OMG! Thunderbirds are go at Amazon Studios! It will bring the 60s British sci-fi teen heroes into the 21st century. Amazon ordered 4 seasons of Thunderbirds Are Go! from ITV Studios Global Entertainment. The four 13-episode seasons feature the five Tracy brothers of the International Rescue squad, who go on missions spanning the globe and into outer space and will star Gone Girl‘s Rosamund Pike as Lady Penelope. The first season of the show is set to debut later this year.
Produced by ITV Studios in collaboration with Peter Jackson‘s Weta Workshop, Thunderbirds will use a mix of CGI animation and live-action model sets. The producers say the reboot pays tribute to “the legacy of model locations” from the original series, which famously used marionette figures.
The original Thunderbirds was created by Gerry Anderson, was first broadcast on ITV in 1965, using a form of electronic marionette puppetry they called “Supermarionation” combined with scale model special effects sequences. It was groundbreaking at the time and to this day the attention to detail in the models and puppets is amazing.
I’ve been watching Thunderbirds this past fall and it is pretty amazing. I was too young to remember it in it’s original form but it has influenced music videos and most famously Trey Parker and Matt Stone‘s spoof of Hollywood and global terrorism, Team America: World Police.
Here’s the trailer for the new series plus a side by side comparison of the original launch and the new version. And if you’re REALLY interested in how it was done back in the day, there’s an hour-long BBC special too. Watch.