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Western Animation / Thunderbirds Are Go

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"5...4...3...2...1 Thunderbirds are GO!"
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Thunderbirds Are Go is the remake of Thunderbirds. It began on ITV and CITV on 4 April 2015 and concluded 22 February 2020. The original marionettes have been replaced with CGI, although many of the sets and environments, most notably Tracy Island, are models. The series is a UK-New Zealand co-production and features visual effects by Weta Digital, CGCG and Milk VFX, which look every bit as awesome as you'd expect. The series received a great deal of publicity in the British media, with all concerned insisting that they wanted the new series to remain true to the spirit of the old.

Two more seasons were then commissioned, bringing the episode total to 78.

Not to be confused with the 1966 film set in the milieu of the original series.



  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The series, like the original which was set in 2065 to 2067, is set in 2060.
  • Abandoned Mine: In "Crosscut", Thunderbird 5 picks up an unusual radiation spike from a remote corner of Africa, and John discovers a former uranium mine has reopened, leading to Scott rushing there in Thunderbird 1 to investigate, with Virgil following. When Scott arrives and enters the mine, he discovers a source of unstable uranium, and is attacked by a mysterious woman, who claims that the mine belongs to her family. During their confrontation the mine soon begins to crumble, and she and Scott must work together to escape and reseal the mine, before a storm spreads the leaking radiation to the nearest city with serious consequences.
  • Accidental Hug: In "Heavy Metal", Brains and Moffie (who are sharing an awkward nerdy unspoken crush) nearly do the spontaneous-hug-in-a-moment-of-joy version, but break off at the last moment.
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  • Action Girl: Penelope as in the original, but Kayo even more so.
  • Adaptational Badass: Kayo, who is the equivalent of the original series' Tintin. Whereas Tintin was a renowned Neutral Female, Kayo is a full-blown Action Girl.
    • Likewise, Grandma Tracy's personality has undergone a full 180 degrees from a sweet little old granny (who could cook just fine) to a foul-tempered Lethal Chef badass grandma.
    • Also applies to Thunderbird 5 from a certain perspective, as it goes from just being the satellite communication system that alerts the team to their next rescue to actually being able to participate in rescue missions on its own.
  • Adaptational Expansion: Due to the move to CGI, several cases of literal wooden acting are gone, with much more natural movements, including weightlessness within space, and scenes such as when swimming actually have the characters move and act.
  • Adaptational Nationality: The Kyranos, including the Hood, flip nationality from non-specifically Asian to British.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Compare Brains' performance in "Lord Parker's 'Oliday" to his fear-induced paralysis in "Runaway"...
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the original series, John was blond and Gordon was ginger. Here, it is reversed.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Eos. More petulant and childish than evil though.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Hood pulls this off in the Season 1 finale!
  • All Your Powers Combined: The Zero-XL created to rescue Jeff Tracy features all five Thunderbirds combined into one vehicle around a central primary rocket (albeit with Thunderbird 4 just being transported via Thunderbird 2 as per usual and Thunderbird Shadow staying behind to defend Tracy Island from an invasion).
  • And the Adventure Continues: In the Season 3 finale, after rescuing Jeff and having a graduation ceremony for Alan, International Rescue is immediately dispatched with Jeff answering the call.
  • Arrow Cam: Done with grappling hooks in "Recharge" and "Touch and Go."
  • Artificial Gravity: Portrayed more realistically than in the original series. Thunderbird 5 has a rotating section which provides centrifugal gravity, but when he's in other parts of the station John is authentically weightless. Thunderbird 3 has no such section, and as a result everything in the cabin is weightless.
  • Ascended Extra: In the '60s series, despite John Tracy essentially being part of the main cast, his appearances were so minor compared to the other brothers that he might as well have been an "extra". That is definitely not the case here, as he's filling Jeff and Scott's previous roles as Mission Control - and getting a couple missions of his own.
  • Asteroid Miners: In "Slingshot", a large solar flare causes a malfunction at a mining operation on an asteroid, sending it careening towards the sun and endangering its only crewman.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Gordon and Lady Penelope in "Tunnels of Time".
  • Big Dam Plot: In "Power Play", the Mechanic takes over the Grand Sequoia Dam in North America and steals power for a project the Hood abandoned because he considered it to be too extreme. When the turbines are pushed to the limit the dam starts to break up. Scott crawls inside to rescue the trapped workers while Virgil, Alan and Gordon attempt to seal a growing crack.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Alan and Gordon are blonds, Scott and Virigl are brunettes and John is a redhead.
  • Bluff the Impostor: In "EOS", the fake John is tested with a leading remark about Grandma Tracy's cookies. When he replies that they're one of the things he misses most while he's in orbit, everyone within earshot immediately knows he's an impostor. Later, in "Chain of Command", Parker does this to a "Colonel Janus" who had grounded International Rescue (and would later interrupt a rescue without taking it over) with wrong information about a former military division both he and Janus were in.
