Friday, May 21, 2010

Thunderbirds S1 Ep6: The Mighty Atom

Welcome to Fantasy Island. Okay, make that Tracy Island.

It's FAB FRIDAY people [sounds of cheering crowd for all things wonderful from the minds of Gerry & Sylvia Anderson are heard across the land]!
... and Thunderbirds Are Go! We are entering our sixth Thunderbirds episode and still no sign of Thunderbird 4 to be had. Things are about to change with this installment. This does lead me to my latest musing. Why does T4, housed inside Pod 4, receive official Thunderbirds numbering status? We've seen a few of the other pods bring along some pretty nifty, pretty mighty Thunderbird craft that do a great deal of the heavy lifting. Why is it they don't achieve Thunderbird numbering status? The Mole and The Firefly are clearly worthy of the recognition. Without these two critical metallic assistants lives would be lost. They should easily have achieved official Thunderbirds numbering status. The Recovery vehicles and Elevator cars we've seen so far are also noteworthy. Why not The Mole as Thunderbird 7? Anyway, why are these mighty little vehicles merely considered support equipment. Shouldn't they be bestowed with the honorary title of an official Thunderbird number? Understandably, The Mole and The Firefly often received special guest star-styled billing. Children were hungry for their appearance on the small screen, yet it was a rarity. They were a rare commodity throughout Series One. But heck, wasn't Thunderbird 3 a sorely underrated, much beloved, often absent Thunderbird favorite amongst the kiddie set? Despite all of this, all hail THUNDERBIRD 4! She has arrived.

Please note the fish tank bubbles to the left of T4.
I've stepped away from Thunderbirds for a time and having watched a bit of Gerry Anderson's The Protectors it comes as no surprise that I am thoroughly blown away by the production values on the Thunderbirds series. The colorful world of Thunderbirds is a revelation and remains so to this day. It is simply stunning in a word and the razor sharp vision of The Andersons made it so. It is as timeless as series come. Without further adieu we enter the fray of Thunderbirds, Series One, Episode 6, The Mighty Atom.

A bus carts around a number of scientists visiting a covert atomic site in Australia. The lead scientist assures the group on tour that "nothing can go wrong" at the site. Ah, famous last words brother especially on Thunderbirds. Never say things like that friends.

Meanwhile, lurking about the facility near KEEP OUT areas is the dastardly Hood. Yes there is an evil Hood in the 'hood. Now, how in the hell did he get there? He may have used one of his many masks. The Hood, who might be better known as the Brow with those gigantic eyebrows is making moves taking camera photos and assimilating information. Two technicians in the plant discuss how terrible it would be if there was an explosion at the plant, because the radiation would spread clear across Australia. "Well, there's no chance of that is there?," says one man. The answer is YES! As I said, never say things like this fellas. This is really bad karma and your arms will be slated for fire kindling. The Hood is spotted and one poor edit quickly replaces his in-hand camera with an in-hand gun and shots are fired. A man demands the Hood give himself up, but the guard is foolishly standing in the wide open without cover. Excuse me sir, but Hood has a gun if you hadn't noticed the initial shots fired. The guard goes down like a sack of potatoes. The Hood generates an explosion, which is just as stupid on his part with the potential for radiation leaks. The Hood could quickly die himself and it's mission over. I know this is a kids' show, but it's such good fun.

The reactor core is in jeopardy. Explosions are abound. It's amazing how one single gun shot could cause steamroll a series of explosions clear across the base. That is one hell of a potent domino effect.

Hood has escaped and it may be the last thing he does if the radiation gets out. What a genius- NOT! Personnel do everything they can to protect the reactor core. Evacuation is imminent. Is this not one of the most impressive model landings you ever did see?

