THUNDERBIRDS (VOLUMES 5 & 6)
Review by Michael Jacobson
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Features: See Review
Length: Set 5 260 Minutes, Set 6 220 Minutes
Release Date: April 30, 2002
One approaching the danger zone!”
good things eventually come to an end, and for Gerry Anderson’s legendary cult
TV series Thunderbirds, the untimely demise came after 32 episodes.
Much like Star Trek would later do, Thunderbirds struggled
to find a base audience because of studio mishandling and bad judgment, but time
would prove it to be no flop as more and more fans would flock to the show over
presentation of Sets 5 and 6 mark the completion of International Rescue’s
television run, and the studio has taken them out in style by including some
good extras on Set 6 along with the last three episodes…more on that further
the year 2065 (or 1965 if you’re on this side of the TV screen), International
Rescue first broke on the scene as the philanthropic efforts of ex-astronaut
Jeff Tracy and his sons Scott, Virgil, John, Gordon and Alan.
Along with the help of their engineer friend Brains, their London agent
Lady Penelope, and their faithful compatriot Tin-Tin, the team set up base on a
remote Pacific island and responded to the emergencies no ordinary crews could
take care of.
an array of fabulous ships and technology at their fingertips, the Tracy boys
proved time and time again to be equal to any rescue challenge, be it in the
air, on the ground, under the sea or even in outer space.
They saved many lives, averted many a disaster, and still managed to keep
their identities a secret from the world!
Anderson’s vision included a new form of puppetry called Supermarionation, in
which standard marionettes were equipped with mouths that electronically moved
in time with the words spoken by their actors.
In addition to his cast of characters was an imaginative arsenal that
caught the attention of kids and adults alike…how cool it must have been to be
a member of International Rescue!
final sets count down the last eight episodes, and there are some good ones just
waiting to join your collection. “Atlantic
Inferno” is one of the team’s best adventures, as Scott has to take the
reins of IR in the absence of his vacationing father when an oil rig crisis
comes about! Also included are a
couple more of Lady Penelope’s standout shows, including “Lord Parker’s
‘Oliday” and “Alias Mr. Hackenbacker”, where our favorite lady agent
gets to do some runway modeling!
the next chapter for the Thunderbirds is still waiting to be written.
Gerry Anderson has always been keen on bringing his characters back, but
nothing solid has come to pass…the closest was a live action project
greenlighted in 1994 with Renny Harlin as director, but it never came to
fruition. As a longtime fan of
these marvelous marionettes, I can only hope this won’t be the last we see of
in the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy my now complete collection from
finishes this series exactly the way they started it; with quality.
For programs as old as these, they’ve held up well and look good on
DVD. Apart from the occasional bit
of aging artifact (a speck here, a flicker there), these shows are well
presented. Coloring is particularly
good, with schemes just as vibrant as fans remember.
Images are sharp and clear and no undue grain is apparent.
5.1 remixes for these programs continue to be extraordinary…whoever handled
the sound for these discs on behalf of A&E was not timid, and fans can be
thankful for that! The action
sequences make the most of the multi-stage capabilities, and the explosiveness
of certain scenes give the dynamic range startling depth…if you want a good
example, watch “Atlantic Inferno” from Set 5, where fires and explosions
crop up all over the place! The .1
channel gets almost constant use, too, from the aforementioned effects to the
sounds of the Thunderbird ships as they take off and soar to the rescue.
Set 5, like most previous sets, has only a short stills gallery.
Set 6, however, rounds out the Thunderbirds collection nicely with a few extra goodies. There is an hour long special from 1995, “The Brains Behind Thunderbirds”, featuring Brains as your host for a look back at some of the series’ memorable moments. “The Making of The Thunderbirds” is an 11 minute behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Supermarionation, as well as some of the shots in progress for the show. You can also listen as Gerry Anderson talks about his seven favorite shows from the series.
There are also a history of Thunderbirds, a Gerry
Anderson biography and filmography, a stills gallery, and character bios, which
are kind of interesting. I learned,
for example, that Brains was orphaned as a child when a hurricane struck his
hometown in Michigan.
in Michigan?? Now THAT’S a
storm with some legs! ;-)