Friday, 16 January 2015
64 Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
First watched : Uncertain
This was my favourite of the Gerry Anderson programmes although it falls into the category of rarely-glimpsed treat. It was made straight after Thunderbirds in 1967 and - to an extent - wrapped up after 32 episodes because Anderson assumed another one wouldn't be commissioned.
The series has a darker tone than its predecessors which is probably why I preferred it. In the first episode set in 2068 an exploration of Mars commissioned by a global defence organisation called Spectrum goes horribly wrong when its commander the trigger-happy Captain Black destroys a Martian complex at the first ( mistaken ) sign of aggression. The inhabitants are a group of sentient computers, the Mysterons, who vow revenge on Earth. The Mysterons have perfected the re-arrangement of matter so they can both resurrect themselves and create indestructible facsimiles of people, starting with the hapless Captain Black to do their bidding. When they attempt the same with another Spectrum agent, Captain Scarlet, for some not properly explained reason he recovers his free will upon his resurrection and thus becomes Spectrum's most effective weapon against the Mysterons' attacks.
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons is therefore much more violent and paranoid than its predecessors with the hero regularly getting killed in the knowledge he will come back to life in the next episode.
The series was rebooted with CGI in 2005 as Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet and became the last completed project of Gerry's lifetime. Unfortunately his contract with ITV didn't nail down how the product would be presented and the episodes, though shown in order , were broadcast as part of the magazine show Ministry of Mayhem , cut in half without titles or even a fixed time slot which appalled him. I'm sure I'm not the only person who missed it altogether.