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A misunderstanding on Mars provokes an alien race called the Mysterons to declare a war of nerves on Earth. Throughout the series, they continually make terrorist threats and attempt to follow through with their ability to create obedient duplicates of anyone they kill. Their key opponent is the international intelligence organization, Spectrum, whose agents are code-named according to various colours. Their top agent in this war is Captain Scarlet, an agent who was subjected to the duplication process, but was still alive at the time. As a result, his clone was able to shake off the Mysterons' control, but leaving being him indestructible and able to survive any wound. Together with his partners, Captain Blue and Spectrum's fighter squadron, The Angels, the now immortal Captain Scarlet must constantly struggle to thwart the Mysterons' ever present threats.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
It is said that the pilot episode of this series was initially transmitted by original broadcasters ITV at around 1.30am on Sunday 30th April 1967, several months before its debut proper. Unannounced to general viewers and unsurrounded by any other programmes (this was decades before 24-hour ITV) the screening acted as a sampler for potential purchasers. See more »
The Mysterons, sworn enemies of Earth, possessing the ability to recreate an exact likeness of an object or person... but first they must destroy.
[cat howls, gun fires]
Leading the fight, one man fate has made indestructible. His name... Captain Scarlet.
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Two versions of the closing credits were produced: early episodes use a mostly instrumental theme, while later episodes feature an actual theme song (both are based upon the same melody). See more »
An enjoyable series the darkest and coolest of Anderson's shows
When man reaches Mars for an exploratory mission, a misunderstanding leads to an alien race called the Mysterons being attacked and responding with a cold war against Earth. Their main power is to duplicate humans and kill the real one without anyone noticing. With one of the original astronauts (Captain Black) under their control the Mysterons plot their attacks on Earth. Only the international intelligence organisation Spectrum stands in their way with their lead agent Captain Scarlet who has become indestructible having survived an attempt by the Mysterons to duplicate him.
I will completely acknowledge that the fact that I have watched this series since I was a child will colour my opinion of it and blind me to its failings, but my review is as fair as I can be! Tea-times on a Friday evening had me polishing my uniform for BB while watching this series (and then Man from Uncle) and I have probably seen the whole series several times (but am not such a fanboy as to own a copy). The plot is simple each week the Mysterons come up with a plan to strike at Earth like terrorists, hitting small but high profile targets for maximum effect and each week the agents of Spectrum race to stop them. It is simple but effective and, at only 25 or so minutes long, it never has to stretch to fill its time.
The reason I prefer it to Anderson's other shows is a combination of things.
The theme music is wonderful and is known to everyone memorable, cool and cheesy it is a perfect way to end each episode. The opening sequence is always creepy and is a good example of how this series is a little darker than Anderson's other stuff. While still being a million miles from being aimed at adults, the series is more interesting looking back on it; for me the most adult aspect of it is the fact that the hero can die every week which, for those of us with a love for the morbid, is a great attraction in the midst of all those shiny toys and colourful uniforms!
Of course it is still an Anderson series and it is entirely puppets with all the limitations that that creates. The puppets move slowly and the models don't look real but all this you know before you even tune in! The actors are typically gruff (for the men) or feminine (for the Angels) and the puppets are good for what they are. The most memorable one is Scarlet who looks great and only benefits (in my book) for having much more than a passing resemblance to Cary Grant.
Overall this is very much of its time but it continues to get child viewers even if, one suspects, it is a viewing choice suggested by their parents. The model work and puppets are typically Anderson and the writing is frequently good, producing tight and enjoyable 20 minute episodes for the vast majority of the series and the creepy Mysterons acting as very effective bad guys and a great common plot device. As an adult it is my favourite of Anderson's series because of its darker edge. Scarlet may be indestructible but his death and sacrifice many times is still effective and the dark writing can be seen right down to the fact that the Mysterons are not inherently 'bad' and that this whole war of nerves is off the back of a human mistake! I'm not implying that this is complex but it is certainly interesting. A very cool series with a darker edge for adults and one that will always have me reminiscing!
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