History Main / Thunderbirds

2nd Dec '15 4:59:59 AM Morgenthaler
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[[redirect:Series/{{Thunderbirds}}]]

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[[redirect:Series/{{Thunderbirds}}]]''Thunderbirds'' may refer to:

* ''Series/{{Thunderbirds}}'', the puppet show.
* ''Film/{{Thunderbirds}}'', the 2004 movie.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThunderbirdsAreGo'', the CGI series.

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28th Jun '13 6:32:31 PM PancticeSquadCutterback
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[[redirect:ThunderbirdsAreGo]]

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[[redirect:ThunderbirdsAreGo]][[redirect:Series/{{Thunderbirds}}]]
28th Jun '13 6:32:10 PM PancticeSquadCutterback
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28th Jun '13 6:30:56 PM PancticeSquadCutterback
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[[quoteright:336:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Thunderbirds.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:336:5... 4... 3... 2... 1! '''''Thunderbirds are go!''''']]
->''S-O-S! Mr. Tracy, the western world is falling...\\
S-O-S! International Rescue, hear us calling...''
-->'''Kate Kestrel''', "[=SOS=]", ''{{Terrahawks}}''

Created by pre-eminent British producer GerryAnderson (1929-[[http://news.sky.com/story/1030371/thunderbirds-creator-gerry-anderson-dies 2012]]), ''Thunderbirds'' was the story of the Tracy family, a wealthy clan who embarked on a unique philanthropic venture.

In the year 2065, billionaire ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy and his five sons (Scott, Virgil, Gordon, John and Alan) formed "International Rescue", an organization whose purpose should be self explanatory. They used technology designed by their resident TechnoWizard, "Brains", which was far beyond anything possessed by any military or civilian agency on the planet, even given the series's far [[TheFuture future setting]] of the early 21st century.

Every week, some monstrous disaster would occur, and the boys (primarily Scott and Virgil) would pilot their awesome Thunderbird aerospace craft to the scene, moving at speeds that would make an aeronautical engineer drool. Scott would get there first, survey the situation, and call back to Virgil, who would then arrive at the scene with the right equipment loaded into the cavernous interior of Thunderbird 2's "pod". Amongst other things, a drilling vehicle (Mole) or an underwater rover (Thunderbird 4) could be loaded into 2. In fact, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbirds_machines the other wiki]] has a list of the ''many'' bizarre vehicles deployed.

There were five Thunderbirds, one for each brother:
* Thunderbird 1: Was the most used. Looks like a missile, moves like a jet fighter. Takes off from base vertically using rockets then switches to horizontal jet propulsion and lands horizontally.
* Thunderbird 2: A ginormous plane that incorporates equipment pods into its fuselage. A selection of pods is available, each pre-loaded with specialist rescue equipment. The heavy lifter of the fleet.
* Thunderbird 3: An actual rocketship. Mostly used to get to Thunderbird 5, but also used on a number of space rescue missions.
* Thunderbird 4: A small submarine/underwater rover, usually carried by Thunderbird 2 in pod #4.
* Thunderbird 5: A Space Station, capable of receiving transmissions from all over the globe and automatically detecting and translating distress calls.

Acting as an espionage back-up, to prevent any of IR's tech from being stolen and used for military or destructive purposes, was prim and proper spy Lady Penelope, and her rough-edged cockney BattleButler Parker, in Penny's pink six-wheeled (and heavily-armed) Rolls-Royce limousine, FAB 1.

The miniatures used were cutting edge for the time. The show was described as feature film quality, to the point where Lord Grade, the head of the commissioning company ITC Entertainment, upped it from a half hour to an hour long drama (necessitating additional scenes to be shot for the first few episodes).

Oh, and all the characters were puppets. The show was filmed in {{Supermarionation}}, which was a process using souped-up marionettes with moving lips electronically synchronized with pre-recorded dialogue.

This show is a classic in its native Britain, and around the world. The first season was such a success that it was decided to make a full-blown movie before production began on the second season; the result was ''Thunderbirds Are GO!'', wherein the Tracys must rescue an imperiled Mars rocket after a scrape with the [[ScienceMarchesOn local lifeforms]]. Expected to be a blockbuster of James Bond proportions, it performed poorly at the box office.

An unsuccessful trip made by Lew Grade to try and sell the show to American networks ensured the second season would be the series' last; further, amid corporate fears that the bubble had burst, Gerry Anderson was instructed that said second season be cut back to just six episodes. United Artists, surprised at the failure of the first movie, subsequently commissioned another - ''Thunderbird 6'', where designing a new Thunderbird vehicle is put on hold when a state-of-the-art luxury airship is in danger - and this also flopped. But by then Anderson was already at work on new Supermarionation projects with a new generation on puppets.

A live action/CGI action movie directed by Jonathan Frakes, and starring BenKingsley, Bill Paxton and a young Music/VanessaHudgens, was released in 2004. It also flopped, in part due to the film missing much of what made the TV series so popular.

