Stingray – 17. Stand By For Action

Stand By For Action is like a gift, specially prepared by AP Films for this blog. As well as being absolutely jam-packed with behind the scenes easter eggs for me to wax lyrical about, the episode also serves as a glorious and happy satire of the film industry and popular culture. And it’s all done from a place of love. I’m so excited to share this one with you. Strap in, because it’s a roller coaster.

Stingray – 16. Raptures of the Deep

Dream sequences are a staple of Supermarionation storytelling. They allow us to see adventures which couldn’t possibly take place in the reality of the series, and to gain a deeper and more visual insight into a character’s ambitions, desires, or anxieties than would normally be exposed in regular dialogue or action. Take a look at the episodes like Flight of Fancy from Supercar, or A Day In The Life Of A Space General from Fireball XL5, or even Alan’s bizarre encounter with Cliff Richard Jr. from Thunderbirds Are Go, and you’ll find that similar dreamy or nightmarish elements and tropes can also be found right here, in Raptures of the Deep. Perhaps what makes so many of the heroes of Supermarionation such interesting characters is the fact we get these extraordinary glimpses into how their mind’s work. And believe me, Troy Tempest’s oxygen-starved subconscious doesn’t disappoint…

Stingray – 15. Secret of the Giant Oyster

Over the course of these reviews, I have often been able to conduct research into the real life industrial, scientific, and cultural phenomena which influenced a great number of Stingray episodes. It’s been a lot of fun and incredibly interesting to research the history of things like weather ships and oil platforms and even our friend the Loch Ness Monster. So this week I did my homework on the topic of choice: oysters and pearls. I was rubbish at Biology at school so was hoping to redeem myself by seving up some hard hitting facts which demonstrated the science behind these fascinating specimens. I hope you will therefore appreciate how disappointed I was when I discovered that this episode is full of absolute nonsense on the subject. Now I’m not saying that makes the episode less enjoyable. In fact, it’s rather entertaining. But I’m just going to put it out there right now that it’s rather entertaining nonsense. So suspend your disbelief for a while as we uncover the secrets of Secret of the Giant Oyster.

Stingray – 14. The Invaders

I’ve always liked The Invaders in the past. I think the sheer ambition of the aliens’ plot and their successful attempt to capture Marineville (briefly) really fired up my imagination as a youngster. But, after the absolute cavalcade of excellence that the last few episodes have brought us, I found myself feeling a little underwhelmed when I watched The Invaders this time around. Maybe my enjoyment of this episode can be recovered, or maybe we can drill down deeper into why it didn’t quite float my boat today. Join me, won’t you?

Stingray – 13. Loch Ness Monster

“Find the Loch Ness Monster? What a crazy mission!” Troy pretty much sums up the entire premise of this episode in that one line, and how I wish I’d been a fly on the wall when that idea was originally pitched in the production office. It’s certainly one of the more “out there” concepts for the series so far but, like so many of the Stingray episodes we’ve explored, it was inspired by real-life areas of interest in the 1960s. There is a lot of history to cover when it comes to the legend of “Nessie”, but for the purposes of this review, all you really need to know is that sightings and excitement around the phenomena kicked off in the 1930s and culminated in the formation of the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau in 1962, right around the time Stingray entered production. It’s all just the kind of thing an imaginative writer like Dennis Spooner could weave into a story and play for comedy, while trying to provide some kind of a satisfying explanation for the mystery…