Sorry to report that British television and film producer/director Gerry Anderson passed away on December 26th at the age of 83. (Click here for details.)
During the sixties and seventies, Anderson and his then-wife Sylvia were responsible for some of the most imaginative and exciting science fiction series ever developed for television. American audiences (including me) knew them for such supermarionation (animated puppets) programs as Fireball XL-5, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Joe 90, The Secret Service, and the most famous of them all, Thunderbirds. The Andersons would later move on to live action shows like UFO and Space: 1999, as well as the less science fictional, more action-adventure orientated detective series The Protectors, before divorcing in the early eighties.
(We carry some of those shows on DVD. Click here to see our list.)
The supermarionation shows were always exciting, with terrific special effects, despite being aimed mostly at children. The move to filming actual flesh-and-blood actors expanded the Andersons' range towards more mature themes (like adultery and drug use, as in UFO and, sometimes, Space: 1999), yet the production values never faltered.
Despite some dated elements -look at those "futuristic" fashions on UFO, for example- , the Andersons' shows are still entertaining today. Rumors still pop up of updated versions of UFO and Space: 1999 (to be called Space: 2099), while the still ongoing proliferation of graphic novels , websites and toys based on the shows insure that the legacy left by the Andersons will be around for a long time. Rest in peace Gerry Anderson.
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