There is a [[Recap/{{Thunderbirds}} Recap]] in desperate need of assistance! Thundernerds are go!
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!!This TV series provides examples of:
* ActionGirl: Lady Penelope.
* AdventureFriendlyWorld: Despite the tendency of large-scale science and technology projects in the Thunderbirds 'verse to catastrophically and explosively fail, nobody ever stops building them.
* TheAllegedComputer: In the episode "Sun Probe", engineer "Brains" accidentally takes his experimental robot instead of a computer along on a rescue. When he's forced to ask the robot to make the calculations, it takes the robot a full 20 seconds (accompanied by obligatory clicks and whirrs) to make the calculation when (in spite of the pseudo-scientific nonsense-calculation used) it could have been solved on a pocket calculator as quickly as you could press the keys.
* AllThereInTheManual: The recurring villain, The Hood, was never named in dialogue or credits in the original TV episodes, only in publicity materials. Also a lot of background information on the Tracy family members is only found in publicity materials.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: A few locations and directions are a bit off -
** In "Terror in New York", it is stated that Thunderbird 2 is heading due east and is on a path towards New York, even though it is flying over the sea and hence physically impossible to be heading towards New York (if over the Pacific, she will be heading towards the Californian coast first; if over the Atlantic, she will be heading towards Europe).
** Tracy Island is in the Pacific (the annuals state this explicitly). To get to New York from the Pacific you go east. You just happen to go 'feet dry' over California.
** It is mostly averted with "Trapped in the Sky" with the bland name "London Airport" actually being a case of UnintentionalPeriodPiece, since this was actually the name of Heathrow Airport back in the day, although the dispatcher stating that the villain (the Hood) was now driving up the M1 towards Birmingham is a slight error - though that motorway does head towards that city, you have to turn off onto the M6 before people would suspect you'd be heading that way for sure.
** And he's also said to be heading in Lady Penelope's direction, although other behind the scenes literature claims that her stately home is in Kent (ie on the other side of London).
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: Kyrano and Tin-Tin are just made up names that sound Asian.
* TheAtoner: Parker [[strike:used to be a criminal]] used to be ''exclusively'' a criminal.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Pretty much everything, but the Crablogger and Sidewinder get special mentions.
* BattleButler: Parker. Weaponized car and all.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: International Rescue is altruistic and will stop at ''nothing'' to get you to safety. However if you take pictures of their technology they will have Lady Penelope ''shoot you off the road''.
* BrokenAesop: "Atlantic Inferno." Supposedly Scott learns that being in charge is harder than it looks. In reality, Scott is a good leader - his only problem is that his father doesn't back him up.
* BuccaneerBroadcaster: The pirate TV satellite KLA in "Ricochet", inspired by RealLife ship-based pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and Radio London.
* CatchPhrase: "Thunderbirds are GO!", "F.A.B.", and to a lesser extent, Parker's "Yus, M'Lady".
** Brains' "Of course! Why didn't I think of it before?"
* ChristmasCake: Lady Penelope (26 years old in the original series.)
* ChronicHeroSyndrome: International Rescue will never turn down a call for help, even if they put themselves at risk of being unmasked like in "The Imposters" and "End of the Road".
** Lady Penelope suffers from this in "Path of Destruction". She has to find the one person who knows the complex shut down procedure of the crablogger, an atomic-powered logging machine that has gone out of control and now threatens to destroy a dam and explode, putting thousands of lifes at risks, before it's too late. But despite this, she still can't help but stop along the way to help the victim of a car crash.
* ClipShow: "Security Hazard" - a surprisingly good one at that centering around a boy who snuck onboard Thunderbird 2 after a rescue.
** Done well because the clips are cut and edited to put spins on the previous episodes so the IR team can impress the boy. For example, the "Sun Probe" episode clip is edited to suggest Thunderbird 3 never got into a bit of a pickle after rescuing the probe.
*** This also averts one of the cliché standbys of Anderson series - [[spoiler: many of them are prone to "it was all a dream" episodes (especially ''Stingray'', which had '''three'''), but here it's averted by the boy himself, after they've returned him home and he's gone to sleep, waking up and ''thinking'' that it was all a dream.]]
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: The vehicles:
** Thunderbird 1: silver
** Thunderbird 2: green
** Thunderbird 3: red
** Thunderbird 4: yellow
** Thunderbird 5: gold and silver
** F.A.B. 1: pink
* ColourCodedCharacters: The pilots wear pastel-coloured sashs and belts:
** Scott: light blue
** Virgil: yellow
** Alan: off-white
** Gordon: orange
** John: lilac
** Plus Lady Penelope: pink
* CompilationMovie: Three, all airing in 1981, under Anderson's ''Super Space Theater'' title.
** ''Countdown to Disaster'', featuring the episodes "Terror in New York City" and "Atlantic Inferno."
** ''Thunderbirds in Outer Space'', featuring the episodes "Sun Probe" and "Ricochet."
** ''Thunderbirds to the Rescue'', featuring the episodes "Trapped in the Sky" and "Operation Crash-Dive".
* ContinuityNod: Several projects and vehicles, such as the Fireflash atomic powered airliner and the Sunprobe project, as well as characters involved in those projects, turn up more than once and reference the previous encounters. Not surprising really, they did still have the models after all.
* ContinuitySnarl: Hoo boy! The series was first released in 1965. Since then we've had movies, comics, novels, annuals, guide books and interviews with the cast/crew - all of which largely contradict themselves.
* ContrivedCoincidence: The average rescue is set up by means of a series of comically ludicrous coincidences and horrible design / engineering. For example, in "Day of Disaster" a vehicle is transporting a giant rocket. Fully fuelled. With people inside. And it's set up with an unstoppable automatic launch countdown. And they have to cross a weak bridge. And there's a storm. And the bridge supervisors are idiots.
* CoolCar: F.A.B. 1. Yes, it's pink.
* CoolGarage: Tracy Island, with all its retractable and hidden landing and launch bays.
* CoolPlane: ''Fireflash'', a futuristic supersonic jetliner [[http://members.fortunecity.com/wendhausen/BRStarshipsv3/profile/thunderbirds/ships/fireflash/fire11.jpg just look at it]] Here's a modern [[http://coreldraw.com/resized-image.ashx/__size/675x550/__key/CommunityServer.Components.PostAttachments/00.00.07.54.81/Fireflash.jpg 3D render]] undeniably cool.
* CoolShip: Five main ones, and many more which needed to be rescued. More specifically:
** Thunderbird 1, piloted by Scott, is a hypersonic aircraft powered by a nuclear thermal engine, designed for getting to the crisis scene as fast as possible to gather intel.
** Thunderbird 2, piloted by Virgil, is a giant less-hypersonic-but-still-fast lifting-body transport for moving the gear that Thunderbird 1 called for. (This one is unsurprisingly the most frequently seen of the lot, appearing in both (all right, all three) movies and all but one episode of the TV show.)
** Thunderbird 3, piloted by Alan, is an SSTO rocket used for space rescues and reaching Thunderbird 5.
** Thunderbird 4, piloted by Gordon, is a submarine for underwater rescues. Often transported in Thunderbird 2's pod 4.
** Thunderbird 5, manned by John, is a space station capable of monitoring all radio frequencies world wide to listen for distress calls.
** Also the Mole, used for underground rescues, and a host of souped-up construction gear hauled in [=TB2's=] pods.
* CrazyJealousGuy: Alan doesn't quite like it when Tintin shows interest in another man. This is best seen in "end of the road", when her old friend Eddy Houseman comes to visit her, and "Richochet", when she turns out to be a great fan of Rick O’Shea. Ironically, in both episodes Alan ends up having to rescue the men he doesn't like.
* CutAndPasteTranslation: The redubbed half-hour version from Fox Kids, as well as the truly hideous ''Turbocharged Thunderbirds''.
* DrillTank: The Mole, one of TB 2's pod vehicles, sets a gold standard for the type. It has ''rockets to push it into the ground'', for fab's sake!
* DrivesLikeCrazy: Lady Penelope, of all people, at first. She grows out of it.
* EasyLogistics: In "Ricochet," we find out that even a pirate radio station can put a ''manned space station'' into orbit. This is apparently so common that nobody can keep track of the launches. This raises FridgeLogic as to how on Earth nobody has found Tracy Island yet, and possibly FridgeHorror if you consider the fact that if you have the resources and knowledge to put a satellite in orbit, [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade it's not a lot harder to shoot one down.]]
* EekAMouse: A plot point in "The Mighty Atom."
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: The Tracy Island.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: International Rescue.
* ExcessiveSteamSyndrome: It made extensive use of steam, smoke, and zero-thrust rocket motors to depict takeoffs and landings in miniature. Rockets in flight were filmed inverted, so the smoke would rise ''away'' from the rocket instead of climbing after it.
* ExpansionPackPast: nearly all of the Tracy Brothers (who range in age from late to early 20's) had quite interesting carreers before retiring from them to join IR full time. Scott served in the U.S. Airforce where he got decorated for bravery, John published four textbooks on astronomy and is known as the discoverer of the Tracy quasar system, Gordon used to be a Olympic champion at the butterfly stroke and served at the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (from Series/{{Stingray|1964}}), and Alan was a succesful racecar driver. (His career was briefly revived in the episode "Move and You're Dead".) Jeff also counts; he was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, astronaut for the Space Agency and the first man on the moon, and finally started his own company.
* ExtyYearsFromNow: The series was set in the 2060s, conveniently exactly one century after it was made (as is the case with almost all of Anderson's series). Confusingly, though, some episodes are dated in the 2020s.
* FauxActionGirl: Tin-Tin actually does have an IR uniform and occasionally joins the boys on a rescue mission... but stands as the person who ended up in need of rescue the most.
* FinaglesLaw: The series ''loves'' this trope, as the vast majority of episodes revolve around something going terribly wrong, thus motivating the characters into action. A notable example is the episode "City of Fire" where a giant building goes up in flames because of a car accident in the basement. Naturally, cars in TheFuture are all MadeOfExplodium...
* FiveManBand: Arguably, the Thunderbirds are the main characters.
** TheHero: T1
** TheLancer: T3
** TheSmartGuy: T5
** TheBigGuy: T2
** TheChick: T4
* FunWithAcronyms: "F.A.B.", the Tracy boys' catchphrase, essentially meaning "understood." Anderson himself has said that it wasn't really intended to stand for anything other than "[[TotallyRadical fab]]"; {{Fanon}} sometimes has this as standing for "'''F'''ully '''A'''dvised and '''B'''riefed."
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
-->'''Scott Tracy''': Now, what would Tin-Tin want to show Alan in the bathroom?
** In "The Perils of Penelope" Alan pouts that his brothers are "off to The Folies" without him, an establishment known in the past for its rather ''[[{{Fanservice}} risqué]]'' costumes.
** Also, from "The Man from M.I.5":
-->'''Lady Penelope''': Are you going to tie me up?\\
'''Carl (evil thug)''': You bet I am!\\
'''Lady Penelope''': [[CasualKink Oh, I don't mind, really.]]
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: When the main villain, the Hood, uses his mesmeric powers on any other character, his eyes glow yellow.
* GoodIsBoring: Averted: a series mostly about rescues, without much of an antagonist and little real conflict has plots just as exciting as its more conventional successor ''CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons''.
* HowWeGotHere: the episode "Move - And You're Dead" begins with Alan and grandma stranded on a bridge with a bomb. While Thunderbirds 1 and 2 are on their way to save them, Alan recalls how they got into this situation in the first place (which takes up most of the episodes time).
* HumiliationConga: Tends to happen to The Hood a lot.
* IKnowWhatWeCanDoCut: In "Security Hazard".
* ILoveNuclearPower: Atomic Power won't grant you superpowers, but it'll do just about anything else in this show. Including allowing something as unlikely to so much as bump two inches off the ground as Thunderbird 2 to fly in three dimensions like a helicopter. Also, StuffBlowingUp.
** Fireflash in the pilot is something of a {{Deconstruction}} of the then-current tropes in use which presented nuclear power in an unambiguously positive light: it allows the plane to fly many times the speed of sound, but could potentially kill its passengers if it unable to land in time. Of course to modern viewers used to more negative portrayals of nuclear power, Fireflash probably looks like an ''optimistic'' portrayal of it. (One can't help wondering, though, how a plane with such a narrow safety margin could ever have been certified airworthy in the first place.)
* InkSuitActor: Lady Penelope was designed to resemble her voice actress, Sylvia Anderson.
* AnInsert: Human hands pressing a button for a puppet character. The series also liked to use cutaways to get around the problem - you'd see, say, Parker holding a cigarette when Penelope would ask for a light, then cut to another shot, then to Penelope holding the lit cigarette.
** One episode takes this a step further by having a human hand holding a pen in the foreground with a couple of puppets in ForcedPerspective in the background.
* KarmaHoudini: The reckless driver who sets off the disaster in ''City of Fire'', resulting in the complete destruction of a skyscraper shopping complex and thousands of parked vehicles, which must run into the millions of dollars of damages, is seen again at the end of the episode. Not only is she free and apparently not held liable for the disaster, but she has a brand new car of the same make as the one she crashed, is completely uninjured, and driving as recklessly as ever.
* KidAppealCharacter: Alan
* LargeHam: The Duchess of Royston is about as hammy as puppets get.
* MadeOfExplodium: In the ''Thunderbirds'' universe, everything can explode or burn with really cool flames if the plot commands it. Or even if it would just be really cool if something exploded. If something is introduced that might conceivably blow up, rest assured that it will have done so by the end of the episode.
** The tail end of the opening credit sequence has a totally random oil refinery in the background. Its only purpose is to explode.
** A particularly bad example occurs in "Brink of Disaster", in which a monotrain is stuck on a disintegrating bridge. Of course, it's not enough for the bridge to just fall apart, its joints and bars ''actively and regularly explode.''
* MadeOfIron: The Hood crashes at least three times in the series, including once flying a light aircraft into a villa. His face gets a bit dirty, and the film he's transporting is destroyed. [[spoiler: It's implied, however, that he's KilledOffForReal in ''Thunderbird 6.'']]
* MasterOfDisguise: The Hood, and, to a lesser extent, Penelope.
* MeaningfulName: The sons of Jeff Tracy are all named after famous astronauts of the 1960s, specifically, the Mercury Seven: Alan Shepard, Virgil Grissom, John Glenn, Gordon Cooper, and Scott Carpenter.
* MissionControl: John Tracy up on the TB 5 station, Jeff Tracy back at HQ, and Scott once he was on the scene of the rescue. Folks spent a lot of time talking to microphones on this show.
* TheMole: Kyrano, a reluctant example. As well as a machine named the Mole.
* TheMovie: ''Thunderbirds Are Go'' and ''Thunderbird 6'', neither of which were very successful.
* MrViceGuy: Parker would occasionally slip back into his old habit of stealing, like when Penelope caught him sneaking off to the casino with safe cracking equipment.
* NoAntagonist: There's the Hood and some one-shot villains, but there are also many episodes where the accident is down to pure bad luck or innocent mistakes.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Many of the cast's voices or appearances were cribbed off then-current celebrities.
* NoOSHACompliance: Pretty much the raison d'etre of many episodes, like the Fireflash in "Trapped in the Sky," an atomic-powered aeroplane which would have killed all of its passengers by radiation poisoning if it didn't land within 2 '''hours''', and the Crablogger in "Path of Destruction," an atomic-powered logging machine which was going to '''blow up''' if not shut down properly, a complicated process that took upwards of five minutes. I guess a red "emergency stop" button was too simple, then anyone could have stopped it should it have been about to smash through a village or destroy a dam.
* ObstructiveCodeOfConduct: IR's policy of strict secrecy concerning their equipment when the Tracy family could possibly save thousands of lives, not mention make a spectacular profit, by licensing out the designs of their Thunderbird vehicles to the various nations and organizations wanting to augment their own emergency response forces. Presumably, this is to keep IR's equipment unique and the plot complication of keeping that secrecy.
** Although it's also stated that IR's technology could be used for destruction if it fell into the wrong hands.
* OddlySmallOrganization: Well, saving the world is a family business.
* OneWorldOrder: Possibly. The government is never really explored, but there is seemingly a "World Navy", though whether it represents the entire world is unclear, as it seems to enjoy testing nuclear weapons for no apparent reason.
* ParentalBonus: As a true "all ages" program, episode plots and characters were very well written, particularly after the episodes were lengthened to an hour.
* PinkElephants: Invoked.
* PopTheTires: Subverted on an episode: Lady Penelope attempts to shoot out the tyres of a car, only for it to fail because they've been reinforced to protect against such things.
* PsychicPowers: The Hood.
* {{Rescue}}: A genre example on the grandest scale
* RichIdiotWithNoDayJob: The Tracys. Penny, too.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: The title sequence proclaimed it to be filmed "In Videcolor" and "{{Supermarionation}}". Plain-English translation: "It's in colour, and it's a (sophisticated) puppet show".
** The "super" in "Supermarionation" referred to the automated lipsynching. The character's voice track was fed to a solenoid in the puppet's head that moved the lips based on the audio level of the speech.
* ShoePhone: Watch phones, powder compact phones and of course tea pot phones.
* ShoutOut: In "Brink of Disaster," the gadgets that Lady Penelope deploys from the Rolls Royce are reminiscent of the Aston Martin in ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}''.
* SiblingTeam
* {{Slurpasaur}}: The episode [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Attack Of The Alligators!"]] featured an accident with some kind of SuperSerum getting into the water table near a laboratory somewhere in Louisiana. Live baby alligators were employed on model sets alongside miniatures of the characters, but since working around the limitations of models and miniatures was what AP Films[[hottip:*: the "P" stood for Gerry Anderson's former business partner Arthur Provis, who left the company two years after it was established. No prizes for guessing the "A"]] ''did'', it actually worked fairly well. (At least, according to one story, once the stagehands figured out that the alligators needed to be goaded with 60-volt prods and not just 12.) [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIkAD_uXCBA Have a look.]]
* SpeechImpediment: B-B-Brains has a t-tendency to s-stutter.
* {{Spinoff}}: the first movie doubled up as the pilot of the next series, ''CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons''.
* StockFootage: By the pound.
** Only parts of the stock launch footage are usually used per episode in order to provide some variety to the launches. For the same reason, FX director Derek Meddings also insisted on shooting more angles than strictly necessary.
* StiffUpperLip: Lady Penelope, even by puppet standards.
* StuffBlowingUp
** IncendiaryExponent almost. The special effects crew were really, ''really'' good at explosions and flames, with the result that almost every episode had a spectacular explosion of some kind at some point.
* TeamDad: Jeff Tracy is both this ''and'' the Tracy boys' dad.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: A given in the Gerry Anderson shows. You have space stations, hypersonic rocket planes, and a mobile computer the size of a grand piano!
* TechnologyPorn: All the time, but especially the launch sequences.
* TechnoWizard: Brains
* ThemeNaming: All the Tracy sons were named for American astronauts. The Mercury Astronauts in particular: Scott Carpenter, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper and John Glenn.
** Jeff being a former astronaut himself, it's probable that this is an in-universe example.
* ThemeTuneCameo: Virgil plays the theme song on a piano at the end of the pilot episode.
* ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman: Poor Gordon, and his favored ride, Thunderbird 4. His skills as a diver and submersible pilot were not useful as often as he might have liked. Most of the times he was called out on a rescue he was riding shotgun with Scott or Virgil as generic backup, and despite being a Tracy brother he was less important to the plot than Tin-Tin, Brains, or Penny almost all the time. TB 4, despite being a main-line vehicle, was the size of a van next to a fleet of giants, and was overshadowed in importance by many barely-seen robotic pod vehicles, like the Mole. On the few occasions when there was danger at sea, he really did shine.
** Gordon was recognised as the best marksman on the team, though, and was often utilised when something needed aiming, eg. firing the cable from Thunderbird 2 into the Zero X in the first movie.
** And he did have more to do than John Tracy, who was stuck on Thunderbird 5 just about all the time (in part because Gerry Anderson didn't like how the puppet looked - to the extent that "Operation Crash Dive," the only episode in which Thunderbird 5 actually does something other than relay the mission of the week, coincides with Alan being on duty relieving John!).
* ToTheBatpole: The famous "rotating furniture" that took the Tracys from the house to the hangars.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: Every episode ''begins'' with a brief preview montage, essentially summarising the episode you are about to watch.
* TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot: Thunderbirds 1, 2, and 3 are all ridiculously fast, moving anywhere around the globe (or Earth orbit) inside of a few hours. For example, Thunderbird 1 once flew from Tracy Island (somewhere in the Pacific Ocean) to London, England at a quoted speed of ''at least'' 7500 mph, which is just shy of ''mach 10''.
** Tie-in media establishes [=TB1=]'s top speed as 15,000 mph, and [=TB2=]'s as 5,000 mph.
** [=TB1=]'s speed was given in the original script for the pilot episode ("Trapped in the Sky"); [=TB2=]'s is quoted on-screen in "Terror in New York City".
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: Given this was made in the 60s, this was going to be inevitable. Modern British viewers may be a little miffed at the main airport being called "London Airport", unaware that back in the day, this was actually the name for Heathrow Airport before Stansted and Gatwick acquired "London" status.
** There are also several references to Cape Kennedy.
* UpToEleven: The setting of the 2060s was made by taking TheSixties and turning it UpToEleven.
* WeaponizedCar: Lady Penelope's Rolls Royce.
* WomenDrivers: Played unfortunately straight in "City of Fire" and "Vault of Death." Averted in later episodes, when Penny actually does learn to drive.
* WritersCannotDoMath: The Fireflash's stated top speed is Mach 6, yet it still takes several hours to get anywhere. RuleOfDrama, perhaps, but Mach 6 is approximately 4,000 mph.
* {{Zeerust}}: The Thunderbirds themselves, particularly 1 and 2, were based on aircraft and prototypes that were state-of-the-art at the time; TB 1 on the [=MiG=] 19 and 21, along with a series of X-planes, and 2 on experimental lifting-body aircraft. And of course everything high-tech has clicky panels, big shiny microphones and chrome-plated-chrome.
** And reel-to-reel tape drives, of course.
** Not to mention that things like internet, mobile phones, tablets etc. are not present at all in the futuristic world of the Thunderbirds.

