“I watched Terrahawks for the first time in 35 years and found it weird” – Hugh Fort


Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s legacy is incredibly well known.

Gerry and his wife Sylvia produced amazingly ahead of their time puppet shows like Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons that captured the imaginations of young people across the country in the 1960s and 1970s.

The shows featured the adventures of heroes like the Tracey brothers in Thunderbirds and submarine captain Troy Tempest in Stingray.

READ MORE: Stunning 1960s footage shows Thunderbirds filmed in Slough

In the 80s, another spectacle appeared. It followed a similar sci-fi formula, with a futuristic team of heroes battling evil space monsters to save Earth.

This program was called Terrahawks and the show is one of the latest additions to Amazon Prime. As an 80s kid, I just had to watch it.

Why? For the simple reason that the evil android witch Zelda and her sidekicks reduced me to crying fits of terror when I was a young boy.

One of my earliest childhood memories is running down the hallway of a hospital screaming in terror because Zelda appeared on the TV screen.

Seeking to overcome this childhood trauma, I immersed myself in the series.

Who are the Terrahawks?

The Terrahawks are a top secret government organization tasked with protecting Earth from a group of alien androids and aliens led by the evil Zelda.

Zelda and her son Young-star (99) and sister Cy-star have seemingly unlimited access to a range of weird and wonderful alien monsters who are sent to Earth in an attempt to destroy the Terrahawks.

Like all good villains, Zelda truly believes the human race is a bunch of selfish bastards that must be rooted out.

The Terrahawks are Dr. “Tiger” Ninestein, Captain Mary Falconer, Captain Kate Kestrel and Lieutenant Hawkeye. They are aided by Lieutenant Hiro, who runs their space station Spacehawk.

They are also aided by a seemingly endless brigade of spherical troops called Zeroids. All of them have comic and human voices. I felt Commander 55 looked a lot like Windsor Davies in It Aint Hot Mum.

Turns out it’s because he was!

It also has the practical ability to increase its mass to the same level as a black hole.

Others have extremely stereotypical accents, like a Frenchman, with a curly mustache, and a Glaswegian that no one can understand.

And with all of this amazing technology at their disposal, it has to look to the future, because humans have traveled and colonized Mars and regularly visit Jupiter.

What year can that be? Ah yes, 2020, and there no PCR tests or masks to see.

What is the story?

Like a lot of things in the ’80s, the episodes are mostly good versus bad.

Zelda hatches a plan to destroy the Terrahawks, it seems it works, and then the valiant heroes overcome the odds of sending the villains to pack their bags.

There is very little variation on this throughout the episodes.

In fact, there is none, the plot of each episode is exactly the same.

Have the Terrahawks stood the test of time?

First of all, the best thing about Terrahawks is the music. An absolute bang.

It’s important to point out that the show was made almost 40 years ago, where attitudes about what is acceptable and what is not were completely different.

That said, you can bet your life that a character like Lieutenant Hiro wouldn’t make it to screens in 2021. He’s described as a very crass Japanese stereotype.

Unfortunately, not only does he mix up the letters L and R, with “hilarious” consequences, the other characters adopt this trait when speaking to him as well.

He is portrayed as being ridiculous because he talks to his flowers and says things like, “I’ll never understand the western brain.”

Not good.

Are Terrahawks Good?

Terrahawks, which was largely shot at the famous Bray Studios in Berkshire, is quite fun, but also quite special.

Most of the television heroes of the day were chiseled, charismatic types.

Dr Ninestein is humorless, arrogant and, in fact, utterly loathsome.

He’s constantly horrible to the Zeroids (who are the best and funniest thing in Terrahawks), as well as his much braver co-workers that he regularly sends out in the hairiest of situations.

He then always takes the credit for saving the day.

Another curious aspect is that of Kate Kestrel. She is considered the link between the Terrahawks and the outside world, as not only is she a space fighter pilot, but also a world famous pop star.

This means that long sections of each episode are devoted to him singing his electro-pop hits.

Hawkeye has very limited airtime, which is pretty good since he only speaks rhymes, and Mary Falconer is a rather bland character who speaks like Joanna Lumley.

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Zelda and Her Pals are like all 80s villains – completely and utterly useless.

They have seemingly limitless resources and every week release what they see as the perfect plan, which always fails.

The other question I asked myself is who are the Terrahawks for?

As my own nervous breakdowns proved all these years ago, Zelda and her colleagues, with their gruesome faces and horrible, shrill, screaming laughter, will send young children to safety.

Older kids are unlikely to appreciate Ninestein, as he’s basically loathsome and the rest of the characters are just pretty bland.

As always with Anderson and co, the design is great, but the goodies aren’t good enough. He really needs a Virgil Tracey to give him that heroic boost.

Zelda and co look great, and some of the aliens they release are really scary. But they are so unnecessary.

I’m saying give the Zeroids a spin-off, they’re the best by far.

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