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This is the voice of the old git on a nostalgia trip............
on 1 May 2016
I'm surprised at just how much I have enjoyed watching this through from start to finish over the past few weeks. As a supposedly 'grown man' of 51 I suspected that I was maybe buying this on a wave of nostalgia for the carefree days of my 1970s childhood; that I'd watch an episode or two, realise that it hadn't stood the test of time and then confine it to gather dust on the shelf in the vain hope that it might one day appeal to Grandchildren I am as yet to be blessed with. These fears were unfounded thankfully; I have loved every minute of it.
The first thing I realised is that - as a child - I didn't really 'get' Captain Scarlet (and besides I was far more into Thunderbirds) and I have found myself surprised at just how 'dark' this is for what was essentially a programme for children. There is something very sinister in the depiction of how (in nearly every episode) a character is sent to their death and then reanimated by the Mysterons. Usually the shot dwells on the aftermath of whatever disaster as befallen this weeks victim, complete with puppet 'corpse' followed by a cut to the reactivated character standing over his / her own death scene. The reactivated female character in 'The Place Of Angels' is particularly sinister, graphically choking a security guard to death with the 'grabbers' used to handle dangerous chemicals. The bad guys are The Mysterons - usually shown only as two rings of light hovering over their latest victim, or heard at the start of each week setting out their latest plot in their ongoing 'War Of Nerves' against Earth. You always have poor old Captain Black (quite a cool dresser in his black leather jacket and turtleneck) skulking around with his omnipresent binoculars and usually instigating whatever calamity is going to befall the latest Mysteron victim before giving instructions to the reanimated version ('You know what you must do')
The good guys are the Agents of Spectrum of course - each codenamed with a colour, with Captains Scarlet and Blue usually at the forefront of the action and of course the lovely Angels who provide Spectrum's airborne support. Captain Scarlet himself is a dashing hero - but he is also the Mysterons biggest balls up in their evil plan; killing him off in the first episode and then reanimating him to serve their evil purposes (he is indeed a 'baddie' in the very first episode) but then finding that his better nature wins the day, whilst retaining the Mysteron power to effectively mend himself from any fatality (hence him being 'indestructible')
Another element that I missed first time round is that, in terms of the Mysteron conflict, it is definitely a case of 'we started it' whether intentionally or not, but this does add a certain edge to the entire show.
As for the show itself, the puppets, sets, effects (especially the vehilces, planes and regular, spectacular explosions) are surprisingly effective and convincing to this day - aided of course by the superb music of Barry Gray, giving a show that is set in the mid 21st Century a quintessential 'swinging sixties' appeal.
As for the box set itself, you get all 32 episodes of the show plus plenty of extra bits and bobs to be found - terrific value at the price.
So all in all I have thoroughly enjoyed watching this show properly for the first time - definitely one for my (eventual) Grandchildren to watch with Grandad - whether they like it or not!