I'm pretty sure BlackStar shouldn't have sent me my copy quite this soon, but my Terrahawks DVD duly arrived this morning rather than Monday! I've only watched the first couple of episodes so far, and had a look at the extras which include scripts for each episode, publicity material and character bios.My initial impression was that the menu system was a bit... clunky, but it's growing on me in the sense that I think it's styling itself after the show and the old annuals. The extras are OK, and I'll come back to the scripts in a moment...The technical quality of the episodes isn't great - they look a little grainy, but I doubt you could do much better without digitally remastering the series. It is, after all, 20 years old. Curiously a lot of the model shots look as if they were filmed through a telescope - for some reason the corners become rounded. Presumably due to a special camera being used for those shots...I've watched the 2 parter, Expect the Unexpected, and it's a smart introduction to the full range of the Terrahawks' toys. Zelda's Cubes also get their moment in the limelight. No sign of Stu Dapples just yet, though! Windsor Davies as Zero is superb, bringing real comedy to the character, and the use of the Zeroid's eyes and mouth lights to portray emotion is clever. I have this sneaking suspicion that they've been lottery balls on the side for years now...!The human puppets are, ah, different. Unlike Star Fleet which did its best to keep legs out of sight, Terrahawks goes for the full body shots with the characters seated and it really doesn't work because their heads are much bigger than their bodies. Their feet look like an afterthought. Basically they look worse than Thunderbirds - the craft are well done, but the characters need much better bodies. This may be why Anderson doesn't like to draw attention to this series, I don't know...However, this is part of the charm of Terrahawks. It's a weird show, let's face it, even for the 80s! I noticed a nice touch at the end of the first part of Expect the Unexpected - when they're playing noughts and crosses, the Zeroids and Cubes smile or sulk depending on whether they're winning or losing at the time. The second episode's ending didn't have that animation.Now, on the Star Fleet front, and relating to the scripts. If you've read my interview with Louis Elman, you may remember that he said Gerry Anderson rung him up to ask about Star Fleet. It turns out that Expect the Unexpected is dated October 1982. So just as Anderson was finishing his scripts, along came Star Fleet. I can see why he might have worried too - pretty similar themes in many respects, and model work at least on a par with Terrahawks. Total coincidence, of course...Anyway, I don't think I'd want to shell out for the full series but it's a nice 80s DVD to have in your collection. Available from Amazon and Blackstar!
Andy Thomas - SFXB Webmaster and Forum Moderator