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.