Saturday, May 31, 2008
I just ordered the complete DVD set of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's 1962 creation, Fireball XL5.
It is a lot of fun!
Yes, the Supermarionation is not on a par with later efforts - the wires are visible at all times, and kids might not like the fact that it's in black and white, - but the plots are interesting, as are the gadgets - quite a bit of foreshadowing of future SF shows and even a bit of reality.
I'm going to quote the copyright free Wikipedia:
Set between the years 2062/2063, the series features the missions of spaceship Fireball XL5, commanded by Colonel Steve Zodiac of the World Space Patrol. Also aboard as part of the crew are the glamorous Doctor Venus, middle-aged navigator and engineer Professor Matthew Matic, and Zodiac's co-pilot Robert the Robot, notable for being transparent. Robert was the only character in an Anderson series that was actually voiced by Gerry Anderson himself.
Fireball XL5 is based at Space City, located on an unnamed island in the South Pacific, headquarters of the World Space Patrol headed by Commander Zero. Zero is assisted by Lieutenant Ninety. The patrol rocket Fireball XL5 takes off utilising a mile-long launch rail which culminates in a 40 degree incline, or sky ramp, which Anderson explains was inspired by an old Soviet design, a concept also used in the film When Worlds Collide.
There is a fleet of at least 30 'Fireball XL' ships (an XL30 is referred to in The Firefighters episode), of which XL5 is the most famous.