Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons

Season 1 Episode 1

The Mysterons

Aired Friday 5:25 PM Sep 29, 1967 on ITV
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Mysterons
The panicked destruction of a mysterious base on Mars unleashes the wrath of an alien race calling themselves 'The Mysterons', who promise their revenge for the attack. Captain Black is taken over to act as the Mysteron's first agent on Earth. Captains Scarlet and Brown are killed and copied by the Mysterons, with orders to kill the World President!moreless

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  • An excellent science fiction show that holds up well. However, I find it astonishing that it's regarded as a children's show, given that people are murdered in virtually every episode.

    I do wonder what this show would have been like if it had been an hour long, like "Thunderbirds". That would have given them the chance to show some personal interactions with the characters. For example, doesn't it seem strange that every member of Cloudbase immediately accepted this indestructible, alien copy of their colleague Paul Metcalfe with open arms? It's understandable that, in a state of war, they would be prepared to use this "valuable asset" from a military standpoint, but personally, you'd think they'd be a little leery of him for a while, at least. The closest they came to touching on this was the second episode, when Captain Blue was asked if Scarlet would be accompanying him. He answered, "I hardly think so," but it could have been that Blue thought Scarlet wasn't ready to leave Sickbay yet.

    Longer episodes could also have given them the chance to answer a question most viewers probably had--namely, why didn't any of the other retro-metabilized copies regain their self-awareness after getting killed for a second time? They made a point of the fact that the copied Captain Scarlet died in an 800 ft fall, but in the episode "Place of Angels" the Mysteron agent also died in a spectacular fall, and she didn't come back. It seems a reasonable hypothesis that the Mysterons, having seen what happened to Captain Scarlet, and not wanting to gift the world with an army of indestructible, Earth-loyal men and women, somehow altered their technique of retro-metabilization so that what happened to Scarlet would not happen again.

    Another little point--their radio caps. That was a really cool idea, and even more plausible now than it was back then. Captain Blue explained in one episode how, when Cloudbase signalled him, his epaulettes flashed and his transmitter dropped down in front of his mouth. That's fine and dandy, but how does the cap know when its owner wishes to initiate a transmission? Pretty smart cap. Kind of like the automatic doors of "Star Trek" which somehow knew when an approaching person would change his mind about going through, and obligingly remain closed.

    That having been said, it was a marvelous series. The special effects are still effective decades later, and the miniatures were exquisite. There's an excellent bit that's shown in every episode during the credits. Captain Black is shown last in the credits, and then the scene bounces back and forth, with Black's face coming nearer and nearer the camera. His eyes seem to be staring right at you, with a creepy smile--or maybe it only seems like he's smiling. It's a very unnerving shot if you concentrate on it.moreless
  • Brilliant, simply brilliant...

    This episode has to be a classic not only of the Captain Scarlet series which it kicks off, but of all Supermarionation shows. It's not every show or any genre that kills off the title character in the first five minutes and things just get better when he's killed again at the end of the episode. If that wasn't enough, he's killed by another star, Captain Blue.

    I really like the semi-continuity with Thunderbirds through the use of the Zero-X MEV from the Thunderbirds Are Go movie. I'd have liked to have seen a bit more on the human Captain Black though. This really is a great episode and perfect way of starting the series as it introduces nearly all the characters, equipment and what Spectrum and the Mysterons will be doing over the rest of the series.moreless
Francis Matthews

Francis Matthews

Captain Scarlet (Paul Metcalfe)

Ed Bishop

Ed Bishop

Captain Blue (Adam Svenson)

Janna Hill

Janna Hill

Symphony Angel (Karen Wainwright)

Donald Gray

Donald Gray

Colonel White (Charles Grey) / Captain Black (Conrad Turner) / Voice Of The Mysterons

Cy Grant

Cy Grant

Lieutenant Green (Seymour Griffiths)

Liz Morgan

Liz Morgan

Destiny Angel (Juliette Pontoin) / Rhapsody Angel (Diane Sims)

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (25)

    • The Score: Spectrum saves the World President. Spectrum: 1 Mysterons: 0.

    • Mysteron Reconstructions: Captain Black (killed on Mars/still at large), Captain Brown (killed in car crash/exploded), Captain Scarlet (killed in car crash/recovered).

    • Spectrum Losses: 3 Saloons, 1 MSV, 1 SPJ, 1 SPV, 1 helicopter, 1 Maximum Security Building and staff. Captains Black, Brown, and Scarlet are killed and reconstructed by the Mysterons. Scarlet recovers, Brown is killed and Black is still at large.

    • Collateral Damage: 1 Car Vu, 1 civilian car, 1 viaduct. Lieutenant Dean and another man go missing, presumed dead.

    • Captain Brown is shown on the security video perfectly normally, but "Flight 104" shows that Mysterons produce siloettes on normal photographic film.

