Another one of those British comedies that's apparently considered bad in its home country yet gets a lot of airtime in America, mainly due to PBS thinking "British = good".Thermoman, a superhero from the planet Ultron (a planet whose major industry seems to be superheroes), currently works to protect the planet Earth. After saving a nurse named Janet from falling into the Grand Canyon, he falls in love with her and moves to Northolt (her home town), where he adopts the secret identity of George Sunday. As George, he opens a health food shop that seems destined for perpetual failure... but this stab at a normal life is enough to cause Janet to fall for him.The series focuses primarily on the troubles involved in the day-to-day life of an alien superhero. Major recurring characters include Janet's parents, who disapprove of George mainly on grounds of taste; her employer, Dr. Piers Crispin, who's desperate for media attention; Pier's secretary, Mrs. Raven, a bitter, undisguised sadist; George's cousin Arnie, who used to be a superhero but was fired by the Ultron Council for using his job in the name of profit; and George and Janet's neighbor, Tyler, who knows George is Thermoman... but doesn't risk breaking the superhero's Masquerade because he's also completely insane. The latest series includes George's children with Janet, who are voiced by adult actors.Originally starred Ardal O'Hanlon from Father Ted, who left the show in the last season and was replaced by James Dreyfus.Not to be confused with the Nintendo HardSega Master System game of the same name or the song by Foo Fighters.
This series provides examples of:
Aliens of London (averted mostly; the show is set in England but the two most prominently featured aliens "are" Irish and American respectively; George performs superheroics all over the world)
Aliens in Cardiff: In 1x03, "Mission Impossible", Thermoman stops an abandoned Russian space station from crashing into the center of Grimsby.
Aliens Speaking English: Ultronians and other aliens on Earth speak English. It is pretty easy for Ultronians to learn languages as shown in Series 2 Episode 3, where Xil, who previously just spoke Ultronian, learned English by reading Tyler's mind.
Amnesia Danger: In 3x10, "A Day to Remember". Thermoman, whose powers include erasing people's memories, inadvertently erases his own memory of being Thermoman. This, of course, conincides with the discovery of a giant meteor hurtling towards the Earth.
Back from the Dead: It is revealed in Series 6 Episode 5, Not for Prophet, that George is capable of bringing peope back to life. He does this to Ollie's pet spider, which he then accidently kills, he does it to Piers (also resurrecting a squirrel that was made into a fur coat) which results in him being regarded as a chosen one.
Big Little Man: In one episode, the main characters spend a while worrying about the dreaded (*glances around* *whispers*) Grand High Arbiter of Misuse of Power coming from Ultron to punish George for cheating in a lottery. The arbiter eventually arrives, and we see a figure in a black robe, seen from below, filling the screen and taking menacingly. Then we see that he's several inches tall and standing on a table. Janet squashes him.
Bizarre Alien Biology (Ultronians have a laundry list of unusual reactions to Earth substances, from bourbon to biological laundry detergent)
George: Tyler, do you know how to run a washing machine? Tyler: (enthusiastic) Do I know how to run a washing machine?!? (Gilligan Cut to Tyler and George, up to their knees in suds) Tyler: No, I don't.
Catch Phrase: Parodied with Dr. Crispin's repeated use of "I am always here" in an attempt to establish a catch phrase.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Just... Tyler. For God's sake, the man has tea parties with Frodo Baggins.
Colony Drop: In 6x08, "Believe", Thermoman accidently drops a village in Bavaria on another village, causing them to both catch fire and set alight to a third one. However, no-one actually gets hurt as Thermoman manages to rescue them all (including Ella and Stanley) from his blunder, though they weren't overly grateful about it.
Evolving Credits: Throughout the series, clips from the show are used with Ardal O'Hanlon (George) and Emily Joyce (Janet) are the only two to be credited in the opening though the other main characters are featured as well. Whereas Janet's shot was changed for nearly each series, except for Series 1-2, George's uses the same clip of him from the first ever episode until James Dreyfus takes the role in Series 6.
Forgotten Trope: Parodied. Instead of changing into his costume in phone booths like Superman, Thermoman always does it in the restroom.
Gender Bender. This can apparently happen to Ultronians who contract certain illnesses (one episode has Oliver suffer from this and Overnight Age-Up, turning him into the 20-something Olive). Arnie apparently once had this happen to him... but didn't bother shaving his/her moustache.
There are also gender-changing pills that Ultronians can take. After George temporaily becomes a woman (James Dreyfus in drag) they accidently slip into the water supply, affect Mrs. Raven.
Gilligan Cut: season 1 episode 3 when George is trying to wash his super hero outfit.
George Tyler! Do you know how to work washing machines?
Tyler Do I know how to work washing machines?
(cut to kitchen filled with bubbles)
Goo Goo Godlike: The Genius Ditz superhero Thermoman had a son, Ollie, who is just as powerful as his father - but also twice as intelligent.
Also, Cassie, while having only just the power to tell the future, has intelligence equal to Ollie.
Cassie trying to actually tell people about what she sees in the future goes about as well as you'd expect when she's trying to interpret what she sees with only a few hours experience to work with. (She starts out by accidentally causing everyone to think something was about to kill everyone in the hemisphere because she saw everyone on one side of the planet 'not moving'. It turned out they were asleep. To be fair, she didn't say everyone was going to die, she just said they weren't moving.)
