Whereas ‘Trapped in the Sky’ features the archetypal rescue-action scene, ‘Sun Probe’ showcases Thunderbirds’ ability to keep things engaging when nothing of note is actually happening. Case in point: the opening four-minute launch of the Sun Probe mission – a manned rocket tasked with collecting a “piece” of the sun. A consequence of the original 25-minute episode being extended to 50 minutes despite already being in the can, the lengthy launch site preparation, ongoing countdown, and eventual lift off have no bearing on the plot and no right to work as well as they do.
Once the episode gets going, the Sun Probe inevitably gets into trouble by failing to turn away from a collision course with, you guessed it, the sun. What follows is a wonderfully hammy tech-fest of a space rescue, spearheaded by Brains and his hilarious robot, Braman. Tracy Island mainstay Tin-Tin also gets her moment in the, er, sun, when she demands to be part of crew set to hurtle after the doomed spacecraft aboard Thunderbird 3.