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To borrow a phrase from our American cousins, Gerry Anderson's New
Captain Scarlet 'kicks serious ass!' This 26-part CG animation epic
retains the basic setup of Earth caught in a war of nerves against The
Mysterons, shapeless, disembodied entities from Mars with the ability
to destroy objects and people and then reconstruct them for their own
The 1967 original is of course fondly remembered by fans for its air of menace and that aspect is just one of many elements the new series embraces and improves on with glee. Each week hapless humans die in spectacular 'accidents' and Mysteron agents are shot, electrocuted, blown up and flung off cliffs with impunity. In 'Skin Deep' the delightfully villainous Captain Black even shoots a woman in the face, at point blank range. This kind of deliciously dark mayhem is exactly what young and old love about the show.
The scripts (the majority of them by Phil Ford) are not only pacey, varied and imaginative but exploit aspects of the basic format that were simply beyond the abilities of the original. For example, 'Chiller', sees Scarlet so badly injured in a Mysteron explosion that his spirit literally frees itself from his mangled remains. The result is that Scarlet finds himself invisible to everyone else on Skybase. Not only invisible but insubstantial, able to walk through walls and people like a ghost. All of which poses a major problem given that Scarlet knows a traitor has carried a bomb on board. But how can a ghost warn his friends? In 'Swarm', a plague of Mysteron nanobots takes over Skybase, wrapping its human prey in spider-like cocoons. 'Mercury Falling,' features Captain Blue and Destiny piloting a nuclear powered space shuttle (a tribute to 'Fireball XL5') which has been transformed into a flying bomb aimed at Washington D.C. And 'Rat Trap' sees our heroes dispatched to a spooky Martian colony to face some killer robots on the rampage.
But for all the visceral hi-tech wizardry on display the new series also offers a satisfying emotional core. A blossoming love affair between Scarlet and Destiny Angel is a real pleasure to watch and surprisingly heartfelt in its impact. Although aimed at children this is, as Thunderbirds was before it, a show with genuine adult appeal. And if Scarlet is predictably loyal and heroic his worry about his invulnerability and the way it sets him apart from other humans adds another layer of depth to his character.
As for the photorealistic CGI animation one word sums it up and that word is 'spectacular'. Given that the original Captain Scarlet was a puppet (marionette) show - with all the inherent limitations of movement and expression that entails - the new version is nothing short of miraculous. The characters can finally move without having to be in a vehicle or stand on a conveyor belt! They can smile, look sad, angry, frustrated, and have thrilling hand to hand fights. The new series exploits all of these possibilities to the hilt.
In conclusion all I can say is that anyone who lives outside the UK should contact their local station and request them to carry this show. If you like Gerry & Sylvia Anderson's work but were horrified by Jonathan Frakes' Thunderbirds movie yet still want to see one of the old puppet shows updated with love and skill then New Captain Scarlet is a must. It's easily the best thing Anderson has done since Year One of Space:1999 and far better, IMO, than the BBC's recently relaunched Doctor Who.
The New Captain Scarlet is an excellent TV series with not only some
great story telling and superb action, but the animation is impressive.
I was only expecting perhaps good action and maybe some good vehicle
animation but what we got was a production that excelled every
expectation. Are you looking for excellent CG animation? This show has
it. Using state of the art motion capture technology in a studio
specifically built at Pinewood, series creator Gerry Anderson
(Thunderbirds, UFO, Space: 1999) has produced one of his best series
ever. The animation just continued to impress every week.
The stories and characters would probably suffer, right? No!! I am surprised that there is quite a bit of character study, not enough to slow it down, but enough to keep the characters interesting and enhance the action and events that happen on screen. Oh yea, the action (explosions, etc) is fantastic.
The series is said to be made for kids but really the target audience expands to any fan of Sci-Fi action and animation. There is so much to like in this series that instead of going on and on I would suggest watching it for yourself!
Gerry Anderson's "New Captain Scarlet" began its 26 episode run on the
morning of Saturday 12th February 2005 on CITV although, to be honest,
I wish it wasn't part of "Ministry of Mayhem"! Why are ITV afraid to
try for a bigger audience late afternoon/early evening? Also, in "MOM",
the gap between the two halves of each episode is much longer than a
regular commercial break would be!
I'd like to know the thinking behind changing Lt. Green from a black male to a white female especially as there are already five female characters in the shape of the Angels although, of the five, we only meet Destiny in the first episode. The suggestion is that, like Councillor Troi when "Star Trek: The Next Generation" began, she is the character through which the emotional content of an episode will be channelled.