!!''Thunderbirds Are Go!'' provides examples of:

* DreamSequence: Alan has a lengthy dream in which Penelope takes him to a nightclub in space, complete with groovy musical number.
* InkSuitActor: Puppet versions of Music/CliffRichard and his band The Shadows (voiced by themselves) appears as their 2060s counterparts.

!!''Thunderbird 6'' provides examples of:

* BreakOutTheMuseumPiece: When all their usual vehicles are unable to reach the stranded Skyship One, an old fashioned biplane (that Alan used earlier to travel to England) is used instead. One of the people stranded on Skyship One lampshades this trope by stating they (International Rescue) must have gotten it straight out of a museum.
* BrokenAesop: Jeff repeatedly turns down Brains' ideas for a new Thunderbird on the basis that the ideas are only suitable for a single type of rescue mission. Fine and good, except that (a) this applies to every single one of [=TB2's=] pod vehicles ''including Thunderbird 4'', all of which Jeff presumably approves of, and (b) it's hard to conceive of any great number of uses for the vehicle that ultimately ''is'' made Thunderbird 6.
** In fact, it's not clear ''why'' Jeff thinks they need a Thunderbird 6...
* CircleOfShame: When Brains outlines his idea of building an airship, a roomful of air industry executives laugh at him. The film's DVDCommentary points out that, since all the characters are marionettes, lots of laughing puppet heads had to be constructed even though each of them would only appear in one shot.
-->''"Sure, they laughed - [[WhosLaughingNow and then they built it!]]"''
* CoolShip: Thunderbird 6 is [[spoiler: an ''antique Tiger Moth biplane'']]. It earned the name when it proved the only aircraft in the Tracy arsenal both light enough and ''slow'' enough to land on top of a distressed luxury zeppelin.
** Brains also designed several Thunderbird 6 prototypes more in-line with the original five units--each was a perfectly viable vehicle in their own right, but all were rejected because Brains was going through a HeroicBSOD at the moment.
* SixthRanger: If the Thunderbirds are a FiveManBand, then Thunderbird 6.
* DarkerAndEdgier: It has an actual body count!

!!The live-action movie provides examples of:

* ActionGirl:
** Lady Penelope, even more than in the series.
** Tin-Tin, unlike in the series.
* AlternativeForeignThemeSong: There is a Japanese [[http://pann.nate.com/video/208449526 theme song]] for the Japanese version of the film.
* CallBack:
** "Fermat/Alan, my friend, what you don't know can't hurt you."
**
---> '''Jeff''': Saving lives is a dangerous business. But it's what we do.
---> '''Alan''': [[spoiler: I don't want to save your life]]. But it's what we do.
* CasualDangerDialog: Lady Penelope is being attacked by the Hood's EvilGenius. All she has to say is this:
-->'''Lady Penelope''': Do you know how much a manicure costs these days?
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: The Hood.
** When a [[{{Macguffin}} vital component]] needed for his plans goes missing, he knows exactly who to blame. Regardless of the fact he [[NeverFoundTheBody supposedly killed them]] earlier in the film.
--->'''The Hood''': ''Clever'' Alan. (Henchman looks at him, confused). It's the children. They have it.\\
'''Henchman''': No way. They're dead. No one could survive something like that.\\
'''The Hood''': ''I did''.
** He also doesn't try to storm the International Rescue facilities with the team at home, instead exploiting ChronicHeroSyndrome by setting up an emergency for them to tackle. This leaves their home base completely open for him to walk in and take.
--->'''The Hood''': It would be almost impossible to force the Thunderbirds to leave their facilities; on the other hand, it requires no effort at all to simply let them go.
* AnInsert: The live-action movie, as an in-joke on the series' use of human hands in close-ups, cuts to a ''puppet'' hand pressing a button at one point.
* LargeHam: The Hood.
* PhonyNewscast: The movie somehow manages to shoehorn a reporter (the same reporter at that, and played by [[{{Nepotism}} the director's wife]] [[GeneralHospital Genie Francis]] to boot) into every scene in which the Thunderbirds appear in the outside world.
* PrecisionFStrike: From Brains of all people (in addition to his earlier attempt, after which a track in HansZimmer's score is named - "Fafafa... No Way!"):
--> DAMN IT, JEFF, WAKE UP!
* ProductPlacement: The Ford motor company provided many of the vehicles used in the film, and they're going to make damn sure you know it.
* PsychicPowers:
** The Hood's powers are given a massive beef-up, from simply reading Kyrano's mind in the show to actual telekinesis and PG-rated MindRape.
** [[spoiler:Tin-Tin]] also has psychic powers.
* SpeechImpediment: B-B-Brains' t-tendency to s-stutter is t-t-t-t-taken t-to r-r-ridiculous e-e-extremes.
* StealthPun: Penelope's [=FAB1=] was changed from a Rolls-Royce to a Ford Thunderbird.
* TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot: In the climax, Thunderbird 2 manages to get to London from Tracy Island (in the freaking ''South Pacific'') in the amount of time it takes Parker to pick a lock, a lock which is even implied to be straightforward for him to pick. Thunderbird 1 proceeds to make the same journey in the amount of time it takes the Mole to drill under the Thames into the 'Bank of London'.
* WhoWatchesTheWatchmen: "Who will rescue the rescuers?"

----

to:

[[quoteright:336:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Thunderbirds.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:336:5... 4... 3... 2... 1! '''''Thunderbirds are go!''''']]
->''S-O-S! Mr. Tracy, the western world is falling...\\
S-O-S! International Rescue, hear us calling...''
-->'''Kate Kestrel''', "[=SOS=]", ''{{Terrahawks}}''

Created by pre-eminent British producer GerryAnderson (1929-[[http://news.sky.com/story/1030371/thunderbirds-creator-gerry-anderson-dies 2012]]), ''Thunderbirds'' was the story of the Tracy family, a wealthy clan who embarked on a unique philanthropic venture.

In the year 2065, billionaire ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy and his five sons (Scott, Virgil, Gordon, John and Alan) formed "International Rescue", an organization whose purpose should be self explanatory. They used technology designed by their resident TechnoWizard, "Brains", which was far beyond anything possessed by any military or civilian agency on the planet, even given the series's far [[TheFuture future setting]] of the early 21st century.

Every week, some monstrous disaster would occur, and the boys (primarily Scott and Virgil) would pilot their awesome Thunderbird aerospace craft to the scene, moving at speeds that would make an aeronautical engineer drool. Scott would get there first, survey the situation, and call back to Virgil, who would then arrive at the scene with the right equipment loaded into the cavernous interior of Thunderbird 2's "pod". Amongst other things, a drilling vehicle (Mole) or an underwater rover (Thunderbird 4) could be loaded into 2. In fact, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbirds_machines the other wiki]] has a list of the ''many'' bizarre vehicles deployed.

There were five Thunderbirds, one for each brother:
* Thunderbird 1: Was the most used. Looks like a missile, moves like a jet fighter. Takes off from base vertically using rockets then switches to horizontal jet propulsion and lands horizontally.
* Thunderbird 2: A ginormous plane that incorporates equipment pods into its fuselage. A selection of pods is available, each pre-loaded with specialist rescue equipment. The heavy lifter of the fleet.
* Thunderbird 3: An actual rocketship. Mostly used to get to Thunderbird 5, but also used on a number of space rescue missions.
* Thunderbird 4: A small submarine/underwater rover, usually carried by Thunderbird 2 in pod #4.
* Thunderbird 5: A Space Station, capable of receiving transmissions from all over the globe and automatically detecting and translating distress calls.

Acting as an espionage back-up, to prevent any of IR's tech from being stolen and used for military or destructive purposes, was prim and proper spy Lady Penelope, and her rough-edged cockney BattleButler Parker, in Penny's pink six-wheeled (and heavily-armed) Rolls-Royce limousine, FAB 1.

The miniatures used were cutting edge for the time. The show was described as feature film quality, to the point where Lord Grade, the head of the commissioning company ITC Entertainment, upped it from a half hour to an hour long drama (necessitating additional scenes to be shot for the first few episodes).

Oh, and all the characters were puppets. The show was filmed in {{Supermarionation}}, which was a process using souped-up marionettes with moving lips electronically synchronized with pre-recorded dialogue.

This show is a classic in its native Britain, and around the world. The first season was such a success that it was decided to make a full-blown movie before production began on the second season; the result was ''Thunderbirds Are GO!'', wherein the Tracys must rescue an imperiled Mars rocket after a scrape with the [[ScienceMarchesOn local lifeforms]]. Expected to be a blockbuster of James Bond proportions, it performed poorly at the box office.