The idea of George and Janet having kids is first pondered in Series 1 Episode 5, Old Man Riverdance. Janet asks George if they had children would they be human or Ultronian, he tells her they'd probably be a bit of both, "in Earth terms: brilliant, in Ultron terms: seriously retarded". He also reveals that Ultronians have been breeding with humans for centuries. Ultronian-Human hybrids include: Mozart, Einstein and loads of sportsmen: Pete Sampras, Nick Faldo and Stephen Hendry, as he says "all brilliant, but something not quite human about them."
Aside from the children, George and Janet's wedding features an appearance by George's cousins from planet Zargon, who are part human, but are also part fish.
Also, in the last episode of Series 4, Arnie conceives a child with Ella in the past.
Ultronian-humans are said to sometimes lose their Ultronian talents as they grow, with the "inferior gene" kicking in. Arnie says this is what happened to Macauley Culkin: "Great until he was ten, and then kaput."
Human Outside, Alien Inside: A fair number of jokes revolve around the quirks of Ultronian anatomy, ranging from "unpleasant reactions to everyday chemicals" to "blue urine" to "unpredictable bouts of coma".
Identity Impersonator: In 1x04, "Thermoman's Greatest Challenge", Thermoman was scheduled to give a public appearance in Northolt and Janet's father threatened to cut off all ties with George if he didn't personally thank Thermoman for having saved Janet's life (his and Janet's first meeting). George made Tyler wear the costume then erased his memory.
In the Blood: One episode featured Mrs. Raven's evil(er) mother who kidnapped her for a ransom.
It's Been Done: The episode where George runs for mayor. "We can't both be mayor! Ooh, I've got an idea, we could have some sort of vote. And someone could count them. And then—wait for it—the one with the most votes wins!"
Politicians Kiss Babies: The series has Piers Crispin kissing small children during his attempt to campaign for Mayor in one episode, though it backfires when he tries to kiss Ollie and gets punched in the face (Ollie being the son of George Sunday/Thermoman, and thus a superbaby).
Rescue Romance: Thermoman saves Janet from falling into the Grand Canyon, and they fall in love at the first sight.
Smug Super: Despite the fact George rarely fits this trope, it is lampshaded in 3x07, "Little Green Man".
Janet: "You seem very pleased with yourself."
George: "Well I am, it's great being super."
Speaks Fluent Animal: George uses a device called the Interspecies Interpereter in Series 3 #3 which allows him to talk to animals (except dung beetles, as George says "why would you want to, they live in dung"), specifically Ella and Stanley's dog.
It returns in Series 6 #3 where the new George uses it on the Ella and Stanley's cat to find out why Janet gives it so much attention.
In Series 4 #6, Tyler talks to a dog about George's campaign for Mayor of Northolt. Although this could be one of his dellusions, the dog actually shakes his hand, and hell, Tyler being friends with da Vinci turned out to be true.
Tyler does speak Ultronian, so he may have an uncanny knack for languages.
Ollie is also mentioned to have Superhearing, when he listens in on Janet and George, George tells her they would have to go past the Falklands for him to not hear them.
Superheroes can smell natural disasters. Yes, smell natural disaster. Wiping your nose helps find them easier. George's father said that he could sense different disasters for each nostril.
Tastes Like Chicken: In 5x08, "How Green Was My Ollie", George gets some GM Food from Ultron which allows anything to taste like anything (e.g. something that looks like brocoli but tastes like ice cream). Tyler, has a snack in George's house and says that it tastes just like chicken, only for it to be revealed by George that it is chicken.
10-Minute Retirement: In 4x08, "The Consultant", George resigns from his superhero duties protecting the Earth after new rules make him so stressed he almost causes the death of his friends by a ICBM. He is replaced by Locum Man, who is soon replaced by Tempman, who is replaced by Work Experience Boy. When Janet is trapped in the burning Health Centre, Work Experience Boy's attempt to save her goes tits up when he accidentally flies into a bush, but George triumphantly returns as Thermoman and saves her.
Thermoman does have a much better disguise than Superman, however. Thermoman wears a helmet that covers much of his face, has a radically different voice and accent than he uses as George, and almost never walks anywhere (flying instead) which makes it difficult to recognize him by how he moves.
In Series 5 #5, "Nothing to Hide", George tells a detective that he has, well, nothing to hide.
In Series 6 #8, "Believe", the final episode of the series, Piers releases a book called Believe.
The Fun in Funeral: In 4x02, "The Living Dead", Thermoman's Bizarre Alien Biology acting up leads to his secret identity, George Sunday, being thought dead by everyone. The idea was that he'd sit up in the coffin during the ceremony before his cremation and make Dr. Piers Crispin look like an idiot (which isn't particularly difficult). Two things combined to put it under this trope: a sudden attack of that same BAB problem that caused all this in the first place, and a B-plot featuring Mrs. Raven fusing therapeutic and stage hypnosis. Hilarity Ensues:
True Love's Kiss: Subverted in 2x05. George, attempting to break through Rovi's mind control over Janet, announces that he's giving her a True Love's Kiss, but later confesses that what actually broke the mind control was him using the kiss to covertly slip her the antidote to the superattraction ability that Rovi had been using on her.