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Old 18th December 2018, 07:49 PM
Commander Desica Commander Desica is offline
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Default Captain Scarlet and New CS

I've just started to have a little re-watch of my CS blu-rays and last night watched one of my least favourite eps - Point 783. It seems ludicrous that the Mysterons go to all that trouble of gaining control of the Unitron tank, when they could have easily just shot the Supreme Commander several times during the story! But then it got me thinking and I began to see another way of looking at it. To the Mysterons, it's all just a game. They could wipe out the earth in one fell swoop if they really wanted to, but by dragging their 'revenge' out they are just toying with us, the way a cat will play with a helpless bird and taunt it for hours perhaps before putting it out of its misery. In the same way, the Mysterons gain more by impressing their superiority upon us than they would by just snuffing us out. By taking control of the Unitron tank they are, in effect, saying 'even your most sophisticated weapons can become nothing more than our playthings'. If you look at it this way, this disappointing story suddenly looks more sophisticated than it at first seems.

On a twitter thread elsewhere I note that the story-telling in New Captain Scarlet is held as being superior to that in the original series. To this I say two things. 1) I think the problem with original Captain Scarlet was that after almost a decade of making somewhat whimsical children's shows, populated with caricatures, they suddenly found themselves 'playing it straight', so to speak, and the transition from the one to the other was not achieved as smoothly as it could have been. Having said that, episodes such as The Trap, Shadow of Fear, Lunarville 7 and Attack on Cloudbase have much to recommend them. 2) New Captain Scarlet was indeed an incredible series and a worthy successor to the original and I agree that Phil Ford excelled himself in the writing department. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I thought that the CGI was exceptional and even today looks way better than the risible CGI in Thunderbirds are Go!

As someone who watched Captain Scarlet first time around in 1967 and then found himself equally as enthralled by NCS in 2005, all I can say is that they were both, in my view, SIG !!!
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Last edited by Commander Desica; 19th December 2018 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 20th December 2018, 04:55 PM
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john61 john61 is offline
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Great comments. I have recently watched both CS and NCS right through, back to back for the first time in several years, and I think CS holds up really well. Some episodes are as tense as Alfred Hitchcock films. I have always seen CS as an adult series dressed up in childrens series clothes. Gerrys way of making a more mature series while still keeping the younger fans happy. NCS just takes that to the next step, in my opinion, basically a dramatic cartoon for adults, but safe for kids to watch too. I watch CS about every five years, and I can honestly say, I enjoy it more as I get older.
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Old 21st December 2018, 06:19 PM
Commander Desica Commander Desica is offline
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In some ways I think that Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons might have benefited from being made AFTER Joe 90. The latter is a much smoother and more consistent series in some ways and the puppeteers had, by then, mastered the art of controlling the new more lifelike puppets.

Another Captain Scarlet episode that is very revealing in some ways is 'Attack on Cloudbase'. OK, it's all a dream, but we still get to see various characters through Symphony's eyes - and this is intriguing! This episode should have been the 'season finale', as they call it now, and I always prefer to watch it last... after 'The Inquisition'.
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Old 22nd December 2018, 11:56 AM
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I've just finished the classic Scarlet run myself, and thanks to a price dip on Amazon I'm just starting NCS (this morning was The Homecoming).

My main takeaway from classic Scarlet (other than the top notch BD presentation) was 'Yeesh, there's more motion in "La Jetée"!'

I cannot believe how static the puppets are - you get anything more than a button press you count yourself lucky!

In comparison Gerry must have been looking the other way during Joe 90's filming - the puppets have a much greater fluidity of motion and the villains get to (but the standards of Scarlet) gesticulate wildly when things go wrong.

NCS is so far very, very good. It was too much hassle to watch on its infamous MoM run, and I just never got around to picking up the DVD.

The CG for the time is was made is great (but no, it does not have the fidelity and polish of TAG, the characters have a tendency to move an jag around a fair bit, but I'm sure it gets better as it goes along), and I'm loving the variety of plots so far. They're a bit short at 20 mins, just another 90 seconds per ep would give them a bit more breathing room.

Also having a laugh at the first two eps, Gerry seems to have had a Very Specific Checklist for showing off how CG is 'superior' to puppetry:- I want a sequence in zero G, I want Scarlet and Blue to have an MMA fight for 5 seconds etc.
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Old 22nd December 2018, 01:03 PM
Commander Desica Commander Desica is offline
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Funnily enough, as a kid I never really noticed the static nature of the puppets in Captain Scarlet... thinking back to it I remember them as having much more movement than they actually had. It's almost as if we are watching mannequins and not marionettes! I suppose the difficulty of making them move realistically was something that had not been foreseen when coming up with the more realistic puppet designs. Certainly I think the caricatures of Thunderbirds, Fireball XL5 and Stingray are what made Gerry's show's unique.

As far as New Captain Scarlet goes; as far as I recall, the CGI did indeed get better and better as the series progressed.
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Old 26th December 2018, 01:44 AM
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The way the puppets moved (or didn't) in Captain Scarlet never bothered me in the least. I was more interested in the characters themselves, the craft, the music, and the stories which were both fun and dramatic depending on who wrote and/or directed them. After all, they didn't actually move in TV21 or the annuals either. :-) I was a bit older by then, and Captain Scarlet was just that bit more adult too. I thought it was fantastic.

As for NCS, I found all that bouncing around annoying. Yeah, they moved, and the craft were fancy but for most of the characters, to me they were cardboard cutouts. It's no secret I'm not a fan. :-) In fact I can't stand NCS....with the (slim) exception of Captain Black...the voice artist who did him 'got' the whole idea of bringing the character to life in a realistic way.
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