Gerry Anderson is the first TV producer’s name I ever learned. I think this holds true for millions of kids of my era. A pioneer in A+-quality children’s/general-audience TV entertainment, he’s always been given the shaft by The Powers That Be in his homeland. And like many creators of his era, he did not forsee his creations living beyond their initial airing and perhaps a few reruns. Hence, like too many other creators, he sold out his rights and has since missed out on untold millions of dollars in royalties.
His last big-budget production while under contract to ITC was Space:1999, a series I have very mixed feelings about and which is generally scorned by most SF TV afficionados. After Lew Grade cut him loose from his production contract, Anderson found it very difficult to get funding for future projects. At one point he teamed up with entrepreneur Christopher Burr and together they were able to produce a series of 39 episodes of Terrahawks, which marked Anderson’s return to puppet productions.
Terrahawks was primarily written by genius prolific writer Tony Barwick, who served as script editor on Captain Scarlet (a series that was remarkable for its intelligent scripts) and also contributed to Gerry’s first live-action TV series, UFO. Barwick, to cover his near-sole authorship, used a variety of punnish pseudonyms (see answer to the question “Those writers’ names in the TERRAHAWKS credits look made up. Are they?” here). Barwick also camped it up, which — depending on one’s mood — could be enjoyable or excruciating. In my opinion, the sole redeeming feature of the series are the Zeroids, spherical autonomous artificially-intelligent robots that have personalities richer than their human “masters.”
If you’ve never seen an episode of this series, now is your chance — for free! Someone (not me!) has gone and uploaded one of the series most bizarre episodes, A Christmas Miracle, to the dailymotion site.
If you like what you see, consider buying the DVD set, which includes some nice extras. The box set (legal, non-pirated) can be had for less than $20 on ebay.
Following Terrahawks, Anderson again teamed with Burr to produce Dick Spanner, P.I., a stop-motion series about a robot detective. He then went on, solo again, to produce Lavender Castle. In this century, he pioneered Hypermarionation — CGI — for Gerry Anderson’s New Captain Scarlet, a re-envisioning of the original series.
Prior related coverage in this blog:
Reference: Star Fleet (aka X-Bomber)
Calling Out To The World Wide Web: Send Me Interster!
Act Fast! RARE Gerry Anderson On YouTube!
New Gerry Anderson On YouTube
Brats Of The Lost Nebula Clips On YouTube!
Reference: Space:1999 Concordance
Space:1999 The Hatred For Year Two
Space:1999 The Music
Gerry Anderson’s Dick Spanner, P.I.
Thunderbirds: The First Abomination
Space:1999 Still Wants To Live
Gerry Anderson’s Joe 90
More Gerry Anderson Inspiration
Better Than Super Adventure Team!
ABC? CBS? NBC?
Gerry Anderson on YouTube
YouTube is for nuts like me