I’m way too young (despite most of my likes and mannerisms) to have seen Gerry Anderson‘s Thunderbirds when it initially aired in the 1960s, but it nevertheless made an impression on me when it aired in syndication sometime in the ’90s, when I was a child. What isn’t to love? Giant, elaborate miniature sets, super cool vehicles, and a cast made entirely of marionettes? I’m there! Anderson’s Supermarionation process became his calling card and, though he made shows before and after it, the 36 Thunderbirds episodes became his crowning achievement and paved the way for parodies like Team America World Police.
So you might think, without the marionettes, what exactly is the point of rebooting? And with CGI, no less. The trailer for the Amazon-exclusive series Thunderbirds Are Go – which premiered last year in the United Kingdom – set a lot of my fears to rest. Though the characters are fully computer-generated, the sets and vehicles are a mixture of computers and actual miniature effects which gives Thunderbirds Are Go the distinct flavor of the old show.
Following the five sons of former astronaut Jeff Tracy – Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon, and John – in their secret private organization International Rescue (IR), the series continues the original storyline of finding people in the world in horrible disasters and saving them using their cutting edge vehicles and technology, with the help of their engineer Brains and often an English aristocrat named Lady Penelope. Thunderbirds Are Go, however, adds the wrinkle that patriarch Jeff Tracy’s plane crashed and his body was never recovered, leading to the central mystery. And fans of the original will be happy to see villain the Hood back to menace our heroes.
The first season of 13 episodes – starring the voice of Rosamund Pike as Lady Penelope – will be available on Amazon Video starting April 22, with an hour-long preview of the first two episodes available starting April 15. Tax day!
Check out the beginning of the old series to see how the new one stacks up:
Let me know your thoughts on Thunderbirds Are Go in the comments below!
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!