  • Bollywood Nerd: Brains, having been subjected to a Race Lift.
  • Breaking Out the Boss: In "Escape Proof", a tunneling vehicle belonging to the Mechanic leaves a plumber trapped in its wake and it is up to Virgil and Gordon to get him out. Lady Penelope and Parker track down the Mechanic's vehicle and discover that he's heading straight for Parkmoor Scrubs prison, where the Hood is being held. Although the breakout is successful the Hood double crosses the Mechanic and leaves him to be arrested by the GDF while he slips away. The Mechanic also escapes and programs his vehicle to self-destruct.
  • Broken Aesop: The "don't be too over-reliant on technology" aesop of "Unplugged" is undermined by the fact that most of the Thunderbird's missions are only possible with their technology and the situation depriving them of the technology is due to active enemy attack instead of any inherent fault in the technology or arrogance on the part of the Thunderbirds. It's akin to chiding a pilot for being too reliant on his plane and not flying under his own power after it's been sabotaged. Though it could also be considered a Michael Crichton-esque lesson — "All tools can break; make sure you can fix or replace them. Any system can fail; make sure the first failure won't kill you."
    • Alternatively: "Don't give up and lose hope just because the tools you rely on don't work anymore." Since Virgil seems particularly despondent when he learns that his gear isn't working, and needs Grandma Tracy to encourage him multiple times throughout the episode.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Grandma Tracy's terrible cooking is a once-an-episode running gag to begin with, and then there's an episode where it's used to Bluff the Impostor. After that it's brought up less often.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Alan shows shades of this in the episode "EOS":
    Alan: But John has eyes on pretty much everywhere! He could tell us if a cat was stuck up a tree in... Antarctica!
    Brains: But there are no trees in Antarctica.
    Alan: That's how they get ya!
    • Then there is Langstrom Fischler...
    Fischler: I am going to go with monkeys from now on! A lot easier! Monkeys with helmets! Actually, no helmets! Just put the logos on the monkeys' foreheads...
  • Colour-Coded Characters: The pilots wear coloured sashes — which do not match the original show's colours (they instead match the colour of their crafts, except for John):
    • Scott: Silver
    • Virgil: Green
    • Alan: Red
    • Gordon: Yellow
    • John: Orange
    • Kayo: No sash, but has a black utility harness instead.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The vehicles:
    • Thunderbird 1: Silver and Blue
    • Thunderbird 2: Green
    • Thunderbird 3: Red
    • Thunderbird 4: Yellow
    • Thunderbird 5: Gold and silver
    • Thunderbird S: Black
    • F.A.B. 1: pink
  • Companion Cube: In "Slingshot", Ned the asteroid miner keeps up a running commentary to his potted geranium Gladys, and at one point announces her opinion on the current situation. During their second appearance in "Under Pressure", Gladys occasionally gets reaction shots in which the swaying of the flower looks like nodding or head-shaking in response to Ned's last remark.
  • Contagious A.I.: In her first appearance in "EOS", she is a childlike A.I. encountered in Japan that suddenly takes control of Thunderbird 5, trapping John outside of it. The program, created by John as a game, believes it is defending itself from being shut down and is sending false monitor images to Tracy Island to deceive the others. John is eventually able to reason with her and she becomes a recurring ally.
  • Continuity Nod: Ned in "Under Pressure" makes reference to Alan and the rescue in "Slingshot".
    • After Eos's introduction episode, she appears again in "Skyhook" acting as John's support. Technically, she also had a hand in with the train in "Runaway", forming a minor arc between the episodes.
  • Cool Car: Lady Penelope's Rolls-Royce FAB-1, no longer referred to as a Rolls-Royce and lacking the "Spirit of Ecstasy" hood ornament, but still retaining the traditional oversized chrome grille (now topped with a rocket hood ornament) and a silver hood resembling that on the modern Rolls-Royce Phantom. It's also chock-full with gadgets, including hover-tyres, flight and submersible modes, anti-pursuit weapons like an Oil Slick, and offensive foam-trap rockets.
    • Its predecessor FAB-0 is older, but just as sophisticated, being, basically, effectively The ''original'' FAB-1
  • Cool Pet: Lady P now has a dog named Sherbet.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Of a sort. "Unplugged" showed just how reliant International Rescue (and by extension the City of London) was on their technology. So much so that Virgil believes his presence is useless without it.
    • Defied in terms of the Thunderbirds themselves; Thunderbirds 3 and 4 are still the only vehicles capable of regular space flight and aquatic rescues respectively, but Thunderbird 4 in particular has been modified on a few occasions to deal with rescues in high-pressure environments, and Thunderbird 2 has managed to go into space or underwater with appropriate modifications when faced with particularly dangerous rescues.
  • Cute Machines: Brains now has a robot assistant named Max.
