For the first time, we’ve got an episode of Thunderbirds are Go that really couldn’t have been tackled in the original show, built around the very different set up for International Rescue’s space station. As much as anything else, the story acts as a guide to what the station contains – although when it comes down to it, it is just an expansion of the much smaller craft seen 50 years ago with considerably more computer control.
It’s also an episode that pays homage to a lot of screen science fiction that’s appeared in the five decades since the original was made. There are multiple references – some very obvious, others more subtle – to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and the battle of wits between Dave Bowman and HAL as well as Star Trek: The Motion Picture (EOS’s tantrum is a little more blatant than V’Ger’s in the latter!) and the animated Star Trek episode The Practical Joker.
It’s one of the rare occasions when every member of the International Rescue turns up, and there were some very nice background elements – I particularly liked the idea of Grandma at Jeff’s desk coordinating matters when Thunderbird 5 was out of commission. And yes, the Grandma’s cookies running gag finally paid off!
Verdict: Two weeks on the trot without the constant presence of The Hood means the focus is on rescues – as it should be. 7/10