31 March 2016

TV Review: Thunderbirds - End of the Road

After the excitement of Desperate Intruder, End of the Road is a more regular episode, not that that's necessarily a bad thing. It might sound patronising, but I really like that there's an active effort being made to add a story around the characters that get into trouble. It makes us care about them more and just generally makes the episodes more exciting now the format has been established. 

I'm frequently impressed by the imagination that goes into thinking of sticky situations people could get into, because the team are often dreaming up scenarios that don't exist in the 1960s, but could well a century later. This story is centred around a machine creating new roads. When monsoon season hits, the firm has to stop construction though due to landslides. One of the company directors is an old flame of Tintin's and so pops in to spend a few romantic days with her, much to Alan's behest. 

But once he hears work on the road has stopped, he's immediately back in the air - without even saying goodbye to Tintin. When he arrives back at the project he refuses to accept that construction must stop and takes a vehicle out to blow up the mountains ahead so they fall away from the road rather than towards it. Naturally, the fool soon gets into difficulty and International Rescue are required to save the day. After a few dodgy manoeuvres from Scott and Virgil - who seems to be having another of his slow days - they manage just that and are on their way again before Tintin's former spice can learn their identities.

I think the strengths of this story are in its realisation. That's not to say Dennis Spooner's script is weak - Alan even gets a prominent subplot - but it looks quite standard after some stories we've had. What's really impressive is the realisation of the machines and the setting. The way the monsoon is created isn't perfect but it's pretty good - and it's nice to see them shoot some new footage of Thunderbird 1 and 2 rather than the visibly-overused blue sky rolls. There's actually some purpose to Scott turning up this time too, so extra points for that. 

This is the second episode in a row to give Tintin a more prolific role and it's good to see more of characters like Grandma and Kyrano. Dennis Spooner always tries to do something a bit different, something a bit new, and although it isn't earth-shatteringly good, it's still appreciated. This episode looks great, from the romantic boat ride to the exterior of the main machine. It's remarkable what was achieved and it almost seems like there's no challenge the writers can think up that the production crew won't be able to realise expertly. 

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