  • Cyber Cyclops: The A.I. in "EOS" is the variety where it controls a building and the building's cameras act as face stand-ins, with 2001: A Space Odyssey an obvious (and Portal a possible) influence.
  • Dark Secret: Kayo is The Hood's niece, which she kept as a secret from the Tracy Brothers until the Hood revealed it in "Legacy".
  • Decoy Getaway: With a bomb attached to Tracy Island's generator, the Hood plans to make his exit, only to find that thanks to Kayo's misdirection, he's on the neighboring Mateo Island, with the backup generator set to explode..
  • Didn't Think This Through: At the end of "Signals Part 1", Havoc manages to steal Thunderbird 3. However, come "Signals Part 2", it turns out she did this out of impulsive opportunism without an actual plan to keep her acquisition, something the Hood calls her out on since he made the same mistake in the past.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: In "Fireflash", Kayo is riding aboard Fireflash, a supersonic airliner that was recently improved by Brains, unaware that the Hood is planning to hijack it in mid-flight. While International Rescue notices the plane has suddenly vanished from their monitors and attempt to locate it, Kayo manages to avoid a powerful gas attack that has knocked out both the passengers and the crew, and is forced to not only confront the Hood, but also safely land the airliner when the craft is accidentally damaged and the landing gear fails to deploy.
  • Disappeared Dad: Unlike in the original show, Jeff Tracy is nowhere to be seen. In "Ring of Fire", it is mentioned that he was in a crash, and that The Hood is to blame. But they Never Found the Body. Tintin/Kayo's father Kyrano has also been Adapted Out making her relationship with the Hood even more of a tenuous stretch, though she mentions later that he's a Retired Badass who would likely come out of retirement if Jeff were ever found. The Signals two-parter reveals that the Hood impulsively stole Zero-X and overloaded the engine, threatening to accidentally cause the end of the world, but Jeff got it out of the atmosphere and was seemingly killed in the explosion. It later turns out that the "explosion" was in fact an aftershock and Zero-X flew off in a random direction, meaning there is hope that Jeff is alive.
  • Drill Tank:
    • In "Escape Proof", the Mechanic constructs a tunnelling machine that he uses to break the Hood out of Parkmoor Scrubs prison. On his way there, the machine wreaks enough incidental havoc that it attracts the attention of International Rescue.
    • Not technically a tank in the strictest sense, but IR still has the much-loved Mole pod, which is now a commonly used configuration on the modular pods that replaced the original unnaturally spacious garage full of standard vehicles in the original show.
  • Durable Deathtrap: The tomb in "Tunnels of Time" is full of traps, including spears and deadly gas vents, that are still working after nearly a thousand years.
  • Easter Egg:
    • John likes watching Stingray reruns, as indicated in the pilot, where he watches a snippet of the series' opening credits hologram-style in Thunderbird 5.
    • Speaking of Stingray, the aquarium behind the living room that hides the access tube for Thunderbird 4 has a miniature of the sub swimming around in it. Which appears to be autonomous, as it's shown actively maneuvering it's way around the tank during the brief moment it's seen.
    • One of the characters in the pilot is named Meddings, after Gerry Anderson's visual effects wizard Derek Meddings. (There was also a character called Meddings in the original version's pilot.)
    • The doomed underwater research base in the pilot has a module resembling the nose of an Eagle transporter from Space: 1999.
    • When FAB-1 sprouts wings and takes flight, it resembles Supercar.
    • In the second season, Jeff Tracy's prototype Thunderbird is found abandoned in the ocean after it was sabotaged by the Hood years ago. It's called TV-21, which was the name of the publication that printed Thunderbirds comic strips in the 1960s. Inside, Gordon finds a hat of the same style that the team wore in the original series.
    • In the second season episode "High Strung", Kayo flicks through several TV channels, which shows scenes from several episodes of the original series.
  • Epic Launch Sequence: Much like the original, Thunderbirds Are Go is likewise filled with it's fair share of launches. And while most of them are largely reproduced (TB1 still comes out of the pool, for example), the one sequence that was completely changed is Thunderbird 4's "island" launch, first seen in SOS Part 2 (S3E13): Instead of just taxiing(!?) out of it's module and driving off the end of Thunderbird 2's runway, it instead gets a proper sub-aqua launch sequence worthy of this trope.
  • The Exit Is That Way: At the beginning of "Slingshot", Alan is woken by an emergency call and sleepily stumbles into his closet before finding the door of his bedroom.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: In "Under Pressure", Lady Penelope's usually-friendly lapdog reacts aggressively to a corporate executive who turns out to be the Hood in disguise.
  • Evil Gloating: The Hood has a bad case of this in "Unplugged", where he starts gloating to his pawns about how he's used them for his own purposes as soon as he's got his hands on the MacGuffin — while they're all still standing in the vault where it was stored. Fair enough, he goes on to demonstrate that he's planned his exit, but wouldn't it have been a good idea anyway to leave the scene of the crime first?
