Sunday, 6 January 2013

Could Thunderbirds work outside of a puppet show ?:

In memory of the late Gerry Anderson who created a variety of staple children TV shows like Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Stingray. At the time of his death however he was reportedly involved in a revival of Thunderbirds a different media format.

The puppet show which followed the adventures of the covert rescue organisation International rescue using hi-tech machinery to save the day in a wide array of calamities.

To shake things up and because of the timing of this post I don't want things to end on a sombre notes I'm going to begin with the negatives.


The Cons

Revitalisation has failed before:
In many previous attempts to bring back the show to appeal to new generations has sadly fallen on it's face. The show was taken over seas and didn't do well and channels re-interpretation of the footage did not help either.

The 'Anderson' touch:
 In 2004 a live action Thunderbirds film was released and failed critically and finically. It's clear Anderson and co had a real understanding of his work and in the hands of others it's just doesn't come together. Perhaps it similar to mixed reaction to Dragon ball GT since original author Akira Toriyama was not involved with the project, or how the only original Batman franchise failed after Tim Burton was no longer involved.

 Whilst a lot of effort and ground breaking went on with puppetry and design a lot of Andersons work suffered from Avatar syndrome, great looking but behind a little shallow. Characters were thin and personality free expect for characters like Brains (International rescues whiz-kid). The show was basically a disaster a week formula. An episode would begin with a disaster and the team would solve it.

The Pros

I've said it before and the smarter then the average bear media watcher will know, production executives love stuff which covertly sell things to children (except cigarettes of course). The show offers plenty of marketing opportunities like toys for all the vehicles and action figures.

Japan loved it:
The show was a huge cultural success in Japan. To cash in an unrelated anime was dubbed over to become Thunderbirds 2086 and the show was referenced in various media forms. This may have been down to the fact the show had various similar conventions with the Japanese genre Tokastu. Already theirs a fan base which still references the show even today.

It could be 'caped and masked':
By the term 'caped and masked' I mean the shows formats could be easily converted into a superhero style format. This is similar to Tron Uprising with the lead taking on the role of secret identity. The pilots of the Thunderbirds never revealed their identities and tried to remain as a covert organisation, despite never hiding their faces, something a costume re-design could attend to.

Personally I hope their could be another Thunderbirds project but perhaps it's time to put that dream to bed out of respect for it's creator, or just another one of those wait and see things. Either way Thunderbirds touched my parents generation and my generation thanks to repeats so the fan base it still their.

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