Last time we examined our five favourite “it was all a dream!” episodes from the various Gerry Anderson shows, and now it’s time to do the opposite! Let’s dive to the bottom of the barrel in search of five episodes best described as “a terrible horrible nightmare!”
#5 – Errand of Mercy
The Secret Service was mad to start with, and so its dream episode had to be even madder. While recovering from heatstroke (in February?) Father Unwin dreams that he and Matthew are flying medical supplies to Bishopsville in Gabriel. Yes, the car. Along the way they are captured by jungle natives (who only understand Unwin-ese!) and attacked by mercenary jets. While it’s not without the odd charming moment (the mercenary leader almost breaking down in tears after his base and fighter jets are accidentally obliterated is surprisingly poignant) it really does once again beg the question – who was this series aimed at?
#4 – Ordeal
No, UFO. Just no. It sometimes worked in the Supermarionation shows, but ending an episode of a live action series with “it was all a dream!” is just wrong – and having a character actually singing Beautiful Dreamer is unforgivable!
Which is a shame because there’s actually much about Ordeal to enjoy. Sure, the party doesn’t get the episode off to a great start but the idea of a SHADO operative converted into a liquid breather by the Aliens and how Straker and co might respond to that is a brilliant one, with the ad-break cliffhanger moment where the space-suited Foster is forcibly drowned in breathing liquid being one of the most memorable images of the entire series. Much like Attack on Cloudbase this could have been a standout episode of the show, but the dream ending lets it down so badly that it’s hard to disagree when people claim it’s the worst of the lot!
#3 – The Cool Cave Man
Stingray loved its dream episodes and for the most part they were just okay, if a bit bizarre. The Cool Cave Man, however, is nothing special; Troy has a dream about failing to recover a radioactive container from some underwater cavemen who then kill him, and that’s it. Why have such a dream? He fell asleep looking at a history book while trying to get ideas of what to wear to a fancy dress party. So, stand by for inaction with this one.
Thinking he’s now found the perfect idea for a costume Troy heads for the party – only to find Shore, Phones and Fisher are all also dressed as cavemen. (So, what, did they all have the same dream too?) Regardless, this episode just seems intent on portraying the inhabitants of Marineville as dull and unimaginative – well, the men anyway!
#2 – The Day That Time Stood Still
Keeping with the theme of ‘all your heroes are really boring’, The Day That Time Stood Still sees Mike dreaming about getting a surprise birthday party (seriously, who does that?) until his dream is invaded by an alien who gives him a magic belt that enables him to fly. Cos if there’s one thing Mike Mercury, pilot of Supercar, really needs it’s something that can fly anywhere.
And again; aliens. For real. In Supercar. What? We also get the long/non-awaited return of Zizi, who sings a song (please stop) and Aunt Heidi, who thankfully has been redesigned since her previous appearance.
#1 – Flight of Fancy
Do you like Jimmy Gibson? No? Well, you’ll love this Jimmy-focused dream episode in which he sets out in Supercar to rescue a kidnapped princess – with the help of Mitch, who now has the voice of a real swinging hepcat, daddy-o, because dream. Together they…urgh, something about Masterspy and Zarin – sorry, Marzak and Hertz – plotting to take over the King/Popkiss’ throne and Jimmy having to sort it all out. We’d go into more detail, but Beaker isn’t in it and that basically means there’s no reason to.
So those are our pics for the worst Gerry Anderson dream episodes – did we miss out any least faves of yours? Let us know in the comments below!