On March 10th, Timeless Media Group will release all 39 episodes in glorious black and white. The DVD boxed set also includes: audio commentaries on two episodes; a twelve-minute interview with series creator Gerry Anderson; a documentary on the colorful Fireball XL5 comic strips; and a nine-page publicity brochure that accompanied the series' original broadcast in 1962 (shown at right).
Set 100 years in the future, Fireball XL5 chronicles the adventures of blonde-haired Colonel Steve Zodiac of the World Space Patrol Fleet. The XL5 is a 300-foot spacecraft with crew quarters, a lounge, a research laboratory, and weaponry. The nose cone of the XL5--known as Fireball Junior--detaches from the mother ship and can be used for landing on other planets. Steve's fellow crew members include: Doctor Venus (voiced by Sylvia Anderson); Professor Matthew Matic (who sounds like Walter Brennan!); and Robert the Robot (voiced by Gerry Anderson through a voice box).
The Fireball XL5 missions range from escorting important alien leaders to summits to restoring plant life on an alien planet to foiling espionage plots devised by the notorious Mr. and Mrs. Space Spy. Other XL ships appear in some episodes, such as when Steve and crew rescue Fireball XL7 in "Space Magnet." There are also additional recurring characters, to include Commander Zero, Lieutenant Ninety, and Venus' sometimes-telepathic pet Zoonie the Lazoon.
In the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson TV series chronology, Fireball XL5 followed Supercar (1960-61) and preceded Stingray (1964-65). It builds on some of the elements from Supercar, specifically the emphasis on a fantastic vehicle, the elaborate launch sequence, the presence of a pet (Supercar had Mitch the Monkey), and even some of the plot lines (e.g., espionage is a recurring plot theme in many Anderson series).
|The terrific XL5 launch sequence--the highlight of the opening credits.|
|Robert the Robot.|
Although the colorful Stingray remains my favorite Supermarionation series, the Fireball XL5 boxed set is a must for fans. The image and sound quality are excellent and it's an enjoyable series. So, as Steve tells Venus in the opening credits: "Let's go!"
Click here to view the Cafe's unofficial trailers for Fireball XL5, Stingray, and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Timeless Media Group provided a copy of the XL5 DVD set for our review.