Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SHADO News - The Worlds of Gerry & Sylvia Anderson - New Classic Thunderbirds, New Captain Scarlet, New Space: 1999 book review

By Ken Parker

We have a very exciting article this time out with so many things to cover. So let's get right to it.

More Classic Thunderbirds to be made -This exciting announcement of the Kickstarter plan to produce at least one of the specially recorded 60's audio adventures for Thunderbirds has reached its original goal and is now at around $200,000 and on it's way to it's 3rd stretch goal.  The project's plan was to produce at minimum one, hopefully three of the original audio only tales from the 60's TV show Thunderbirds and create a video production using puppets, sets and miniatures.

These short stories were created using sound effects, music and original cast member voices.  There were numerous releases that included shortened versions of some aired episodes but there were three original stories and these are being targeted for being made.

The Kickstarter plan has the blessing of ITV, Sylvia Anderson and the estate of Gerry Anderson. Project Producer Stephen La Riviere has already shown his interest in the product and has already worked with many of the original crew and others to recreate effects and sets for his Filmed in Supermarionation documentary.

I would go as far and say that if this Kickstarter is successful then there are other possibilities including stories from Stingray and Captain Scarlet.  This is feasible if the blessings continue to happen but what about a brand new interest in puppet series? If there is an interest in this and Jamie Anderson's successful Firestorm pilot, which is boasting similar practical effects and puppets, would we see new versions of any of the other series. Could a new original tale from Fireball X-l5 or Stingray see the light of day? Possible.

For now let's support this Kickstarter with it's three story plan.  Be part of this project, get your name on the disc and get a region free DVD or Blu-ray of the finished project!  

The New Captain Scarlet in HD – This 2005 series is one of the most badly handled series of all time. It was shows during a kids variety show, divided in half and shown on Saturday mornings with no publicity. The series barely was shown abroad and was all but forgotten. This was to be Gerry Anderson's last series and it was his hope that the show would capture the imagination and excitement that the original did back in the 60's. The show was well conceived, had excellent scripts and superb animation but again, forgotten.

With the resurgence of Gerry's work of late, mostly because of the new Thunderbirds Are Go animated series, Gerry Anderson Entertainment are looking at some of Gerry's works and with the recent locating of the High Definition masters of the series, a plan is in place to release the series in HD on blu-ray and streaming. An all new HD trailer celebrating the series' 10th anniversary is here and it shows us how good the series looks in HD.

In addition to a UK release, there does appear to be a effort to release the series around the globe including North America.   Vision Films, the distributor in the U.S. is planning releasing the series online.

Captain Scarlet Mini Adventures on Audio - Fanderson is planning on releasing more of the audio adventures on CD.  These adventures mimic the 60's releases which include shortened narrated versions of the TV episodes.  Fanderson had created a few of these back in 1999 but a couple of them were never completed, until now.  Narration was done by Ed Bishop, who did the voice of Captain Blue in the original TV series.


Space: 1999 - The Final Revolution Review (spoilers) - The latest Powys Media book is out and as reported previously, there are only a few more novels left until the company closes up shop.  This latest book was very interesting to say the least.  One of the things I often do when reading novels is try to pick up why certain things are done in a certain fashion.  One of my criticisms of this book series of the past was how it has managed to repair some continuity of the TV series while fixing some of the changes that have happened in between seasons 1 and 2.  This has resulted in the return of many characters thought gone or even dead. I frankly find this hard to follow as each character has two versions.  I will say that while reading this book I will revisit the entire series once they are all out.

Another thing that I have not liked as much is the depiction of Helena Russell.  There are so many characters now that it is hard for any development at all and in this one, only a few characters have significant time to develop and three of these are new characters.  Russell is basically non existent and spends most of the time in the Medical Center.  She is only important when it has to do with the development of her and John's son, Victor Koenig.

Another annoyance in this book are the reminders of who these characters are.  With two Victors, the original and the Koenigs' son, the dialog has to spell out their entire name but often this happens with others.  A minor issue for sure.

The story has to do with the moon on another collision course. Victor Bergman has come up with a new method of changing their course.  For once, someone on the planet that they are on a collision course with wants the collision to happen.  An attempt to counter the method to change the course knocks the moon into some alternate space and they spend most of the time exploring this and trying to get out before that maniac alien destroys them.

Victor Bergman spends most of the time feeling sorry for putting them into this situation and needs reassurance from various characters and never seems to get it.  In yet another depressing ending, Victor gives his life in saving Alpha but doesn't feel that he did enough and all the characters try to reconcile with this for the remainder of the story.

This book is more about some of the characters and less about story and both are not up to par as some of the previous novels. Still, there are some good moments.  Most everything with Ariana Carter is pretty good.  The first attack on Alpha resulted in a punch the air moment for me as Moonbase Alpha finally has the advantage in a seemingly helpless attack that results in severe damage, or so it appears.

Probably the most important part of this book is the ending where we discover that Alpha cannot sustain life any more and the Alphans finally evacuate to their new planet.  This ties in nicely to the special "Message from Moonbase Alpha" short made back in 1999.  Of course author William Latham loves to tie everything together and we get a couple of cliffhangers that will lead into one more final adventure with the Alphans on the planet and their conflict with their past.

I found this book to be enjoyable for the most part and the lead in to the next story is intriguing for sure.


No comments:

Post a Comment