[[caption-width-right:336:5... 4... 3... 2... 1! '''''Thunderbirds are go!'''''[[note]]Clockwise from top: Thunderbirds 5, 3, 1, 2, and 4; FAB 1; and Tracy Island[[/note]]]]

->''S-O-S! Mr. Tracy, the western world is falling...\\
S-O-S! International Rescue, hear us calling...''
-->-- '''Kate Kestrel''', "[=SOS=]", ''{{Series/Terrahawks}}''

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

In the year 2065, billionaire ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy and his five sons (Scott, Virgil, Gordon, John and Alan) form "International Rescue", an organization whose purpose should be self-explanatory. They use technology designed by their resident TechnoWizard, "Brains", which is far beyond anything possessed by any military or civilian agency on the planet, even given the series's far [[TheFuture future setting]] of the late 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 (and the most frequently seen, turning up in all but one of the episodes and both movies).
* ''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 imperilled 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 of puppets.

Punk/new wave band The Rezillos released a song "Thunderbirds Are Go" in 1978, extolling the praises of the series -- "the TV show that's never been beat."

80s band Fuzzbox released a single "International Rescue" as an affectionate [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF0aHzNtYsk tribute/parody of the series]] that made it to number 11 in the charts

In 1982, ITC took ''Scientific Rescue Team Techno Voyager'', a 24-episode anime inspired by the series, and dubbed it as ''Thunderbirds 2086''.

2004 saw the release of a [[Film/{{Thunderbirds}} live-action version]] directed by Creator/JonathanFrakes; unfortunately, Creator/{{Universal}}'s ExecutiveMeddling and being trapped in DevelopmentHell since the 90s turned what could've been an awesome film into something most fans of the franchise would like to forget.

A revival is currently airing, titled ''WesternAnimation/ThunderbirdsAreGo'', which started on 4 April 2015.

There are also three audio episodes recorded by the original cast and released in the Sixties. In 2015 these were used as the basis for three new episodes filmed in Supermarionation style.

There is a [[Recap/{{Thunderbirds}} Recap]] in desperate need of assistance! Thundernerds are go! Tropes applying to the movies can be found there as well.

Also see ''WesternAnimation/PawPatrol''.


