When I was about 5 or 6 years old the big Christmas toy was a Tracey Island playset from Thunderbirds. I remember this toy being so in demand that the children’s magazine show Blue Peter even did a segment on how to make your own Tracey Island, which I actually saw when it was first aired. However, I somehow managed to have not seen a full episode of Thunderbirds until nearly two years ago. It’s not like I was avoiding it, but it was a lack of exposure since the only Gerry Anderson shows I remember being on the TV were Stingray and Captain Scarlet.
This is in stark contrast with my husband who is a bit of a Thunderbirds fan, which is how we ended up watching this as our first non-random TV pick in years. I think both of us were expecting me to think that Thunderbirds was just okay, but would be happy enough to abandon it once I’d seen our required number of episodes. On the contrary, I actually started to properly enjoy it.
One thing that I really did not expect is that, other than the shortened second series, these were hour long episodes. Since this is a family show made with marionettes I had expected this to be shorter and a lot more childish – instead there were a lot of adult themes and, at times, fairly complex storylines. I mean, I cannot imagine a family show being made now that features smoking, gambling and an interesting espionage storyline.
Another misconception that I had going in, considering that this is a show about secret rescue agency with a lot of cool equipment, is how human it was. Similarly, I was also expecting the characters of Lady Penelope and Parker to have featured in more episodes – turns out they were more like breakout characters that started out as a comic relief and became beloved characters.
So yea, I actually really enjoyed watching this show and will likely be completing the rest of the episodes before starting on the next one. It’s weird how this became one of the better discoveries from the 1001 TV Shows list.