I'm also curious about the change of name from Cloudbase to Skybase? That aside, it moved at a furious pace and, in so-doing, lost the luxuriously sedate menace of the 1967 original. The Supermarionation version was much aided by Barry Gray's music whereas the score for the new CGI series meanders rather nondescriptly, instantly forgotten. I wonder what the closing credits are like? We weren't given the chance to see or even hear them on CITV!
There was much to recommend the new show. Particularly impressive were the Angel flight sequences and Black's resurrection, fist through the coffin lid! This made him come across as some vampire-like figure and the great coat swirling behind him reminded me of "Blade Runner" though younger viewers would probably have associated it with Spike from "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer"!
What would be nice is for those younger viewers to want to discover the beauty of the original puppet series which, for all its woodenness, still felt three dimensional; something you just don't seem to get from computer generated material. Even so, I enjoyed it and will stay with the series both now and when it returns later in the year...
More of a "re-animation" of the original, rather than an original take
on the original Captain Scarlet, Gerry Anderson is back with more of a
whimper than a bang.
First of, its currently shown in a children's Saturday morning show (Ministry of Mayhem), split in two between games and with a preview at the start of the second part. Secondly the transmission times keep changing (anything from 10:30am to 11am) Thirdly, the episodes seem to be heavily edited as scenes jump from one to another without any real reason. Lastly, there is usually a fairly annoying scrolling message during the first showing of the program.
The CGI for the most part is pretty good, with detail on hair, engine thrusts etc. Unfortunately in parts its also pretty poor - lip animation seems to be very limited, with no real changes of mouth shapes, depending on what words are said.
The actual script is pretty good, although it can be a little tacky in parts.
Whether it would be better to wait until later in the year to get the DVD set, and hopefully a better transmission time, will depend on whether you can stand MoM.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Anyone fearing another 'Thunderbirds' style mess need not worry. With
original creator Gerry Anderson on board this show can't fail.
The first episode has just appeared on British T.V and I am amazed by the results. The original storyline is being stuck to but with more advanced machinery. Also, Lieutenant Green is now a lady and Doctor Fawn is now Doctor Gold.
Capatin Black is back, sinister as ever complete with a Matrix-style coat and all the necessary lurking around in graveyards. Mysteron agents now have glowing green eyes too.
The new vehicles are bigger, chunkier and shinier. The first episode sees the red Spectrum Patrol Car, a flying motorbike, a five strong squadron of Angels and of course Skybase (replacing Cloudbase) which is simply a huge airborne airport.
I am a big fan of the original show and all of Gerry Andersons work, I didn't know what to expect from this but I was not disappointed. You get the feeling that this is the show that he had in mind all along but was just not possible with puppets. There is fantastic action which really picks up towards the end. The show gets moving fast too, there is no slow introduction which I felt hindered the original.
There are 13 episodes in the first series, lasting approx 20 minutes each. Expect this to be 'BIG', the merchandise is already being produced, as is a second series.
One complaint? No hint of Barry Gray's original music theme. Pity.
Nevertheless, congratulations on a fantastic new show Mr Anderson, now hurry up and give us some Thunderbirds and show Jonathan Frakes how its done!
What a welcome return for Cap Scarlet.What a shock it was for me to
switch on the TV with a huge hang over to see such a welcome spectacle
up on screen It does the original show great justice and brings Scarlet
at Hyper drive into the 'Naughties'.
I guess its a bit of a gripe that we have to put up with MOM,but I'm sure its a good show caser for the first run shows just to get it out there noticed .Take note ITV .... you have a potential Monster of a hit here ...be brave .. a Tea time spot on Sunday will be cult viewing for old and young .
The Icing on the cake would be to spice up the Score ...bring back the Bary Gray Bongs and strings and this show will be near perfect .
Last Summer I thought Mr Anderson was being a bit of a grumpy Old Man,complaining the way Thunderbirds the Movie was going . Now I understand where he was coming from . So bring it on . Lets have all the Classics in 'HYPOMARRIANATION'....'Thunderbirds , Stingray ....the lot ..
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A fan of the original 1960s version of the show, I was very excited to
here about Gerry Anderson's new version of Captian Scarlet. So far, it
has yet to disappoint. The update is faithful to the puppet show, yet
has been tweaked to give it a more modern edge.
