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Old 2nd July 2012, 02:59 PM
Kobayashimaru Kobayashimaru is offline
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Post Redo? Time for a TBs/CS crossover?

Hi there!
Ive been an avid fan of the Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet for quite some time now. However, a blemish on their history exists; in the form of the 2006 Frakes/Ford Thunderbirds live action attempt (brought to us by Ford) and The New Adventures of Captain Scarlet (which sadly, followed rigidly the old stories instead of extending upon them, and even sadder was cut short).

So, I'd like to present my concept if I may, over a series of posts here, for a reboot. The time is right (actually, as unfortunate as it was, the natural disasters in Japan would have been ideal to launch this reboot).
Before I dive into scripts and lines (which will come later,) , it is important to cover the scope of the project
and the rationale.

Its important to understand the characters at play, and remember that they are part of a family. Why does Virgil have a Cadillac wheel on TB2? Who is Jeffs favorite son? Were Scott and Virgil always best friends, or did they fight as brothers tend to do? The big questions; we are only shown the tip of the iceberg with Lady Penelope, but where is the rest of the organization that is International Rescue? How did the thunderbirds get all their equipment? And, how did things work before Brains invented the Automatic Camera Neutraliser (a modern day god-send!!)

Essentially, my concept is a reboot of Thunderbirds. In this concept, the Thunderbird 1 we know and love (with her sleek, specialised curves) isnt introduced until season 2. Nor are any of the other craft... The opening credits we love arent there yet; instead, a familiar shrill of chords plays reminiscent of both Thunderbirds and Lost (J. J. Abrams, master of the reboot it seems).

We open to 2052, aboard a familiar space station we know will become thunderbird 5. And we learn about Jeff. Episode 1 shows how Thunderbird 1.0 (the first rescue craft, stolen from the government) comes to be. This is a big bird; a hybrid between the TB1 and TB2 we know - and one bird for Scott and Virgil to share... or fight over.

I invite discussion on this concept,
and hopefully we can assess it for verisimilitude both to what has come before and the world now which has changed since then.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 03:17 PM
Kobayashimaru Kobayashimaru is offline
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Also, an insight into my favorite character; Virgil.

Virgil didnt always paint on canvas...
He used to be a racer, with no ambition to follow his brother Scott into the family tradition: a military career.
Instead, Virgil lived away from the Island and turned his back on the family. When he saw the test flight of TB1.0, his brother at the helm, vanish... Virgil had to race home.
Much to his surprise, Scott was perfectly alive and well, greeting him at the family table.
This was the start of something in Virgil...

Skip forward a few years, and Virgil has learned much. His skill as a mechanic makes him a natural at maintaining TB1.0, he fawns over her as he would his Chevvy or Cadillac at home.
Virgil is learning to be a pilot, but Scott is still the go to guy for missions. This rubs Virgil the wrong way, who could never stand his brother bossing him about.

TB1.0 explodes (homage to The Uninvited). IR is branded as terrorists; worse, the Hood is revealed as someone Jeff knows. The family literally comes apart too, as the pressure gets to them we see the characters we know and love emerge.

Skip forward a year or so, and Virgil is 'reunited' with TB2.
He takes his steering wheel from his cadillac (perhaps also destroyed by the Hood? if not too soap-opera-y) and affixes it to distinguish the flight controls of TB2 from TB1. That, and Scott never did learn to drive...

We skip to a scene, a "sub-quest" if you will for Virgil: Finding all the pods.
Pods, in my concept, are a rare commodity. They were a secret project by the government to protect the leader and generals from fallout; scattered in locations around the world. Virgil initially has Pods 1, 4 and 6. But by the end of season 3 (virgil's season) he gets all the 10 we're used to.
Virgil is attached to the pods, since they are so rare. But, occasionally he has to drop a pod to stop the hood. Or occasionally, accidents happen and a pod is lost, or irretrievable.
Losing a pod (or was that losing the plot?) means that Virgil has to sand off the number of a pod, and manually re-number and paint the expanse of a pod door!
I can think of no scene that better summarizes Virgil, then him buffing down and renumbering Pod 7 to be Pod 4.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 03:25 PM
Kobayashimaru Kobayashimaru is offline
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In the first post, I mentioned that this concept was a crossover, and would answer some questions that have been hanging since '66.

Well, the crossover would happen towards season 3/4. It would involve bringing in Spectrum, and having both co-exist in the same universe. This partially explains how the Thunderbirds have maneuvered in secrecy up until Brains invents the Automatic Camera (Device) Detector.

I envisage that either the two shows would be interwoven; that is, ala Star Trek Mirror Universe, every few episodes it would cut to Spectrum. Or, the crisis event could split the show into two separate live action shows, much like Torchwood and Doctor Who.

I'll leave these thoughts for now,
and i look forward to critique, opinions and rigorous discussion of this concept.
Who knows? One day it might end up on screen?
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Old 2nd July 2012, 11:57 PM
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Interesting set of ideas and definitely more character driven.
In a weird way feels kind of what Smallville is to Superman.