  • Evil Luddite: A group shutdown Thunderbird 2 and the entire city of London in "Unplugged". Predictably, these were merely pawns for the Hood.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Mechanic wears a breath mask and goggles and speaks in a deep, Bane-esque voice.
  • Faceless Goons: In "Under Pressure", the Hood has three mooks wearing motorcycle helmets with opaque faceplates.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In "Crosscut", Scott investigates a room that's supposedly been abandoned for a decade and takes a worryingly long time to spot the clear trail of footprints running across the dusty floor.
  • Fake in the Hole: In "Path of Destruction", Fuse plants a sonic detonator on a tanker carrying Nutrezine, a highly volatile fuel. Gordon manages to reach the detonator but does not have time to defuse it. He tries to run, but the truck driver Roadhog just picks the detonator up and holds it. The time runs out and nothing happens. Roadhog explains that she knew the detonator had to be a dud, as Fuse wanted to steal her cargo, and would gain nothing by blowing it up. The detonator was intended to cause them to panic and abandon the truck.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Hood in this version is a lot more sophisticated and calmer than the diabolical Large Ham we saw in the original series. He seems to bear more of a resemblance to Ben Kingsley's portrayal of the character from a certain live-action adaptation.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence: Faithfully reproduced from the original series.
  • Foil: After various missions in the first season saw IR dealing with inventor Langstrom Fischler's latest disaster because he didn't do his work properly, the second-season episode "Hyperspeed" featured Tycho Reeves, whose work is so good that it impressed Brains and whose only mistake was a minor error in his calculations that he and Brains had to analyse closely at least twice to find.
  • From Bad to Worse: Most of the Tracy's rescue missions go this way.
  • Gravity Sucks: In "Heavy Metal", scientists researching gravitons accidentally create a "gravity tornado" that sucks aircraft and satellites out of the sky, and generally behaves in ways that real gravity doesn't.
  • Great Offscreen War: In "Space Race", there is a mention of a global conflict that spanned from 2040 to most 2043 and even in 2060, there are remnants of the war left such as space mines. (Which is itself a modern update of England's very real UXB (Unexploded Bomb) problem, dating back from the last days of WW2, and still ongoing today.)
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: In Season 3: Chaos part 2, while they do claim to have thoroughly searched Havoc, they don't actually remove any of her high-tech clothing when they capture her.
  • Holographic Disguise: The Hood uses one in many of his appearances.
  • Hot Scientist: Professor Moffat in "Heavy Metal", in a dorky but cute sort of way.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Just about every second line from Lady Penelope and Parker during the fight scene in "Under Pressure" is a pun.
  • IKEA Weaponry: Instead of a large variety of auxiliary machines in the original series, Thunderbird 2's second pod contains an array of modular vehicle components, which can be assembled on-site into a variety of auxiliary machines. Examples include a four-rotor gyrocopter, a bulldozer, space modules, and the Mole digger.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: When Grandma Tracy says it's time for a family dinner, Virgil says he'll go to clean up and tells Gordon to meet him at the ship. Scott and Alan on the other hand ...
    Scott: [pretending to listen to a communicator] What's that, John? A rescue? I'm on my way!
    Alan: Uh, I think I left my thruster on!
  • If I Do Not Return: In the episode "Runaway", Brains is dangling from a zipline from Thunderbird 1. When it appears he will slam into a mountain face, he screams "TELL MAX I LOVE HIM!!!"
  • Ignoring by Singing: In "EOS", the rogue AI does this when John tries to persuade her that he means her no harm. She doesn't have hands to clap over her ears (or ears), but on the other hand, she can sing "la la la" really loud.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Gadgeteer Genius Tycho Reeves from the episode Hyperspeed looks exactly like his voice actor, David Tennant.
  • In Medias Res: When the show starts, they've already been doing rescues for a while. We join the action when The Hood reappears on the scene.
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: EOS, the AI in "Runaway" and "EOS", spontaneously evolved from a non-sapient computer program when its creator wasn't looking.
    • It is implied though that EOS evolved from an AI opponent game code.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • The Hood remarks "amazing what switching a few relays can do" when he triggers the escape capsules on a falling space station, keeping one for himself by sabotaging it. Then Kayo says it when said sabotage leaves the Hood in a malfunctioning escape capsule.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: In "Runaway", Scott and Alan each independently remark that a cookie from Grandma's latest batch "tastes like a foot".
  • Just Train Wrong: In "Runaway", Japanese railways is testing an experimental train on an active railway line with no passing sidings. And dispatch vanishes after John takes over without clearing obstacles from the track ahead.
  • Karma Houdini: Langstrom Fischler, entrepreneur and 'inventor' whose machinery is always poorly designed and insanely dangerous when it goes bad, keeps somehow finding new investors for his schemes. Probably the worst example is 'Impact', where his half-baked attempt at asteroid mining nearly dooms the Earth by sending a rogue comet hurtling right at it. But then two episodes later he's right back at it with a faulty Weather-Control Machine.
