The intrepid and ever-inventive team at Century 21 Films have pulled off a remarkable feat with the release of the Supermarionation lockdown drama Nebula-75, made entirely during confinement using only existing puppets and materials.
“We hope the final will be entertaining during these difficult times,” say the team, “and that you’ll all forgive the comparative cheapness of the production!”
The story, an affectionate homage to Gerry Anderson’s early Supermarionation shows such as Supercar and Fireball XL5, sees Ray Neptune recount the recent events that have seen the Nebula-75 spaceship become lost in space, millions of miles from space, and the history of the craft.
Episode One also includes a hilarious Pathé News-styled behind the scenes mini-documentary about the making of the show, and a terrific trailer for the company’s brilliant Thunderbirds 1965 work.
Although Nebula-75 has been released for free, you can also make a donation to support the crew’s worthy efforts here, via PayPal – and find out a bit more about how it was made.
When the social distancing and lockdown measures of 2020 all but halted global film and television drama production, a thought occurred to the team at Century 21 Films. While more conventional dramas with human casts and vast crews now posed a logistical nightmare to all involved, the heroes of Supermarionation hold no risk of coughing or sneezing on one another!
In this very strange time, the decision was made to see what sort of “Superisolation” production could be put together under these extremely odd circumstances. The result is Nebula-75, a short-form puppet drama that follows in the tradition of 1960s favourites while offering something brand new at the same time.
Although team members from around the world contributed remotely to pre and post production, the entirety of the filming for Nebula-75 was undertaken by a crew of three who happened to already live together in a small flat in London. Their living room was transformed into a makeshift movie studio – with bookshelves, cardboard boxes and other household objects becoming the interior of the show’s hero spacecraft.
This flat was also fortunately home to many of the puppets, props, and costumes that have been accumulated over the course of different productions.
“As we were stuck inside, we thought we’d have a go at making the world’s first Supermarionation short film made entirely in isolation from the confinement of our respective flats.
Since 2014, Century 21 Films has worked on three new Thunderbirds episodes, the Filmed in Supermarionation documentary, an advertisement for the Halifax, This is Supermarionation, Century 21 Slough, a BFI promo and an episode of Endeavour, plus many side projects, all Produced in Supermarionation by Century 21 Films.
Filmed in Supermarionation, Thunderbirds, This is Supermarionation and the Halifax advert were all screened theatrically, in addition to home entertainment releases. Endeavour was shown on ITV1, whilst Filmed in Supermarionation has played regularly on Sky Arts and is also available through Amazon Prime.
• Although Nebula-75 has been released for free, you can also make a donation to support the crew’s worthy efforts here, via PayPal – and find out a bit more about how it was made
All imagery copyright Century 21 Films
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.