The Complete Series
Review by Michael Jacobson
Audio: Dolby Stereo
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Features: See Review
Length: 1014 Minutes
Release Date: December 31, 2002
it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that this was no normal act of
war. It is clear that some evil and mysterious force is working against us. This
is a job for the WASPs.”
historical perspective: without Stingray,
the Thunderbirds might not have ever been go, and 1999 might have
been just the year everybody panicked about a silly computer bug.
Gerry Anderson’s pioneering television show that combined his process of
Supermarionation with models, special effects, and fun-for-the-whole family
science fiction storytelling. It
may not have been remembered as fondly as Thunderbirds, but fans of that
hit show would be miss in not checking out the underwater adventures of the
I chuckled when I wrote that as much as you did reading it.
But WASP in this case stands for World Aquanaut Security Patrol, who
serve underwater to protect the entire world from the Aquaphibians, a race of
warriors led by the evil Titan, who uses mechanical fishes and other devices in
attempts at world conquest.
star vessel of the WASPs is, of course, Stingray, led by Captain Troy Tempest
and Lt. George Lee Sherdian, better known as ‘Phones’.
When called into action by WASP leader (still laughing at that name)
Commander Shore, the atomic powered sub and its team spring into action.
adventure begins in the self-titled pilot episode, which introduce us to the
WASP team as the Stingray crew prepare to investigate an attack on a Security
Patrol submarine by…you guessed it, a giant mechanical fish.
Troy and Phones come face to face with Titan, and voila, a series is
familiar with Thunderbirds will easily recognize Gerry Anderson’s
components here, from the blend of action and sci-fi to the often hoaky
futuristic dialogue, not to mention, the marionette characters that inhabit his
world! All 39 broadcast episodes
are included here in this five disc set, restored to original color glory
(though for some reason, the shows were originally televised in black and
of the highlights include the Stingray team seeking out the legendary “Loch
Ness Monster”, the movie crew who tries to replace Troy with an actor while
harboring ulterior motives in “A Call to Action”, and even a trip to
Casablanca in “Treasure Down Below”!
I enjoyed this preliminary effort from Anderson, though I have to say, the Thunderbirds
are still number one in my book. But
this inventive underwater adventure proved that he had a solid creative vision
that would eventually lead him onto dry land and bigger and better things.
has taken care with these old 60s shows, and have brought them to DVD in full
color glory. For the most part,
these episodes look quite good, with bright, natural coloring and sharp, crisp
images. A few darker segments lose
some minor definition here and there, and occasionally exhibit a little more
grain, but these are fairly few and far between.
Overall, it’s safe to say these shows probably haven’t looked this
good since they were first released (and then, in black and white!).
Fans should be pleased.
admit, I’m a little spoiled by A&E’s fantastic 5.1 remixes for their Thunderbirds
releases. For Stingray, we
get standard stereo tracks only. They
sound perfectly good…clean and well presented, with clear dialogue and even a
fair amount of dynamic range to accentuate the action…but man, wouldn’t you
have loved hearing those rear channels kick in and the subwoofer giving the
explosions their extra kick? Oh
has assembled a nice array of extras for Stingray fans, starting with a
brand new 20 minute featurette “The Thing About Stingray”.
Gerry Anderson also lends an audio commentary to both the pilot episode
and “Stand By For Action”, a French end credit sequence, production stills,
and a bio on Anderson himself. The
menu screens are a nice additional touch!