  • Lawful Stupid: Light-Fingered Fred, while working at Oxy-Baker, is so obsessed with following the rules that not even a life-or-death situation is an acceptable reason for breaking them to him. A life-or-death situation that he caused by refusing to let a cleaning crew in a few minutes early. In addition, he utterly refuses to cooperate with International Rescue because they haven't received clearance. Ironically, in his refusal to break rules for any reason, he's breaking the very first rule of Oxy-Baker: "Any of the rules in this book can be dismissed and forgotten in any emergency where loss of human life might result". Needless to say, Mrs Baker is not happy when she finds out that his inflexibility has cost her a scrubber and nearly killed two workers, and she fires him for completely and utterly mishandling an emergency minutes after entering his office.
  • Lethal Chef: Grandma's cooking is apparently so bad that everyone makes whatever excuses they can to avoid having to try it. Even Max the robot cooks better than she does.
    Alan: [gags] Tastes like a foot.
  • Le Parkour:
    • Kayo, when infiltrating the Hood's Australian base.
    • Parker retains some skills from his youth.
  • Lockdown: In "Chain Reaction", a young GDF officer gets trapped inside a lift shaft in Shackleton, a haunted nuclear power station that was abandoned after a meltdown. Scott takes Thunderbird 1 in to assist, along with help from GDF Lieutenant and nuclear expert Marion Van-Arkel. They soon discover that Fuse is trying to steal uranium but when he puts himself in mortal danger, Scott has no choice but to rescue him. Fuse escapes just in time but the power plant goes into lock down, trapping Scott and the GDF officers inside along with the Shackleton Beast!
  • Luck-Based Search Technique: Ably demonstrated by Parker while exploring the South American pyramid in "Tunnels of Time".
  • Ludicrous Precision: In "EOS", the rogue AI announces that the odds against the Thunderbirds defeating it are 5617 to 1.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Most apparent with Scott in "Crosscut", however this applies to all brothers to some extent.
    • During the episode "Skyhook", John withstands g-forces of ten and over (up to 25) for an estimated ten to fifteen seconds. That's a lot. Not only does he not pass out, he is able to get up immediately afterward without any apparent injuries.
    • Sometimes covered by Rule of Funny, such as when Brains is testing a walking-on-the-ceiling device in "EOS", and falls a significant distance without noticeable ill effect when the device breaks down.
  • Madness Mantra: In "Runaway", a terrified Brains has been reduced to repeating a series of mathematics and electrical engineers lessons to himself (which is understandable since he was hanging for dear life from a long wire under a speeding Thunderbird 1!) .
  • Medium Blending: The characters, vehicles, and most of the explosions are CGI, while everything else (including all of Tracey Island) is a physical model; occasionally, live pyrotechnics are used, mainly to blow up buildings.
  • Monumental Damage: Thunderbird 2 clips the top of Nelson's Column as Virgil brings it in for an emergency landing in London in "Unplugged".
  • Mugged for Disguise: In "Unplugged", Lady Penelope and Parker mug two of the Luddites and take their face-concealing hoods.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The solar collector subplot in "Ring of Fire" is lifted directly from the original Thunderbirds episode "Lord Parker's 'Oliday," but moves the location from the Mediterranean to Taipei.
    • In "Fireflash", as Kayo brings the titular Cool Plane for a landing, the old "Fireflash Landing" score is utilized.
    • The T.E.A. in "Designated Driver" is patterned after the radio teapot from the original series.
    • In "Touch and Go," the fuel that the Hood steals has the same name as the highly combustible cargo of Ocean Pioneer and Ocean Pioneer II from the original series episode. "Danger at Ocean Deep."
    • The repulsor in "Undercover" was stolen from "Houseman Industries," last seen building roads as "Gray and Houseman" in the original series episode "End of the Road."
    • Lady Sylvia Creighton-Ward (Lady Penelope's great aunt) is named after and voiced by the late Sylvia Anderson, voice of the original Lady Penelope.
    • When Kayo tracks down Captain Taylor to help with a mission in "Colony", Taylor's attempt to remember her name hints at the fact that Kayo is basically the old series' Tintin with an Action Girl makeover:
      Kayo: You won't remember me, I'm—
      Captain Taylor: I remember you. It's Tina?... Tiny?
      Kayo: [firmly] It's Kayo.
    • FAB-0 in "Designated Driver" is based on the design of FAB-1 from the original series.
    • When Gordon boards Jeff Tracy's old TV-21 prototype rocket in "Up from the Depths", he finds a gold-rimmed International Rescue hat from the original series. And the ship's control chair is identical to the pilot's seat in the original Thunderbird 1.
    • A tiny but clever one, in "Designated Driver", we see Lady Penelope reaching down to press a hidden button while the burglars bicker amongst themselves. The camera shows a clearly human (not CGI) hand pressing the button. This is a tribute to the original Thunderbirds series which would use human hands in close ups when they would handle items.
