Alternative 4 Gerry Anderson’s New Captain Scarlet
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This thoroughly deserves a place in this list if only for the fact that it was so much better than anybody expected it to be. The original ’60s puppet series was much-loved, but a lot of its charm was the fact it was a puppet show, with “real” model effects to create its futuristic settings and craft. It was different to anything else on TV (that didn’t have Gerry Anderson in the title anyway).
So when we all heard in 2004 that Gerry Anderson was planning on bringing back the show as a CG toon, the announcement wasn’t met with much enthusiasm. CG animated action shows for children were a dime a dozen – how could this new Captain Scarlet stand out from the crowd? Surely it wouldn’t be the quality of the scripts; any old hack was usually brought in to write this kind of conveyor-belt CITV fodder.
How wrong we were. When the show launched in 2005 it rapidly became clear that Gerry Anderson had brought together a group of writers and animators and actors who – gasped – actually cared. The animation was some of the best on children’s TV at the time, the voice artists were top notch, the action was slick and eye-catching and the scripts – including some by The Sarah Jane Adventures ’ Phil Ford – actually showed wit, inventiveness and imagination. The only shame was that – because of rights issues – Anderson couldn’t pull off a similar trick with Thunderbirds .