Thunderbirds, Star Trek, and Showing Not Telling

Improved graphics give us a reason to remake, but retelling the exact same story with improved graphics is the work of obsessively nostalgic fan-projects instead of new releases. Altering something fundamental allows old and new fans to enjoy wondering what will happen next.

Thunderbirds pulled that off as an incidental detail in the very first action scene. A child’s father plummets toward his death, and Virgil decares “No-one is losing their father today”, and you just know. It’s the perfect change for the series. Jeff Tracy was the commander in the original series, the powerful paterfamilias, the wise old authority figure. Removing him is the perfect plot change. The Tracys have learned his ideals but can struggle with the experience, and you’ve get a powerful plot hook to take them places trying to discover the truth of what happened.

"No time for boring exposition, too busy PUTTING THUNDERBIRD 2 INTO A SUPER-TERMINAL DIVE AND LEAPING OUT TO RESCUE SOMEONE BEFORE WE EVEN RUN THE OPENING CREDITS"

“No time for boring exposition, too busy PUTTING THUNDERBIRD 2 INTO A SUPER-TERMINAL DIVE AND LEAPING OUT TO RESCUE SOMEONE BEFORE WE EVEN RUN THE OPENING CREDITS”

Compare this to Star Trek where Spock, allegedly the smartest character in the text, takes an entire scene to carefully explain that blowing up an entire planet might have changed the timeline. Twice, because his older self did it as well. They had two different versions of the same character carefully explaining that changing the timeline might make things different instead of pointing at each other and shouting “Duh!” That scene spoon-feeding us the details took longer than spoon-feeding us the entire rubbled remains of Vulcan. We didn’t think things were going to go as before, with Kirk and Vulcan eventually Pon Farring it up in spacesuits, stomping around the cloud of asteroids which used to be a planet unable to hear the fight music because of the total vacuum.

"Also, hinging our entire plot on you just happening to wander into the exact right cave on a random world is not logical."

“Also, hinging our entire plot on you just happening to wander into the exact right cave on a random world is not logical.”

I could adore the new Thunderbirds and hate the new Star Trek for twenty more pages. So I picked out the best two and wrote them up:

The most glorious nerdiness ever made.

Speeding in the most glorious nerdiness ever made.

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