For those of you who do not know what Thunderbirds is I will give you a quick rundown. It was an immensely popular science fiction show back in the 60′s done almost entirely with marionettes and models. The show chronicled the adventures of an independent organization called International Rescue that used highly advanced vehicles and equipment to perform rescue operations all over the world (and even in space). The show was popular because it paid a great amount of attention to detail, which made those models, puppets, and story plots all the more real and exciting.
This show was previously released on DVD a few years ago, including a complete collection set. So what makes this 40th Anniversary Edition different from the previous release? The big answer is that this collection is digitally remastered and is now shown in its original VIDECOLOR format. Now the original disks shown some signs of remastering as well and the shows never looked better. I’m not sure how much of an improvement this edition will make on that achievement, but it is one of their big selling points.
Aside from the remastering you also get some additional features not included in the original release. Here’s a breakdown of all the features:
Making of Featurette: this was in the original DVD set and it’s a ten minutes long vintage documentary that mostly covers the innovative (for its time) special effects for the show. These effects were so innovative they were used in many of the James Bond films of the day.
Interview with Gerry Anderson: this is a 40 minute interview with the creator of Thunderbirds (as well many other popular sci-fi shows like UFO, Space 1999, and other puppet-driven thrillers). This in depth conversation also has Gerry talk about his seven favorite projects (he created a total of 15 television shows).
The Brains Behind the Thunderbirds: A documentary narrated by a character of the show: Brains. This hour long feature covers the various characters and their exploits in the series.
Pop Up Trivia – The two part episode “Pit of Peril” will include a pop up trivia track much like the ones they shown on TechTV’s release of the show.
There are also lots of production photos and gallaries placed throughout the disks in this 12 disk collection (features are on disk 12). This collection has all 32 one-hour episodes included and is mastered in Dolby Stereo (just like the first release). Total run time is about 26 hours.
If you do not have the Thunderbirds in your collection now is a perfect time to get it. The list price is a good deal lower than the original list price for the first collection plus the packaging takes up a good deal less space (not to mention the remastering and extra features). If you have the original set then I suppose it’s going to be a judgement call. I haven’t heard any first hand accounts on how much an improvement the remastering will be compared to the original and I can’t see how a couple of new featurettes would be enough to do a double dip.
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Excellent product. My first purchase was “The best of Thunderbirds” (with only six episodes) because I remember the TV series that I watched when I was a child. After watching that selection I decided to buy the whole series and I think it was a good idea because this pack is an anniversary edition with some bonus and the price is very affordable. Don’t miss it, is one of the best animated series of all times.
Hard to believe this show was made over 40 years ago. This collection has everything; All the episodes, a bunch of documentaries. I wish it had both the feature films too, alas. The slim line cases make them perfect for showcasing.
I suggest this for anyone looking for how sci-fi television was done before the age of computers.