An unsuccessful trip made by Lew Grade to try and sell the show to American networks ensured the second season would be the series' last; further, amid corporate fears that the bubble had burst, Gerry Anderson was instructed that said second season be cut back to just six episodes. United Artists, surprised at the failure of the first movie, subsequently commissioned another - ''Thunderbird 6'', where designing a new Thunderbird vehicle is put on hold when a state-of-the-art luxury airship is in danger - and this also flopped. But by then Anderson was already at work on new Supermarionation projects with a new generation on puppets.

A live action/CGI action movie directed by Jonathan Frakes, and starring BenKingsley, Bill Paxton and a young Music/VanessaHudgens, was released in 2004. It also flopped, in part due to the film missing much of what made the TV series so popular.

There is a [[Recap/{{Thunderbirds}} Recap]] in desperate need of assistance! Thundernerds are go!
----
!!This TV series provides examples of:
* ActionGirl: Lady Penelope.
* AdventureFriendlyWorld: Despite the tendency of large-scale science and technology projects in the Thunderbirds 'verse to catastrophically and explosively fail, nobody ever stops building them.
* TheAllegedComputer: In the episode "Sun Probe", engineer "Brains" accidentally takes his experimental robot instead of a computer along on a rescue. When he's forced to ask the robot to make the calculations, it takes the robot a full 20 seconds (accompanied by obligatory clicks and whirrs) to make the calculation when (in spite of the pseudo-scientific nonsense-calculation used) it could have been solved on a pocket calculator as quickly as you could press the keys.
* AllThereInTheManual: The recurring villain, The Hood, was never named in dialogue or credits in the original TV episodes, only in publicity materials. Also a lot of background information on the Tracy family members is only found in publicity materials.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: A few locations and directions are a bit off -
** In "Terror in New York", it is stated that Thunderbird 2 is heading due east and is on a path towards New York, even though it is flying over the sea and hence physically impossible to be heading towards New York (if over the Pacific, she will be heading towards the Californian coast first; if over the Atlantic, she will be heading towards Europe).
** Tracy Island is in the Pacific (the annuals state this explicitly). To get to New York from the Pacific you go east. You just happen to go 'feet dry' over California.
** It is mostly averted with "Trapped in the Sky" with the bland name "London Airport" actually being a case of UnintentionalPeriodPiece, since this was actually the name of Heathrow Airport back in the day, although the dispatcher stating that the villain (the Hood) was now driving up the M1 towards Birmingham is a slight error - though that motorway does head towards that city, you have to turn off onto the M6 before people would suspect you'd be heading that way for sure.
** And he's also said to be heading in Lady Penelope's direction, although other behind the scenes literature claims that her stately home is in Kent (ie on the other side of London).
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: Kyrano and Tin-Tin are just made up names that sound Asian.
* TheAtoner: Parker [[strike:used to be a criminal]] used to be ''exclusively'' a criminal.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Pretty much everything, but the Crablogger and Sidewinder get special mentions.
* BattleButler: Parker. Weaponized car and all.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: International Rescue is altruistic and will stop at ''nothing'' to get you to safety. However if you take pictures of their technology they will have Lady Penelope ''shoot you off the road''.
* BrokenAesop: "Atlantic Inferno." Supposedly Scott learns that being in charge is harder than it looks. In reality, Scott is a good leader - his only problem is that his father doesn't back him up.
* BuccaneerBroadcaster: The pirate TV satellite KLA in "Ricochet", inspired by RealLife ship-based pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and Radio London.
* CatchPhrase: "Thunderbirds are GO!", "F.A.B.", and to a lesser extent, Parker's "Yus, M'Lady".
** Brains' "Of course! Why didn't I think of it before?"
* ChristmasCake: Lady Penelope (26 years old in the original series.)
* ChronicHeroSyndrome: International Rescue will never turn down a call for help, even if they put themselves at risk of being unmasked like in "The Imposters" and "End of the Road".
** Lady Penelope suffers from this in "Path of Destruction". She has to find the one person who knows the complex shut down procedure of the crablogger, an atomic-powered logging machine that has gone out of control and now threatens to destroy a dam and explode, putting thousands of lifes at risks, before it's too late. But despite this, she still can't help but stop along the way to help the victim of a car crash.
* ClipShow: "Security Hazard" - a surprisingly good one at that centering around a boy who snuck onboard Thunderbird 2 after a rescue.
** Done well because the clips are cut and edited to put spins on the previous episodes so the IR team can impress the boy. For example, the "Sun Probe" episode clip is edited to suggest Thunderbird 3 never got into a bit of a pickle after rescuing the probe.
*** This also averts one of the cliché standbys of Anderson series - [[spoiler: many of them are prone to "it was all a dream" episodes (especially ''Stingray'', which had '''three'''), but here it's averted by the boy himself, after they've returned him home and he's gone to sleep, waking up and ''thinking'' that it was all a dream.]]
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: The vehicles:
** Thunderbird 1: silver
** Thunderbird 2: green
** Thunderbird 3: red
** Thunderbird 4: yellow
** Thunderbird 5: gold and silver
** F.A.B. 1: pink
* ColourCodedCharacters: The pilots wear pastel-coloured sashs and belts:
** Scott: light blue
** Virgil: yellow
** Alan: off-white
** Gordon: orange
** John: lilac
** Plus Lady Penelope: pink
* CompilationMovie: Three, all airing in 1981, under Anderson's ''Super Space Theater'' title.
** ''Countdown to Disaster'', featuring the episodes "Terror in New York City" and "Atlantic Inferno."
** ''Thunderbirds in Outer Space'', featuring the episodes "Sun Probe" and "Ricochet."
** ''Thunderbirds to the Rescue'', featuring the episodes "Trapped in the Sky" and "Operation Crash-Dive".
* ContinuityNod: Several projects and vehicles, such as the Fireflash atomic powered airliner and the Sunprobe project, as well as characters involved in those projects, turn up more than once and reference the previous encounters. Not surprising really, they did still have the models after all.
* ContinuitySnarl: Hoo boy! The series was first released in 1965. Since then we've had movies, comics, novels, annuals, guide books and interviews with the cast/crew - all of which largely contradict themselves.
* ContrivedCoincidence: The average rescue is set up by means of a series of comically ludicrous coincidences and horrible design / engineering. For example, in "Day of Disaster" a vehicle is transporting a giant rocket. Fully fuelled. With people inside. And it's set up with an unstoppable automatic launch countdown. And they have to cross a weak bridge. And there's a storm. And the bridge supervisors are idiots.
* CoolCar: F.A.B. 1. Yes, it's pink.
* CoolGarage: Tracy Island, with all its retractable and hidden landing and launch bays.
* CoolPlane: ''Fireflash'', a futuristic supersonic jetliner [[http://members.fortunecity.com/wendhausen/BRStarshipsv3/profile/thunderbirds/ships/fireflash/fire11.jpg just look at it]] Here's a modern [[http://coreldraw.com/resized-image.ashx/__size/675x550/__key/CommunityServer.Components.PostAttachments/00.00.07.54.81/Fireflash.jpg 3D render]] undeniably cool.
* CoolShip: Five main ones, and many more which needed to be rescued. More specifically:
** Thunderbird 1, piloted by Scott, is a hypersonic aircraft powered by a nuclear thermal engine, designed for getting to the crisis scene as fast as possible to gather intel.
** Thunderbird 2, piloted by Virgil, is a giant less-hypersonic-but-still-fast lifting-body transport for moving the gear that Thunderbird 1 called for. (This one is unsurprisingly the most frequently seen of the lot, appearing in both (all right, all three) movies and all but one episode of the TV show.)
** Thunderbird 3, piloted by Alan, is an SSTO rocket used for space rescues and reaching Thunderbird 5.
** Thunderbird 4, piloted by Gordon, is a submarine for underwater rescues. Often transported in Thunderbird 2's pod 4.
** Thunderbird 5, manned by John, is a space station capable of monitoring all radio frequencies world wide to listen for distress calls.
** Also the Mole, used for underground rescues, and a host of souped-up construction gear hauled in [=TB2's=] pods.
* CrazyJealousGuy: Alan doesn't quite like it when Tintin shows interest in another man. This is best seen in "end of the road", when her old friend Eddy Houseman comes to visit her, and "Richochet", when she turns out to be a great fan of Rick O’Shea. Ironically, in both episodes Alan ends up having to rescue the men he doesn't like.
* CutAndPasteTranslation: The redubbed half-hour version from Fox Kids, as well as the truly hideous ''Turbocharged Thunderbirds''.
* DrillTank: The Mole, one of TB 2's pod vehicles, sets a gold standard for the type. It has ''rockets to push it into the ground'', for fab's sake!
* DrivesLikeCrazy: Lady Penelope, of all people, at first. She grows out of it.
* EasyLogistics: In "Ricochet," we find out that even a pirate radio station can put a ''manned space station'' into orbit. This is apparently so common that nobody can keep track of the launches. This raises FridgeLogic as to how on Earth nobody has found Tracy Island yet, and possibly FridgeHorror if you consider the fact that if you have the resources and knowledge to put a satellite in orbit, [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade it's not a lot harder to shoot one down.]]
* EekAMouse: A plot point in "The Mighty Atom."
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: The Tracy Island.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: International Rescue.
* ExcessiveSteamSyndrome: It made extensive use of steam, smoke, and zero-thrust rocket motors to depict takeoffs and landings in miniature. Rockets in flight were filmed inverted, so the smoke would rise ''away'' from the rocket instead of climbing after it.
* ExpansionPackPast: nearly all of the Tracy Brothers (who range in age from late to early 20's) had quite interesting carreers before retiring from them to join IR full time. Scott served in the U.S. Airforce where he got decorated for bravery, John published four textbooks on astronomy and is known as the discoverer of the Tracy quasar system, Gordon used to be a Olympic champion at the butterfly stroke and served at the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (from Series/{{Stingray|1964}}), and Alan was a succesful racecar driver. (His career was briefly revived in the episode "Move and You're Dead".) Jeff also counts; he was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, astronaut for the Space Agency and the first man on the moon, and finally started his own company.
* ExtyYearsFromNow: The series was set in the 2060s, conveniently exactly one century after it was made (as is the case with almost all of Anderson's series). Confusingly, though, some episodes are dated in the 2020s.
* FauxActionGirl: Tin-Tin actually does have an IR uniform and occasionally joins the boys on a rescue mission... but stands as the person who ended up in need of rescue the most.
* FinaglesLaw: The series ''loves'' this trope, as the vast majority of episodes revolve around something going terribly wrong, thus motivating the characters into action. A notable example is the episode "City of Fire" where a giant building goes up in flames because of a car accident in the basement. Naturally, cars in TheFuture are all MadeOfExplodium...
* FiveManBand: Arguably, the Thunderbirds are the main characters.
** TheHero: T1
** TheLancer: T3
** TheSmartGuy: T5
** TheBigGuy: T2
** TheChick: T4
* FunWithAcronyms: "F.A.B.", the Tracy boys' catchphrase, essentially meaning "understood." Anderson himself has said that it wasn't really intended to stand for anything other than "[[TotallyRadical fab]]"; {{Fanon}} sometimes has this as standing for "'''F'''ully '''A'''dvised and '''B'''riefed."
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
-->'''Scott Tracy''': Now, what would Tin-Tin want to show Alan in the bathroom?
** In "The Perils of Penelope" Alan pouts that his brothers are "off to The Folies" without him, an establishment known in the past for its rather ''[[{{Fanservice}} risqué]]'' costumes.
** Also, from "The Man from M.I.5":
-->'''Lady Penelope''': Are you going to tie me up?\\
'''Carl (evil thug)''': You bet I am!\\
'''Lady Penelope''': [[CasualKink Oh, I don't mind, really.]]