* 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. Many things about the main character's history, like the Tracy boys' ExpansionPackPast, Jeff's late wife, and the founding of International Rescue, are also never mentioned on the series, and their headquarters was never actually referred to as "Tracy Island." The same goes for specific details surrounding the Thunderbird vehicles and other machines, like their dimensions, speed and other technical data. (One of the few things the 2004 movie ''did'' do right was actually having the names of The Hood and Tracy Island spoken in dialogue.)
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: The alligators in Attack of the Alligators were played by crocodiles.
** Perhaps they were illegally brought in and released into the wild as an invasive species. A problem with snakes in RealLife.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: A few locations and directions are a bit off. 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. 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 (i.e., on the other side of London).
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: Kyrano and Tin-Tin are just made up names that sound Asian.
* TheAtoner: Parker used to be ''exclusively'' a criminal.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Pretty much everything, but the Crablogger and Sidewinder get special mentions.
** Fireflash is an airliner than can travel 6 times the speed of sound and remain aloft for 6 months. But its reactor shielding needs servicing every four hours or everyone on board will die of radiation exposure.
* BattleButler: Parker. Weaponized car and all.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: International Rescue is altruistic and will stop at nothing to rescue those in need. However, those who take pictures of their technology are dealt with harshly, whether it be having their film destroyed remotely, or even find themselves shot off the road by Lady Penelope.
** Also during 'Move and you're Dead', Scott in Thunderbird 1 [[spoiler:shot at the villains who were responsible for putting Alan and Grandma Tracy on a bridge with a bomb on it.]]
* BigShutUp:
** In "Brink of Disaster", Jeff does this to conman Warren Grafton when Grafton complains that the out-of-control monotrain is going too fast.
** In "Alias Mr. Hackenbacker", after [[spoiler:Thunderbird 2 disables Skythrust's undercart]], Mason (a hijacker) does this to Madeline (another hijacker) when she protests [[spoiler:Mason's reluctant decision to allow the flight crew to return to London]].
* {{Bowdlerise}}: In latter-day airings of "Day Of Disaster" (at least on Creator/TheBBC) when Brains dances for joy following the successful rescue of the rocket the line "You... er... don't suppose he escaped from somewhere, do you?" (said by one supervisor to another) is cut out.
* BrokenAesop: "Atlantic Inferno". Jeff leaves confident son Scott in charge of International Rescue - cue 'bad decisions', Jeff's ire, and an apparent Aesop of "being in charge is more difficult than it looks". However, Scott makes sensible decisions based on expert advice. Jeff unreasonably censures Scott without listening to the evidence, leaving Scott unable to function. The Aesop sadly becomes "adults are always right, even when they are wrong".
* BuccaneerBroadcaster: The pirate TV satellite KLA in "Ricochet", inspired by RealLife ship-based pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and Radio London.
* ButtMonkey: Parker
* 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?"
* ChristmasEpisode: "Give or Take A Million". Which doubles as the last episode of the 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. These cuts also give the viewers a hint as to how the episodes may have originally played out before the show was extended to an hour. 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 and blue
** ''Thunderbird 2'': green
** ''Thunderbird 3'': orange-red
** ''Thunderbird 4'': yellow
** ''Thunderbird 5'': gold and silver
** FAB 1: pink
* ColourCodedCharacters: The pilots wear pastel-coloured sashes and belts:
** Scott: light blue
** Virgil: yellow
** Alan: off-white
** Gordon: orange
** John: lilac
** Plus Lady Penelope: pink
** Brains: bronze (in ''Thunderbird 6'')
** And Jeff: gold -- not in an episode or film, but in an ad for the charity Barnado's.
* 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".
* ComputerEqualsTapedrive
* 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. This include topics such as: How did the boy's mother die?[[note]]Car crash? Skiing accident? Giving birth to Alan?[[/note]] What order were the boys born in?[[note]]Pick an order. Any order you like. At least one obscure source will back you up.[[/note]] Up to and including, ''what year is the show set?''[[note]]2026, or 2065?[[/note]]
