I know, fantasy/reality, but has anyone else done this? Would it be wrong to make this kind of programme?
A few weeks ago, I showed my 4-year-old son an old Thunderbirds DVD which belonged to his older brother. I thought that he'd be unimpressed. Quite the opposite: he's hooked. I've had to get the Tracey Island and thunderbird vehicles down from the loft, buy new batteries and search ebay for missing parts.
"Gerry, this is not a series, this is a feature film!" - So 30 miin (20 mins after adverts) isn't gonna work for me. I'll go back to dreaming that someone will grab the franchise, and do with it what Marvel have managed with the Avengers etc - two hour big scale entertainment. film, CGI + "Real" Actors + a proper Rescue plot ... Not the rubbish that Riker produced.
Another lost opportunity :(
Does it need to be original? I have a suspicion that all the little quirks that gave the original series the character it undoubtedly had and made it eminently watchable will be ironed out. Some do NOT succeed in a re-make or film. Take Hitch-hikers Guide, for instance. They were struggling to make characters that didn't look like the TV ones (Marvin, the paranoid robot, for instance) and they failed miserably, in my opinion.
Far and away the best, and most mature, of Gerry's output. It actually dealt with really involved human problems, sexual situations, and very bizzare situations (not puzzling in a "Dr. Who" way, but truly bizarre things like time warps, mental illnesses, psychoses, etc.). And the aliens were both believable and somewhat scary. It was the most adult of them all, and as such doesn't look THAT dated - because people still have the same issues. Well, except for time-warping aliens....
They'll watch any old crap. My girlfriend's 6 year old is addicted to Inspector Gadget on Netflix and that's an unmitigated pile o'shite.
Personally I think the problem is that nobody is prepared to take a chance on something new. Much easier to resurrect stuff for which there is at least some brand recognition. Inception proved that movies need not be dumb to make money and the same is true of TV, but who is going to be responsible if they take a chance and bomb? The fear of failure is too high, so nobody will risk it.
catchy tune though :D
There was a rather annoying contractor who had it as his ringtone and even though he was often away from his desk, he left his 'phone there and would receive many calls.
As it rang he would lope across the office... we all found it so annoying that eventually we started "dah dah"'ing the tune whenever he moved regardless of the phone; he became known as "Inspector gadget" and was entered into the minutes of meets as such too :D
"...I'm intrigued by the "live-action model sets", hope they don't just been scene sets. I'd love to see some Anderson style non-cgi vehicular models - the detail of the original models inspired a billion imaginations...."
If you want to see where they got the basis for most of the models - look here:VIP/Thunderbird Models
Having watched it originally in black and white, it was only years later that I discovered the full and rich world...
Same here, it wasn't until our neighbour (and my suddenly new best friend), got a colour TV and it was like the Wizard of Oz revelation (B&W Kansas to technicolour Oz) - mindblowing!
Er, no. Dr Who, Merlin, Primeval etc. all 45 minutes (=1hour+ on commercial channels). Back in the 60s we only got to watch half hour Dr Who episodes.
The old Dr Who's had storylines running for four or more episode, (as previously noted), generally with dire cliffhangers - I was traumatised when Sarah Jane fell off a rocket and I had to wait a week to see if she survived - I was a pretty naive kid.
But back to Thunderbirds, it's a shit shame they couldn't of done this when G Anderson was still with us, pretty sure he was fighting right up to his death to bring it back.
While I regret the lack of originality in today's TV schedule, I suppose we should be thankful that this project does not involve werewolves, vampires or Simon Cowell in any way.
Just goes to show all the good ideas have been used and now they are just making hamburger out of sirloin that's well past its prime.
I can't be the only person who would love to see a 'proper' adult version of Thunderbirds made. In the sense that it would be Christopher Nolan's 'Batman Begins' to the camp antics of the original Batman TV series. I'd watch that.
None of this 'appealing to children' rubbish. Give me a decent film, and please, try not to fsck it up.
A) To bingo night at the local church
B) To see their gerontologist
C) To watch the "Murder She Wrote" marathon
D) To call the local police about "those damn kids" playing in the street
OK, having a little fun at the expense of a TV classic that I even managed to catch growing up in the US of A. I wish big media would show a little more originality than bringing back The Transformers/Chipmunks/Thundercats/Thunderbirds every couple years, but it is what it is, and hopefully the new Thunderbirds will be of better quality than the Bill Paxton movie that got such lousy reviews back in 2004-2005 or so.
So let us hope for the best, and some quality programming for a new generation of Thunderbirds fans!!
"Go" icon for obvious reasons......
I often wondered what the exact meaning of the expression " F-A-B " was, usually uttered after a command from one of the senior puppets on the film set. It's probably equivalent to "aye aye", " yes sir " or perhaps the word " jawohl " in the German language.
Does anyone know the exact meaning of the expression or is it a made up term designed to sound hip and trendy in the swinging sixties?
Is this going to be the usual sort of animation that makes everything look fake in that airbrush-perfect-finish way? Whilst it might be a technological marvel, after the first few minutes of marvelling at the technology ...I hate it.
I prefer my "fake" as in supermarionation. Or cartoons, even.
I'd like to see this but ITV have a habit of either ruining or killing anything they touch... partly through being inconsistent with schedules, usually allowing unimportant sporting events, soaps and reality TV to take priority and not telling people when it is on. I've yet to see the remake of The Prisoner because of this. I even lost track of Law and Order UK for the same reason!
Once upon a time there used to be serials. Yes, I'm old: I am talking about the days when such things had signature tunes!. One could rely on a number of episodes being broadcast, same time each week, on a given day.
Then came the mini-series, expecting people to devote an hour or so on consecutive days. Even thought the VHS recorder had been invented well before this, it was a format that never worked for me.
These days, only soaps are scheduled reliably. Changing this for any reason short of a royal death would be about the only thing sure to cause revolution in apathetic Britain.
And I read books.
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