Thunderbirds Thursday: The World of 2065

For many Gerry Anderson fans, Thunderbirds unsurprisingly remains the peak of his creative career. Many people enjoy these works for many different reasons, but the spectacular special effects and life-saving heroism of Thunderbirds surely remain unifying reasons for its continued popularity.

There’s numerous ways Thunderbirds achieves this – its concept, its storytelling, its characters, its film-making techniques. All of these aspects come together to create a world of thrilling danger and jeopardous heroism. Thunderbirds harnesses many distinct elements of its predecessors and refines them into a cohesive whole for its own unique world – the emphasis on cutting edge technology of Supercar, the outer space setting of Fireball XL5, and the underwater adventure of Stingray.

Technological Marvels

The world of Thunderbirds is one that’s forged in the white heat of technological and scientific advancement. Nearly every aspect of humanity is accounted for in being lifted up by the wonders of technology. Aviation and space exploration are keen focuses for the world of 2065, whilst global military powers are dominant forces of defence. Operation Sun Probe seeks to allow mankind to harness the power of the sun, whilst the Martian Space Probe and Zero X programmes seek out new worlds, and with these exciting discoveries, the possibility of alien life.

Consumerist, domestic and other, more leisurely advancements aren’t left behind either. Gazelle Automations seeks to streamline how you may run your home or office. The incredible Thompson Tower promises to be an entire self-sustaining metropolis where its inhabitants can work and live. Allpets is embracing unique efforts in manufacturing a new type of dog food utilising the sea fungus 0D60, but it can have explosive results! Equally dangerous is the development of the food additive theramine, which runs the risk of enlarging any animals which may consume it.

Away from such publicly visible endeavours, the dangerous world of espionage also greatly benefits from 2065’s focus on technological prowess, with world powers on either side of the iron curtain developing deadly technologies to become the ultimate superpower.

A Believable World

All of these diverse elements help to enliven Thunderbirds‘ world, populating the series with a plethora of hugely distinct worldbuilding elements which help to make the series more cohesive, enjoyable, but perhaps above all else, believable. One winning aspect of Thunderbirds which goes further in sharpening these worldbuilding aspects is the series’ 50-minute runtime. With this lengthily space per episode, we spend so much more time immersed in the world of 2065 than we do in the worlds of Fireball XL5 or Stingray.

We come to know common locales such as Tracy Island and Creighton-Ward Manor quite intimately. Our sense of being within the world of Thunderbirds therefore becomes greatly enhanced. The world of 2065, a wonderland of scientific marvels and destructive chaos and brought to life through some of the most cinematic special effects made for television, feels so much more real to us.

It’s no happy accident that Thunderbirds feels big, sounds big, or looks big. It *is* big. It’s heavy duty sci-fi adventure which delivers its world in an unhurried style, allowing us to become fully immersed in the far-reaching sense of adventure it delivers on, episode after episode.

Do you think the world of Thunderbirds adds to its appeal? What are your favourite things about the world of 2065? Let us know in the comments!

Written by
Fred McNamara

Atomic-powered writer/editor. Website editor at Official Gerry Anderson. Author of Flaming Thunderbolts: The Definitive Story of Terrahawks. Also runs Gerry Anderson comic book blog Sequential 21.

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