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: When the main villain, the Hood, uses his mesmeric powers on any other character, his eyes glow yellow.
* GoodIsBoring: Averted: a series mostly about rescues, without much of an antagonist and little real conflict has plots just as exciting as its more conventional successor ''CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons''.
* HowWeGotHere: the episode "Move - And You're Dead" begins with Alan and grandma stranded on a bridge with a bomb. While Thunderbirds 1 and 2 are on their way to save them, Alan recalls how they got into this situation in the first place (which takes up most of the episodes time).
* HumiliationConga: Tends to happen to The Hood a lot.
* IKnowWhatWeCanDoCut: In "Security Hazard".
* ILoveNuclearPower: Atomic Power won't grant you superpowers, but it'll do just about anything else in this show. Including allowing something as unlikely to so much as bump two inches off the ground as Thunderbird 2 to fly in three dimensions like a helicopter. Also, StuffBlowingUp.
** Fireflash in the pilot is something of a {{Deconstruction}} of the then-current tropes in use which presented nuclear power in an unambiguously positive light: it allows the plane to fly many times the speed of sound, but could potentially kill its passengers if it unable to land in time. Of course to modern viewers used to more negative portrayals of nuclear power, Fireflash probably looks like an ''optimistic'' portrayal of it. (One can't help wondering, though, how a plane with such a narrow safety margin could ever have been certified airworthy in the first place.)
* InkSuitActor: Lady Penelope was designed to resemble her voice actress, Sylvia Anderson.
* AnInsert: Human hands pressing a button for a puppet character. The series also liked to use cutaways to get around the problem - you'd see, say, Parker holding a cigarette when Penelope would ask for a light, then cut to another shot, then to Penelope holding the lit cigarette.
** One episode takes this a step further by having a human hand holding a pen in the foreground with a couple of puppets in ForcedPerspective in the background.
* KarmaHoudini: The reckless driver who sets off the disaster in ''City of Fire'', resulting in the complete destruction of a skyscraper shopping complex and thousands of parked vehicles, which must run into the millions of dollars of damages, is seen again at the end of the episode. Not only is she free and apparently not held liable for the disaster, but she has a brand new car of the same make as the one she crashed, is completely uninjured, and driving as recklessly as ever.
* KidAppealCharacter: Alan
* LargeHam: The Duchess of Royston is about as hammy as puppets get.
* MadeOfExplodium: In the ''Thunderbirds'' universe, everything can explode or burn with really cool flames if the plot commands it. Or even if it would just be really cool if something exploded. If something is introduced that might conceivably blow up, rest assured that it will have done so by the end of the episode.
** The tail end of the opening credit sequence has a totally random oil refinery in the background. Its only purpose is to explode.
** A particularly bad example occurs in "Brink of Disaster", in which a monotrain is stuck on a disintegrating bridge. Of course, it's not enough for the bridge to just fall apart, its joints and bars ''actively and regularly explode.''
* MadeOfIron: The Hood crashes at least three times in the series, including once flying a light aircraft into a villa. His face gets a bit dirty, and the film he's transporting is destroyed. [[spoiler: It's implied, however, that he's KilledOffForReal in ''Thunderbird 6.'']]
* MasterOfDisguise: The Hood, and, to a lesser extent, Penelope.
* MeaningfulName: The sons of Jeff Tracy are all named after famous astronauts of the 1960s, specifically, the Mercury Seven: Alan Shepard, Virgil Grissom, John Glenn, Gordon Cooper, and Scott Carpenter.
* MissionControl: John Tracy up on the TB 5 station, Jeff Tracy back at HQ, and Scott once he was on the scene of the rescue. Folks spent a lot of time talking to microphones on this show.
* TheMole: Kyrano, a reluctant example. As well as a machine named the Mole.
* TheMovie: ''Thunderbirds Are Go'' and ''Thunderbird 6'', neither of which were very successful.
* MrViceGuy: Parker would occasionally slip back into his old habit of stealing, like when Penelope caught him sneaking off to the casino with safe cracking equipment.
* NoAntagonist: There's the Hood and some one-shot villains, but there are also many episodes where the accident is down to pure bad luck or innocent mistakes.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Many of the cast's voices or appearances were cribbed off then-current celebrities.
* NoOSHACompliance: Pretty much the raison d'etre of many episodes, like the Fireflash in "Trapped in the Sky," an atomic-powered aeroplane which would have killed all of its passengers by radiation poisoning if it didn't land within 2 '''hours''', and the Crablogger in "Path of Destruction," an atomic-powered logging machine which was going to '''blow up''' if not shut down properly, a complicated process that took upwards of five minutes. I guess a red "emergency stop" button was too simple, then anyone could have stopped it should it have been about to smash through a village or destroy a dam.
* ObstructiveCodeOfConduct: IR's policy of strict secrecy concerning their equipment when the Tracy family could possibly save thousands of lives, not mention make a spectacular profit, by licensing out the designs of their Thunderbird vehicles to the various nations and organizations wanting to augment their own emergency response forces. Presumably, this is to keep IR's equipment unique and the plot complication of keeping that secrecy.
** Although it's also stated that IR's technology could be used for destruction if it fell into the wrong hands.
* OddlySmallOrganization: Well, saving the world is a family business.
* OneWorldOrder: Possibly. The government is never really explored, but there is seemingly a "World Navy", though whether it represents the entire world is unclear, as it seems to enjoy testing nuclear weapons for no apparent reason.
* ParentalBonus: As a true "all ages" program, episode plots and characters were very well written, particularly after the episodes were lengthened to an hour.
* PinkElephants: Invoked.
* PopTheTires: Subverted on an episode: Lady Penelope attempts to shoot out the tyres of a car, only for it to fail because they've been reinforced to protect against such things.
* PsychicPowers: The Hood.
* {{Rescue}}: A genre example on the grandest scale
* RichIdiotWithNoDayJob: The Tracys. Penny, too.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: The title sequence proclaimed it to be filmed "In Videcolor" and "{{Supermarionation}}". Plain-English translation: "It's in colour, and it's a (sophisticated) puppet show".
** The "super" in "Supermarionation" referred to the automated lipsynching. The character's voice track was fed to a solenoid in the puppet's head that moved the lips based on the audio level of the speech.
* ShoePhone: Watch phones, powder compact phones and of course tea pot phones.
* ShoutOut: In "Brink of Disaster," the gadgets that Lady Penelope deploys from the Rolls Royce are reminiscent of the Aston Martin in ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}''.
* SiblingTeam
* {{Slurpasaur}}: The episode [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Attack Of The Alligators!"]] featured an accident with some kind of SuperSerum getting into the water table near a laboratory somewhere in Louisiana. Live baby alligators were employed on model sets alongside miniatures of the characters, but since working around the limitations of models and miniatures was what AP Films[[hottip:*: the "P" stood for Gerry Anderson's former business partner Arthur Provis, who left the company two years after it was established. No prizes for guessing the "A"]] ''did'', it actually worked fairly well. (At least, according to one story, once the stagehands figured out that the alligators needed to be goaded with 60-volt prods and not just 12.) [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIkAD_uXCBA Have a look.]]
* SpeechImpediment: B-B-Brains has a t-tendency to s-stutter.
* {{Spinoff}}: the first movie doubled up as the pilot of the next series, ''CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons''.
* StockFootage: By the pound.
** Only parts of the stock launch footage are usually used per episode in order to provide some variety to the launches. For the same reason, FX director Derek Meddings also insisted on shooting more angles than strictly necessary.
* StiffUpperLip: Lady Penelope, even by puppet standards.
* StuffBlowingUp
** IncendiaryExponent almost. The special effects crew were really, ''really'' good at explosions and flames, with the result that almost every episode had a spectacular explosion of some kind at some point.
* TeamDad: Jeff Tracy is both this ''and'' the Tracy boys' dad.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: A given in the Gerry Anderson shows. You have space stations, hypersonic rocket planes, and a mobile computer the size of a grand piano!
* TechnologyPorn: All the time, but especially the launch sequences.
* TechnoWizard: Brains
* ThemeNaming: All the Tracy sons were named for American astronauts. The Mercury Astronauts in particular: Scott Carpenter, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper and John Glenn.
** Jeff being a former astronaut himself, it's probable that this is an in-universe example.
* ThemeTuneCameo: Virgil plays the theme song on a piano at the end of the pilot episode.
* ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman: Poor Gordon, and his favored ride, Thunderbird 4. His skills as a diver and submersible pilot were not useful as often as he might have liked. Most of the times he was called out on a rescue he was riding shotgun with Scott or Virgil as generic backup, and despite being a Tracy brother he was less important to the plot than Tin-Tin, Brains, or Penny almost all the time. TB 4, despite being a main-line vehicle, was the size of a van next to a fleet of giants, and was overshadowed in importance by many barely-seen robotic pod vehicles, like the Mole. On the few occasions when there was danger at sea, he really did shine.
** Gordon was recognised as the best marksman on the team, though, and was often utilised when something needed aiming, eg. firing the cable from Thunderbird 2 into the Zero X in the first movie.
** And he did have more to do than John Tracy, who was stuck on Thunderbird 5 just about all the time (in part because Gerry Anderson didn't like how the puppet looked - to the extent that "Operation Crash Dive," the only episode in which Thunderbird 5 actually does something other than relay the mission of the week, coincides with Alan being on duty relieving John!).
* ToTheBatpole: The famous "rotating furniture" that took the Tracys from the house to the hangars.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: Every episode ''begins'' with a brief preview montage, essentially summarising the episode you are about to watch.
* TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot: Thunderbirds 1, 2, and 3 are all ridiculously fast, moving anywhere around the globe (or Earth orbit) inside of a few hours. For example, Thunderbird 1 once flew from Tracy Island (somewhere in the Pacific Ocean) to London, England at a quoted speed of ''at least'' 7500 mph, which is just shy of ''mach 10''.
** Tie-in media establishes [=TB1=]'s top speed as 15,000 mph, and [=TB2=]'s as 5,000 mph.
** [=TB1=]'s speed was given in the original script for the pilot episode ("Trapped in the Sky"); [=TB2=]'s is quoted on-screen in "Terror in New York City".
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: Given this was made in the 60s, this was going to be inevitable. Modern British viewers may be a little miffed at the main airport being called "London Airport", unaware that back in the day, this was actually the name for Heathrow Airport before Stansted and Gatwick acquired "London" status.
** There are also several references to Cape Kennedy.
* UpToEleven: The setting of the 2060s was made by taking TheSixties and turning it UpToEleven.
* WeaponizedCar: Lady Penelope's Rolls Royce.
* WomenDrivers: Played unfortunately straight in "City of Fire" and "Vault of Death." Averted in later episodes, when Penny actually does learn to drive.
* WritersCannotDoMath: The Fireflash's stated top speed is Mach 6, yet it still takes several hours to get anywhere. RuleOfDrama, perhaps, but Mach 6 is approximately 4,000 mph.
* {{Zeerust}}: The Thunderbirds themselves, particularly 1 and 2, were based on aircraft and prototypes that were state-of-the-art at the time; TB 1 on the [=MiG=] 19 and 21, along with a series of X-planes, and 2 on experimental lifting-body aircraft. And of course everything high-tech has clicky panels, big shiny microphones and chrome-plated-chrome.
** And reel-to-reel tape drives, of course.
** Not to mention that things like internet, mobile phones, tablets etc. are not present at all in the futuristic world of the Thunderbirds.

