A&E Home Video
Cast: The thunderbirds
Extras: Still Gallery, Documentary, Featurette, Production Notes, Creator Bio, Character Bios
A&E Home Video has pulled out the stops with this final ’Thunderbirds’ set, as it includes the final three episodes of the show and a host of special features – albeit, one can’t help but wonder why some of these features weren’t included in the first set, as opposed to the last. Disc One of this two-disc set features the final three episodes of ’Thunderbirds’. ’Lord Parker’s ’Oliday’ finds Lady Penelope and Parker in a desperate situation in Monaco. In ’Ricochet’, the International Rescue Team must save a space-bound TV station, which threatens to fall from orbit. And with ’Give or Take a Million’, the Tracy’s Christmas celebration is interrupted when they must stop a pair of bank-robbers. Each of these episodes offers the ’Supermarionation’ action which made ’Thunderbirds’ famous, with ’Lord Parker’s ’Oliday’ throwing in a dose of much-needed wit.
These three programs are presented in their original full-frame format on this DVD release. Despite their age, each displays only minor defects from the source material, such as scratches, white spots and the occasional missing frame. The colors here are quite good, as various hues played a large part in the look of the show. The image is grainy at times, but that is excusable given the age of this product. There is little artifacting to be seen here and generally, the picture is sharp. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks are quite impressive, as the roar of each Thunderbird ship fills the room. The LFE response is good and the stereo separation is fine. The dialogue is clear, and surround sound effects are used quite liberally. Along with the shows, Disc One features a still gallery with 25 images.
The real treat here for ’Thunderbirds’ fans is Disc Two, which offers many goodies. First, we have ’The Brains Behind Thunderbirds’, a 55-minute featurette hosted by Brains, which gives an overview of the Thunderbirds universe. This segment gives focus to each Thunderbird vehicle and then examines each character individually through clips from the show. A true gem is ’The Making of ’Thunderbirds’, a 9-minute black & white segment shot in 1965. This gives a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the show and offers interviews with show creators Gerry & Sylvia Anderson and special-effects supervisor Derek Meddings. Here, we see how the puppets and props are made, and get a look at some shows in production. A section called ’The History of ’Thunderbirds’’ gives a text-only account of how the show came into being and details of its production history. There are text-only bios for each ’Thunderbirds’ character and specs given for each of the vehicles. Finally, we have a text biography of creator Gerry Anderson. While all of these features are fascinating and will be indispensable for fans of the show, one can’t help but wonder why A&E decided to save the best for laugh. It seems that the show would have been more accessible to the uninitiated if these behind-the-scenes tidbits and factoids had appeared on the first set, as opposed to the last. That nit-picking aside, ’Thunderbirds: Set 6’ is a smashing way to round out this series.