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    Thunderbirds

    Thunderbirds

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    ITV (ended 1966)
    In 2065, former astronaut and millionaire Jeff Tracy forms an secret organization named International Rescue. Its mission is to intervene when human life is at threat and nobody else is able to help. They're based on a small tropical island in the Pacific. While it appears to all the world as a reclusive millionaire's retreat, complete with luxurious hillside house (appropriately in the International Style of architecture) and swimming pool, hidden beneath the house and inside a cliff face are various facilities for the enormous complex where their equipment is built, maintained and stored. The equipment, including the specialized Thunderbird vehicles, is designed and assembled by Brains, a brilliant engineer fiercely loyal to Jeff. Supporting the team is Lady Penelope, a famous society figure who secretly acts as their London operative, assisted by her butler, Parker. The five Thunderbird craft are piloted by each of Jeff's five sons, all named after members of America's Mercury program: - Thunderbird 1, piloted by Scott, named after Scott Carpenter. This ramjet-powered plane is their fastest aircraft, always first on the scene to assess the situation and coordinate the rescue. - Thunderbird 2, piloted by Virgil (after Virgil "Gus" Grissom." A fan favorite, Thunderbird 2 is the heavy lift air transport, responsible for carrying all manner of large and bulky machinery to rescue sites. - Thunderbird 3 is piloted by Alan (after Alan Shepard) or John (after John Glenn,) depending on who is on station in Thunderbird 5. 3 is the spaceship for International Rescue. - Thunderbird 4, piloted by Gordon (after Gordon Cooper), is a mini-submarine usually carried to sites inside Thunderbird 2. - Thunderbird 5 is manned by John and Alan on rotating monthly shifts. It's an orbital space platform where all communications around the world can be monitored and issues alerts to Jeff whenever trouble arises. International Rescue insists on complete secrecy. Their identities aren't known to anyone outside the organization and photography of their equipment is forbidden. Thunderbirds was produced by Gerry Anderson and was the culmination of his Supermarionation process, which used marionette puppets instead of live actors. Originally intended for children, the show still has a devoted fanbase of adult viewers, both in the United Kingdom where it originated and in the United States, where it was syndicated in the 1960s and 70s. The series spawned three theatrical features. Thunderbirds Are Go! and Thunderbird Six were produced soon after the series left the air, although neither met with box office success. In 2004, a live action feature of the same name was made without Anderson's involvement. It drew scathing comments from professional movie reviewers who compared it unfavorably to the original show.moreless
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    The Champions

    The Champions

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    ITV (ended 1969)
    Welcome to The Champions guide at TV.com. "Craig Sterling, Sharron Macready and Richard Barrett… These are the Champions. "Endowed with the qualities and skills of superhumans - qualities and skills, both physical and mental, to the peak of human performance. Gifts given to them by an unknown race of people, when their 'plane crashed near a lost civilisation in Tibet. Now, with their secrets known only to them, they are able to use their fantastic powers to their best advantage… as the Champions of law, order and justice. Operators of the international agency, Nemesis!" The Champions was the first production from the team of Dennis Spooner and Monty Berman. Their company Scoton made the series for ITC in 1967 and established the format for many future ITC productions of casting three actors as the heroes.moreless
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    Stingray

    Stingray

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    ITV (ended 1965)
    "Stand by for Action! We're about to launch Stingray! Anything can happen within the next half hour!"

    These were the words spoken by Commander Shore at the beginning of each episode of Stingray, the first Gerry Anderson Supermarionation show to be made in colour.

    Set in the year 2064, Stingray is about the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (WASP) who patrol the world's oceans, helping and defeating underwater races. The pride of WASP is the revolutionary submarine Stingray, which is controlled by Captain Troy Tempest and Lieutenant George Lee Sheridan, better known as "Phones".

    The WASP headquarters at Marineville, a huge complex, 10 miles inland. The heart of WASP operations is the control tower, where Commander Sam Shore, Lt. Atlanta Shore (also his daughter) and Sub-Lieutenant Fisher can control and communicate with the entire WASP organization.

    When Marineville is under surface attack, Battle Stations sound. What happens next is that the whole complex sinks beneath the ground on massive hydraulic platforms. Huge concrete blast doors then protect the base, as well as WASP Interceptor and hydraulic missiles.

    The WASP call is "PWOR" (Proceed With Orders Received).

    The main villain of the WASPs is Titan who rules the underwater city of Titanica and has sworn to invade the surface world. His slaves are the Aquaphibians, who control mechanical fish called Terror Fish, armed with deadly missiles that have destroyed many unsuspecting victims. Titan is also assisted by Surface Agent X20, who talks incredibly like Peter Lorre. X20 can infiltrate Marineville through cunning disguises. He lives in an old house on the Island of Lemoy, where he can communicate with Titanica by pressing a button in his living room, which changes the room into a communication centre within seconds!

    Before becoming a member of the WASPs, Marina, a tailless, voiceless mermaid was the slave of Titan before Troy Tempest rescued her from his clutches. Her father, Aphony is the ruler of the underwater city Pacifica. Marina and her people have been sworn to silence by Titan, who said if they were to speak again, they would be destroyed.

    Occasionally, Marina accompanies Troy and Phones on their missions and sometimes Atlanta goes in place of her if they feel the mission is unsuitable for Marina. Troy has love interests for both women. Rarely seen on missions is a seal named Oink.

    Each episode ended with a song called "Aqua Marina" which was composed by Barry Gray and sung by Gary Miller.

    Not only was Stingray the first Supermarionation series to be made in colour, it was also the first British TV series to be made in colour! The series has also been repeated on BBC 2 over 1992-4 and 2001/2 and recently on weekday mornings over 2003/4. It has also been shown on Sky One.moreless