!!''Thunderbirds Are Go!'' provides examples of:

* DreamSequence: Alan has a lengthy dream in which Penelope takes him to a nightclub in space, complete with groovy musical number.
* InkSuitActor: Puppet versions of Music/CliffRichard and his band The Shadows (voiced by themselves) appears as their 2060s counterparts.

!!''Thunderbird 6'' provides examples of:

* BreakOutTheMuseumPiece: When all their usual vehicles are unable to reach the stranded Skyship One, an old fashioned biplane (that Alan used earlier to travel to England) is used instead. One of the people stranded on Skyship One lampshades this trope by stating they (International Rescue) must have gotten it straight out of a museum.
* BrokenAesop: Jeff repeatedly turns down Brains' ideas for a new Thunderbird on the basis that the ideas are only suitable for a single type of rescue mission. Fine and good, except that (a) this applies to every single one of [=TB2's=] pod vehicles ''including Thunderbird 4'', all of which Jeff presumably approves of, and (b) it's hard to conceive of any great number of uses for the vehicle that ultimately ''is'' made Thunderbird 6.
** In fact, it's not clear ''why'' Jeff thinks they need a Thunderbird 6...
* CircleOfShame: When Brains outlines his idea of building an airship, a roomful of air industry executives laugh at him. The film's DVDCommentary points out that, since all the characters are marionettes, lots of laughing puppet heads had to be constructed even though each of them would only appear in one shot.
-->''"Sure, they laughed - [[WhosLaughingNow and then they built it!]]"''
* CoolShip: Thunderbird 6 is [[spoiler: an ''antique Tiger Moth biplane'']]. It earned the name when it proved the only aircraft in the Tracy arsenal both light enough and ''slow'' enough to land on top of a distressed luxury zeppelin.
** Brains also designed several Thunderbird 6 prototypes more in-line with the original five units--each was a perfectly viable vehicle in their own right, but all were rejected because Brains was going through a HeroicBSOD at the moment.
* SixthRanger: If the Thunderbirds are a FiveManBand, then Thunderbird 6.
* DarkerAndEdgier: It has an actual body count!

!!The live-action movie provides examples of:

* ActionGirl:
** Lady Penelope, even more than in the series.
** Tin-Tin, unlike in the series.
* AlternativeForeignThemeSong: There is a Japanese [[http://pann.nate.com/video/208449526 theme song]] for the Japanese version of the film.
* CallBack:
** "Fermat/Alan, my friend, what you don't know can't hurt you."
**
---> '''Jeff''': Saving lives is a dangerous business. But it's what we do.
---> '''Alan''': [[spoiler: I don't want to save your life]]. But it's what we do.
* CasualDangerDialog: Lady Penelope is being attacked by the Hood's EvilGenius. All she has to say is this:
-->'''Lady Penelope''': Do you know how much a manicure costs these days?
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: The Hood.
** When a [[{{Macguffin}} vital component]] needed for his plans goes missing, he knows exactly who to blame. Regardless of the fact he [[NeverFoundTheBody supposedly killed them]] earlier in the film.
--->'''The Hood''': ''Clever'' Alan. (Henchman looks at him, confused). It's the children. They have it.\\
'''Henchman''': No way. They're dead. No one could survive something like that.\\
'''The Hood''': ''I did''.
** He also doesn't try to storm the International Rescue facilities with the team at home, instead exploiting ChronicHeroSyndrome by setting up an emergency for them to tackle. This leaves their home base completely open for him to walk in and take.
--->'''The Hood''': It would be almost impossible to force the Thunderbirds to leave their facilities; on the other hand, it requires no effort at all to simply let them go.
* AnInsert: The live-action movie, as an in-joke on the series' use of human hands in close-ups, cuts to a ''puppet'' hand pressing a button at one point.
* LargeHam: The Hood.
* PhonyNewscast: The movie somehow manages to shoehorn a reporter (the same reporter at that, and played by [[{{Nepotism}} the director's wife]] [[GeneralHospital Genie Francis]] to boot) into every scene in which the Thunderbirds appear in the outside world.
* PrecisionFStrike: From Brains of all people (in addition to his earlier attempt, after which a track in HansZimmer's score is named - "Fafafa... No Way!"):
--> DAMN IT, JEFF, WAKE UP!
* ProductPlacement: The Ford motor company provided many of the vehicles used in the film, and they're going to make damn sure you know it.
* PsychicPowers:
** The Hood's powers are given a massive beef-up, from simply reading Kyrano's mind in the show to actual telekinesis and PG-rated MindRape.
** [[spoiler:Tin-Tin]] also has psychic powers.
* SpeechImpediment: B-B-Brains' t-tendency to s-stutter is t-t-t-t-taken t-to r-r-ridiculous e-e-extremes.
* StealthPun: Penelope's [=FAB1=] was changed from a Rolls-Royce to a Ford Thunderbird.
* TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot: In the climax, Thunderbird 2 manages to get to London from Tracy Island (in the freaking ''South Pacific'') in the amount of time it takes Parker to pick a lock, a lock which is even implied to be straightforward for him to pick. Thunderbird 1 proceeds to make the same journey in the amount of time it takes the Mole to drill under the Thames into the 'Bank of London'.
* WhoWatchesTheWatchmen: "Who will rescue the rescuers?"

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[[redirect:Series/{{Thunderbirds}}]]
28th Jun '13 6:30:29 PM PancticeSquadCutterback
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[[redirect:Series/{{Thunderbirds}}]][[quoteright:336:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Thunderbirds.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:336:5... 4... 3... 2... 1! '''''Thunderbirds are go!''''']]
->''S-O-S! Mr. Tracy, the western world is falling...\\
S-O-S! International Rescue, hear us calling...''
-->'''Kate Kestrel''', "[=SOS=]", ''{{Terrahawks}}''

Created by pre-eminent British producer GerryAnderson (1929-[[http://news.sky.com/story/1030371/thunderbirds-creator-gerry-anderson-dies 2012]]), ''Thunderbirds'' was the story of the Tracy family, a wealthy clan who embarked on a unique philanthropic venture.

In the year 2065, billionaire ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy and his five sons (Scott, Virgil, Gordon, John and Alan) formed "International Rescue", an organization whose purpose should be self explanatory. They used technology designed by their resident TechnoWizard, "Brains", which was far beyond anything possessed by any military or civilian agency on the planet, even given the series's far [[TheFuture future setting]] of the early 21st century.

Every week, some monstrous disaster would occur, and the boys (primarily Scott and Virgil) would pilot their awesome Thunderbird aerospace craft to the scene, moving at speeds that would make an aeronautical engineer drool. Scott would get there first, survey the situation, and call back to Virgil, who would then arrive at the scene with the right equipment loaded into the cavernous interior of Thunderbird 2's "pod". Amongst other things, a drilling vehicle (Mole) or an underwater rover (Thunderbird 4) could be loaded into 2. In fact, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbirds_machines the other wiki]] has a list of the ''many'' bizarre vehicles deployed.

There were five Thunderbirds, one for each brother:
* Thunderbird 1: Was the most used. Looks like a missile, moves like a jet fighter. Takes off from base vertically using rockets then switches to horizontal jet propulsion and lands horizontally.
* Thunderbird 2: A ginormous plane that incorporates equipment pods into its fuselage. A selection of pods is available, each pre-loaded with specialist rescue equipment. The heavy lifter of the fleet.
* Thunderbird 3: An actual rocketship. Mostly used to get to Thunderbird 5, but also used on a number of space rescue missions.
* Thunderbird 4: A small submarine/underwater rover, usually carried by Thunderbird 2 in pod #4.
* Thunderbird 5: A Space Station, capable of receiving transmissions from all over the globe and automatically detecting and translating distress calls.

Acting as an espionage back-up, to prevent any of IR's tech from being stolen and used for military or destructive purposes, was prim and proper spy Lady Penelope, and her rough-edged cockney BattleButler Parker, in Penny's pink six-wheeled (and heavily-armed) Rolls-Royce limousine, FAB 1.

The miniatures used were cutting edge for the time. The show was described as feature film quality, to the point where Lord Grade, the head of the commissioning company ITC Entertainment, upped it from a half hour to an hour long drama (necessitating additional scenes to be shot for the first few episodes).

Oh, and all the characters were puppets. The show was filmed in {{Supermarionation}}, which was a process using souped-up marionettes with moving lips electronically synchronized with pre-recorded dialogue.

This show is a classic in its native Britain, and around the world. The first season was such a success that it was decided to make a full-blown movie before production began on the second season; the result was ''Thunderbirds Are GO!'', wherein the Tracys must rescue an imperiled Mars rocket after a scrape with the [[ScienceMarchesOn local lifeforms]]. Expected to be a blockbuster of James Bond proportions, it performed poorly at the box office.

An unsuccessful trip made by Lew Grade to try and sell the show to American networks ensured the second season would be the series' last; further, amid corporate fears that the bubble had burst, Gerry Anderson was instructed that said second season be cut back to just six episodes. United Artists, surprised at the failure of the first movie, subsequently commissioned another - ''Thunderbird 6'', where designing a new Thunderbird vehicle is put on hold when a state-of-the-art luxury airship is in danger - and this also flopped. But by then Anderson was already at work on new Supermarionation projects with a new generation on puppets.

A live action/CGI action movie directed by Jonathan Frakes, and starring BenKingsley, Bill Paxton and a young Music/VanessaHudgens, was released in 2004. It also flopped, in part due to the film missing much of what made the TV series so popular.