* 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: FAB 1. A pink, six-wheeled, [[AmphibiousAutomobile amphibious]], {{weaponized|car}} Rolls-Royce complete with [[BattleButler Battle Chauffeur]] and bulletproof bubble canopy.
* CoolGarage: Tracy Island, with all its retractable and hidden landing and launch bays.
* CoolPlane: ''Fireflash'', a futuristic supersonic jetliner [[http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/thunderbirds/images/4/4b/FireflashBirdsEyeView.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20141018180104 just look at it.]] 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 Tin-Tin 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: ITC did this ''twice'' in the mid-90s. First came an attempt to cram it into a half-hour slot on Creator/FoxKids- in addition to cutting scenes for both time and censorship, all the voices were redubbed and the original music replaced by random rock music. After that flopped, ITC took it into syndication and edited it even more, turning it into the horrific ''Turbocharged Thunderbirds''. Now there were a couple of live-action kids called the "hackers", who lived inside Thunderbird 5 (now "Hacker Command") and took orders from Jeff Tracy (who they called "Mr. T"). while The Hood took orders from a floating holographic head named "the Atrocimator"; they redubbed all the dialog again to add "post-modern" jokes, and supposedly took place on "Thunder World". It really says something when the [=YouTube=] comments on an episode of ''Turbocharged'' say that the ''[[Film/{{Thunderbirds}} 2004 movie]]'' was better than this.
* 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: Tracy Island.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: Everything is MadeOfExplodium, including vehicles.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: International Rescue.
* ExcessiveSteamSyndrome: The creators made extensive use of steam, smoke, and zero-thrust rocket motors to depict take-offs 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 careers before retiring from them to join IR full time. Scott served in the U.S. Air Force 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 successful race-car 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 one of the first men 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.
* FakeAristocrat: One episode has Parker pretend to be an English lord and get everyone in the hotel to play Bingo with him. This was part of a scheme where in the event a fire broke out (thanks to a dish falling off a building and lodging itself on a mountain in a position where it would project the sun's rays at the town where the hotel was) everyone would be awake to fight the fire.
* 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. Averting this trope is one of the few positive things fans can point to about the 2004 film.
* 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...
* 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]]" -- even though it takes longer to say. {{Fanon}} sometimes has this as standing for "'''F'''ully '''A'''dvised and '''B'''riefed."
** Using acronyms like FAB, and those seen in other Anderson series, such as P.W.O.R. ('''P'''roceeding '''W'''ith '''O'''rders '''R'''eceived) from ''Series/{{Stingray|1964}}'' and S.I.G. ('''S'''pectrum '''I'''s '''G'''reen) in ''[[Series/CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons Captain Scarlet]]'', was a nod to then-current real life radio practice which required responses to messages to be understandable even if the signal was bad. Oddly enough, the show's use of actual radio practice -- giving directions like "Left-left two degrees" got it wrong, as there should only have been one "left" but two "rights" so as to be decipherable even if all that could be heard was one or two unintelligible squawks.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** 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.
** In latter-day airings of "Day Of Disaster" (at least on Creator/TheBBC) when Brains dances for joy following the successful rescue of the rocket the line "You... er... don't suppose he escaped from somewhere, do you?" (said by one supervisor to another) is cut out.
** The fifteenth episode, "City of Fire" has Scott and Virgil collapse when testing a cutting torch powered by a prototype gaseous compound. It is implied that they may have gotten a little high off of it.
-->'''Alan:''' How you feel now, boys? Mighty strange stuff, that gas of Brains.
-->'''Scott:''' Yeah, he's working on it now. Funny thing is, I feel better than normal.
*** If they bumped this line down to right after that scene it would have been perfect.
-->'''Jeff Tracy:''' Looks like you've done it again, Brains.
** 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.]]
** At the end of "Attack of the Alligators" we have this line.
-->'''Scott Tracy:''' Now, what would Tin-Tin want to show Alan in the bathroom?
*** It was a tiny alligator.

