- 1 Season
Thunderbirds is a British science-fiction television series, infused with puppetry, action, and thrilling adventure, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson that first aired on ITV from 1965 to 1966. Set in the mid-21st century, Thunderbirds depicts the exploits of International Rescue, a secret organization created to help those in need and maintain international peace and order. At the helm of International Rescue is the Tracys, a wealthy family with access to the most advanced technology on earth and beyond. Lending their expertise and skills to International Rescue, they use a series of state-of-the-art vehicles that feature advanced capabilities, all of which are numbered in the order of their launch. These vehicles include Thunderbird 1, a jet used for reconnaissance and command of the organization; Thunderbird 2, a green transport plane that can carry Thunderbird 4, a submersible nicknamed "the Mole," and several other rescue vehicles that can reach any location on the planet; Thunderbird 3, a red rocket designed for space travel and operated by one of the Tracy brothers; and Thunderbird 5, a space station that monitors all radio transmissions from earth's orbit. Thunderbirds features stunning models and special effects for its time and a unique cast of characters, each with their abilities, personalities, and quirks. The Tracys family includes Jeff, the father and lead of International Rescue; Scott, the eldest son, who pilots Thunderbird 1 and coordinates rescue missions with his younger brothers; Virgil, the artist of the family, who pilots Thunderbird 2, and designs rescue tools and machines; Alan, the youngest, who pilots Thunderbird 3, and runs the space station; and Gordon, who pilots the Mole and Thunderbird 4 underwater. Moreover, the show featured a cast of recurring characters who help International Rescue with their missions, such as Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, a British socialite who provides International Rescue with valuable intelligence on dangerous situations; her faithful butler, Parker, who is a tough and resourceful aide; and the International Rescue crew, including Brains, the genius inventor who designs impressive machines for the team; Tin-Tin, a young girl linked to the Tracys by her guardian, Kyrano, the Tracys family assistant; and Prof. Rudolph Von Heller, a former Nazi scientist who provides technical assistance to International Rescue. Thunderbirds' episodic structure features various and thrilling rescue missions, where the Thunderbirds' vehicles must overcome obstacles and danger to save lives. Among the highlights of the series is the episode "Trapped in the Sky," where a hijacked passenger plane carrying Jeff Tracy is forced to land on an abandoned and deteriorating skyship. In "Sun Probe," Thunderbird 3 travels to the sun to save a team of astronaut scientists out to study the celestial body. In "The Perils of Penelope," Lady Penelope is kidnapped, and the team battles against a dangerous criminal organization led by The Hood, a mysterious villain obsessed with discovering the secrets of International Rescue. Thunderbirds is a beloved show that has sparked fan cults and inspired several adaptations, including a film called Thunderbirds Are Go in 1966 and a CGI revival in 2015. Perhaps the show's greatest charm is its realistic and intricate design, providing a glimpse into the future of technology and transportation. In conclusion, Thunderbirds was an exciting and groundbreaking television series that captivated audiences with its daring rescue missions, fantastic machines, and lovable characters. It remains a classic of science fiction and a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of its creators, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.