main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
"Terrahawks! Stay on this channel! This is an emergency!"

Terrahawks is a show produced by Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr in the mid-1980s, using a process dubbed Supermacromation rather than his trademark Supermarionation.

In the year 2020 the alien android Zelda attacks an outpost on Mars and makes it her home base in her efforts to destroy humankind and take over the Earth. To stop her, the Earth employs an elite task force known as the Terrahawks, who pilot an array of exotic aircraft into battle against Zelda's minions.

The Terrahawks are:

  • Doctor "Tiger" Ninestein: One of nine clones of the brilliant Doctor Ninestein, he is in overall command of the Terrahawks. He downloads his entire memory and personality into a computer every day so that in the event of his death, he can be replaced by another clone as required with the information uploaded into the replacement's brain.
  • Captain Mary Falconer: Second in command, with a more diplomatic approach than the combatative Ninestein.
  • Captain Kate Kestrel: Skilled pilot and off duty a noted singer and pop star.
  • Lieutenant Hawkeye: With computer assisted vision (due to a childhood accident) Hawkeye has razor sharp eyesight and lightning reflexes making him a great weapons operator.
  • Lieutenant Hiro: A Japanese genius and the only Terrahawk not to have a themed name, Hiro is a computer expert with a genius level intellect.
  • Zeroids. Spherical robots that function as the main fighting force of the Terrahawks, both on the ground and in mounted on Spacehawk. Powered by Iranium crystals that over time cause them to develop distinct personality quirks and even emotions. Individual zeroids seen include:
    • Sergeant Major Zero - the "first" zeriod that has been active the longest, Zero displays the most advanced personality and emotional range of all the zeriods. Commander of all ground based zeroid forces.
    • Space Sergeant 101 - the next most developed zeroid character who commands the zeroid contingent on Spacehawk.
    • Other minor zeroid characters include Dix-huit (Eighteen) who has a printed handlebar mustache and speaks french and Fifty-five who speaks in rhyme.

The Terrahawks operate five main vehicles.

  • Spacehawk, a huge orbiting spacecraft capable of spaceflight within the solar system that acts as an early warning and initial defence platform. Lt Hiro commands the ship, assisted by the zeroid Space Sargeant 101.
  • Treehawk, a surface to orbit spacecraft used to transfer supplies and personnel to and from Spacehawk. Flown by either Hiro or remote control. So named because its launch site is disguised as a tree.
  • Battlehawk, a large flying transport craft carrying the Battletank, a complement of Zeroids and any other equipment needed for a mission. Battlehawk incorporates:-
  • Terrahawk, a smaller and more manouverable craft that can detach and redock with the larger Battlehawk and forms it's command deck when attached. Dr. Ninestein and Captain Mary Falconer command Battlehawk/Terrahawk.
  • Hawkwing, an extremely fast and well armed interceptor that is the Terrahawks primary defence against airborne attackers. Crewed by Captain Kate Kestrel (pilot) and Lieutenant Hawkeye (gunner).