    • At no point during this episode does Captain Brown appear to be carrying to standard Spectrum sidearm pistol. While this makes sense while he was with the World President (as weapons weren't allowed in the building), he didn't even have one when he was with Scarlet in the car even though Scarlet clearly did.

    • A radio voice tells Colonel White that Captain Brown's body was found at the scene of the car crash that killed him, but strangely Captain Scarlet's body, who was also killed in the same crash, was no where to be found.

    • Apparently they were lucky that the security tapes from the maximum security building were recorded elsewhere as the whole building exploded. Tell that to those people who would have been killed in the blast. They weren't very lucky.

    • The President could have simply stayed on Cloudbase instead of being shipped off to all those maximum security places. Nothing could be more secure than Cloudbase when it's 40,000 feet up in the air.

    • During the Mysteron message to the MEV on Mars, Captain Black's complexion goes from an ordinary pinkish colour to a pale white with quite a lot of stubble all in the space of a few seconds.

    • The Mysterons seemed extremely bothered about getting revenge for the attack on their complex, but they rebuilt it within seconds so there was no harm done in the long run.

    • As the Car-Vu collapses, neither Captain Scarlet's car or Captain Blue's SPV are present. They should have both gone down with it as they were parked on the top floor.

    • Why were none of Spectrum's dead personnel ever replaced? Both Captains Brown and Black (as well as Captain Indigo in a later episode) were killed, but no one ever takes their place. Spectrum cannot be a Spectrum without all the colours.

    • Throughout the entire series the total crew compliment of Cloudbase apparently consists of: White, Scarlet, Blue, Green, Magenta, Ochre, Grey, Fawn, the 5 Angels and before their deaths, Black, Brown and Indigo (although none of these 3 are shown on Cloudbase). It would be hard for only 13 (17 before anyone died) to crew and maintain such a large facility, one that is supposed to be as large as several football fields.

    • A few seconds later, when the protective glass boxes descend back down to the Amber Room, which prevents the Angel pilots from breathing in the non-oxygen air at the 40,000 feet above sea level located Cloudbase is, the edited shot of the Angel Interceptor models flying down the flight deck runway creates a slight jump in the picture as the static models have been moved slightly, possibly so the special effects crew can fly the models down via under the soundstage model set.

    • The shot of Rhapsody Angel being elevated between the Amber Room and the flight-deck where her Angel Interceptor is awaiting her command, shows that the seat which she is being elevated upwards into the Interceptor cockpit, is supported by a silver steel pole, which very visibly shakes about, unbalanced.

    • In the interior shots of the MSV (Maximum Security Vehicle) with Captain Brown and the World President, the moving matte background painting rolling outside the interior to give the effect that the vehicle is moving, shows several windows which suggests that the car is flying in the air, as there is no street lamp poles, shop banners, larger windows and doors, which previously in the 2 exterior model shots are very much shown.

    • Strangely, a different facial-looking head of Captain Brown is used only in the close-up shot when flames start to ignite from his body, just before he explodes and causes the entire Maximum Security Building to collapse.

    • The regular "in-the-middle-of-the-episode" 7-beat staccato editing shots of the Spectrum Insignia disappearing into total darkness, which were originally used by the UK-based ATV network to introduce a commercial break is not in synch with 7-beat staccato drum sound. The returning shots of the Spectrum Insignia coming closer and closer to the screen, until it fills it, and then shows a different live image of the episode (which again was originally used to end a commercial break and return to the programme) is also not synchronised with the drum beat. This also happened in the next produced and broadcasted episode, "Winged Assassin".

    • The second-less close-up shot of the World President and Captain Scarlet ejecting from the SPJ (Spectrum Passenger Jet) shows both puppets wearing no transparent sunglasses, but in all previous shots, they were.

    • Destiny Angel orders Rhapsody Angel to destroy a viaduct that Captain Scarlet is racing to cross, before he is ambushed and forced to drive all the way up to the top of the London Car-Vu. The shot of Rhapsody replying to her order ("Peal off, and destroy viaduct on London road" - "S.I.G.") shows her cockpit titling downwards, as if she's about to destroy the viaduct, even though she hasn't received her full instructions. The previous shot of Destiny shows her cockpit balanced and normal.

    • The black smoke given off from the exploding viaduct, makes the thin white wires which the Angel Interceptor model flies fast across very visible, which simulate the effect of the jet pulling up from it's attack dive.

    • A black & white matte painting background is used for a shot of Captain Blue rising from his hiding place just after the Mysteronised Spectrum helicopter turns around to attack him again.

    • The final scene, which sees all the Spectrum Cloudbase personnel attending a conference with Colonel White, shows all 5 Angel pilots present, but there should be one on standby alert in the Angel One Interceptor.

