Terrahawks-Volume 1 (1983)

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Released 26-Jun-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Notes-Terracodes
Gallery-Photo-9
Biographies-Character
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 92:15 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Alan Pattillo
Desmond Saunders
Studio
Distributor
Anderson Burr Picts
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Denise Bryer
Windsor Davis
Jeremy Hitchen
Anne Ridler
Ben Stevens
Case ?
RPI ? Music Richard Harvey


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Terrahawks was made in the early '80s by Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr. Note the absence of half of the original Anderson husband and wife team. It is still a puppet show but this time there are no strings - they have called this new puppet style SuperMacroMation. I am no expert on puppets but it would appear that the puppets are controlled from below rather than from above as in Thunderbirds. Like the Muppet show, legs make a fairly rare appearance. The puppets look like they are made on a larger scale and have marginally more animation in the faces.

    The technology used in the props is certainly more advanced, for example the use of LEDs in the eyes of the Zeroids. Exposed circuit boards used as props have metal case transistors and other components visible - I didn't spot any chips though.

    As with the Thunderbirds, the Terrahawks run around in a variety of vehicles, aircraft and spaceships. While a couple of their machines are interesting I did not find them a patch on the Thunderbird craft. They also hang out in secret bases with fancy ways of gaining the surface. One is hidden inside a big tree that opens up, another below a building that tilts out of the way. The best of the new spots is one that is underwater and the exit is generated by a huge turbine that creates a whirlpool allowing the craft to exit up the centre.

    There are seven main characters in this show. The man in charge of the Terrahawks is Dr NineStein, an insufferable commander who is supposed to be the genius of the group. He has been cloned nine times and there is a machine that can imprint his memories on one of his clones. This allows for a certain number of deaths to occur to spice up the storyline. The next four are the crew that make up the Terrahawks team. One flies in the main ship with Dr NineStein acting as second in command. Two fly a rather strange attack craft, and the last is stuck up on the orbiting space station. This chap is of Asian extraction and a number of politically incorrect jokes are aimed at his accent. To round out the Terrahawks team is a number of robots. These robots, called Zeroids, are shaped and sized like a soccer ball. They have a panel that slides back at the front to expose their eyes and a port that opens in the top for utility arms and a laser weapon. They are used as shock troops and are led by number Zero who has been modelled on the classic British sergeant major. The accent and attitude that comes from this little robot is definitely one of the best parts of the show. Fans of the Carry On films will instantly recognise the voice of Windsor Davies who played the Sergeant Major in Carry On England and another character again quite similar in It Ain't Half Hot, Mum. The poor chap seems to have been typecast as a Sergeant and through this has probably set his stamp on what a sergeant is meant to sound like.

    The Terrahawks are not a rescue operation. Their responsibility is to protect Earth from invasion by the Martians. The Martians in this case are not native Martians but androids that were built to serve man on Mars but then revolted. They are led by a very ugly female android called Zelda. Her one goal in life is to hatch bizarre plots to attack Earth and destroy the hated Terrahawks. She spends half the episode cackling with a maniacal laugh, right up until her latest plan is foiled.

    This laugh I think gives a hint as to what the makers of this show were trying to achieve. I think that the entire show is very tongue in cheek and intended as a take-off of the Andersons earlier work. While it works to a certain extent on this level, the jokes just do not come fast enough to sustain your interest.

Expect The Unexpected (Parts 1 and 2) (45:41)

While enroute to Earth, Zelda sets the tone by blowing up some innocent minors on the moon. The Terrahawks are called into action but are a little confused when their sensors read an energy source but there is no visible craft. Turns out Zelda has a little trick where she can control matter and has shrunk her ship down to a very small size. After an exchange of blaster fire Zelda is beaten off...this time. In part two she returns saying that she is just misunderstood and wants to be friends this time. Dr NineStein wants to believe her but alas he is betrayed and trapped in his car by a series of square robots. (The good robots are round, the bad square). He needs the help of the Sergeant Major to escape from this one.

Gold (23:17)

The Sergeant Major thinks that he has found the human's God in a wrecked ship that attacked from Mars disguised as a meteorite. What he thinks is the human's God is a rather large hunk of gold. He has come to this impression because everyone that sees this stuff goes 'My God' (loud groans from the audience). As with anything from Mars in this show, not everything is as it seems and all that glitters is not gold (sorry about that).

Thunder Roar (23:17)

Zelda decides to unfreeze a monster that she has been keeping on ice. This particular monster has a roar that can bring down mountains. He is unleashed on Earth and the Terrahawks are called into action once again. The monster is shot down and takes cover in a cave at the base of a mountain. He demands that Dr NineStein join him in the cave and shouts down a nearby mountain to enforce his request. To save any other innocent mountains meeting the same fate, Dr NineStein agrees to enter the cave and is trapped in a cave-in. The Terrahawks call in a piece of equipment that is nearly worthy of the Thunderbirds to unearth their commander.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Unfortunately, each episode on this DVD consists of only a single chapter, making navigation around the episodes very difficult.

    Presented at what is most likely its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the transfer is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Unfortunately the image is not very sharp and moving objects are worse, with a distracting double image trail left behind that further reduces image definition. Shadow detail is alright, but there is some low level noise triggered by the ever-present grain.

    Colours are somewhat muted and are subject to some quite bad smear, particular in the reds. The three strips on the robot's head at 13:04 in the first episode are blurred into a single block.

    There are no noticeable MPEG artefacts present nor is there any aliasing. The film master is in very poor condition with heavy grain, marks, spots, dirt and even holes in the emulsion.

    There are no subtitles on this single layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There is a single English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack on this disc.

    There are no problems with the dialogue quality nor with the audio sync.

    The music is a bit of fun with a slightly over-the-top martial march for the theme tune.

    There is minimal surround activity with only some ambience and the music making into the surrounds.

    Unlike the Thunderbirds discs, which are graced with a 5.1 soundtrack and a cheesy but effective subwoofer track, there is little bass information on this disc.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    A static menu with the heads of the Terrahawks crew arranged across the top with the word Terrahawks through the middle in a very eighties 3D font. The menu selections for the episodes and the extras are arranged in the lower part of the screen. There is no audio.

TerraCodes

    Throughout the show, the Terrahawks use a "ten" code. Ten-ten means OK, ten-forty means battle stations and so on. This single page gives the eight ten codes that are used. Boy can these codes get annoying after a while.

Biographies

    A single page on each of the main cast members giving a little of the background of the character. Each static page contains a picture of the character and the text. Presented at 1.33:1 and with no audio.

Picture Gallery

    I'm not sure what the source for these pictures are - perhaps a poster from the original series release. The first picture is an overall view of a very wide poster followed by a series of picture that are close-ups of various sections from the first picture. The last couple are adverts for the release of the first 26 half hour shows, available worldwide apparently. Presented at 1.33:1 with the images inset depending on their aspect ratio with no audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There does not appear to be a Region 1 version of this set.

    There is a Region 2 version that is also a box set of three discs holding thirteen episodes. These discs include:

    None of this appears on our discs. The video and audio quality appear identical, leaving us with an R2 winner.

Summary

    While I was very interested in seeing the first disc from this series I am unsure if I will be chasing down the remainder of the series. The comparison to the Thunderbirds leaves this show a poor second. Even for the kids there is the problem that even Thunderbirds had to some extent in that the episodes are packed out with take off scenes, flight scenes and other material than can slow down the story.

    The video quality is disappointing.

    The audio is functional.

    The extras are slim but the bios are interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Friday, November 14, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR800
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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