The cult classic children’s series ‘Thuderbirds’ will be getting a reboot thanks to ITV and the New Zealand company Weta Workshop. According to a press release, the two will be co-producing ‘Thunderbirds are Go’ with the aim to have it air on ITV and CITV in the UK by 2015.
‘Thunderbirds’ was the creation of Gerry Anderson (who recently passed away) and his wife Sylvia Anderson and followed the adventures of the International Rescue, a secretive organization headed by ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy. With the help of his 5 sons (Scott, Virgil, Alan, John and Gordon), a manservant named Kyrano and Lady Penelope, the team would undergo amazing rescues to help those in grave danger using technologically advanced equipment hidden at the Tracy Island base. The series only lasted for 2 seasons but became a cult hit spawning several feature films, a Japanese anime and was the inspiration for South Park’s creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s film ‘Team America: World Police.’
While the original series was filmed in supermarionation, ‘Thunderbirds are Go’ will be shot in a unique mixture of CGI animation and live-action model sets. More exciting is that the Weta Workshop, the company behind the visual effects seen in ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Avatar,’ ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ and ‘The Hobbit,’ is attached to the project.
According to the press release, the series will “deliver a whole new level of action-adventure animation for today’s audience, whilst also affectionately paying tribute to the legacy of model locations from the classic series.”
Richard Taylor, co-owner of Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop, said of the project:
“’Thunderbirds’ was a hugely influential television series in my childhood. Having watched it originally in black and white, it was only years later that I discovered the full and rich world that Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, Derek Meddings, Mike Trimm and their team created. It is thrilling therefore to think we have the opportunity to work with ITV on this new series inspired by this most wonderful of British shows. I personally, together with the teams here at Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop, look forward to designing and creating an inspirational world that will engage the imagination of a whole new generation as it did for us nearly half a century ago.”
Denise O’Donoghue, Managing Director ITV Studios UK, also commented saying:
“Thunderbirds is a highly respected brand that continues to hold recognition around the world. This cult series is often credited as changing the history of animation and action-adventure, and we look forward to taking the show to another level while retaining the much-loved heritage that has endured over the past fifty years.”
‘Thunderbirds are Go’ is currently in the pre-production stage with no casting announcements yet made, but it was announced that Rob Hogee (‘Teen Titans,’ ‘Legion of Superheroes,’ ‘Generator Rex’) would be the head writer for the series.
The show already has a 26 thirty minute episode order and while the project is already set to air in the UK, I’m really hoping that a distributor is found to air it in the US. While ‘Thunderbirds’ could be considered archaic by today’s standards, there was a unique charm to the original series that has endured these many years.
I’m excited to see this series rebooted especially with a company like Weta on board! How about you?