By Chris Bentley
Publisher: Signum Books
The Book: Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons made its television debut in 1967, presenting a dark and sinister science-fiction drama that has captivated audiences ever since. The scenario depicted a world at the mercy of ruthless attacks from vengeful Martian computers with the power to raise the dead. The puppetry techniques behind the series were similarly unprecedented, elevating Gerry Anderson’s ‘Supermarionation’ to new heights of sophistication.
Here is the definitive story of a television classic, told by the people who made the series and illustrated with a wealth of previously unpublished images, including new shots of the original puppets, studio models and vintage merchandise.
The Review: If you want one of the best guides ever to Gerry Anderson’s follow up show to Thunderbirds, then this latest “Vault” title by Chris Bentley is it. Just like Thunderbirds: The Vault by Marcus Hearn, this brilliant Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons book offers an exhaustive, fascinating guide to the spy-fi adventure series, which first debuted when James Bond, The Man from UNCLE and The Avengers were also at their height.
Bentley reveals how Gerry and Sylvia Anderson not only took their cue for the series concept from popular film and TV of the era, but their own experience from the success of Lady Penelope and her secret agent adventures in Thunderbirds. Detailing the origins of the show, its production, stories and spin-offs, crammed with terrific photographs from the show, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault leaves no stone unturned in providing a definitive, superbly written guide to the show and its legacy.
Not only do we get an the low down on the show and its creation, there’s also plenty to savour in terms of the book’s guide to the show’s merchandise – produced not just when the show was originally released, but in response to subsequent successful revivals. This includes coverage of the comic strips in TV21, “Mark of the Mysterons” in the short-lived title SOLO, “The Angels” in Lady Penelope and the 1970s Countdown strips and 1990s Fleetway title. For me, it was those strips that helped build more of the mythos than the show and this book indicates how important TV21 was in building awareness of the new show, even before its launch.
A thoroughly enjoyable look back at everything Captain Scarlet, including its regretably short-lived revival as a CGI animation that has probably stymied another reboot for now, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault may cover ground of other previous guides to this Anderson series but it does it with panache.
If you bought Thunderbirds: The Vault you’ll know what to expect from this title. You get it – in spades. an absolute must for any Captain Scarlet fan.
• Buy it from amazon.co.uk (using this link helps support downthetubes)