Terrahawks provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: "Cry UFO" is notable as the only episode in which Zelda never appears.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Sergeant Major Zero can't seem to pronounce Dix-huit's name properly, and regularly calls him "Dicks Hewitt".
  • AI Is A Crap Shoot: Subverted somewhat. The Zeroids have a nasty habit of developing individual personalities and wills of their own, but they always remain loyal. This doesn't stop Dr. Ninestein distrusting Sergeant-Major Zero when he discovers that he's been making his own decisions.
  • Alan Smithee: All but three episodes of the series - "The Midas Touch" and the two-part series opener "Expect The Unexpected" - have scripts credited to individuals with names ending in "-stein" (examples: "Doppelganger" was penned by Albert Zweistein, "Terratomb" by Edward E. Barestein, "Space Cyclops" by Lita Beerstein, etc.) Most episodes were actually written by script editor and Anderson regular Tony Barwick (who's credited under that name on "The Midas Touch").
  • Alliterative Name: Kate Kestrel.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: When shown in the US the end credit theme was replaced with one of Kate Kestrel's songs ("Living In The 21st Century"). The sequence of the Zeroids and Cubes playing tic-tac-toe was also replaced with a traditionally animated scene of a Zeroid bouncing up and down next to a Cube (and eventually smashing it). It was also different in Japan (see below).
  • An Ice Person: Coldfinger.
  • Anger Born of Worry: "Mind Monster" ends with Tiger trapping the eponymous monster by allowing it to invade his brain and then having it wiped out, risking permanent brain damage in the process. Mary naturally has a few choice words for him on the subject:
    Mary: "Tiger... what you did was a marvellous, brave, foolhardy, pigheaded, stupid thing to do!"
  • Anime Theme Song: When dubbed into Japanese as Earth Protection Force Terrahawks, the show also received its own traditionally animated opening and ending sequences complete with brand new theme songs titled "Galactica Thrilling" and "Taisetsu na Kotoba" (One Word) in addition to the original English Supermarionation/animation sequences and music. Check 'em out here.
  • Awesome McCoolname: "Tiger" Ninestein.
  • Badass Adorable: Zelda's most feared and dangerous ally is a teddy bear named Yuri.
  • Badass Baritone: Sergeant-Major Zero.
  • Big Bad: Zelda.
  • Big Eater: Yung-Star
  • Bowdlerise: The scene in "Two For The Price Of One" where Cy-Star gives birth to It-Star with the help of a Zelda-held crowbar was censored for British television screenings.
  • Captain Ethnic: In a sense, as in one episode a space warrior feels that Hiro is a kindred spirit to him. This is the case because Hiro's Japanese and the warrior is samurai-themed.
  • Catch Phrase
    • "I have a theory..."
    • "Flaming thunderbolts!"
    • "Exactry."
    • "Stroll on!"
    • "10-10."
    • "Wooonderful!"
  • Children Are Innocent: Mary's argument against Ninestein's plan to blow up Zelda's base with the newborn It-Star inside.
  • Clip Show: "Ma's Monsters"
  • Cloning Blues: Ninestein.
  • Cloning Gambit: An early episode sees Ninestein unambiguously killed...then, in the aftermath, as his friends are grieving, he calmly walks in. Ol' Tiger has a Significant Name. He's been cloned nine times, so - if one of him is killed - a full memory/personality download is made on the next clone in line, who promptly fills the gap of his predecessor.
  • Cool Car: H.U.D.S.O.N. - Heuristic Universal Driver with Sensory and Orbital Navigation, a heavily modified vintage Rolls Royce with onboard Artificial Intelligence capable of self-drive with onboard laser weaponry, a microzeroid concealed beneath the silver lady mascot and colour changing capability.
  • Cool Starship: Several on both sides.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Kate Kestrel's recording engineer Stew Dapples in "Cry UFO."
  • Despair Event Horizon: General Cord in "First Strike" is convinced his forces will win. They don't. And his mind snaps (which could count as a Villainous Breakdown given he's the direct opposite of Ninestein, though they're basically on the same side).
  • Electronic Eyes: How Hawkeye got his nickname.
  • Enemy Mine: "The Ultimate Menace."
  • Every Episode Ending: The Zeroids and Cubes play tic-tac-toe as the end credits play with a different outcome (well, one of thirteen different outcomes) every time. When the Cubes win they generally do so by bumping a Zeroid from his spot to make a line. (Exception: "A Christmas Miracle," which doesn't have a game under the end credits at all.)
  • Fantastic Racism: Ninestein's distrust of the zeroids (which sometimes borders on outright hatred) often comes across as this.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Friendly Sniper: While not strictly a sniper, Hawkeye serves as the gunner and general sharpshooter of the Terrahawks, and is very personable and easy-going.
  • Funny Foreigner: Lt. Hiro. "Exactry."
  • General Ripper
    • Ninestein borders on being one since his first response to any alien contact is "blow it the hell out of the sky."
    • A better example would be General Rip Cord in "First Strike" who refuses to back off even when Zelda's monsters are completely kicking their asses.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Ninestein may be the hero, but he's not exactly what you would call "pleasant".
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: "For space sake!"
  • Humans Are Bastards: Zelda thinks she's doing the universe a favor by wiping out a destructive, immoral race like the humans. Ninestein on the other hand thinks Rousseau Was Right, and even though humans might screw up big sometimes, screwing up puts us closer to success next time.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Ninestein's obsession with video games actually comes in handy in one instance, helping him to shoot down missiles with incredible accuracy.
