Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Fireball XL-5 (1962)

Gerry Anderson's "Supermarionation" series, such as Stingray, Thunderbirds, and Supercar, usually ended up in syndication when they came to the US. Not so with Fireball XL-5, which made its American debut on NBC a year after the series launched in England. Fireball would cycle through its 39 episodes over two seasons on NBC before joining its brethren in syndication, which is where I recall seeing it sometime in the early 70's, if memory serves.

Dennis Spooner, one of the show's writers, was more closely associated with ITC's line of spy & mystery series, such as Department S.

I don't have much memory of seeing the show, so we'll forego a rating. Meanwhile, Media Mix brings the opener, "Planet 46":


SaturdayMorningFan said...

I never saw this until it was released on DVD about a decade ago. I immediately loved it, and I noticed quite a few ideas in this and other SuperMarionation shows that were "lifted" by some pretty big science fiction movies and TV series. The mobile metallic moon that appears in one episode of Fireball XL-5, for example, as well as a Scottish engineer in a few episodes. And then there's the fake-you-out bridge simulator scene from the opening of an episode of Stingray that was extremely similar to the opening scene of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Gerry Anderson certainly was a visionary, and his shows are such fun! Well, up until Thunderbirds, anyway. I didn't much care for anything he did after that (Space: 1999 excepted). The model work in all of his shows is consistently good, and that's a big part of the appeal for me.

hobbyfan said...

Some of his creations never made it to the US, and we'll eventually look at shows like Four Feather Falls and Joe 90, too.

One wonders if the writers of Star Trek II had been Stingray/Anderson fans.

Robinhued said...

I thought it was the coolest show ever when I was in kindergarten and first grade. I had a playset with those cool hover cycles. And a metal lunchbox of fireball xl-5.

Robinhued said...

PS, I love this blog. Stumbled across it when I was looking up the name of Tom Slicks Car: The Thunderbolt Kneeslapper.

hobbyfan said...

Well, welcome aboard, Robinhued. Glad you like it.