My main issue would be that it veers off the original formula quite a bit. (Not using John/ Gordon and Alan and only using one bird (initially)). The 5 big machines are a major audience draw and let each character prove their individual worth in the field.

The Cadillac wheels an amusing touch but the pod quest isn't that realistic, the pods would have been built for TB2. You do seem to focus a lot on Virgil, doing a live action Thunderbirds poses quite a challenge, as you really need to balance off each character to make them interesting while at the same time not turn the show into "Jersey Shore with Spaceships".

Trying to tell the Captain Scarlet story and the Thunderbirds story would get quite muddled at expense to both.

Personally it would be a more interesting project if you severed the Thunderbirds connection and took it in a totally new direction
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Old 3rd July 2012, 05:42 AM
Kobayashimaru Kobayashimaru is offline
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Thanks for reading the rationale.
Also, I thank you for your constructive criticism.
However, I have not fully told the rationale yet; as I have quite a degree of trepidation in sharing my complete concept (as I have seen many discussions and attempts that have gone before).

The rationale you have read thus far is for an overarching idea for the opening season (of 18-24 1hr episodes); not the rationale or pitch for the entire show I conceive. I also provided one reading of a character (my favorite, Virgil)and a character arc for them throughout the whole show. My concept is a reboot (of a similar vein to Star Trek 2009 or the New Doctor Who 2005-2010). The aim of the game is to make the old look new and sleek again - it is often said you can't improve on the original and I agree. Perhaps the present concept will direct people back to the original show as well, and at the very least affect them so as to revere the original machines.

You touch on what I feel is a great point; the core family dynamics. No-one wants to see a repeat I am sure of the 2006 Ford-tastic film... much less the devolution of the original show and characters to the low of Jersey Shore (or infact any tween market). As Ive said elsewhere here, and I'm sure you'd agree: The Thunderbirds are not Twilight, haha

There were a lot of questions left unanswered in the original show; the narrative gaps (see McCloud, 2005 or D Shen, 2008) ostensibly made part of the interaction with the show. Im intrigued, could you elaborate on your "Smallville is to Superman" comment? That is one of the influences in my concept - its a brave bildungsroman of an American Icon - so it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on that.

See, with the Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet, there is an expectation apparent in the fans. IE, We know what the characters are - what they oughta be - but how did they become that way (bildungsroman)? We can play with that expectation and tell new stories using the old elements.

So, what I'm asking essentially is this: have I got my reading (construction) of Virgil 'right'? Is the virgil I present plausible as one which can later become the one we see on the original show? Im using Virgil as a sort of "litmus standard" for my concept, and if he's not quite right then I'll have to re-evaluate the rest of the family.

I also invite others readings of the characters; what makes Scott, Scott? What dynamics do you perceive of the family?

Personally, the 2004 film made me want to drop Kerano and Tintin, and change the Hood's identity (although Sir Ben Kingsley did an outstanding performance).

Last edited by Kobayashimaru; 3rd July 2012 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 3rd July 2012, 06:14 AM
Kobayashimaru Kobayashimaru is offline
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as I've got a few moments spare I thought Id share a bit and work some more on the rationale.

Conflict is another of the areas that make the show great. Heck, its probably the main reason it works. But there are a few questions that the original show asks, especially if one considers the show from an International Relations, Terrorist, Post-Colonial or Family perspective (post 9-11).

The big questions are: the Tracy's are human, presumably. Why dont they fight amongst themselves? Teamwork is a great thing, but the show always depicts a sort of Benign Autocracy (the Tracy clan, led by Jeff Tracy).
How did the tracy family get to be this way? Where is Mrs Tracy/ the feminine voice (apart from Penelope or Tintin)?

I conceive the family like this: Jeff at the head, with Scott and Virgil as a couplet, Alan and John as a looser couplet and Gordon as a reclusive loner (or as a loose couplet with John). This is also reinforced with a look at the elements - Gordon is the only aquatic one while the rest are air or space.

If we assume trust is earned; there'd have to be a few mistakes on the way and definite family tension.

I also think that there is a lot more to Jeff Tracy than we know, which ties into the question where did they get all those wonderful machines? (Security Hazard).

The Second big question, and the episode The Uninvited really plays on this: The thunderbirds are nuclear powered machines (ostensibly metonymic symbols of American power). How do the Thunderbirds enter other countries airspace/ are the Thunderbirds a type of nuclear terrorist? This question has been academically considered in the International Relations field.

The second question makes the third one really interesting, and is something that the 2006 outing to cinemas should be praised for: What makes the difference between The Hood and The Thunderbirds?

I hope this stirs the pot a little, so to speak and we can get some lively discussion amongst peoples readings of the show.
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Old 3rd July 2012, 11:02 AM
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Purupuss Purupuss is offline
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Originally Posted by Kobayashimaru View Post
No-one wants to see a repeat I am sure of the 2006 Ford-tastic film...
Am I the only one with a need to point out that the Travesty was released in 2004? I know this because I went to see it that year on 9/11...

Says it all really.

As for your other suggestions, I will have to consider them again once I'm more awake.

