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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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This 'supermarionation' puppet series offers 'Daredevil excitement every young boy dreams of'. Adopted nine year-old Joe McClaine becomes the "Most Special Agent" of the World Intelligence Network thanks to a device called the BIG RAT (Brain Impulse Galvanoscope - Record And Transfer) capable of recording the brain patterns of one person and transferring them to another. The series was first broadcast in 1968/1969, and it's set somewhere in the early 21st century. Unusually for the time, Anderson chose a real English boy, Len Jones, to provide the voice of 9 year old Joe 90 rather than use an actress. Anderson later commented that 'His performance was only adequate as he was got to repeat his lines parrot fashion, but more importantly he sounded authentic' - I would say his voice is definitely an asset to the series. Maigret star Rupert Davies provides the voice of his dad: Professor McClaine, and Sylvia Anderson is the voice of Ada Harris.

The DVD set has all 30 'digitally remastered' episodes. Audio is English only and there are SDH subtitles in English [no other languages]. There's also a few extras: Character Biographies [Joe McClaine, Professor McClaine, Sam Loover, Shane Weston], The W.I.N. Information files [e.g. The Big Rat, Mac's Culver Bay Cottage, W.I.N., Mac's Jet Air Car, Joe's Briefcase], Joe's glasses warning sequence, The unorthodox shepherd location recce, I love the 90s trailers, Original artworks [e.g. A14 tank, World Airforce Bomber, Missile recovery minisub, Presidents mono-train], Merchandise, Original end title sequence and Behind the scenes galleries.

Although nostalgia for lost childhood leads me to rate the series higher 40 years on, I wasn't such a massive fan of Joe 90 as a boy, although I happily watched all the episodes as I loved Gerry Anderson's earlier work [Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, and in particular FireBall XL5 and Stingray]. Really I was a bit too old at 12-13 for Joe 90, and at the time was watching the likes of 'Dr Who' and 'Time Tunnel'. Joe 90's script, production values, DVD picture quality and sound are quite good on this nicely presented set, particularly when viewed on the standard 14"/21" 4:3 CRT TV set it was designed for. Plus the `Danger Man' theme to the series is a bit different from GA's other projects [which often drew heavily on Captain Scarlet's plotline]. Captured and digitally remastered from 35mm film, the image colour is also nice and bold - I had to watch the original broadcasts on a B&W TV. The special effects are at least as good as GA's other series. Despite Joe 90 having some violent themes, it is rated U - and it isn't as dark as it's predecessor 'Captain Scarlet'. There was only one season of Joe 90 made (30 half hour episodes).

Anyway, as it was far cheaper than Terrahawks for around the same viewing time, I bought this set for my son (spookily then also 9). He rather liked the series, and busily went through the episodes at one or two before bedtime. I suppose he identified with the young boy lead. However he did lose interest after a (longish) while and so far hasn't got to watch the final DVD - and the same happened with his large Terrahawks DVD set (he has so many other TV/gaming choices, and we probably should have got these sets when he was a bit younger). However he quite enjoyed what he did watch, and for those nostalgic reasons I love the set as well. My daughter has no interest in these puppet series at all, much preferring the likes of The Worst Witch. So, recommended for today's youngsters, particularly pre-teen boys from 6 upwards - and of course any adults who watched this series as children back in the 1960s.
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on 14 July 2011
Dressing your 9 year-old son up as an angel and dropping him onto a machine-gun-toting money launderer would have Social Services round quicker than it takes an X-Factor winner to be forgotten these days but, back in the 60s, it was completely acceptable. This is only one of many life-endangering scenarios that young Joe McLaine is thrown into by his Dad and his Dad's mates at the World Intelligence Network, each of them ludicrously thrilling! This box-set (and its updated version with more extras and slimmed-down packaging) offers 30 well-crafted, exciting stories, all characterised by magnificent puppetry and model shots. It also offers one of the best TV themes in the history of the genre, as well as clear proof of why contact lenses aren't always the best choice to assist eyesight...
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on 5 September 2011
Terri-f-f-ic!!! Was 10 years of age when i first saw it. Terrific purchase price too! Well done Amazon!! Gerry anderson fans ''knock yourself out!!''
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on 1 October 2002
Although Joe 90 isn't a patch on Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet, Carlton DVD have beautifully remastered the complete series of the Sylvia and Gerry Anderson series 'Joe 90': the special boy agent capable of amazing powers thanks to the Big Rat!
The techincal team has spent months removing scratches and errors from the original films and the result is crystal clear picture quality and amazing sound quality.
There are a few extras too including the recent BBC2 I love the 90's trailers and as you'd expect a collection of production photographs. The only disappointment is there are no interviews with the production team to give you further insight into the making of the series.
The packaging is fun and well made too, providing more proof that plenty of care has gone into the release of the set.
If you have young kids, they will love discovering the series...and if you grew up with it, then it's sure to bring back a few memories!
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on 25 July 2012
Bought this as part of my mid-life crisis "in my day" retro habit.
Every episode is there - but I really dont remember it being THAT rubbish.
But then again aged 6 or 7, genius and top TV are rather prone to subjectivity.
Still think the social services would have one or two words to say about dad and "Uncle Sam's" treatment of a young boy. But the 1970s were just around the corner.
Recommended to show your children just what bizarre TV we used to enjoy!
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on 2 February 2013
There have been some shows I loved from my childhood that I've revisited as an adult - and been thoroughly disappointed.