There is a [[Recap/{{Thunderbirds}} Recap]] in desperate need of assistance! Thundernerds are go!
----
!!This TV series provides examples of:
* ActionGirl: Lady Penelope.
* AdventureFriendlyWorld: Despite the tendency of large-scale science and technology projects in the Thunderbirds 'verse to catastrophically and explosively fail, nobody ever stops building them.
* TheAllegedComputer: In the episode "Sun Probe", engineer "Brains" accidentally takes his experimental robot instead of a computer along on a rescue. When he's forced to ask the robot to make the calculations, it takes the robot a full 20 seconds (accompanied by obligatory clicks and whirrs) to make the calculation when (in spite of the pseudo-scientific nonsense-calculation used) it could have been solved on a pocket calculator as quickly as you could press the keys.
* AllThereInTheManual: The recurring villain, The Hood, was never named in dialogue or credits in the original TV episodes, only in publicity materials. Also a lot of background information on the Tracy family members is only found in publicity materials.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: A few locations and directions are a bit off -
** In "Terror in New York", it is stated that Thunderbird 2 is heading due east and is on a path towards New York, even though it is flying over the sea and hence physically impossible to be heading towards New York (if over the Pacific, she will be heading towards the Californian coast first; if over the Atlantic, she will be heading towards Europe).
** Tracy Island is in the Pacific (the annuals state this explicitly). To get to New York from the Pacific you go east. You just happen to go 'feet dry' over California.
** It is mostly averted with "Trapped in the Sky" with the bland name "London Airport" actually being a case of UnintentionalPeriodPiece, since this was actually the name of Heathrow Airport back in the day, although the dispatcher stating that the villain (the Hood) was now driving up the M1 towards Birmingham is a slight error - though that motorway does head towards that city, you have to turn off onto the M6 before people would suspect you'd be heading that way for sure.
** And he's also said to be heading in Lady Penelope's direction, although other behind the scenes literature claims that her stately home is in Kent (ie on the other side of London).
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: Kyrano and Tin-Tin are just made up names that sound Asian.
* TheAtoner: Parker [[strike:used to be a criminal]] used to be ''exclusively'' a criminal.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Pretty much everything, but the Crablogger and Sidewinder get special mentions.
* BattleButler: Parker. Weaponized car and all.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: International Rescue is altruistic and will stop at ''nothing'' to get you to safety. However if you take pictures of their technology they will have Lady Penelope ''shoot you off the road''.
* BrokenAesop: "Atlantic Inferno." Supposedly Scott learns that being in charge is harder than it looks. In reality, Scott is a good leader - his only problem is that his father doesn't back him up.
* BuccaneerBroadcaster: The pirate TV satellite KLA in "Ricochet", inspired by RealLife ship-based pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and Radio London.
* CatchPhrase: "Thunderbirds are GO!", "F.A.B.", and to a lesser extent, Parker's "Yus, M'Lady".
** Brains' "Of course! Why didn't I think of it before?"
* ChristmasCake: Lady Penelope (26 years old in the original series.)
* ChronicHeroSyndrome: International Rescue will never turn down a call for help, even if they put themselves at risk of being unmasked like in "The Imposters" and "End of the Road".
** Lady Penelope suffers from this in "Path of Destruction". She has to find the one person who knows the complex shut down procedure of the crablogger, an atomic-powered logging machine that has gone out of control and now threatens to destroy a dam and explode, putting thousands of lifes at risks, before it's too late. But despite this, she still can't help but stop along the way to help the victim of a car crash.
* ClipShow: "Security Hazard" - a surprisingly good one at that centering around a boy who snuck onboard Thunderbird 2 after a rescue.
** Done well because the clips are cut and edited to put spins on the previous episodes so the IR team can impress the boy. For example, the "Sun Probe" episode clip is edited to suggest Thunderbird 3 never got into a bit of a pickle after rescuing the probe.
*** This also averts one of the cliché standbys of Anderson series - [[spoiler: many of them are prone to "it was all a dream" episodes (especially ''Stingray'', which had '''three'''), but here it's averted by the boy himself, after they've returned him home and he's gone to sleep, waking up and ''thinking'' that it was all a dream.]]
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: The vehicles:
** Thunderbird 1: silver
** Thunderbird 2: green
** Thunderbird 3: red
** Thunderbird 4: yellow
** Thunderbird 5: gold and silver
** F.A.B. 1: pink
* ColourCodedCharacters: The pilots wear pastel-coloured sashs and belts:
** Scott: light blue
** Virgil: yellow
** Alan: off-white
** Gordon: orange
** John: lilac
** Plus Lady Penelope: pink
* CompilationMovie: Three, all airing in 1981, under Anderson's ''Super Space Theater'' title.
** ''Countdown to Disaster'', featuring the episodes "Terror in New York City" and "Atlantic Inferno."
** ''Thunderbirds in Outer Space'', featuring the episodes "Sun Probe" and "Ricochet."
** ''Thunderbirds to the Rescue'', featuring the episodes "Trapped in the Sky" and "Operation Crash-Dive".
* ContinuityNod: Several projects and vehicles, such as the Fireflash atomic powered airliner and the Sunprobe project, as well as characters involved in those projects, turn up more than once and reference the previous encounters. Not surprising really, they did still have the models after all.
* ContinuitySnarl: Hoo boy! The series was first released in 1965. Since then we've had movies, comics, novels, annuals, guide books and interviews with the cast/crew - all of which largely contradict themselves.
* ContrivedCoincidence: The average rescue is set up by means of a series of comically ludicrous coincidences and horrible design / engineering. For example, in "Day of Disaster" a vehicle is transporting a giant rocket. Fully fuelled. With people inside. And it's set up with an unstoppable automatic launch countdown. And they have to cross a weak bridge. And there's a storm. And the bridge supervisors are idiots.
* CoolCar: F.A.B. 1. Yes, it's pink.
* CoolGarage: Tracy Island, with all its retractable and hidden landing and launch bays.
* CoolPlane: ''Fireflash'', a futuristic supersonic jetliner [[http://members.fortunecity.com/wendhausen/BRStarshipsv3/profile/thunderbirds/ships/fireflash/fire11.jpg just look at it]] Here's a modern [[http://coreldraw.com/resized-image.ashx/__size/675x550/__key/CommunityServer.Components.PostAttachments/00.00.07.54.81/Fireflash.jpg 3D render]] undeniably cool.
* CoolShip: Five main ones, and many more which needed to be rescued. More specifically:
** Thunderbird 1, piloted by Scott, is a hypersonic aircraft powered by a nuclear thermal engine, designed for getting to the crisis scene as fast as possible to gather intel.
** Thunderbird 2, piloted by Virgil, is a giant less-hypersonic-but-still-fast lifting-body transport for moving the gear that Thunderbird 1 called for. (This one is unsurprisingly the most frequently seen of the lot, appearing in both (all right, all three) movies and all but one episode of the TV show.)
** Thunderbird 3, piloted by Alan, is an SSTO rocket used for space rescues and reaching Thunderbird 5.
** Thunderbird 4, piloted by Gordon, is a submarine for underwater rescues. Often transported in Thunderbird 2's pod 4.
** Thunderbird 5, manned by John, is a space station capable of monitoring all radio frequencies world wide to listen for distress calls.
** Also the Mole, used for underground rescues, and a host of souped-up construction gear hauled in [=TB2's=] pods.
* CrazyJealousGuy: Alan doesn't quite like it when Tintin shows interest in another man. This is best seen in "end of the road", when her old friend Eddy Houseman comes to visit her, and "Richochet", when she turns out to be a great fan of Rick O’Shea. Ironically, in both episodes Alan ends up having to rescue the men he doesn't like.
* CutAndPasteTranslation: The redubbed half-hour version from Fox Kids, as well as the truly hideous ''Turbocharged Thunderbirds''.
* DrillTank: The Mole, one of TB 2's pod vehicles, sets a gold standard for the type. It has ''rockets to push it into the ground'', for fab's sake!
* DrivesLikeCrazy: Lady Penelope, of all people, at first. She grows out of it.
* EasyLogistics: In "Ricochet," we find out that even a pirate radio station can put a ''manned space station'' into orbit. This is apparently so common that nobody can keep track of the launches. This raises FridgeLogic as to how on Earth nobody has found Tracy Island yet, and possibly FridgeHorror if you consider the fact that if you have the resources and knowledge to put a satellite in orbit, [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade it's not a lot harder to shoot one down.]]
* EekAMouse: A plot point in "The Mighty Atom."
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: The Tracy Island.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: International Rescue.
* ExcessiveSteamSyndrome: It made extensive use of steam, smoke, and zero-thrust rocket motors to depict takeoffs and landings in miniature. Rockets in flight were filmed inverted, so the smoke would rise ''away'' from the rocket instead of climbing after it.
* ExpansionPackPast: nearly all of the Tracy Brothers (who range in age from late to early 20's) had quite interesting carreers before retiring from them to join IR full time. Scott served in the U.S. Airforce where he got decorated for bravery, John published four textbooks on astronomy and is known as the discoverer of the Tracy quasar system, Gordon used to be a Olympic champion at the butterfly stroke and served at the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (from Series/{{Stingray|1964}}), and Alan was a succesful racecar driver. (His career was briefly revived in the episode "Move and You're Dead".) Jeff also counts; he was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, astronaut for the Space Agency and the first man on the moon, and finally started his own company.
* ExtyYearsFromNow: The series was set in the 2060s, conveniently exactly one century after it was made (as is the case with almost all of Anderson's series). Confusingly, though, some episodes are dated in the 2020s.
* FauxActionGirl: Tin-Tin actually does have an IR uniform and occasionally joins the boys on a rescue mission... but stands as the person who ended up in need of rescue the most.
* FinaglesLaw: The series ''loves'' this trope, as the vast majority of episodes revolve around something going terribly wrong, thus motivating the characters into action. A notable example is the episode "City of Fire" where a giant building goes up in flames because of a car accident in the basement. Naturally, cars in TheFuture are all MadeOfExplodium...
* FiveManBand: Arguably, the Thunderbirds are the main characters.
** TheHero: T1
** TheLancer: T3
** TheSmartGuy: T5
** TheBigGuy: T2
** TheChick: T4
* FunWithAcronyms: "F.A.B.", the Tracy boys' catchphrase, essentially meaning "understood." Anderson himself has said that it wasn't really intended to stand for anything other than "[[TotallyRadical fab]]"; {{Fanon}} sometimes has this as standing for "'''F'''ully '''A'''dvised and '''B'''riefed."
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
-->'''Scott Tracy''': Now, what would Tin-Tin want to show Alan in the bathroom?
** In "The Perils of Penelope" Alan pouts that his brothers are "off to The Folies" without him, an establishment known in the past for its rather ''[[{{Fanservice}} risqué]]'' costumes.
** Also, from "The Man from M.I.5":
-->'''Lady Penelope''': Are you going to tie me up?\\
'''Carl (evil thug)''': You bet I am!\\
'''Lady Penelope''': [[CasualKink Oh, I don't mind, really.]]
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: When the main villain, the Hood, uses his mesmeric powers on any other character, his eyes glow yellow.
* GoodIsBoring: Averted: a series mostly about rescues, without much of an antagonist and little real conflict has plots just as exciting as its more conventional successor ''CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons''.
* HowWeGotHere: the episode "Move - And You're Dead" begins with Alan and grandma stranded on a bridge with a bomb. While Thunderbirds 1 and 2 are on their way to save them, Alan recalls how they got into this situation in the first place (which takes up most of the episodes time).
* HumiliationConga: Tends to happen to The Hood a lot.
* IKnowWhatWeCanDoCut: In "Security Hazard".
* ILoveNuclearPower: Atomic Power won't grant you superpowers, but it'll do just about anything else in this show. Including allowing something as unlikely to so much as bump two inches off the ground as Thunderbird 2 to fly in three dimensions like a helicopter. Also, StuffBlowingUp.
** Fireflash in the pilot is something of a {{Deconstruction}} of the then-current tropes in use which presented nuclear power in an unambiguously positive light: it allows the plane to fly many times the speed of sound, but could potentially kill its passengers if it unable to land in time. Of course to modern viewers used to more negative portrayals of nuclear power, Fireflash probably looks like an ''optimistic'' portrayal of it. (One can't help wondering, though, how a plane with such a narrow safety margin could ever have been certified airworthy in the first place.)
* InkSuitActor: Lady Penelope was designed to resemble her voice actress, Sylvia Anderson.
* AnInsert: Human hands pressing a button for a puppet character. The series also liked to use cutaways to get around the problem - you'd see, say, Parker holding a cigarette when Penelope would ask for a light, then cut to another shot, then to Penelope holding the lit cigarette.
** One episode takes this a step further by having a human hand holding a pen in the foreground with a couple of puppets in ForcedPerspective in the background.
* KarmaHoudini: The reckless driver who sets off the disaster in ''City of Fire'', resulting in the complete destruction of a skyscraper shopping complex and thousands of parked vehicles, which must run into the millions of dollars of damages, is seen again at the end of the episode. Not only is she free and apparently not held liable for the disaster, but she has a brand new car of the same make as the one she crashed, is completely uninjured, and driving as recklessly as ever.
* KidAppealCharacter: Alan
* LargeHam: The Duchess of Royston is about as hammy as puppets get.
* MadeOfExplodium: In the ''Thunderbirds'' universe, everything can explode or burn with really cool flames if the plot commands it. Or even if it would just be really cool if something exploded. If something is introduced that might conceivably blow up, rest assured that it will have done so by the end of the episode.
** The tail end of the opening credit sequence has a totally random oil refinery in the background. Its only purpose is to explode.
** A particularly bad example occurs in "Brink of Disaster", in which a monotrain is stuck on a disintegrating bridge. Of course, it's not enough for the bridge to just fall apart, its joints and bars ''actively and regularly explode.''
* MadeOfIron: The Hood crashes at least three times in the series, including once flying a light aircraft into a villa. His face gets a bit dirty, and the film he's transporting is destroyed. [[spoiler: It's implied, however, that he's KilledOffForReal in ''Thunderbird 6.'']]
* MasterOfDisguise: The Hood, and, to a lesser extent, Penelope.
* MeaningfulName: The sons of Jeff Tracy are all named after famous astronauts of the 1960s, specifically, the Mercury Seven: Alan Shepard, Virgil Grissom, John Glenn, Gordon Cooper, and Scott Carpenter.
* MissionControl: John Tracy up on the TB 5 station, Jeff Tracy back at HQ, and Scott once he was on the scene of the rescue. Folks spent a lot of time talking to microphones on this show.
* TheMole: Kyrano, a reluctant example. As well as a machine named the Mole.
* TheMovie: ''Thunderbirds Are Go'' and ''Thunderbird 6'', neither of which were very successful.
* MrViceGuy: Parker would occasionally slip back into his old habit of stealing, like when Penelope caught him sneaking off to the casino with safe cracking equipment.
* NoAntagonist: There's the Hood and some one-shot villains, but there are also many episodes where the accident is down to pure bad luck or innocent mistakes.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Many of the cast's voices or appearances were cribbed off then-current celebrities.
* NoOSHACompliance: Pretty much the raison d'etre of many episodes, like the Fireflash in "Trapped in the Sky," an atomic-powered aeroplane which would have killed all of its passengers by radiation poisoning if it didn't land within 2 '''hours''', and the Crablogger in "Path of Destruction," an atomic-powered logging machine which was going to '''blow up''' if not shut down properly, a complicated process that took upwards of five minutes. I guess a red "emergency stop" button was too simple, then anyone could have stopped it should it have been about to smash through a village or destroy a dam.
* ObstructiveCodeOfConduct: IR's policy of strict secrecy concerning their equipment when the Tracy family could possibly save thousands of lives, not mention make a spectacular profit, by licensing out the designs of their Thunderbird vehicles to the various nations and organizations wanting to augment their own emergency response forces. Presumably, this is to keep IR's equipment unique and the plot complication of keeping that secrecy.
** Although it's also stated that IR's technology could be used for destruction if it fell into the wrong hands.
* OddlySmallOrganization: Well, saving the world is a family business.
* OneWorldOrder: Possibly. The government is never really explored, but there is seemingly a "World Navy", though whether it represents the entire world is unclear, as it seems to enjoy testing nuclear weapons for no apparent reason.
* ParentalBonus: As a true "all ages" program, episode plots and characters were very well written, particularly after the episodes were lengthened to an hour.
* PinkElephants: Invoked.
* PopTheTires: Subverted on an episode: Lady Penelope attempts to shoot out the tyres of a car, only for it to fail because they've been reinforced to protect against such things.
* PsychicPowers: The Hood.
* {{Rescue}}: A genre example on the grandest scale
* RichIdiotWithNoDayJob: The Tracys. Penny, too.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: The title sequence proclaimed it to be filmed "In Videcolor" and "{{Supermarionation}}". Plain-English translation: "It's in colour, and it's a (sophisticated) puppet show".
** The "super" in "Supermarionation" referred to the automated lipsynching. The character's voice track was fed to a solenoid in the puppet's head that moved the lips based on the audio level of the speech.
* ShoePhone: Watch phones, powder compact phones and of course tea pot phones.
* ShoutOut: In "Brink of Disaster," the gadgets that Lady Penelope deploys from the Rolls Royce are reminiscent of the Aston Martin in ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}''.
* SiblingTeam
* {{Slurpasaur}}: The episode [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Attack Of The Alligators!"]] featured an accident with some kind of SuperSerum getting into the water table near a laboratory somewhere in Louisiana. Live baby alligators were employed on model sets alongside miniatures of the characters, but since working around the limitations of models and miniatures was what AP Films[[hottip:*: the "P" stood for Gerry Anderson's former business partner Arthur Provis, who left the company two years after it was established. No prizes for guessing the "A"]] ''did'', it actually worked fairly well. (At least, according to one story, once the stagehands figured out that the alligators needed to be goaded with 60-volt prods and not just 12.) [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIkAD_uXCBA Have a look.]]
* SpeechImpediment: B-B-Brains has a t-tendency to s-stutter.
* {{Spinoff}}: the first movie doubled up as the pilot of the next series, ''CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons''.
* StockFootage: By the pound.
** Only parts of the stock launch footage are usually used per episode in order to provide some variety to the launches. For the same reason, FX director Derek Meddings also insisted on shooting more angles than strictly necessary.
* StiffUpperLip: Lady Penelope, even by puppet standards.
* StuffBlowingUp
** IncendiaryExponent almost. The special effects crew were really, ''really'' good at explosions and flames, with the result that almost every episode had a spectacular explosion of some kind at some point.
* TeamDad: Jeff Tracy is both this ''and'' the Tracy boys' dad.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: A given in the Gerry Anderson shows. You have space stations, hypersonic rocket planes, and a mobile computer the size of a grand piano!
* TechnologyPorn: All the time, but especially the launch sequences.
* TechnoWizard: Brains
* ThemeNaming: All the Tracy sons were named for American astronauts. The Mercury Astronauts in particular: Scott Carpenter, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper and John Glenn.
** Jeff being a former astronaut himself, it's probable that this is an in-universe example.
* ThemeTuneCameo: Virgil plays the theme song on a piano at the end of the pilot episode.
* ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman: Poor Gordon, and his favored ride, Thunderbird 4. His skills as a diver and submersible pilot were not useful as often as he might have liked. Most of the times he was called out on a rescue he was riding shotgun with Scott or Virgil as generic backup, and despite being a Tracy brother he was less important to the plot than Tin-Tin, Brains, or Penny almost all the time. TB 4, despite being a main-line vehicle, was the size of a van next to a fleet of giants, and was overshadowed in importance by many barely-seen robotic pod vehicles, like the Mole. On the few occasions when there was danger at sea, he really did shine.
** Gordon was recognised as the best marksman on the team, though, and was often utilised when something needed aiming, eg. firing the cable from Thunderbird 2 into the Zero X in the first movie.
** And he did have more to do than John Tracy, who was stuck on Thunderbird 5 just about all the time (in part because Gerry Anderson didn't like how the puppet looked - to the extent that "Operation Crash Dive," the only episode in which Thunderbird 5 actually does something other than relay the mission of the week, coincides with Alan being on duty relieving John!).
* ToTheBatpole: The famous "rotating furniture" that took the Tracys from the house to the hangars.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: Every episode ''begins'' with a brief preview montage, essentially summarising the episode you are about to watch.
* TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot: Thunderbirds 1, 2, and 3 are all ridiculously fast, moving anywhere around the globe (or Earth orbit) inside of a few hours. For example, Thunderbird 1 once flew from Tracy Island (somewhere in the Pacific Ocean) to London, England at a quoted speed of ''at least'' 7500 mph, which is just shy of ''mach 10''.
** Tie-in media establishes [=TB1=]'s top speed as 15,000 mph, and [=TB2=]'s as 5,000 mph.
** [=TB1=]'s speed was given in the original script for the pilot episode ("Trapped in the Sky"); [=TB2=]'s is quoted on-screen in "Terror in New York City".
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: Given this was made in the 60s, this was going to be inevitable. Modern British viewers may be a little miffed at the main airport being called "London Airport", unaware that back in the day, this was actually the name for Heathrow Airport before Stansted and Gatwick acquired "London" status.
** There are also several references to Cape Kennedy.
* UpToEleven: The setting of the 2060s was made by taking TheSixties and turning it UpToEleven.
* WeaponizedCar: Lady Penelope's Rolls Royce.
* WomenDrivers: Played unfortunately straight in "City of Fire" and "Vault of Death." Averted in later episodes, when Penny actually does learn to drive.
* WritersCannotDoMath: The Fireflash's stated top speed is Mach 6, yet it still takes several hours to get anywhere. RuleOfDrama, perhaps, but Mach 6 is approximately 4,000 mph.
* {{Zeerust}}: The Thunderbirds themselves, particularly 1 and 2, were based on aircraft and prototypes that were state-of-the-art at the time; TB 1 on the [=MiG=] 19 and 21, along with a series of X-planes, and 2 on experimental lifting-body aircraft. And of course everything high-tech has clicky panels, big shiny microphones and chrome-plated-chrome.
** And reel-to-reel tape drives, of course.
** Not to mention that things like internet, mobile phones, tablets etc. are not present at all in the futuristic world of the Thunderbirds.

