All Women's Talk

7 Best Gerry Anderson Shows Featuring Supermarionation ...

By Neecey

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of Gerry Anderson shows. Before the days of sophisticated animation and incredible stop motion puppetry from the likes of the Aardman team (Wallace and Gromit) kid’s shows were pretty tame. Then along came Gerry Anderson and his revolutionary Supermarionation, a form of puppetry where the “dolls” were lifelike – they even edited in actual body parts for some shots, such as actions done by hands. Not only did the characters seem more human but they took us on all sorts of futuristic adventures in all sorts of amazing places. I’ll always fondly remember the Gerry Anderson shows I grew up with and wished kids today could enjoy them as much.

1 Stingray

StingrayBuy on Amazon at: amazon.com

This is one of the Gerry Anderson shows that were syndicated over to the USA after it did well in the United Kingdom. Stingray is all about a highly sophisticated submarine that was based just off of an American coast. As opposed to dealing with human enemies, it also encountered races found under the seas that the team on Stingray had discovered. I think I was a little in love with the sub’s Captain, Troy Tempest and was jealous of his passion for Marina, a kind of mermaid.

2 Thunderbirds

ThunderbirdsBuy on Amazon at: amazon.com

This is one of those Gerry Anderson shows that was very popular in its day but never really caught on for modern children. It is probably a technology thing. Back in the days when this show was at its height, animation was expensive and poorly executed. However, this gave the impression of being a cartoon, with all the real and dynamic thrills that the small Gerry Anderson sets could provide. Every week I tuned in to see the Tracy Family pilot their amazing vehicles and machines when International Rescue was called upon. I dreamt of being Lady Penelope who was chauffeured around in her pink Rolls Royce by Parker.

3 Fireball XL5

Fireball XL5Buy on Amazon at: amazon.com

Many Gerry Anderson creations were also worked upon by Sylvia Anderson, although she sadly never gets the credit she deserves. This is one she worked on, and it was all about a space ship as part of a space patrol. The name was derived from Castrol XL oil. Fireball XL5 was piloted by another puppet hottie – Colonel Steve Zodiac (but back then, I was only impressed by their superhero actions, not their looks) but what I remember most about this one now, is the theme tune.

4 Joe 90

Joe 90Buy on Amazon at: amazon.com

This was a show about a schoolboy at the age of 9yrs old, who starts a secret life as a spy. As you can imagine, this had a lot of appeal with young audiences at the time. The idea was that the child was super smart because his father had developed a way of transferring knowledge over to another mind instantly, although why the father felt the need to test this on his young son is a bit of a puzzler (I never thought of that at the time!) I have to confess this was my least favorite of the Gerry Anderson shows. I was a young girl after all and I couldn’t really relate to Joe. My brother thought he was the bee’s knees.

5 Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons

Captain Scarlet and the MysteronsBuy on Amazon at: amazon.com

Something I never appreciated back in the day is that in a nice twist, the whole Captain Scarlet idea was about defending the human race against a war that humans had caused by attacking an innocent alien species (The Mysterons). This made a nice change from other shows such as He-Man or Superman, where the hero was always fighting an evil figure that was evil for the sake of being evil. I just wanted to hear the call signs “spectrum is green” or spectrum is yellow” as the Spectrum astronauts (who were all named after a color) went into action. I also wanted to be one of the angels who were rather cutely called Destiny, Harmony, Rhapsody and Symphony and dressed in supercool white jumpsuits.

6 Terrahawks

TerrahawksBuy on Amazon at: amazon.com

Terrahawks was well received at the time, but this was the last of the Gerry Anderson shows for kids and didn’t arrive until the 80s. By then I was 20 and had long outgrown kids puppet shows so I have few memories of this one. The protagonists were set to stop waves of attacks from androids and aliens that were sent by Zelda (no relation to the point eared Nintendo version). The Terrahawks were still puppets, but time had moved on significantly and they looked more like Muppet aliens than the stringed supermaironettes so beloved in my younger years.

7 Supercar

SupercarBuy on Amazon at: amazon.com

Let’s end with the one that kicked it all off. Supercar never gained as much recognition as Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet, but is still fondly remembered and did help to get Gerry Anderson more sponsorship for later works. As you can imagine, having puppets sat in cars is a lot easier than having them walking around. He made 39 episodes, and the last 13 were the first real time that TV had been exposed to the words Supermarionation, which appeared at the end on the credits. Piloted by Mike Mercury (have you spotted a theme with all the names?), Supercar was like a cross between KITT the Knight Rider car and the space shuttle. Its original series aired before I was even born and was in black and white.

With today’s amazing special effects and far-reaching dramas I know you aren’t going to be able to get excited about Gerry Anderson shows, but if you’re the mother of a young boy check some out on You Tube. They are good wholesome fun and of course, have a strong moral code. I can’t see why any little boy (or girl) wouldn’t love them as much as I did. Did you watch any of these or anything like them?

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