Trouble is brewing as the reactor moves to Danger level. After the plane lands, passengers are evacuated and the plane quickly takes off leaving the area. A major atomic explosion ensues. Australia is in BIG, BIG DIDGERIDOO-DOO. Radiation spreads quickly. A press conference is called whereby a General informs all invited of the ensuing radioactive cloud. The invitees indicate the public doesn't know this. It turns out containment is the operative word and avoidance of panic. The invitees feel the public must be informed. The cloud is heading towards Melbourne. The cloud is a billowing ball of white smoke. It moves across the outback landscape slowly enveloping everything its path like The Mist or The Fog. Fortunately, a SUPER DUPER strong wind just happens to kick up and the cloud is pushed back away from the major cities in the land down under. Nick Tate, Nicole Kidman, Iva Davies and others will live another day. Imagine if all radioactive clouds were so cooperative. This wee little radioactive mess is tidied up handily by Mother Nature herself. The sun is shining again and (crikey) all is well.

In his temple, the Hood declares all kinds of crazy "invincible" talk, because he's a crazy nutter. Meanwhile in Thunderbird 5, Alan arrives in T3 to touch base with John. Down on Tracy Island, Lady Penelope makes her first official appearance on the island in the series. She's thrilled to be there, but who wouldn't be thrilled to be sitting by that pool in the ocean breeze? Lady Penelope is so hot. I was totally digging her until I learned she was a smoker. Bummer. Still, she is a hottie, a little stiff as girls go, but hot. Dear Grandma Tracy makes her second physical appearance after whipping up all that laundry off camera in Thunderbirds, Series 1, Episode 4, Sun Probe and appearing in Episode 5, The Uninvited. Here are the lady babes of Thunderbirds. I shan't let this opportunity go by.

We've got a servant tussle brewing between Parker and Kyrano. That is hysterical. Serve the drinks already! Anyway, that's a great bit of character development for Thunderbirds.

In an undisclosed location, a secret demonstration with a toy mouse is underway by a scientist. Once again, a disguised Hood has somehow gained access as Professor Langley. I suspect Langley is somewhere pushing up daisies. The mouse is dubbed "the mighty atom" complete with a miniature camera able to photograph enemy installations the world over by focusing on the faces of those viewing a particular system operation. That is a very smart camera indeed. Langley, aka Hood, uses some strange eye powers. His eyes turn yellow and aglow as he knocks everyone in the room unconscious one by one. He seizes the mouse and the reading device returning to his temple of POWER! The "secrets of the world will be mine...MINE! MINE! MINE!" That kind of exclamatory proclamation can only mean one thing, this is a truly evil villain intent on world domination.

Back on Tracy Island, Lady Penelope can't wait to go on a mission. In the Sahara Desert, Africa, Hood eyes another atomic irrigation station. His mouse will do everything he needs it to do, but of course he needs to get it inside and then get it out. Hmmm. The security really sucks around these places. It's no wonder they are blowing up all over the planet.

"Here I come to save the day!" Oops! That's Mighty Mouse, this is The Mighty Atom!
The mighty mouse is picture happy too. The mouse is spotted and hides as programmed. The mouse suddenly gets smarter snapping shots of systems without people near them. The mouse is learning, getting smarter as it goes, becoming more powerful than ever. It is indeed The Mighty Atom! Fascinating. The Hood waits while his super intelligent mouse camera is smart enough to inevitably return to the Hood's loving arms. Okay. I'm reminded of the initial commercial trailer for Batman: The Dark Knight when Michael Caine says, referring to the Joker, "some men just wanna watch the world burn." The Hood isn't quite made from the Joker's mold, but if destruction is left in his wake it's certainly acceptable collateral damage. He's certainly more than willing to blow up installations for shits and giggles. He's quite a sick, bald, little, bastard.

Alan and the boys really put one over on Lady Penelope. She's not much into humor, kind of a stiff and wooden with a smile. Seriously, it's hard to believe the fate of the world lies in the hands of these young men. It's disconcerting really.

