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Series / Thunderstone

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Thunderstone is an Australian children’s show that ran from 1999 to 2000. Created by Jonathan M. Shiff.

In 2002, the Nemesis comet hit the Earth, wiping out all plant, animal and human life, bar a few survivors, and plunging the world into a seemingly-endless winter. The only people who survived were those in underground bunkers or research stations, who were protected from the impact. Their lives are hard. Their food is artificial and tasteless, their lives are highly regimented and they can never go outside or see the sun.

Eighteen years later, holodeck-obsessed teenager Noah Daniels is experimenting with the holodeck in North Col, the station he calls home. He finds himself in a desert. As he’s never seen this simulation before, he begins to explore but is quickly captured by a strange group of children no older than himself who call the area “Haven”. They tie him up and drag him to a cave, accusing him of being a “Protector” spy. It quickly dawns on Noah that this is no simulation. Somehow, he’s travelled in time.

Thunderstone contains examples of:

  • Advertising by Association: The DVD boxset displays the text "From the makers of Ocean Girl".
  • Always Identical Twins: Sundance and Sutch, both played by Damien Fotiou
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Pretty much every animal in the series (and there are a lot) is this to some degree. Arushka’s horse Moshi “knows what you’re gonna do, even before you do it”. Dolly the sheepdog can track her puppies across a vast desert without help. Prince the hawk brings Arushka a rock of thunderstone to show her that a huge deposit is nearby, and leads Chip, Kwan and Geneva to Arushka and Sundance when they’re trapped in a cave.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Becky is energetic, constantly curious, and brilliant with gadgets. All of these things get on Noah's nerves near constantly.
  • Berserk Button: Sundance and Sutch are each other’s, to the point where they’ll attack each other on sight. Sundance is worse about this, as he gets agitated if the others even talk about his brother.
  • Big Badass Rig: “The Beast”, a huge truck dug up by the Protectors and used to do their heavy lifting. It was cool enough to live on long after the Protectors were gone, being used by the Nomads in the second season as a storeroom/Sundance’s bedroom/brig
  • Big Brother Mentor: Sundance often plays this role with the younger Nomads, though he’s much more abrasive than most examples of this trope. He also occasionally veers into Big Brother Bully territory.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The inhabitants of Haven use their own words for dates and times. Years are greenings. Dawn, noon, dusk and night are new sun, mid sun, old sun and star time. This gives Noah many headaches at first as he struggles to word things in ways they’ll understand or care about.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Pretty much every character in the show prefers their native time to any of the others. The citizens of North Col see Haven as a horribly primitive wasteland where the inhabitants struggle to stay alive and avoid capture each and every day. The Nomads see North Col as a claustrophobic, oppressive prison filled with technology they don’t understand. Much drama comes from characters being frightened or horrified by the society of a time unfamiliar to them.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Becky, to an extent. She makes a device which can disable the Holocops that patrol North Col, is able to replicate her older brother’s time travelling feat just by reading his notebook, and can fix electronics that her own brother is having trouble with.
  • Impersonating the Evil Twin: Sundance is forced to do this in order to save Becky after she is captured by Sutch (Who tricked her by pretending to be Sundance). It fools almost nobody, but Sundance still manages to escape with Becky (as well as Noah and Arushka) because part of the villain’s plan involved letting them go.
  • Instant Expert: Arushka masters horseriding the minute she hops into the saddle. This is quite a feat, considering that she had never seen a live horse, or indeed a live animal until a few hours before. Averted, however, with the other characters, who are shown to actually need to learn how to ride.
  • It's All About Me: Noah, at least during earlier episodes, is almost entirely focused on getting back home, despite being repeatedly shown that the Nomads' needs are greater than his own, and despite possessing technology that could help them.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sundance. He’s slow to trust others and doesn’t like strangers, so he drives them away no matter what the rest of the Nomads think of the idea. When Arushka starts paying attention to Noah, he gets jealous and as a result mistreats Noah long after the others have accepted him. And, due to being very much a loner, he sits and sleeps as far away from the others as he can and occasionally disappears for days at a time. However, he is loyal, strong, brave, fiercely protective of the people he loves, and once he warms up to you he’s as solid and reliable a friend and protector as you could ever hope to have. Arushka herself can be bossy and harsh, and often seems to care more about animals than her own people.
  • Lethal Chef: Sundance. One of his dishes turns black in five seconds flat and, according to Chip, “tastes like something died”
  • Meaningful Name: A person called Noah brings animals to repopulate a barren Earth after a planet-wide natural disaster. Hmm.
  • Nature Lover: Arushka loves nature as a whole and adores animals, to the point of obsession. She says she’s dreamed about animals ever since she saw the mural of them in the Deep Road. The rest of her group seem to believe that she cares about animals more than them, and they might be right. The fact that she lives in a barren wasteland that was utterly void of any animal life until Noah brought it to her hasn’t stopped her in the slightest. Once she does get to see real animals, she instantly shows an almost supernatural ability to understand and calm them. In fact, one of her first displays of this was to calm an enraged circus lion.
  • Never Learned to Read: Sundance is totally illiterate, which he reveals when his peace offering to Noah for mistreating him is to ask Noah to teach him to read. This is implied to be a rarity even in Haven, as the Protectors are seen reading books and computer screens, and even Geneva, one of the Nomads, can read books and is seen writing on a wall.
  • Nubile Savage: Arushka, who despite living in a very primitive fashion, is thin and pretty with perfect skin that shows no signs of scarring and totally hairless arms and legs. Her dress is also, probably not coincidentally, the skimpiest of the entire cast. She’s never dirty, unlike the rest of the Nomads who are almost always covered in dirt. Sundance also fits this to a lesser extent, as while he’s perpetually dirty, he’s still muscled, has no visible scars despite being the group’s main fighter, has perfect teeth and never goes beyond a Perma-Stubble.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: When Becky mistakes Sutch for his identical twin Sundance, though she’s confused by the car and the apparent change of clothes, what finally tips her off that something is wrong is when “Sundance” begins to laugh, something the sullen teenager almost never does.
  • Scenery Porn: The show absolutely loves to treat you to long shots of various animals or the Australian outback accompanied by majestic music. It's especially prone to this in the second season and the second half of the first season.
  • Supreme Chef: Kwan’s cooking is wonderful, and everybody who tries it is happy to tell him so.
  • Tagalong Kid: Chip, the youngest of the Nomads and the only one without any distinguishing skills. He always wants to help Arushka and Sundance when they go to scout out an area or rescue a friend, but almost always ends up helping Kwan with the cooking or Geneva with mending clothes instead. His attempts to sneak out and prove himself as useful almost always end with him getting captured or, on one occasion, trapped in quicksand.
  • Team Chef: Kwan. He’s often shown cooking, and is quite protective of his ingredients.
  • Team Dad: Sundance, being the oldest of the group and Arushka’s second-in-command.
  • The Heart: Geneva, who doesn’t do a great deal of fighting herself but instead acts as a mediator to keep the others from losing their tempers. Considering that both leaders of her group are highly independent and stubborn people, this is important.
  • The Medic: Kwan, who is not only a Supreme Chef able to cook up food that everybody agrees is wonderful, but is also able to cure snakebites. With herbs.
  • The Reveal: Haven is not in the past, but in the future
  • Twin Switch: Becky, having only recently met the Nomads and knowing very little about them, sees Sutch and mistakes him for Sundance. Sutch goes along with this in order to capture her, forcing Sundance to knock his brother out, steal his clothes and impersonate him, completing the switch.