104 episodes (1963-66) 30m
The particular style of Japanese animation known as ‘anime’ came of age with Osamu Tezuka’s ‘manga’ comic book series in 1952. The Astro Boy TV series was fairly crude by modern standards, but the Japanese lapped it up and international audiences weren’t far behind. The hero is a robot who tries to fit in with the human world. Historically important… and more than a little bit kinky.
32 episodes (1965-66) 60m
Thunderbirds is Gerry and Sylivia Anderson's ultimate SuperMarionation achievement and a genuine cult classic. The Tracy brothers philanthropically run around in all manner of high-tech craft, rescuing people and preventing disasters. Meanwhile their agent in London, Lady Penelope, provides sub-plots galore. Proof positive that puppets can be delightfully entertaining in a television context.
Captain Scarlet & the Mysterons
32 episodes (1968) 30m
The Andersons flog SuperMarionation one more time, this time bringing a more lifelike perspective to their puppets. The Martian 'Mysterons' misinterpret an Earth landing as an invasion. They scramble the brain cells of a couple of Earth agents in order to turn them into 'Fifth Columnists'. The one who resists (Capt. Scarlet) becomes the hero of the series and the other (Capt. Black) the villain.
Space Battleship Yamato (aka Star Blazers)
26 episodes (1974-75) 30m
Space operatic fare has the wreck of the World War II Japanese battleship Yamato brought back to life as a spaceship to fend off an invading alien race trying to irradiate the planet. The war themes and violence were dumbed-down a bit for Western audiences, with the series best known as Star Blazers in the United States. A major step in the historical development of anime.
The Tomorrow People
22 serial episodes (1973-79) 30m
Superchildren with paranormal abilities and a talking computer use their powers to protect others of their kind and battle evil throughout time and space. Partly inspired by Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, this series never gained much of an audience outside the UK. Although it is still widely available, critical opinion of DVD releases suggest it is not aging all that well.
25 serial episodes (1984-85) 30m
The first two books in John Christopher's Tripods trilogy (1967-68) managed to make it to air before the bean-counters brought this fine series to a premature end. Upon reaching their teens, kids are 'capped' with skull implants by aliens who have taken over Earth. Three uncapped kids help the resistance movement. A superb serial that makes good use of underlying dramatic tension.
22 episodes (1987-88) 30m
Made to sell Mattel toys, this series is best remembered for its groundbreaking use of computer-animated graphics. It is essentially a live-action Saturday morning cartoon that unintentionally surpassed its intended purpose. By 2147 the machines had won the Metal Wars and 'biodreds' roam the planet digitising human survivors. Our heroes are humanity's last hope.
52 episodes (2001-04) 30m
In the first episode, a globally-trained feudal-era samurai who eventually acquires the name Jack sets out to fulfil his mission to vanquish the evil entity Aku. In combat, he is catapulted into a far-future ruled by his enemy. Remaining episodes catalogue Jack's attempt to go back in time and set things right. Cult favourite ranging from dark dilemmas to sublimely humorous scenarios.
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