The infamous hand shot in Thunderbirds. This was Gerry Anderson's earliest flirtation with LIVE ACTION entertainment which inspired The Protectors, UFO and Space:1999.
Elsewhere, the Hood is scheming to wreak havoc on the world while these boyish lads are fooling around like a couple of goofballs. Hood prepares a High Explosives package. Bombs away! Explosions are abound yet again. On second thought, a little face paint and the Hood would make a great Joker. The men inside the station reckon its sabotage. The men realize if they evacuate a radioactive cloud could result drifting across Africa. The cloud would be quite destructive harming lions and tigers and giraffes, like the one that slammed the kangaroo population in the land of the Vegemite sandwich. Now apparently International Rescue were not in operation when the Aussie explosion occurred. This time the boys are ready. The Hood's plan is coming together as he awaits the arrival of the Thunderbirds.
The Sahara station reports they are in need of help. Jeff Tracy sends off the boys. Penelope pleads with Jeff Tracy to join the boys. She may have ways of sweetening her offer, but she never needs to pull out the "sex as a weapon" card as Jeff relents anyway. I mean, why not? It is possible. Jeff and Penelope do appear to be single.

The boys go through their launch routines. FINALLY, Thunderbird 4! In fact, trivia alert, The Mighty Atom is the ONLY episode to feature all of the cast puppets and all of the Thunderbirds in one entry. That's a mighty powerful atom of puppet energy indeed. T4 will be helpful in handling the ocean access to the sub-Saharan station. Whatever. Sounds good. Finally, Gordon is on the job. Back at the site of the explosions the men in the station believe the saboteur is still around.

It's up to Thunderbirds to prevent the radioactive cloud from happening at the "danger zone." Okay, this is simply TOO delicious to pass up. The official first launch of T4. Heavenly joy.

Simply amazing! I love the Guppies & Goldfish near the window of Gordon's T4. Those are some mighty small fish! In fact, you'll even note that T4 is clearly working inside a fish tank complete with air bubbles. Brains insists Gordon must stop the water from going into the intake valve or the place will go sky high. T2 is landing at the "danger zone" and Scott is all "Hurry it up Virgil!" Man, is there no limit to Scott's douche-meter? Virgil is going as fast as the big green T2 turtle will allow him and he is jumping all over the guy. Cool your jets their Scotty boy! Finally, the Hood has his chance to destroy the Thunderbirds with missiles, no, bombs, no, plastic explosives, nope, none of that, the Hood has the mighty toy mouse. YES! Hood sends his Mighty Atom, the toy mouse, in for a photo taking session. Virgil heads off to help Scott, but tells Agent Penelope to standby in T2 and chill it. She's like a kid in a candy store, but she hasn't a clue and certainly doesn't act at all like a secret London agent in The Mighty Atom.

Gordon is on standby readied to destroy the underwater ocean intake sector with T4's missile launcher. Virgil and Scott are going to handle the radiation core in their special safety gear. Five minutes and counting. This is yet another tense situation that I believe will ultimately depend on T4 and Gordon. Reactor Core could go atomic in two minutes. Gordon sure does have alot of goldfish fish swimming around outside his submersible. T4 fires missiles and blows the intake valves. It doesn't look much like Africa, but all is well. I'm not exactly sure what just happened. Penelope rests inside T2 during the entire mission. She's not much use as secret agents go. She's certainly no James Bond, but she sure can live the life. We pan back to the outside of T2 to hear Penelope screaming at the site of The Mighty Atom. She's not exactly shining for a London agent. Somehow, miraculously, the mouse vacated T2 before lift off.

The mouse returns to the Hood who finds the only thing captured on film are frightened images of Lady Penelope. He smashes the mouse in anger. International Rescue's secrets are safely maintained for another day. Folks, this may be it for Thunderbirds for a bit, unless I hear some kind of unexpected clamor for more, but the routine of Thunderbirds is beginning to wear on my nerves a touch.
The Mighty Atom: C
Director: David Lane
Writer: Dennis Spooner


Anonymous said...

No! Need more Thunderbirds!!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

HA! Okay. Received loud and clear. FAB!

Anonymous said...

The Mighty Atom is never shown on Nine Network in its endless reruns in Australia. Is this a conspiracy? Perhaps the good folk of Melbourne will freak out and drown in the Yarra River, their turbid puddle?