* GlowingEyesOfDoom: When the main villain, the Hood, uses his mesmeric powers on any other character, his eyes glow yellow.
* 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). [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] because Jeff is asking him how he got there in full detail to keep him concentrating, so he doesn't fall unconscious from heat exhaustion and fall to his death, if not triggering the bomb's motion sensor.
* 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 is 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.)
* IsThisThingStillOn: in "Cry Wolf", while Alan gives the two boys a tour around Tracy Island, he greatly brags about his own role in piloting ''Thunderbird 3'', and describes Scott (who always comes along as co-astronaut) as being merely his subordinate. Unfortunately for him, the intercom on the cart they are in is still on and Scott hears everything Alan says. However, he plays the game along and promptly starts addressing Alan as "sir".
* 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.
** Not just Lady Penelope, but EverybodySmokes - the boys were often seen smoking after a mission.
* InstantEmergencyResponse: Surprisingly averted most of the time. The ''Thunderbirds'' are incredibly fast, but it still takes some time to get to the scene of emergencies, which of course makes their operations once there races against time with only minutes left.
* 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: Surprisingly averted with Alan most of the time, as he proves to be competent. However he does have the background of being a racecar driver. Every now and then when the plot demands it, he complains about something. Later franchise instalments played it irritatingly straight however.
* LargeHam: The Duchess of Royston is about as hammy as puppets get.
* MachineMonotone: The robot Braman constructed by Brains as well as the vocal interface of an elevator. Note that in-series it was very surprising to hear these voices respond with pleasantries like saying 'thank you' and 'you're welcome.'
* 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. [[DrillTank The Mole]] was not, to the best of our knowledge, a double agent.
* 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 [[MadeOfExplodium 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'être of many episodes. It's almost as if Gerry Anderson decided the most dangerous thing about the 2060's were that it is populated by [[TooDumbToLive idiots]]
** 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'''.
** 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.
** 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. We 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 organisations 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.
** The 2004 movie also dropped this, presumably because nowadays, trying to keep their vehicles and tech under wraps would be far more difficult, what with how technology has advanced- you can't exactly just shoot someone's cameraphone or smartphone out of their hands (though an earlier unused script had cameras simply stop working when pointed at the Thunderbirds). On the other hand, the main plot is The Hood attempting to utilize the Thunderbird craft for his own evil ends, justifying the latter concern.
* 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. Tie-in material hints that the show may be in the same universe as ''Stingray'' and ''Captain Scarlet,'' and it's made clear there is a world government.
* 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.
* RayGun: Used by the Tracy boys a couple of times and on one occasion the baddie.
* RetroRocket: ''Thunderbirds 1'' and ''3'', as well as some other vehicles.
* RichIdiotWithNoDayJob: The Tracys. Penny, too.
* SandNecktie: The Hood does this to Brains in the episode "Desperate Intruder". Partly subverted however since he does not do it with the intention of slowly killing Brains, but to torture Brains into revealing information about a treasure he, Tintin and a professor were looking for.
* 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'' [[SpotOfTea teapot]] 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
* SixthRanger: The final movie, ''Thunderbird 6'' introduces the titular machine - [[JokeCharacter an antique Tiger Moth biplane]] that actually does become [[LethalJokeCharacter quite useful]] in the final rescue.
* {{Slurpasaur}}: The episode [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Attack of the Alligators!"]] features 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[[note]]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"[[/note]] ''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}}: Due to the prescence of Zero-X in both first [[TheMovie movie]] looks like it was doubled up as the pilot of the next series, ''Series/CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons''. However, it isn't really confirmed in-series as the Thunderbirds never showed up in ''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: 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.
** The ''intro'' ends with this.
* TeamDad: Jeff Tracy is a literal example.
* 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.
** In ''Thunderbirds Are GO'', Alan hums the theme song not long after observing Zero-X leaving Earth's atmosphere.
* ThisIsAWorkOfFiction: TheMovie ''Thunderbirds are GO!'' ends with the disclaimer: "None of the characters appearing in this photoplay intentionally resemble any persons living or dead... since they do not yet exist!"
* ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman
** Poor Gordon, and his favoured 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".
* UpToEleven: The setting of the 2060s was made by taking TheSixties and turning it UpToEleven.
* WeaponizedCar: Lady Penelope's Rolls Royce.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never see Alan's pygmy "alligator" (really a crocodile) again.
* WomenDrivers: Justified in "City of Fire" as this was a learning driver and Played unfortunately straight in "Vault of Death" -- although perhaps justified in that she's been driven around by other people her whole life. 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.
** Perhaps it wasn't flying a full Mach 6, it's reactor would probably need a lot of maintenance for it to be pushed to the limit so often. Wouldn't a plane travelling a full Mach 6 top speed be in danger of hitting multiple objects and damaging the plane, but then again it should have decent radar too.
* {{Zeerust}}: Kind of inevitable, considering the show was made in the 1960's. 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. All other kinds of high-tech machines have clicky panels, big shiny microphones and chrome-plated-chrome. And not to mention; reel-to-reel tapes are still fully in use in the the futuristic world of the Thunderbirds, while things like the internet, mobile phones, tablets, pocket calculators etc. are not present at all.
** Alternately, Thunderbird 1 looks more like it was based on the Fantastic Four's Pogo Plane, both being tail-sitting rocket-assisted takeoff aircraft that switched to horizontal flight after takeoff; Marvel comics were not widely available in Great Britain in the 60s so the resemblance would not have been immediately obvious.