Joe 90 is most certainly NOT one of them. 45 years on, and it's been just as much fun to watch as it was way back then - I've thoroughly enjoyed every last minute of it.

As for the DVD release, the quality is excellent; the audio and picture are clear and sharp, with only a couple of tiny defects across the whole set; certainly much better than I'd have expected for material of this vintage.

And although modern, large-screen digital TVs are incredibly unforgiving, when compared to the tiny black and white I watched the analog broadcasts (remember those?) on all those years ago, the show acquits itself admirably. Yes, the strings are somewhat more obvious now - but I guess that's part of the charm.

The only thing letting the side down are the "extras", which don't really amount to much, and aren't terribly well presented. They give the impression that they were found on a shelf and grudgingly tossed in "as a favour". It's a pity, as I'm sure there are plenty of us ageing Anderson fans around who would have contributed something more substantial that would have enhanced the package.

But I didn't buy it for the extras - I bought it for the show; and I'm glad that I did.
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on 7 May 2016
Was bought as a gift. The person it was for was really pleased. For anyone who has never heard of this it is about a young boy with a genius for a father. He invents a machine which can take the brainwaves and knowledge from a person without doing any damage to that person. He can then transfer the knowledge required to someone else. In this case it is always his son who becomes a secret agent for the American government, code name Joe 90. I used to love this as a child.
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Another supermarionation series from the Jerry and Sylia Anderson team comes to dvd. In this case the exploits of Joe McClaine. Also known as Joe 90.

Post Captain Scarlet, which introduced slightly more realistic looking puppets and got very grim and gritty and more grown up than previous Anderson shows, Joe 90 was their next series. It kept the look and the less fantastical more realistic style but at the same time went the opposite route by aiming more for the younger generation than their dads, and tapping into the fantasies every child had at the time. To be a super spy like Napoleon Solo or James Bond.

Joe can do that thanks to his father's invention. The big R.A.T. A machine that can transfer brain patterns copied from an individual into someone else. Thanks to this and his special glasses, Joe can undertake special missions on behalf of the World Intelligence Network, in particular it's director and his second in command.

And that's what he does.

The thirty episodes, spread across five discs, all run for twenty five minutes. All have direct scene access.

Many are rather typical spying yarns. Some steal the plots of movies. And some are quite original.

Highlights are 'Colonel McClaine,' which takes the plot of the wages of fear and as a result is very exciting. 'Double agent', which sees a mission go awry thanks to the person whose brain pattern was used having a little secret. And the psychological drama 'see you down there' which sees the team use psychological warfare on a bad man in a plot that could have come out of the prisoner.

What humour there is tends to be rather twee. And whilst as a whole it's not as good as earlier Anderson series it does offer pretty decent escapism. And should refresh a few memories for any children of the sixties.

As ever with supermarionation series it does have a pretty memorable theme and title sequence.

The dvds have the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English.

Subtitles: English.

Extras are mostly text based. There's one character biography to each of the first four discs, reproducing original worked out back stories for a selected character. There are also information files which give the same detail for various items and locations.

There's photos from a location shoot of a church used when images of a real one were required for one episode.

Galleries of:

Original artwork.


The originally intended end titles.

Images from selected episodes.

A behind the scenes production gallery.

Three short trailers featuring Joe for 'I love the 90's,' a documentary series from a while back about the highlights of said decade. A time when Anderson series were gaining new fans by getting repeats on prime time BBC2.

And 'these are Joe 90's glasses', a warning sequence a la 'Captain Scarlet is indestructible', which was on the show when originally broadcast but removed for no apparent reason for later repeats. This comes with a text explanation of all that plus a recording of the actor who voiced the sequence trying various different voice styles for it.

The information booklet with the box set just gives brief synopsis of all the plots and lists the chapter titles for each episode.

Not the best Anderson show or box set ever, but still a pretty good one in all respects.
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on 19 February 2003
I'm a dyed in the wool Anderson fan, and I was in the target audience when this was first made. Watching it now, I still get the same childish buzz that I used to back then. It appeals to the action hero in every little boy, and as a programme has aged remarkably well (as have most of Anderson's post-Fireball XL5 offerings).
Unfortunately, the DVD set as a product is not quite so hot. The re-mastering has been performed adequately well, and the pictures are largely crisp and steady. But there are a couple of instances where they are positively gloomy. Maybe the video or film stock they were lifted from was in poor condition. Even more of a let-down are the menus and extras. The menus clearly haven't been properly debugged and sometimes do some odd things. The text of the various information panels has not been quality checked with odd spelling and editing mistakes. Spread across the 5 disks are character biogs and equipment information dossiers, and one other feature which varies from disk to disk. All in all this comes across as a "bare minimum" with hints of it having been rushed out.
Even as a fanatically regressive kid I can't bring myself to award this set the final star.
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on 4 May 2015
In 1968, I too was a 9 year old boy, and by the time I needed specs a couple of years later ( and they were the thick National Health type), I believe I actually was Joe 90. Indeed, my nick name in high school soon became 'four eyes', however, once I expressed my dislike of that name, and had managed to persuade the ringleaders that calling me that name was not advantageous to their health, I became 'Joe', as in Joe 90.
Watching them again, in digitally re-mastered format, takes me back to my youth . . . . . . excellent.
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