    • In one episode, Virgil mentions to Alan that their dad used to wear shirts with flamingos printed on them. This is a reference to Thunderbirds 1965 episode "Introducing Thunderbirds" where Jeff does indeed wear a shirt with a flamingo print.
    • The Zero-X space shuttle is the same name as the Earth to Mars space shuttle used in the film of the same name, as well as Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: In "Slingshot", International Rescue comes to the aid of an asteroid miner named Ned Tedford. Ned reappears in "Under Pressure", having got as far from space as possible by taking a new job on an undersea platform — which promptly goes wrong, requiring International Rescue to come to his aid again. Ned reappears again in "Undercover" as a "refreshment technician" (tea boy) for the GDF. Even then, things go wrong; during Parker's sting operation, he tries to deliver tea and cake to Mission Control at the least appropriate time, and accidentally gives a go signal putting a cake down on a button, blowing Parker's cover prematurely and setting the events of the episode in motion. He's reassigned to the GDF Arctic outpost for his idiocy.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In "Chain of Command", the Hood manages to arrange for Colonel Janus, a mole he's planted inside the GDF, to be appointed International Rescue's new liaison officer within the organisation after a bridge is destroyed during their latest rescue in a manner that creates the impression the Tracys were responsible. However, when Janus twice forbids IR from getting involved in clearly dangerous rescues to the point of threatening to arrest them when they show up at a danger zone in Thunderbird 2 because he hadn't approved their presence, this just provides the Tracys with proof that he has some other agenda, reinforcing Parker's own efforts to expose his true identity.
  • Nitro Express: In "Path of Destruction", a truck carrying Nutrezine, a highly volatile fuel, is trapped by a rock slide and International Rescue are called to assist. They soon discover that the rock slide was not an accident and that Fuse is trying to hijack the truck. Virgil and Gordon must escort the truck through the treacherous mountain pass to its destination and stop Fuse from causing more chaos.
  • Nobody Can Die: International Rescue is faced with dangerous missions on a near-daily basis and each member has had many near-death situations (be it from evading a space mine, radiation poisoning, being buried alive, running out of oxygen, being on a crashing plane, almost flying into the sun, etc.) but no one ever dies. At least, not yet.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In "Heavy Metal", one of the astronauts on the stricken Worldwide Space Station bears a clear resemblance to International Space Station astronaut (and Youtube celebrity) Chris Hadfield.
  • No OSHA Compliance: CIRUS and presumably anything else created by Langstrom Fischler, a danger to himself and others who thinks it's a good idea to fill balloons with superheated hydrogen plasma for use as weather station flotation devices, finds redundancy pointless, and is too impatient to install other safety systems such as escape pods. CIRUS even proved a hazard to the Thunderbirds — the static electricity building up on the station because of the lack of static dampening plates shorts out Thunderbird 2, forcing Gordon to abort his attempt to fix the aerofoils and take control of the stricken aircraft through the pod, and the superheated hydrogen plasma balloons cause it to reach altitudes that Thunderbird 1's engines aren't designed to handle.
  • No-Paper Future: It's all computer screens and holograms. Made explicit in "Unplugged", when the grey-haired Parker remarks that he hasn't seen anyone use paper since he was in school.
  • No-Sell: Thunderbird 2 to imposter Janus' attempts to entry.
    Scott: Thunderbird 2 defense protocol gamma! Light'er up Virgil!
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: "Crosscut" establishes that nuclear weapons and even nuclear power generation is a thing of the past, having been judged too dangerous in the wrong hands. (It's not said what replaced them.) When Scott hears that somebody has been surreptitiously buying uranium, he correctly concludes without any further evidence that it's the Hood, apparently because nobody else would do such a thing.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Played for laughs. Appears to be the general reaction to Grandma Tracy's cooking.
    • Played straight when Alan discovers a live nuclear-powered SAT-MINE in space.
  • Older Is Better: Grandma Tracy, who is now a more active character than in the '60s series. She teams up with one of her grandsons in the episode "Unplugged" to stop the anti-technology terrorist group The Luddites. She also takes over Mission Control when EOS temporarily compromises Thunderbird 5 and coaches Scott out of a spin.
  • One Password Attempt Ever: The deactivation code for the automated weapon in "Space Race" is designed on this principle; if the first attempt to enter it is unsuccessful, the weapon will assume enemy action and destroy itself, the person entering the code, and anything else that happens to be within range.
  • Oop North: Ned the asteroid miner in "Slingshot" has the accent and no-nonsense attitude of a stereotypical northern miner.
  • Open Secret: In the original series, International Rescue is top secret due to the technology they use being far ahead of its time. While the Thunderbirds are still more advanced than most of the world, the technology displayed in this series have caught up where there's not a lot of point in keeping their secret. Several characters will even comment on Jeff Tracy's legacy and there are protocols taken if International Rescue is not available.
