Tuesday, December 27, 2011

British Invasions!


Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons is one of those boyhood favorites I've always wanted to get hold of on VHS or DVD or something. When I've looked for it in the past it always was unavailable or prohibitively expensive. But when I checked just a few months ago, I discovered that it was now out and at a nice price. So when my daughters asked what I wanted for the Christmas holiday, I told them Captain Scarlet (and sent a link to the Amazon location for good measure).

I'm doing some research now on Captain Scarlet and I find there's much more to this vintage entertainment than I knew or could know as a kid. The Mysterons are more complex than I recollect, and Scarlet's reincarnation is very intriguing. More on this later.


Just to be greedy, I also threw out the name of UFO (pronounced "U-foe" by some on the show), another Gerry Anderson project which I've been seeing available for years and always was curious about. I saw a few episodes here and there about the mysterious UFOs and their quiet inhabitants, and always wanted to see the rest. My affection for Space:1999 and the solid production values there, sold me on UFO unseen for the most part. I've been sampling episodes and they are very entertaining. (I've since learned that UFO might well be seen as a live action rendition of Scarlet, so it's neat to have both for comparison.)

So it's been a great holiday for me, as I'm loaded to the hilt with vintage British television to watch. My wife says she's happy to be free of me for many hours to come. So we're all winners!

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5 comments:

  1. The Fireball XL5, Stingray and Thunderbirds DVD box sets are also worth having, if you don't own them already.

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  2. I have none of those, and I noticed they were nicely priced. It might be time to splurge. The budget is blistered, but irons only stay hot a short time.

    Thanks!

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  3. I have a lot of affection for both UFO and Captain Scarlet. I especially love the way UFO gets weirder and weirder as its run goes along, until, by the last few episodes, it's like The Prisoner with aliens.

    PS. Rip, are you aware that they made a new season of Captain Scarlet a few years back, done entirely with CGI? That's worth checking out too.

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  4. Only in the last few weeks did I learn of the "new" Captain Scarlet. I've seen some screen captures and it looks a bit sterile, but that's likely an unfair criticism. No doubt, that I'd like to scramble up a copy of it sometime, if I can find one cheap enough.

    Thanks for the tip.

    As for UFO, the more I read, the more I learn that it forms almost a link between Captain Scarlet and Space:1999, not only in content, but in themes as well. Fascinating so far.

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  5. Captain Scarlet and UFO were both huge formative influences on my childhood, and it would be hard to overstate how devoted I was to them. Yet I found watching each series on DVD as an adult to be an experience of mixed emotions -- each was considerably darker and more politically troubling than I'd ever realized as a tyke.

    Back then I saw the cool secret organizations with great insignia and spectacular vehicles and the greatest theme music in tv history. I can still appreciate those things, but now I also see the message that humanity mustn't know the danger we're in -- they would only panic -- and can't be allowed any say in our own destiny. A secret elite will decide what's best and we don't get a vote. Honestly, by the time I'd finished Captain Scarlet, I was practically rooting for the Mysterons. (Even Colonel White agrees they're in the right and keeps trying to reach a treaty.)

    I really look forward to your future posts on both. Despite the way my previous paragraph may sound, I'll always have a lot of love for these shows!

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