Fireball XL5 (TV Series 1962–1963) Poster


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It's a shame that so many never saw and will never see it.
First of all, I didn't think that anyone else remembered this show. You guys are getting OLD. Don't believe I ever saw a rerun of the series, I watched em when they ran originally in '62. Yeah, I'm getting old, too. This was the first opportunity for Baby-Boomers to watch any real sci-fi on TV. At least where we lived, these were not shown in the afternoon, but rather on Saturday morning, early, about 7:30 or maybe 8:00, so you couldn't sleep in. I can still see my little brother and me lying on the living room floor in our pajamas, eating cereal as the Saturday morning wonderland unfolded. And didn't everybody who saw the show want a Robby the robot of their own? OK, so the name wasn't original, he was still the best robot ever. This show may seem hokey and stupid with primitive special effects to a Star Wars generation, but it was the only game in town for those of my age. The next opportunity to see a sci-fi series on TV was, I guess, Lost In Space, which DOES look hokey and stupid to me now. maybe you just can't lose the love you had for a program as a small child.

Whatever the reason, I'm delighted to hear that the series is available on DVD, I suspect I'll have to update my Xmas wish list to include it. What an opportunity, indulge my own nostalgia AND drive my family nuts simultaneously!

Update!: I did receive the DVD set with the complete series for Xmas, 2004, and it was all I remembered. Incidentally, It DID drive my family nuts as I spent about a week straight watching the whole series and singing the stupid theme song with the show.
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Vintage Sci-Fi fun
theprisoner31 August 2003
This was the show that sparked my interest in Sci-Fi way back in 1962, being only five the opening shot of Steve and Venus flying past the fin of the huge spaceship Fireball XL5 filled me with wonder!

Although this was a series for it's time it was one of the first to depict a space fleet of patrol ships monitoring our quadrant of space, notably used in Star Trek a few years later. The characters from the very first episode were amazingly fleshed out by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, only to be further developed by the talents of the other scriptwriters resulting in a fine continuity right up the last episode, unheard of in those days. Stories involved time travel, space pirates and of course earth domination, which had the puppets smoking, shaving, being tied up and the odd reference to child psychology! -Very adult for a child's T.V. series.

My favourite episodes - A day in the life of a space general, Space Magnet & 1875 In all, superb sixties Sci Fi fun.
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Sci Fi with Strings Attached!
rsetchell19 June 2003
From the very outset, I was hooked by this show as a child. In a lot of ways, it was very advanced with a WOMAN doctor...even though Venus spent most of her time making coffee, cleaning up, or needing to be rescued. Robert was the best robot around, and Professor Mattic was just eccentric enough to be interesting, too. Coulda lived without the Lazoon, though. This show even had a first rate music score, too. But, it was that ship that had me! It was unlike most of the cramped ships in sci fi at the time. This one had a lounge, sleeping quarters, too. Its nose cone was detachable, and could land on the planets they visited. Most of the plots were pretty simple, but some stood out. One episode had XL5 in an unexplored area of space. The ship had been hit by meteors, and was losing its oxygen. They knew they had just a short time left, and even as a child, I was fascinated with how they were facing death. Of course, they just HAPPENED to wander into a part of the universe with its own air pocket, but hey..!

I used to think I was the only person who even cared about this show, but thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I found out there were a LOT of fans out there world wide!

I loved this show when I was young. I got as many episodes as were available on VHS when I could, and now, I see the entire series is on DVD! It probably won't win too many new fans in this day and age, but if you loved this show as a child, its a little reminder of a more innocent time. Enjoy the ride!
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Star Trek Precursor
radiotesla200130 May 2004
Loved this show as a kid. It definitely shaped my interest in Sci Fi. Also, the theme songs still strike a chord with me, no matter how dated they are! They are simply great in their tone and straight-forward sincerity.

Also, as a Star Trek fan, I can not help but wonder if Roddenberry had not been influenced by the XL5 design. After all, the saucer section of the original Enterprise was detachable, just as XL5's nose, even though they never showed it in the original series. Mention was made of it once, when Kirk told Scotty to 'Break out of there with the main section, if you have to', or something along those lines, when the machine Val was pulling the Enterprise down from orbit.

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Still in the memory after 40+ years
JBAdamson8 March 2004
I can't believe anyone outside of my brother or me remembers this show. There were times throughout my life when I had to question if the show ever really existed. We were so mesmerized by all of the episodes and we played XL5 for hours up on hours. I believe that for us the spaceship itself was the real focus of our enjoyment. There just wasn't anything like it at the time. Rail launching a space ship was definitely ahead of it's time.