  • Outrun the Fireball: In "Flame Out", Virgil and firefighting expert Kip Harris are attempting to plug a gas leak at a hydro-methane storage facility when an explosion out at sea sends a shockwave towards them. They turn and run as the gas ignites and explodes behind them.
  • Overzealous Underling: In "Clean Sweep", a jobsworth employee creates the danger of the week by refusing to let a cleaning crew into an anti-pollution weather device a few minutes early because they are ahead of schedule, citing the employee rule book. When the International Rescue team arrive, he creates further rule bothering because he hasn't received official clearances and that is against the rules too. He genuinely thinks he is doing what his employer wants by doing all that. At the end of the episode he's reminded of Rule Zero saying that all rules can be waived if there is an actual reason to do so, and then fired.
  • Parrot Expo-WHAT?: On arrival at the Quantum Research Centre in "Heavy Metal":
    Brains: This is the epicentre of leading-edge research into spin-2 bosons.
    Alan: Spin-who what-sons?
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Subverted in "Relic" when Scott confidently announces he'll drive a lunar rover before realising he has no idea what any of the controls do.
  • Power Loss Makes You Strong: Virgil goes through this plot in "Unplugged". The villain's scheme involves causing every electronic device in the area to malfunction, leaving Virgil to rise to the challenge of saving the day without the aid of any of the gadgets he usually uses.
  • Power Source: It's never really explained what power source they use in the future setting of 2060, but in "Crosscut", it's explicitly said that nobody uses nuclear power anymore, to the point that when it's mentioned that someone is trying to buy uranium, the automatic assumption is that it's The Hood attempting to create a nuclear weapon, because apparently nobody else wants uranium. And in "Designated Driver", Parker mentions that FAB 0, a very old car, uses petrol (gasoline) like it's something unusual, meaning that's probably not used anymore either.
  • Powered Armor: Virgil uses a mechanical exo-suit for heavy lifting on occasion.
  • Race Lift: Brains is now a Bollywood Nerd.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: In "Undercover", once the repulsor magnet crisis is over, Colonel Casey reassigns Ned Tedford to the Arctic outpost for singlehandedly ruining the sting operation.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In "EOS", the AI's camera-eyes have status lights that change color with the AI's mood; when she's feeling angry or hostile, they are of course red.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Scott and Virgil Tracy are red and blue respectably. Especially in the episodes Crosscut and Recharge. Virgil is also Blue Oni to Gordon's red. In episodes such as Slingshot, older Action Girl Kayo acts as the red oni to Child Progidy Alan's Blue oni. John acts as blue Oni to all the other Tracys. (and EOS)
  • The Remake: The whole show is this, but especially episode 5, "Fireflash", which is a remake of the original pilot episode, "Trapped in the Sky".
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Francois Lemaire, a businessman who frequently goes on dangerous expeditions into uncharted areas, like Halley's Comet and Atlantis. He even runs away from Thunderbird 4 in the latter to explore Atlantis (a seaquake-prone zone).
  • Rising Water, Rising Tension: In "Ring of Fire" Part 1", International Rescue have to save the crew of an underwater lab that has been damaged by an earthquake and is taking on water.
  • Runaway Train: International Rescue have to stop a runaway experimental train in "Runaway".
  • The Scream: At the beginning of "Under Pressure", the operator of the stricken undersea salvage platform panics and starts screaming. The camera pulls back all the way to orbit, with Thunderbird 5 drifting through the shot, and the scream is still audible. (In a Diegetic Switch, it then turns out that the scream actually is audible inside Thunderbird 5, because John's picked up the platform's distress transmission.)
    • And cue Ned taking a deep breath... only to continue his scream upon learning that International Rescue is coming to his aid.
  • Ship Tease: For Gordon and Lady Penelope, especially in "Tunnels of Time".
  • Shout-Out:
    • During "EOS" John has to spacewalk to repair a busted AE-35 unit and is attacked by a rogue AI which refuses to let him back in through the airlock. Sound familiar? Her first line is literally "I'm afraid I can't let you do that" to boot.
    • Alan mentions Alien Storm by name when flying to the asteroid in "Slingshot".
    • Recurring character Ridley O'Bannon gets her name from Ridley Scott and Dan O'Bannon, respectively the director and writer of Alien.
  • Sixth Ranger: Kayo, who gets her own Thunderbird at the end of the "Ring of Fire" two-parter.
  • Sky Heist: In "Up from the Depths - Part 2", the Mechanic uses the stolen TV-21 to to steal a GDF vault containing the world's supply of iridium, with Ned Tedford inside, and then sends his ship into space.
  • Something They Would Never Say: In "The Long Reach", Jeff Tracy identifies the Hood in disguise as Brains as an impostor because Brains has never called him 'Jeff' to his face, always 'Mr Tracy.
