TV reviews

Thunderbirds Are Go – 2×14 ‘Volcano!’ – Review

Rebecca Andrews reviews Season 2, Episode 14...

International Rescue, you’ve got an incoming call! Thunderbirds Are Go! has returned to our screens, more action packed than ever. Especially for the launch of this new series, the episode was screened in select Vue cinemas in the UK and September 30th was declared ‘Thunderbirds Day’, with much fanfare across social media.

This time around, we join the action for the second half of season two and it looks like the Tracy boys have their hands full with a number of rescues across the globe, with John (voiced by Thomas Brodie-Sangster) monitoring the various situations from Space – it really is all hands on deck, even Grandma Tracy (Sandra Dickinson)!

Despite this, they get a call from a scientist, Dr. Quentin Cresta (Mark Gatiss) who has, for the past decade, incorrectly predicted the eruption of a volcano – much to the annoyance of International Rescue, so much so that they have little patience when Cresta is adamant that the volcano is going to erupt. To aid his plea for help, Dr. Cresta invokes a special code of honour between scientists, so that Brains (Kayvan Novak) simply can’t refuse this request and together with his trusty assistance robot Max, Brains is sent down to the volcano as it turns out that he was right, after all and that the volcano is about to blow!

Typically, each episode is focussed on one or two of the Thunderbird vehicles, so it makes for a nice change of pace to have Brains and Max leading the action, as this is a much more character driven episode with the moral of the story being introduced, but not hammered home in a heavy handed way. There are some great comic touches to lighten up proceedings (Brains and Max make for a great double act) and the action is well paced, ensuring the viewer is never bored.

As much as I loved David Graham voicing Brains in the original series (he also returns to voice Parker in this reboot), Kayvan Novak has made the role his own. Gatiss shows off his own vocal talents putting on a Scots brogue to bring Cresta to life. Plus, he has his own assistant robot, to whom Max takes an immediate liking, making for a wonderful Wall*E reference – who says that robots don’t have emotions!

What is so fantastic about this series is not only the apparently seamless blend of CGI and live action set pieces, but also the nods and references to the original 1960s series whilst keeping the show fresh and exciting. For example, some episodes have been loose adaptations and updated remakes of classic Thunderbirds episodes, even occasionally casting original voice actors where possible.

Every little detail is considered, from the design of the vehicles even down to the way the characters walk – it may seem like they’re animated to move a little awkwardly, but this is something fans of the original puppet series & it’s 1990s revival will appreciate, whilst appealing to a whole new generation of fans. It’s clear that the production team have a real passion for the show and are keen to keep show creator Gerry Anderson’s vision alive.

The high profile nature of this series means that Thunderbirds Are Go! Has attracted its fair share of celeb voice talent – the previous half of the series has featured Adam Hills, Jack Whitehall, Omid Djalili , Jenna Coleman, Rich Hall and Rhys Darby to name a few, including the late, great Sylvia Anderson herself as Lady Penelope’s Great Aunt Sylvia. This new half of the series ups the geek stakes, boasting the voice talents of Mark Gatiss, David Tennant, Emilia Clarke and Asa Butterfield along with series regulars.

It’s safe to say that if the rest of the series continues at this pace, the second half of series two looks to be F.A.B!

Thunderbirds Are Go! airs on ITV on Saturdays. Let us know what you think of the season!

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