Stingray – 10. The Ghost of the Sea

The Ghost of the Sea offers us that rarest of opportunities in a Supermarionation series – the chance to learn just a smidge about a character’s back story and their life before the events of the show began. Now that isn’t to say character development is lacking from the Supermarionation shows, in fact quite the opposite is true. We learn a heck of a lot about our heroes from the ways they interact with each other and respond to crisis after crisis. But the biographical history of characters is a subject rarely touched upon outside of a few throwaway lines of dialogue here and there… until now that is…

Stingray – 9. Count Down

“Count Down” could be the secret service codeword for the Count from Sesame Street’s assassination. What? Oh yeah, Stingray. No, hang on a minute. Why is this episode called Count Down… surely it should be ‘Countdown’, as in the noun, referring to the countdown on the bomb at the end? To “count down” as two separate words suggests an instruction to somone just standing there reading off numbers as they descend. That would be much less exciting. Bloomin’ grammar. Anyway. What day is it? Half past two. Sorry the pills are still kicking in. Time for Stingray.

Stingray – 8. The Ghost Ship

This episode has a very special place in my heart for the very simple reason that it was, most likely, my first. Since before I was born, my family owned Volumes 4 and 5 of Stingray on Channel 5 VHS tapes for many years, before I then took on the job of tracking down the rest. So The Ghost Ship is the first in a batch of episodes from early-to-midway through the series which I watched an awful lot growing up, and would consider to be the golden era of Stingray. It’s certainly the period I have the strongest nostalgia for. But for this viewing I tried to remove my rose-tinted glasses and just appreciate The Ghost Ship on its own merits. I mean, it’s still a fantastic episode, rose-tinted or otherwise, but I just want you to know I tried really hard not to be swayed…

Stingray – 7. The Golden Sea

On paper, The Golden Sea has quite a lot going for it. After a short absence in prior episodes, we now have the return of Titan, X20, and Teufel, our principal baddies for the series. Plus, they’re joined by another geezer with a powerful new weapon to play with. It’s also the only time ever that we get to see one of Stingray’s Aqua Sprites in action, as well as Titan’s own personal craft. So this should feel like a fairly significant episode, right? Not just a bit of filler or a missed opportunity? Well, let’s see if we can draw some conclusions one way or the other over the course of this long-winded commentary…

Stingray – 6. The Big Gun

Okay, let’s get this out of the way upfront. You know it. I know it. We all know it. So let’s just accept it, and move on to the important business. Here it is. Here’s the elephant in the room. And I won’t mince my words or beat about any bushes. The fact of the matter is, when all is said and done, that when you think about it truly and honestly… the “Big Gun” in this episode looks a bit like a thingy… And y’know, even if it doesn’t look a bit like a thingy, the urge for me to make thingy-based double entendres throughout this review are going to be far too great for me to not acknowledge it here and now. So I guess that’s your only warning. Time for some Stingray.

Stingray – 5. Treasure Down Below

I’ve been looking forward to this one. Treasure Down Below is chock-full of memorable moments and contains all the ingredients of a classic – salty seadogs, funky-looking aliens, love triangle drama – it’s all here! So no more hanging around, let’s get started! Oh, but incidentally, I thought it would be worth mentioning that we’re five episodes into the series and I’m still singing along to the theme music…

Stingray – 4. Hostages of the Deep

Hostages of the Deep was the 37th episode of Stingray to be broadcast. 37! This one really has the look and feel of an early episode so I don’t know who they were trying to fool by putting it so late in the run. I’ve never watched Stingray in broadcast order but it must feel so strange because the later episodes are just quite different from these early ones, and the progression in production and storytelling is pretty clear. Hopping from one end of the production order of the series to the other willy-nilly must be a bizarre experience for regular viewers. Or maybe I’m thinking about it too hard. Maybe the viewing public just opened their mouths and stuffed whatever Stingray goodness in that was served up to them without very much thought. Gobble gobble gobble. Anyway, what are we doing here? Oh yeah, Hostages of the Deep.

Stingray – 3. Sea of Oil

Another early episode broadcast late in the run, Sea of Oil represents the first of what I would consider a run-of-the-mill Stingray episode, following the formula of the Stingray crew investigating X incident, and discovering Y undersea race who are behind the whole affair. It’s not exactly the most outlandish story of the series, but give ’em a break, it’s only episode three. And hey, there are definitely some hidden gems in there. Can anyone else hear an “oink”?

Stingray – 2. Plant of Doom

Bizarrely, this second episode which follows on directly from the plot of the pilot episode, was broadcast incredibly late in Stingray’s first run on television. It was common practice back in the day to push early episodes to later in the broadcast order, with the supposed reasoning that initial episodes weren’t as good as later ones. So to keep viewers tuning in during those crucial first few weeks of broadcast, heavy hitters from later in the production order of episodes would be brought forward. In the case of Stingray, it was decided that the episode Emergency Marineville be broadcast second, and Plant of Doom was moved all the way to slot number 34. While fairly nonsensical in terms of the plot and it’s bearing on other episodes of the series, is this indicative of the quality of the finished episode itself? Let’s dive in…