  • Space Elevator: John is shown in several episodes using one to travel between Tracy Island and Thunderbird 5. A lot of technical limitations, such as requiring an anchor point on the planet's equator, appear to have been handwaved away.
  • Space Madness: The asteroid miner in "Slingshot", after an unstated but lengthy solo stint on his asteroid, has a mild version involving emotional immaturity and an attachment to a Companion Cube potted geranium.
  • Spiked Wheels: The motorcycle mooks which the Hood sends against Lady Penelope in "Under Pressure" have these, though they don't achieve any noticeable damage to FAB-1.
  • Spiritual Successor: Arguably, to Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet. Both are remakes of popular Anderson-led Supermarionation series from the '60s, and both have a very similar art style.
  • Spoiler Opening: As in the original series, the opening titles of each episode include a montage of moments from the episode itself.
  • Stock Footage: As in the original series, there's a single "suiting up and launching" sequence for each Thunderbird, with variety created by varying which bits of it are shown from episode to episode.
  • Starfish Aliens:
    • In the series 2 episode "Deep Search", Gordon and Alan Tracy travel to the moon of Europa to rescue a pair of astronaut vloggers who were trying to discover life there who got trapped in the underground oceans. After the Tracys rescue the duo, they encounter a large green bioluminescent creature akin to a featureless manta-ray. It's also a colonial lifeform, as it's revealed to made up of millions of tiny organisms when scanned.
    • Then in the series 3 episode "Life Signs", Alan and Virgil travel to Mars to rescue Captain Lee Taylor and a scientist obsessed with finding life on Mars after the caverns they're in collapse around them. In the episode's epilogue, it's reveled that the probes the scientist sent into a crevasse have discovered an underground lake, in swimming in it are several tiny bioluminescent tadpole-like creatures that swim in shoals.
  • Super Prototype: TV-21, the first Thunderbird prototype built by Jeff Tracy. Its thrusters are even stronger than those of Thunderbird 1.
  • Tempting Fate: At the beginning of "Under Pressure", the operator of an undersea salvage vessel remarks that the best part of his job is that there's no drama. The vessel immediately catches fire and breaks down.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Played with depending on the vehicle. Thunderbirds 3 and 5 have much greater use compared to the original due to the increase of space missions. In particular, Thunderbird 5 has various modules to allow John to tackle missions close to the space station. Thunderbird 4 still plays this straight but can launch from Tracy Island if Thunderbird 2 cannot be used to transport.
  • Thriller on the Express: "Heist Society". On an underwater hyper loop train, Lady Penelope and Parker are escorting Professor Moffat to a rendezvous with the Global Defence Force in Iceland in order to safely deliver a particle born from the Supreme Hadron Collider disaster - Centurium 21. However, the Hood is keen to get his hands on the particle and plots an elaborate robbery in order to steal it for himself. Thunderbirds 1, 2, and 4 are soon dispatched to not only rescue the trapped train and its passengers, but also attempt to foil the Hood's plan.
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: Averted. When saving a falling man in the opening of "Ring of Fire", Virgil doesn't even try to dive after him, and even Thunderbird 2 doesn't catch up just by falling — instead he gets back in and uses the ship's rockets to dive faster.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: In "Space Race", Lady Penelope and Parker need access to the kill code of a nuclear space mine that threatens to destroy Alan along with Thunderbird 3. A lady at the Consolidated File Archive informs them that the paperwork can only be accessed with an access retrieval form...and that even with the form, files can only be released to requestors on the first Thursday of every month.
  • Verbal Tic: Brains' stutter, while still present, is downplayed to the point where it's hardly noticable. It does, however, become noticeably stronger when he's under emotional stress in "Heavy Metal" (which actually has a "special thanks" credit at the end of the episode for speech impediment specialist Elaine Kelman).
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In "Runaway", Brains is showing sitting behind Scott, visibly nervous about having to fly in Thunderbird 1. We soon see his eyes and cheeks bulge out, Brain leaning over (hidden by Scott's seat back) and all we hear is the sound of an airsickness bag rustling, and Brains groaning.
  • World of Snark: Basically, every other line in this series is snark. Everyone gets in on the action, even the resident A.I.
  • Xenafication: Tin-tin has been renamed Kayo to distinguish her from the Belgian boy detective, and is now head of security with her own Thunderbird. Like Brains, she was also Race Lifted.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Hood refuses to bail Imposter Janus out of prison for failing to procure Thunderbird 2 and states that there's nowhere he can hide (in what can't explicitly be but is quite clearly a death threat) should he be released, as it was due to his own incompetence (and his actions convincing the Tracy brothers that he wasn't an authority figure worth respecting) that he failed to carry out any of The Hood's orders.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the season 2 finale, the Hood stuns the Mechanic (who just broke him out of jail) and leaves him behind in his crippled drilling machine, so the GDF will have to deal with him while the Hood makes his escape.

Alternative Title(s): Thunderbirds


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