The culmination of almost a decade’s worth of fiddling about with tangled strings and delicate models, Thunderbirds gave children of the 1960s everything they could have ever asked for. Action, science fiction, spies, astronauts and space rockets, and all rammed into a blender before adding an unhealthy dollop of explosions on top. It is something of a shame then that ITV didn’t exactly go to town when putting Thunderbirds together for its DVD release. The episodes themselves are hardly digitally enhanced, with many a crackle and a faint, murky vision present throughout the boxset.
Arguably though, such elements add to the nostalgia of the series. Also, it’s not like fans are exactly pining for some restored Thunderbirds. One can always hunt around for the Japanese release, where Thunderbirds was just as huge as it is here in old Blighty. One can also fork out on Network’s Filmed in Supermarionation boxset, in which a bevy of Supermarionation series are given some much-needed love or indeed ITV’s own 50th-anniversary edition of Thunderbirds on DVD.
But when one considers all the possible ways one can watch Thunderbirds, you may find yourself asking why ITV are bothering to push the regular edition? Well, it has been fifty odd years since Thunderbirds blasted off into our hearts – it’s about time ITV cashed in on their hottest sci-fi property!
For those seeking out all 32 episodes and nothing more, this boxset does just fine. As mentioned, you’d have to be a real pillock to put together a boxset that could actually make Thunderbirds appear bad. Thunderbirds is a television show so perfectly produced as a product of its era and yet retains a timeless level of entertainment. Thunderbird 1 roaring into the skies from beneath the Tracy Villa swimming pool looks great no matter how it’s presented. There are some bonus features per disc that offer interesting little snippets into the world of Thunderbirds during its original run, but that’s all they amount to, just snippets.
Nevertheless, Thunderbirds remains an absolute riot of a programme. There’s never been a better time to be a Thunderbirds fans because we’re now drowning in products. Not only have we ITV’s rather decent semi-CGI remake, but there’s also the Thunderbirds 1965 project to indulge in. Once all three have a substantial release, you can’t deny they’ll hold a place of pride on your shelf. Until then, if you need a quick fix of Thunderbirds, then this boxset will do for now. The more hardened fans, however, are recommended to invest in a more substantial package.
THUNDERBIRDS –THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION) / CREATOR: GERRY AND SYLVIA ANDERSON / STARRING: PETER DYNELEY, SHANE RIMMER, DAVID GRAHAM, RAY BARRETT, MATT ZIMMERMAN / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 28TH