I think the more dramatic element of the show is great - with the Love triangle between Captain Scarlet, Destiny Angel, and Captian Black. We are already seeing hints of a budding romance between Scarlet and Destiny, although the relationship will undoubtedly be a little more angst ridden after the death or her former love interest, Captain Black, also Scarlet's best friend. There is also tension between Scarlet and Captain Blue. One time buddies, but now Blue finds it hard to trust his friend, since Scarlet spent some time under the Mysterons control.
Of course the most obvious changes come in the form of a female Lieutenant Green, who was a male character in the 1960s version. Fans either will love or hate this change, but it is one that I can live with. However, with Destiny's prominence in the show perhaps there wasn't as much need to change Green's gender, as the other Angels will also feature more heavily. Destiny, herself, is leading the girl power for the show and this is welcome for the modern audience. Although in the puppet series Destiny was the female lead, her character has been much more fleshed out in the new series, and indeed she is English and not French! The show has also retained its darkness which was a part of its original appeal, indeed the Mysterons are still superbly menacing as well as cold blooded killers (they crushed a guy in a car scrap centre and blew up a bunch of air pilots). The overall show still has a dark feel, yet Skybase and all the various crafts look really effective.
Of course, there are the odd gripes. The story's move very quickly and there are a lot of prolonged car chases. The graphics, whilst great, sometimes look a bit odd (cars on the road and lip synching). But the likeness of the marionettes is great.
Overall a great show, modernised, yet faithful. Here's to the rest of the series and season two later in the year!
Having just acquired access to the HD Animation channel through Dish
Network in the US, I stumbled upon the New Captain Scarlet for the
first time. So far, I have seen about 4 episodes. (It is shown daily on
the HD Anime channel, followed by an episode of "Youri the Spaceman.")
In 70" high definition, the New Captain Scarlet is absolutely
spectacular ... the most impressive HD experience I have had so far in
these past four weeks.
I am a fan of some of the early Supermarionation series (e.g. Fireball XL5, Stingray), and have always been impressed with the quality of direction and production, and of the respect that Anderson and company has apparently had for their juvenile audiences. Each series has had a level of detail and story exposition that goes far beyond any comparable juvenile adventure series here in the US at the time.
However, I was not a fan of the first Scarlet series. The puppets were just too stiff to maintain any involvement. At least Steve Zodiac and Venus went ice skating once in a while.
But I digress. The new series is impeccably detailed, and the action is superbly directed and genuinely exciting. In contrast with the original series, the characters can at least walk, and much more. The stories aren't much to speak of, but every other aspect of production is impressive.
Many years ago captain scarlet and the mysterons was an old childhood
favourite. I remember never getting tired of the angel's accent into
their jets nor the long winded intro. Not to mention having laughs a
when they used real people's hands for certain shots (the puppets
couldn't grip things).
Ah memories. I think my first reaction when I heard of this new cgi remake was the same as any other scarlet fan. The outrage. How could they do this to scarlet? And so on. But were our worries confirmed? No.
Instead a new captain scarlet, up to date, action packed, displaying all things that tend to lack in children's TV these days. A complete re-invention. Characters with expressions for a change. Faster, more tense, episodes. New story lines. Great new gadgets. I'd even go so far to say this is better then the original but that's debatable.
This show took me aback when I first saw it. It wasn't bad it was brilliant. Just imagine all the restraints working with puppets caused now imagine the old show without them. Now you see where I'm coming from.
True the mysterons lack their creepiness. Lieutenant Green has been replaced. The driving backwards inside SPV's is gone. But does that really matter? If you have a kid boy at home aged say 5-10 there is a strong chance he'll love it as well as you (whatever age you are). Remember if you prefer the original Scarlet, this show is for the young viewer. To them this will be better.
This is one of those shows you need to give a chance. Don't copy my brother and hate it even though you've never watched a complete episode.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The action and tight scripting make for compelling viewing for kids and
adults alike. A faithful and intelligent update of the characters of
the original cult TV series these 3d animated adventures are a pleasure
Fans of the original series may find some of the character updates surprising. Lieutenent Green is now a woman and Captain Blue is a bit of a jock these days. Captain Scarlet has lost his "Cary Grant" accent but still retains a "mid-atlantic" tone. The Captain Scarlet character is actually subtly updated by the third episode and has the more rugged handsome look of the original.
The voice artists do a great job of putting some real feeling into the stories and the motion capture enhanced animation lends dynamic life-like movement to the animated characters.
Hightly recommended... what a shame that production has ceased after just two seasons. Another great Gerry Anderson production that bit the dust too early.
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