  • Japanese Ranguage: Lt. Hiro speaks excrusivery rike this. So do other characters when referring to him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Ninestein tells Zelda there'll be another clone to replace him, Zelda points out that sooner or later there'll only be one clone left.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Sram's signature attack.
  • Master of Disguise: MOID ("Master Of Infinite Disguise").
  • Monster of the Week: The aliens have a supply of frozen monsters they defrost to pit against the Terrahawks. The same four or five tend to show up again and again, though.
  • Mutual Kill: The blunt assessment from Hiro of the likely result in a pitched battle between Spacehawk and the Space Samurai's starcruiser in episode six, confirmed by the titular samurai.
    Ninestein: "If it comes down to a showdown between his battlecruiser and Spacehawk, who wins?"
    Hiro: "No-one. We'd blow each other to pieces."
    Samurai: "He's right."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Jeremy Hitchen based his voice for Dr. Ninestein off of Jack Nicholson.
  • Not a Mask: A delivery man assumes that Yung-Star's distinctly alien-looking face is a mask.
    "Word of advice, pal: take off the stupid mask before you get pulled over by the police."
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: MOID impersonates Hiro in one episode and forgets to impersonate Hiro's thick Japanese accent, which is picked up on by the other characters.
  • Our Graphics Will Suck In The Future: Back in the 80s, Ninestein's video game probably looked revolutionary. In the 21st century, it just looks like the writers came down with a case of Pac Man Fever.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: Sergeant Major Zero, a robotic Zeroid with the desire of becoming human. Much to Ninestein's anger.
  • Punny Name: "Ninestein". Serves as a Shout-Out to Albert Einstein, of course, while reflecting on the fact that he is one of nine clones (and as of "Gold," one of eight clones). See also Alan Smithee above.
  • The Prima Donna: Kate Kestrel allows the media and public to believe that she's one of these, as it's a convenient front for her Terrahawks activity (specifically, her running out mid-recording session to go on missions).
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Fifty-Five only ever speaks in rhyme. Kate Kestrel and Hawkeye will also fall into this occasionally. ("Ready for sky, Hawkeye?" "Aye-aye!" "Then let's fly!")
  • Robotic Reveal: Mark Daryl, the reporter in "A Close Call", is revealed to be an android when Mary shoots him.
  • Shout-Out: Kate sings a song called "SOS" in the episode "Play it Again, Sram," in which direct references are made to Gerry Anderson's earlier series Thunderbirds.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the aforementioned Thunderbirds.
  • Status Quo Is God: After they catch MOID in "Unseen Menace," Ninestein prepares to just march him right outside and let Zelda teleport him back to the Mars outpost like she does with all her defeated minions. Averted in the last set of episodes where Cy-Star gives birth to another recurring villain.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Zelda has mental control over physical matter. As she's an android, one assumes her powers are technological in nature.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Hiro seems to feel this way about MOID after seeing the latter's true face for the first time.
    Hiro: "One can feel a certain sorrow, even for an enemy."
  • Those Two Guys: As pilot and gunner of the Hawkwing, Kate Kestrel and Hawkeye are often this.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ninestein's is crab claw.
    • Yung-star is rarely seen on the Mars base without a bowl of his favourite cereal, Granite Crunchies.
  • We Gotta Stop Meeting Like This:
    Hawkeye: (after a mid-air rendezvous with Kate) We must stop meeting like this.
    Kate Kestrel: You're nothing if not original.
  • Wham Line: "Zelda... I'm going to have a baby!"
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human??: In the pilot Ninestein threatens Zelda that even if she kills him, he's one of nine clones and one of them will just take his place. He actually is killed in the episode "Gold," and one of his clones is brought in to replace him. The thing is, they evidently aren't exact clones, as the one we see is much calmer than the previous Ninestein and looks and sounds like an English gentleman until he has the previous Ninestein's brainwaves downloaded into him. After that the clone becomes an exact visual, verbal and behavioral match for the original, totally wiping out who he was before. Necessary for the defense of the planet, sure, but would they have done that if say, Ninestein was a normal man being succeeded by his son?
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: MOID, who apparently has no real will of his own and may be under the control of Zelda.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Implied with Ninestein, who is prepared to blow Zelda's Mars base sky-high with a newborn baby inside (granted, it's an android, but still.)
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Kate Kestrel most often sports bright pink hair, but throughout the series it's taken on pretty much every hue imaginable.

Spitting ImagePuppet ShowsToday's Special
TaxiSeries of the 1980sThirtysomething
TeletubbiesBritish SeriesThat Mitchell and Webb Look
Terok NorWorkPagesInMain/S to UTexts From Dog

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy