‘Thunderbirds Are Go!’ for a New TV Series from Weta Workshop

Published 2 years ago by

thunderbirds wallpaper Thunderbirds Are Go! for a New TV Series from Weta Workshop

If you’re too young to remember, way before Team America: World Police put puppets into action, there was a British TV series in the 60s called Thunderbirds, which followed the adventures of International Rescue, a secretive organization created to help those in grave danger using technically advanced equipment and machinery launched from its hidden Tracy Island base.

Now ITV Studios is teaming with Weta Workshop (the special effects studio behind The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and more) for a new take on the series called Thunderbirds Are Go! which will start airing new episodes in the United Kingdom in 2015. An order of 26-episodes has already been made for the new adaptation which will mix computer animation with live-action sets, complete with homages to the models used in the original series.

The news comes shortly after the series creator, Gerry Anderson, passed away in December. Though his series only had a couple of seasons when it aired in the 60s, it went on to become a hit all over the world, including here in the United States. There’s just something about puppets going on adventures with tons of cool gadgets and vehicles that made kids go crazy on Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons.

Here’s a taste of the original series by way of the show’s intro and theme:

In addition to various films featuring the puppet heroes, terrible live-action film loosely based on the series was released in 2004, but hopefully this turns out a little better. Frankly, I’ve always wanted to see Trey Parker and Matt Stone bring their raunchy, parody style of Team America: World Police to the small screen, but this will likely be more accessible for adults and children of all ages.

It’s hard to say when we might see this new series in the United States since it’s hitting the UK first, but if it does well, there’s a good chance curiosity will have ITV and Weta Workshop looking to export the show to other countries, just like the original Thunderbirds. Weta Workshop does some phenomenal special effects work, so hopefully this has some quality animation despite being a TV show.

Thunderbirds Are Go! will start airing in the UK in 2015, and we’ll keep you posted if the show makes its way to the US.


Source: Deadline


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  1. i loved this show when I was a lid! :) Yay for a new series, hope it keeps the hart of the original!

  2. Yeah, I hope that it keeps the heart and spirit of the original, as well. I am a bit skeptical about the inclusion of CGI, but I’ll keep an open mind.

    I think that there is still a great live-action film waiting to be made based on the Thunderbirds (much more adult-oriented than the 2004 one).

  3. I remember watching re-runs of this show and they were great when I was a kid.

    I just worry about how it will feel considering part of the charm of the original was the actual puppets.

  4. F.A.B., standing by!

  5. Man, I used to love that show. I hope it hits the U.S.

  6. They did a Captain Scarlet new show couple of years back using computer animation,was cool !
    But not as good as puppets and Models !

    Hadn’t heard about Anderson passing away till now,thats sad news,he did some awesome shows,including TerraHawks !!

    You are missed !

  7. The intro had some serious pyrotechnics toward the end. I forgot how “explosive” the show could be.

  8. ITV has a long and ignominious history of treating Gerry Anderson shabbily, refusing to return the rights for Thunderbirds to him and sitting on the development of a new series for years. I just hope the network sees fit to handle this show better than the disgraceful way it treated the CGI Captain Scarlet: shoved in the middle of a kids’ Saturday morning show, each half-hour episode split in two, between which you had to sit through who-knew-how-long of dwarves covered in baked beans and lose lose track of what was going on anyway. Never repeated either, and I don’t remember the second season being aired at all.

    I’m actually quite hopeful about the show itself. Thunderbirds has had a number of false starts, but the 2005 Captain Scarlet demonstrated that a revival can be done well. In fact there were elements of it that I thought were superior to the original.

    • One too many loses there. :-)

      • ITV Did treat him badly, and I recall a couple of British friends recalling how they had to watch Thunderbirds.

        • It’s notorious for lowbrow programming and not knowing what to do with SF. I remember reruns of UFO in a midweek 11pm graveyard slot, and this is WAY before the current “twentysomethings back from a night out” became an established demographic worth aiming at. When the BBC started rerunning Thunderbirds and the original Captain Scarlet in the early ’90s, it made a huge success of them simply by giving them an early evening slot, so adult fans could watch with their kids, and thus a whole new generation of viewers was made right there.

          It’s a real shame Gerry Anderson couldn’t have gone with the BBC for the New Captain Scarlet – I think he’d have got a far better deal all round. Again, ITV held the rights to the original and so to any reboot.

  9. Was “Thunerbirds” popular in America? I heard it never really got a following, whilst the rest of the world went absolutely crazy for it. It’s still really huge in Japan. It was cool because it had reallt tense action like you’d see in a big hollywood disaster movie……but in every episode. The action was done pretty serious too, it just had zany characters and comic relief scattered in amongst the action to let people know it was also a kids show.

    “Captain Scarlett” was my favourite. I’d love to see that as a live action movie, but I just know they’d mess something up in it.

    It’s weird, when they started doing the re-runs in the early 90′s, all the kids went mad on it and “Thunderbirds” toys were everywhere in the shops agin.

    • lol “Thunerbirds” *Ahem* You guys know what I meant. (^-^)

      • Damn, there’s even more error!. I get a new laptop and my already bad typing gets even worse. :(

        • @Motoko

          Perhaps you were hitting the “Thunderbird” when typing it?


  10. As someone who grew up with the re-runs in the early 90s, I’m worried. I just never thought that any Gerry Anderson creation could work in live action or CGI.

    • For a comparison that may or may not be relevant, I just saw a few moments of the new “Daniel Tiger” CGI kids show that is a spin-off of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and while probably well-meaning, I doubt that it can recapture the original, with its low tech puppets and simple, tactile realism. The same thing comes to mind when reading this article. There is just something about the original Thunderbirds and the way it is all real, tacticle.

    • I agree with JerryoftheWest that it’ll lack that tactile quality, but give the New Captain Scarlet a try if you haven’t seen any of it already. I was highly suspicious of any attempt at a reboot but that one completely turned me around. There’s enough of a flavour of the old series, but with better characterisations and better storylines. Not so much of the standard “This is the voice of the Mysterons. We will assassinate your World President at 7.15pm on Thursday. Providing the traffic’s not too bad,” that seemed to happen in every episode of the original, to the point where you could only conclude that the Mysterons lacked the concept of surprise on their planet. Don’t tell them about it, just do it, you clowns! I can certainly watch the newer one as its own entity.

      Thunderbirds will be a trickier one to pull off though. Far more recognisable idiosyncrasies (characters, voices, vehicles, sound effects, shot construction etc etc) that the makers of this new version can choose to adapt or discard at their peril. It’s never going to please everyone, that’s for sure. Just on a purely visual level, will they stick with the out-of-proportion heads, for a start? I can think of plenty of arguments for and against even that. One thing that can never be reproduced is Barry Gray’s wonderfully bombastic music. The man was a true one-off, and contributed hugely to the atmosphere and shared feel of so many Anderson shows.

  11. I remember the show as a kid and loved it. Why don’t you also air it in the U.S. at the same time or make it available via the web?

  12. I also adored Thunderbirds as a kid in Australia but we didn’t get Captain Scarlet. I was amazed to discover the New Captain Scarlet on You Tube. Quality was pretty bad butI got to hoping that Thunderbirds would eventually get the same CGI update. My wish has apparently come true and I’m eagerly expecting its release in Oz!

    e CGI

  13. I loved this show as a child and am very happy to have a whole new generation exposed to it! It was a cut above the rest in terms of animation/marionettes and way ahead of its time. Loved Scott and Virgil and can never forget the famous phrase by Parker in response to Lady Penelope “Yes milady!”


  14. Just seen the pictures of the new Thunderbird 1 and they’ve ballsed it up, the wings are too low on the fuselage so they can’t retract for take-off

  15. I hope I’m going to be wrong with this statement but the original was fantastic, I still watch it now at the age of 45. It was so ground breading for the time, I think now it’s been developed by the Americans it will disappointing, it also annoys me whoever sold the rights to them.

    if done correctly they should be able to achieve a lot more using CGI and hopefully the special effects will be stunning

    I really hope I’m made to eat these words when I see the first episode

  16. I really wish folks would come up with new ideas rather than revive the classics, I grew up with Thunderbirds and still watch the DVD’s to this day.
    I marvel at the skill it took to create such productions in a pre CGI age and a re-boot is totally unnecessary and perhaps just a money making venture, just look at the ‘Captain Scarlet’ CGI series.
    Totally forgettable and not very good anyway.
    Leave these classics well alone and come up with something original for heavens sake.


  18. Well they have done it again and killed the charm and flavour of the original. Dumbed down child centric.

    Thunderbirds and the other shows were Family shows! Not kid shows.

    When will the new ITV executives grow up.

  19. Just saw the first 2 episodes of the new TB show. Definitely made for todays generation. Fast pace, and being cgi doing things puppets could never do. This is not made for oldies brought up on the original, which would put the modern generation to sleep. I finally learnt how TB4 gets back into the pod and how the pod is redocked with TB2. All the characters have been made younger as well to appeal to a younger demographic.