Earlier I talked about one of the first episodes of Thunderbirds I ever saw thanks to having it on VHS as a child. That was quite a while into the series so I think it’s a good time to watch the first episode.
Now there’s a lot that can be said about the production of this episode. How originally the series was going to be half an hour long for each episode but the producers liked the pilot so much they asked it be an hour. Or the tale of how some of the action at the end wasn’t planned yet it looked so good they incorporated it into the episode proper reshooting some scenes. But let’s focus on the episode itself rather than the history behind it.
The episode opens with the villainous Hood’s evil temple lair. Some good shots showing the strange mystical home of this villain as he reveals a statue of his brother Kirano. Using his magical powers he forces the information that International Rescue are ready to begin. And so the plot is set in motion. He places a bomb on the brand new nuclear aircraft Fireflash and after it’s taken off he calls in the bomb threat to lure International Rescue out so he can steal their technology.
The Hood’s plan is primarily the set up as the story is more about the rescue of the aircraft and its passengers. But this is where probably the main problem with the episode comes in. Since it was originally a 30 minute episode pushed to an hour long that means it’s padded out to be twice as long as intended (not so much a problem in later episodes) and it is rather noticeable. Long scenes showing the full launch of the Thunderbird vehicles and an unsuccessful rescue attempt that could easily have been skipped and no harm to the story.
It’s noticeable that with that unsuccessful rescue taking up a good amount of time the Hood vanishes from the story until our heroes arrive. Those bits however which were in the original half hour version are very well handled and it’s clear to see why the producers were very happy with the show. That said yes the sheer length of preparations they show in full to continue that filling out the run time are very annoying. But all what you want to enjoy is here including Lady Penelope, brilliant model work and very impressive puppetry.