With the recent news that a Terrahawks reboot is in the works, lots of you have been searching to find out more about the 1980s Gerry Anderson series, so we thought we’d put together this handy guide to help you get started or rediscover this fantastic Gerry Anderson show!
There really never has been a better time to give Terrahawks a look. For one thing, the series has recently been re-released on DVD and blu-ray, sourced from the best surviving archive materials, and it has never looked better! The older DVD versions that fans have had to put up with for the last fifteen years made Terrahawks an uglier viewing experience compared to other Anderson series, but now the series looks as good as it is ever likely to get!
It’s important to understand that while Terrahawks would appear on the surface to be a ‘typical’ Gerry Anderson series, with a top secret organisation using amazing vehicles and machines to protect the Earth from alien aggressors, the show stands apart from its Supermarionation predecessors by being far more comedic in tone than any other Anderson series before it. Thirty-five of the show’s thirty-nine episodes were written by one very silly man, veteran Anderson scriptwriter Tony Barwick, and while his experience on those earlier productions no doubt influenced Terrahawks the series often feels like Barwick is locked in a continual battle with himself to make this week’s story the most bizarre yet. The show never quite becomes a spoof or a parody of a Gerry Anderson series, but it’s not far off. Among the more outlandish threats faced by the Terrahawks were telekinetic teddy bears from outer space, a time-displaced King Richard III, and Mars’ entry in this year’s Interstellar Song Contest – and that’s just in the first season. We didn’t even get to season two’s schizophrenic hermaphrodite yet.
Viewers thinking of dipping their toes into the world of Terrahawks should therefore be advised that you may be about to watch the silliest and weirdest television series you will ever see, and that your enjoyment of said series might be wholly dependent on your tolerance for broad – sometimes very broad – comedy.
However, new viewers should also be aware that despite obviously being crucial to setting up the series and its characters the earliest episodes of Terrahawks are far from its strongest, and also aren’t especially representative of the show it eventually became. The opening two-part story, Expect the Unexpected, and many of the first seven episodes of the show offer little of the madcap fun and charming character moments that many fans came to enjoy about the series. With that in mind, those looking to experience the show at its best might be advised to sample a handful of episodes from later in the run before circling back to the beginning to see how it all began. Episodes like To Catch a Tiger, My Kingdom for a ZEAF and Zero’s Finest Hour are a fine showcase of the series Terrahawks eventually became, balancing drama and absurdity in equal measure, while those looking to experience Terrahawks at its absolute zaniest might like to check out The Ugliest Monster of All, Play It Again Sram, or the second season opener Two for the Price of One – which coincidentally is available to watch for free on the Gerry Anderson Youtube channel!
Speaking of freebies, between 2014 and 2017 26 brand new audio episodes of Terrahawks were produced by Big Finish Productions and Anderson Entertainment! These featured three members of the original voice cast (Denise Bryer, Jeremy Hitchen and Robbie Stevens) plus all the original music and sound effects from the show to create a truly authentic continuation of the television series. If you’re looking to give Terrahawks a try but are maybe finding the look of the show slightly off-putting, then the audio series might be a very good place to start. The very first episode, The Price is Right, re-establishes the show’s format and characters and sets the tone for the rest of the run, which also succeeded in taking the series to places few fans might ever have expected it to go – and several of the audio episodes can be heard for free over on the Big Finish website! In season one’s Deadly Departed Zelda’s apparent ‘death’ confounds both friends and enemies alike, and is an excellent re-introduction to her dysfunctional family, while season two’s Renta-Hawks takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the need for the Terrahawks themselves in a world where younger and flashier (but not necessarily better) global response organizations are on the rise. Other freebies released during the life of the range included the festive vignette Zelda’s Night Before Christmas , and Vile, a satire of personality-led chat shows that takes place between seasons one and two of the audio series. Finally, the first fifteen minutes of season three’s The Prisoner of Zelda can be heard on the July 24th 2017 edition of the Big Finish Podcast, and might just feature the return of one of Zelda’s most famous monsters…
Also available on the Gerry Anderson YouTube channel is our series of ‘primers’ videos, which gives you a basic understanding of each and every Gerry Anderson television series ever made! The Terrahawks primer has just been uploaded, and may be a helpful guide to deciding how (or if!) you’d like to continue your Terrahawks journey!
If all this has tempted you to try Terrahawks, you can head on over to our online store to purchase the original television series on DVD and blu-ray (either in one complete set of all thirty-nine episodes or in three batches of thirteen), plus all three seasons of the audio episodes and other merchandise. It’s the perfect time to catch up with the show while you’re waiting for the new Kate Kestrel and the Terrahawks to arrive on your television screens – so stay on this channel!
What’s that? Oh, yes…Zelda has just reminded us that she has her own Twitter account, and would like to extend a compulsory invitation for you all to follow her at @ZeldaofGuk .
If you dare…
And just two more things! There’s a Terrahawks day live stream happening all day on 10th October (10/10… geddit?!) over on the Gerry Anderson YouTube channel.
And if you’d like to grab yourself some Terrahawks merch, then here’s a selection of goodies for you straight from the Gerry Anderson store!