!!''Thunderbirds Are Go!'' provides examples of:

* DreamSequence: Alan has a lengthy dream in which Penelope takes him to a nightclub in space, complete with groovy musical number.
* InkSuitActor: Puppet versions of Music/CliffRichard and his band The Shadows (voiced by themselves) appears as their 2060s counterparts.

!!''Thunderbird 6'' provides examples of:

* BreakOutTheMuseumPiece: When all their usual vehicles are unable to reach the stranded Skyship One, an old fashioned biplane (that Alan used earlier to travel to England) is used instead. One of the people stranded on Skyship One lampshades this trope by stating they (International Rescue) must have gotten it straight out of a museum.
* BrokenAesop: Jeff repeatedly turns down Brains' ideas for a new Thunderbird on the basis that the ideas are only suitable for a single type of rescue mission. Fine and good, except that (a) this applies to every single one of [=TB2's=] pod vehicles ''including Thunderbird 4'', all of which Jeff presumably approves of, and (b) it's hard to conceive of any great number of uses for the vehicle that ultimately ''is'' made Thunderbird 6.
** In fact, it's not clear ''why'' Jeff thinks they need a Thunderbird 6...
* CircleOfShame: When Brains outlines his idea of building an airship, a roomful of air industry executives laugh at him. The film's DVDCommentary points out that, since all the characters are marionettes, lots of laughing puppet heads had to be constructed even though each of them would only appear in one shot.
-->''"Sure, they laughed - [[WhosLaughingNow and then they built it!]]"''
* CoolShip: Thunderbird 6 is [[spoiler: an ''antique Tiger Moth biplane'']]. It earned the name when it proved the only aircraft in the Tracy arsenal both light enough and ''slow'' enough to land on top of a distressed luxury zeppelin.
** Brains also designed several Thunderbird 6 prototypes more in-line with the original five units--each was a perfectly viable vehicle in their own right, but all were rejected because Brains was going through a HeroicBSOD at the moment.
* SixthRanger: If the Thunderbirds are a FiveManBand, then Thunderbird 6.
* DarkerAndEdgier: It has an actual body count!

!!The live-action movie provides examples of:

* ActionGirl:
** Lady Penelope, even more than in the series.
** Tin-Tin, unlike in the series.
* AlternativeForeignThemeSong: There is a Japanese [[http://pann.nate.com/video/208449526 theme song]] for the Japanese version of the film.
* CallBack:
** "Fermat/Alan, my friend, what you don't know can't hurt you."
**
---> '''Jeff''': Saving lives is a dangerous business. But it's what we do.
---> '''Alan''': [[spoiler: I don't want to save your life]]. But it's what we do.
* CasualDangerDialog: Lady Penelope is being attacked by the Hood's EvilGenius. All she has to say is this:
-->'''Lady Penelope''': Do you know how much a manicure costs these days?
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: The Hood.
** When a [[{{Macguffin}} vital component]] needed for his plans goes missing, he knows exactly who to blame. Regardless of the fact he [[NeverFoundTheBody supposedly killed them]] earlier in the film.
--->'''The Hood''': ''Clever'' Alan. (Henchman looks at him, confused). It's the children. They have it.\\
'''Henchman''': No way. They're dead. No one could survive something like that.\\
'''The Hood''': ''I did''.
** He also doesn't try to storm the International Rescue facilities with the team at home, instead exploiting ChronicHeroSyndrome by setting up an emergency for them to tackle. This leaves their home base completely open for him to walk in and take.
--->'''The Hood''': It would be almost impossible to force the Thunderbirds to leave their facilities; on the other hand, it requires no effort at all to simply let them go.
* AnInsert: The live-action movie, as an in-joke on the series' use of human hands in close-ups, cuts to a ''puppet'' hand pressing a button at one point.
* LargeHam: The Hood.
* PhonyNewscast: The movie somehow manages to shoehorn a reporter (the same reporter at that, and played by [[{{Nepotism}} the director's wife]] [[GeneralHospital Genie Francis]] to boot) into every scene in which the Thunderbirds appear in the outside world.
* PrecisionFStrike: From Brains of all people (in addition to his earlier attempt, after which a track in HansZimmer's score is named - "Fafafa... No Way!"):
--> DAMN IT, JEFF, WAKE UP!
* ProductPlacement: The Ford motor company provided many of the vehicles used in the film, and they're going to make damn sure you know it.
* PsychicPowers:
** The Hood's powers are given a massive beef-up, from simply reading Kyrano's mind in the show to actual telekinesis and PG-rated MindRape.
** [[spoiler:Tin-Tin]] also has psychic powers.
* SpeechImpediment: B-B-Brains' t-tendency to s-stutter is t-t-t-t-taken t-to r-r-ridiculous e-e-extremes.
* StealthPun: Penelope's [=FAB1=] was changed from a Rolls-Royce to a Ford Thunderbird.
* TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot: In the climax, Thunderbird 2 manages to get to London from Tracy Island (in the freaking ''South Pacific'') in the amount of time it takes Parker to pick a lock, a lock which is even implied to be straightforward for him to pick. Thunderbird 1 proceeds to make the same journey in the amount of time it takes the Mole to drill under the Thames into the 'Bank of London'.
* WhoWatchesTheWatchmen: "Who will rescue the rescuers?"

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