Thursday 25 February 2010

Icon #43 Thunderbirds

Today's theme was most iconic children's TV show.

Thunderbirds is one of those shows that has crossed generations.  Made in the 1960's it has become a huge hit again in each subsequent decade.

Remember the furore over getting hold of a Tracey Island?  That wasn't based on the dodgy movie doing well it was based on a new audience discovering TV show.  And ok you could mock one up from the instructions on (the much touted today) Blue Peter but in the end most kids were not going to be satisfied until they got the real thing.

So why is it tonight's icon over all the other great shows that were suggested?  Simply because of that lasting impact and...  Thunderbird 2.  I fricking loved that spaceship(?) as a kid.  There was something about the interchangeable pods, that occasionally carried Thunderbird 4 (weird little yellow thing), that I loved.  Plus it took off in a really cool way.  And it was green and didn't look capable of flight.  Like me after a night on the town.

The whole idea of this slightly odd family living on an Island (apart from John who lived seemingly alone in a space station) is a bit strange when you sit and think about it.  But hey they had really cool toys that like saved the world and stuff.  There is something of recurring enemy in the Hood but most of 'International Rescues' missions revolve around an accident of some sort.

Of course the real beauty of Thunderbirds isn't the plot or the toys it's how the show was made.  The puppets are extraordinary, Gerry Anderson's creations brought to life in a sometimes clumsy but always vibrant way.  It is TV from a bygone age where Anderson's creations dominated the kids TV market, but of all of the shows that were made it's Thunderbirds that has had the lasting appeal.  Although as I'm writing I can't help but wonder if this is because it's the one that lends itself best to merchandise and has therefore been pushed the most.  Captain Scarlett in particular was probably on a par with Thunderbirds in terms of creativity, there just aren't as many cool gadgets.

Thunderbirds is kinda cheesy by today's standards and kids today... well you wonder whether there CGI addled brains would cope with seeing the strings that move the puppets, but catch them at just the right age and that sense of wonder as a swimming pool moves and a space ship appears might still catch their attention.  Be warned though you'll be making Tracey Island out of bog rolls before you can blink.

And Lady Penelope was fit.  Just sayin'.

'Thunderbirds are go' - Jeff Tracey

Tonight's post is dedicated to @chestymorgan.

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