I must admit that that I don't really remember much of the show. Robby's electro-voice saying `Fire Retro Rockets' has definitely remained with me over the years. I still get a thrill when I reminisce about the rare episodes when XL1 was employed to help save the day. I remember a friend in school had the XL5 lunch box and I used sit and study it, on the rare occasion when he would let me. It was in color! I am a father now and my children grew up on Transformers and Power Rangers. However, the looks on their faces when these characters would save the day would sometimes take me back to the days of my childhood and XL5 and for that brief moment we shared an emotion of childhood that I will always treasure. I can only hope that they will some day be lucky enough to experience the same with their children. I plan on purchasing the DVD set of XL5. I am not sure if I will try to talk the kids into watching them with me but the opportunity will be there if they choose.
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A Reason for Rushing Home from School
jaiken0078 March 2001
My school bus got me home exactly at 4:00 and rather than dawdle and get involved in the snowball or dirt clod fight, I would head straight for the T.V. Back in those days it took about 4 minutes for the set to warm up so the only way I could catch the opening was to stay home sick from school, which I tried as often as I could. I loved this show, as did my best friends and we would re-create the episodes the next day on the school bus. My brother and sister would make it to the basement in time for the closing theme and we would all sing along. Then it was time for my other favorite, "Jonny Quest". This was my favorite hour of the day. On a recent trip to London, a friend surprised me with a video tape of two episodes. As clunky and silly as the show was it brought back so many "warm fuzzies" that I still smile to think about Captain Steve and the rest of the crew.
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My first Science Fiction Love
doctardis6 January 2003
It has been so long I hardly remember the show, but I do remember the begging and pleading I did to get my parents to let me watch the show. It was, at the time, my favorite television show. It was my introduction to science fiction. It is genre that I almost always prefer. I just saw a show recently, and it is still great fun. It is particularly interesting to compare this to the latter shows of the Andersons like Stingray, Thunderbirds, Capt. Scarlet, UFO, Space:1999, and journey to the farside of the sun. They always are fun to watch. I grew up being a fan of their work without always knowing it was the same producers.
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One of the best
jack-smales4 October 2003
Fireball XL5 is one of my favourite Gerry Anderson shows.The theme tune is a great one as well.It took along time,but I managed to find a copy on ebay.They tend to be rather expensive as they are rare.I was very glad when we won it.It was well worth the wait.

In the library,the only copy they had had gone missing.I can`t remember when but I was dissapointed. It speaks the same for other little known Gerry Anderson shows.They had all gone missing in the library for years and there were not any copies anywhere.Thankfully,a lot of Gerry Anderson shows are now being released on DVD.That goes for Fireball XL5 to. It is being released on DVD the 20th October.

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Strangely addictive
Rob_Taylor31 October 2003
My partner bought the entire series recently on DVD and I'm now being subjected to it. At least, the first few episodes deserve the word "subjected", because, after several episodes, I'm finding it to be annoyingly compulsive viewing.

Sure, the effects are rubbish, the science is just plain silly (people can breath in space, for example, and have to "Swim" to get anywhere), the main HQ building rotates for no apparent purpose and the show is incredibly dated in terms of attitudes to the only female member of the crew and so on.

Yet, despite these failings, it still manages to fascinate me. I never saw the show when it originally aired (I wasn't even born!), and my only knowledge of it came from a couple of TV Century 21 annuals I had in early life. I suspect that, had I been a kid when it was shown, I would have loved it. Even now, as an adult, it has things to offer, even if they are only seeing how ludicrous some of the puppets are and what new foolishness the crew can come up with.

It's a little annoying to see the patronising attitude towards Venus who is relegated to housework (aboard the ship) and repeating the phrase "Steve, I'm scared" a lot.

Still, for its day it was ground-breaking stuff and, although it may not stand up to modern values (both in production and sexism terms) it still is fun to watch.

Ignore how cheap it all looks and just enjoy it.
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I have always loved science fiction, and I remember loving this show.
manbird319 December 1999
I was very young when I saw this show, but I still remember the special effects, especially the opening sequence of the rocket speeding down that track and the changes in the engine sounds just before it took off from the track into the air. The marionettes, especially the robot and his electronic voice. And I remember being very moved by a story involving a mermaid. The ending was sad. I would love to get this series on video. is it available?
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