I too am a Virgil fan and I have been writing Thunderbirds fan fiction since last millennium. This means that I tend to see him, in fact all of them, in my own version of the Thunderbirds 'universe', which doesn't match what you've proposed. That doesn't mean that you're wrong or that I'm right, but one thing I have discovered over the years is that you can get a lot of enjoyment out of considering the interpersonal relationships between all of the characters and not just focussing on one... No matter how much you enjoy beating him up... sorry, writing about him.

Of course having been involved with Thunderbirds fan fiction for that long means that I've absorbed a lot of what others have written. That Scott and Virgil are so close that they have an almost telepathic link. That Alan and Gordon, being the youngest, are a terrible twosome who were always getting into trouble together as they grew up. That John is a bit of a loner. There is little in the TV series itself to endorse these ideas, but they have become a kind of 'fanon', and I'll have to put those ideas aside to be able to fully consider your suggestions.

I'll do that after a good night's sleep.
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Old 3rd July 2012, 11:43 AM
Kobayashimaru Kobayashimaru is offline
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Oh, nice catch on the date thing Its infact only 8years since it was made... I take it you werent a fan of that film either then?

And what was with the theme tune to that movie too? It had good, original theme in it... then BOOM it cut to techno-crap.

I would enjoy hearing more from you, particularly your reading/construction of the family. have you written any short stories, etc? If so, itd be great if you could throw a link up to it, and I could offer feedback

Here's my concept of Scott;
Born and bred military man through and through, Scott is the Big Boy Scout of the group (like Bear Grylls). He is one of the two boys who want to be "just like father": the other being John.

Scott is reluctant to join in on Brains and Jeffs plot, and has second thoughts about reporting them to the Hood. But he realises that they are indeed all there and as altruistic as they seem; after all they are family.
Scott steals TB1.0 on its maiden flight.
Scott is a jealous lover of TB1.0, and reluctantly shares it with Virgil.
Scott falls apart when TB1.0 is destroyed...
Only to fall in love again when her sister (and the design we all know and love) TB2.0 "Classic" is delivered.
Scott and Virgil may have started off in a strained relationship, but after they both get a Thunderbird each, their relationship becomes much more equal.
Although, occasionally there is some rivalry as to who is faster or which craft is better, Scott comes through in the end.

Scott starts as a very by-the-book and hard headed character, who is one of the founders of international rescue (and in terms of character, is very similar to Captain Scarlet). The two may even be friends, if ever they should meet. Though neither would admit it...
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Old 3rd July 2012, 12:12 PM
Kobayashimaru Kobayashimaru is offline
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as I may be away for a few days, I might post a bit more of the rationale while I have the chance

Also, i intend the plot arc to slowly reveal the machines in the corresponding season. So, season 1 is about TB1, season 2 is about TB2, season 3 about TB3 and so on...

Without further ado:
Jeff Tracy. Words which will be both synonymous with Salvation and Terrorism for decades to come. How did the man get to be in charge? What made him want to save people for free? And the big one, why/how did he bring his family into it (godfather style perhaps?).

In the first episode of my concept, we see a young Jeff in what we know will become TB5. He's looking down at the night side of the world, and the world turns towards day. There is a war (though, in the style of The Road, the exact cause is left as a gap). Things do not look good for the government, and they are forced to drastic measures. But amidst all this, Jeff occasionally tunes the ears of TB5 to the rest of the world. He hears of the natural disasters and the people crying for help, and something snaps in him...

Cut to 30 years later, and years of planning are about to come to fruition for Jeff Tracy and his "trusted" companion Brains and Scott. It took some persuading, but his family have agreed to help him. He got contacts in the media, and in different lobby groups. Projects were started, while not officially with IR letterheads, their outcomes would become a familiar sight years later. Brains would be virtually the only common denominator; and decipher-er of the plans/construction schedule.

Crucially, Jeff's son would be the test pilot for a revolutionary machine - a thunderbird (TB1.0).

Everything went more or less to plan, and Jeff has a thunderbird. It is now that IRs foundations emerge. (I think it would be like wikileaks/real world international rescue or UNICEF; some sort of NGO)

Jeff's brilliant tactical mind is a guiding force for IR. but, as time goes on, he becomes more autocratic and dislikes back-chatting or alternate opinions from his family. (Sorta like an observer effect coupled with King Lear...)

Jeff ultimately has to face the fact that Brains may be leaking information/may be a double agent, and after this plot point, Jeff becomes the hard lined man we all saw in the original series.

Jeff wants to "pass the reins" on to all of his sons, but when one of them dies while on a mission, he decides to bring in someone from outside the family from IR (perhaps tintin or kerano?).

The Hood is the ultimate "big bad" of the show, and is both known to Jeff and is an old academy friend.
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Old 3rd July 2012, 04:37 PM
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Hiram K Hackenbacker Hiram K Hackenbacker is offline
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We'll you've clearly put a lot of thought into your version of the back story, but for my money, the whole thing seems much too far removed from the original to carry the name Thunderbirds. I'd go as far to say that Thunderbirds 2004 was, for all its flaws, perhaps closer to the spirit of the series.

Chrisof has a point though, dropping the Thunderbirds connection could work in your favour if you were to turn it into an original project.
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