    • In a rather grainy, stock-looking shot of Destiny Angel looking at the destroyed viaduct (you can tell by the worser quality of a certain shot, scene or sequence as it's been used over a high number of times), this particular shot is mysteriously mirrored, as if you look at the Spectrum Insignia on her helmet, it is the wrong way round.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Captain Brown: Do you think the President's life really is in danger?
      Captain Scarlet: Well, judging by what happened on the Martian expedition, I'd say the Mysterons have the capability of carrying out their threat.
      Captain Brown: If only we were fighting something we understood. Something tangible. Something in three dimensions.
      Captain Scarlet: I know what you mean. We can only hear them over our radios, but I've got a feeling they're with us all the time.

    • Mysterons: (to the crew of the MEV) Earthmen, we are peaceful beings and you have tried to destroy us, but you cannot succeed. You and your people will pay for this act of aggression. This is the voice of the Mysterons. We know that you can hear us Earthmen. Our retaliation will be slow, but nonetheless effective. It will mean the ultimate destruction of life on Earth. It will be useless for you to resist for we have discovered the secret of reversing matter as you have just witnessed. One of you will be under our control. You will be instrumental in avenging the Mysterons. Our first act of retaliation will be to assassinate your World President.

    • Mysterons: The first of the Earth space travellers have arrived. They too have a curiosity about the universe we live in. We must welcome them. Let us take a closer look.

    • Narrator: The finger is on the trigger... about to unleash a force with terrible powers, beyond the comprehension of man. This force we shall know as, The Mysterons.
      (a cat howls and a gun fires)
      Narrator: This man will be our hero, for fate will make him indestructible. His name... Captain Scarlet.

  • NOTES (13)

    • The control consoles seen in the MEV would later be used in the cockpit of the plane flown by Captain Scarlet in "Flight 104".

    • This episode features the first of only two appearances of an alternate head for Captain Scarlet that is used to depict a grimace. It appears when Scarlet is shot and falls from the Car-Vu. The second and final appearance of the grimace head is in "The Trap" when Scarlet is again shot.

    • This is the only episode in which Captain Black wears his Spectrum uniform. In all other appearances of the character he would switch to less conspicuous, but usually black, civilian clothes. He does however retain the use of his Spectrum sidearm for a time (as seen in "Manhunt").

      Also note the differences between Black's Spectrum uniform and those of the other colour-coded officers. Black has a white main jacket zipper and belt as opposed to black like everyone else. It may be that this denotes Black's position in Spectrum (as second in command) or it could simply have been done for the contrast against the already largely black uniform.

    • This episode is the only one to depict the Mysteron's supernatural abilities as a full screen colour change (when they crash Brown and Scarlet's car) instead of the usual green eyes.

    • The London Car-Vu featured prominently here would later appear as part of an underwater Arctic base in the Joe 90 episode "Arctic Adventure".

    • Official ITC Recommended Broadcasted-Order Number: 1

    • Husband and wife team, Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson, only wrote the teleplay for this one episode. Gerry remained as the Executive Producer, although he wasn't around that much during the show's production, and Sylvia remained credited only as the show's format developer, along with Gerry also.

    • The director of this episode, Desmond Saunders, took on the role as the Supervising Series Director. He only directed this one episode. Strangely enough, he is credited as "Des Saunders" under his Supervising Series Director role.

    • A stock photograph of New York City is used to visualise the empty, quiet city, for the maximum-security arrival of the World President. The Empire State Building however is seen in this one photograph, and according to "The Complete Book of Captain Scarlet" publication (© 2001 – Chris Bentley / Carlton Books Limited), the production documentation filed by the show's producers indicates that Captain Scarlet was set in the same fictional world as Thunderbirds, so therefore that particular building should not be seen, as it was demolished by a destructive earthquake in the first season Thunderbirds episode, "Terror in New York City".

    • First U.K. (BBC2) Network Airdate: Friday 1 October, 1993 - 6:00PM

    • An interesting discovery, found by Chris Bentley (author of "The Complete Book of Captain Scarlet" publication - © 2001 – Chris Bentley / Carlton Books Limited), is before the Spectrum Saloon Car with Captains Scarlet and Brown turns of the highway and crashes into an explosion, the picture colour slowly changes from full colour to a blue "monotone", which is used to indicate the invisible but watching and witnessing presence of the Mysteron forces. The colour abruptly returns to it's previous full-colour, however this type of effect would have been lost during the series' original television broadcast in 1967 in the UK as all 32 episodes during that time were broadcasted in black & white.

    • Although this pilot episode does not feature an on-screen title, it has always been recognised via production documentation as "The Mysterons", according to "The Complete Book of Captain Scarlet" publication (2001 Chris Bentley/Carlton Books Limited).

    • The main title sequence, seen on all of the 32 episodes produced for this series, is accompanied by a special voice-over by Ed Bishop, who provided the voice for Captain Blue. This particular voice-over was never again heard on any of the following 31 episodes: "The finger is on the trigger. About to unleash a force, with terrible powers, beyond the comprehension of man. This force we shall know as, The Mysterons. This man will be our hero, for fate will make him indestructible. His name, Captain Scarlet."