Lead writer Rob Hoegee returns to scripting duties this week, with his first script for the series since Thunderbirds Are Go’s two-part premiere.
Like in those episodes, there’s a slight sense of classic series déjà vu to proceedings. Fans of the original series will spot the similarities between ‘Slingshot’ and ‘Sun Probe’ immediately, but unlike ‘Fireflash’, which was unashamedly a remake, ‘Slingshot’ takes a good stab at bringing some new and exciting ideas to the table.
‘Sun Probe’ saw Thunderbird 3 race against time to stop a rocket with a crew of three from colliding with the sun. ‘Slingshot’ takes this concept and takes it to a whole new level, with the International Rescue crew racing to stop an entire asteroid from said-collision. The main complaint we’ve had with the series so far is the lack of bigger and bolder ideas, so it’s great to see Hoegee thinking big!
There’s plenty of solid action here, and some brilliantly tense moments, especially when Thunderbird 3 is hit by a solar flare and hurtles towards the sun. The scenes of the rest of the team on Tracy Island also add some genuine emotion to events, with John in particular feeling guilt for sending Alan on such a dangerous mission. It’s nice to see little moments like this don’t fall by the wayside just because the episode only has 22 minutes to play with.
Ultimately though, an episode of Thunderbirds Are Go lives or dies based on the action and set pieces. Thankfully, ‘Slingshot’ has both in abundance, making the episode a thrilling and enjoyable watch from beginning to end.
Alan and Kayo each get their heroic moment to shine, whilst the spaceship flight scenes are fast and furious. There are even some nice touches of comedy, with the character of cynical but bumbling Ned Tedford and his pet plant providing some key laughs.
‘Slingshot’ is yet another enjoyable and action packed 22 minutes of fun and adventure, for kids and adults alike.
Yes, perhaps Thunderbirds Are Go would be even better if it steered clear of the plots of the original 32 episodes from 1965. But when the show takes said-plots and reworks them with such originality, bravado and confidence like this one does, there’s certainly still a strong case to be made in its favour.
Aired at 8am on Saturday 23 May 2015 on CITV.
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