Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet (more commonly New Captain Scarlet or NCS) is a United Kingdom-produced computer-generated imagery action-adventure TV series which debuted in February 2005 as part of the Ministry of Mayhem on ITV. Created by Gerry Anderson, it is a Hypermarionation reboot of the classic 1967 Supermarionation series, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.
In the year 2068, peace on Earth is maintained by the Spectrum Organization, a super-efficient security group, headquartered in the vast floating aircraft carrier Skybase, which hovers on the edge of Earth's atmosphere. Spectrum is manned by agents recruited from various military services, who are each assigned colour codenames to hide their true identities. Under the command of Colonel White, Spectrum has become the supreme peace-keeping force, maintaining a fleet of sophisticated vehicles for use by Spectrum field agents, including White Falcon Interceptor Jet Fighters, Rhino Tactical Response Units, Cheetah Rapid Response Vehicles, Stallion Raid Bikes, Albatross Special Deployment Craft, Hummingbird Helicopters, Swift Passenger Jets and Bison Alien Terrain Vehicles.
An ill-fated mission to locate the source of mysterious signals originating from Mars unleashed the power of the Mysterons, a ruthless alien consciousness. When Spectrum Captains Scarlet and Black discovered the Mysteron City on Mars, Black mistook the intentions of a Mysteron probe for a hostile offensive and opened fire, completely destroying the city. Using their incredible power of retrometabolism, the ability to recreate matter, the Mysterons reconstructed the city and pledged to take vengeance on the people of Earth for their unprovoked attack. This has taken the form of a war of nerves, with the Mysterons using their amazing powers to influence people, vehicles and inanimate objects to fall under their control. The Mysterons primary Earth agent is Captain Black, recreated from the body of the original Spectrum agent.
Spectrum's personnel and facilities are now mainly mobilized to combat the threat of the Mysterons. Leading the fight is one man fate has made virtually indestructible - Captain Scarlet. Killed during the Mysterons' initial attack, Scarlet was retrometabolised to become the aliens' instrument of destruction, but the Mysterons' hold over him was broken after he fell through a power conduit in the Skybase engineering section. Retaining the original man's memories, personality and loyalties, the new Captain Scarlet also retains the ability to survive injuries that would prove fatal to any other person, making him Spectrum's greatest weapon in their unceasing war against the menace from Mars.
Skybase is a 330 metre long command ship and the operational headquarters of Spectrum. It is permanently stationed above the clouds at 18,288 m. There are six main engines to keep the base positioned in the sky and a further ten engines designed to keep Skybase balanced. Skybase is home to the fleet of high-tech Spectrum vehicles, including the squadron of Falcon aircraft.
The Falcons are handled on Skybase using a unique magnetic control system. After landing on the magna-strip runway, a circular lift lowers the plane into the hangar. Robotic arms automatically re-fuel, and re-arm guns and missiles. Using this system means that the Falcons are always action ready.
Main Spectrum personnel
- Captain Scarlet (Paul Metcalfe): Leading Spectrum field agent. A 32 year old dual-nationality (British/American) former USAF and Special Forces officer, replaced by a virtually indestructible replicant. He was born in Winchester, England, and was the son of a US astronaut and a British astrophysicist. Scarlet was always quietly jealous of the relationship that had developed between Black and Destiny, himself being close to her. However, once Black is dead, Scarlet's feelings for Destiny resurface and throughout the series the two start to fall in love. Scarlet has black hair and blue eyes, weighs 12 stone (76 kg) and is 6 ft 2in (188 cm) tall. Voiced by Wayne Forester, and motion capture performance by Oliver Hollis.
- Captain Blue (Adam Svenson): 32 year old American agent. A decorated former US Army officer and first class sportsman. He was born in Fort Hood, Texas, USA. Blue has blonde hair and blue eyes, weighs 12.1 stone (77 kg) and is 6 ft 1in (185 cm) tall. Throughout the series, it is hinted that he has romantic feelings for Lt. Green (Serena Lewis), though this is never taken further. Voiced by Robbie Stevens.
- Destiny Angel (Simone Giraudoux): A 29 year old dual nationality (French/British). Falcon Interceptor pilot, leader of the Spectrum Angels, a former USAF pilot and ISA astronaut. Destiny had a past relationship with Black, something Scarlet was always secretly jealous of because of his closeness to Destiny. However, once Black is dead, she and Scarlet start to fall in love throughout the series. Destiny has blonde hair and blue eyes. She weighs 8 stone (51 kg), is 5 ft 9in (175 cm) and was born in Silicon Valley, California. Voiced by Emma Tate.
- Colonel White (Sir Charles Grey): Spectrum's Commanding Officer, a 55 year old British former director of MI6, knighted for services to the British Empire. He was born in Gloucestershire, England. White has grey hair and blue eyes. He weighs 12.2 stone (77 kg), is 6 ft 0in (183 cm), and is married to Diana, who is a chairman of the Global Heritage Foundation. His daughter, Victoria, studies Archeology. His interests include chess, fishing and fencing. He is also an expert in ancient military history. Voiced by Mike Hayley.
- Lieutenant Green (Serena Lewis): Spectrums Controller of Operations, a 27 year old American former UN computer systems development technician, who carries a torch for Captain Blue. Green has brown hair and brown eyes. She weighs 8.3 stone (53 kg), is 5 ft 9in (175 cm) and was born in Houston, Texas, USA. She has a minor heart condition. Her father, a US astronaut, is deceased after an ill-fated mission to Jupiter. Her mother is a Trinidadian singer (reflecting the fact the original series Lt. Green was from Trinidad). In the second-season episode "Proteus" she is offered promotion to captain, but declines in order to continue working alongside White. Voiced by Jules de Jongh.
- Doctor Gold (Dr Mason Frost): Main doctor on board Skybase. He was shown constantly throughout the series to have terrible bedside manners. Gold has grey hair and blue eyes, and wears glasses. His wife, Ula, is a veterinarian, and his daughter, Hattie, is a cosmetic dentistry scientist. Voiced by Nigel Plaskitt.
- The Mysterons: Alien nemesis of Spectrum, from the planet Mars. They have the power of retrometabolism, which means they can kill a person and rebuild them as a weapon under their control. Represented by two green circles when travelling over surfaces on Earth. Voiced by Mike Hayley.
- Captain Black (Conrad Lefkon): Lead Mysteron agent, a 33 year old American former Special Forces officer and leading Spectrum field agent, replaced by a virtually indestructible replicant. He used to date Destiny Angel before his Mysteronisation. Black has silver/black hair and hazel eyes. He weighs 11.3 stone (72 kg), is 6 ft 2in (188 cm) and was born in Brooklyn, New York, USA, although he speaks with a clipped English accent. Voiced by Nigel Plaskitt.
Spectrum field agents
- Captain Ochre (Elaine McGee): Irish Field Agent, probably in her late twenties. Ochre has brown hair and blue eyes. She exhibits an excellent sense of humour. Introduced at the end of the first season, Ochre is the first and only female captain in the history of the franchise. Featured increasingly in the second season. Voiced by Julia Brahms.
- Captain Grey (Iain Taggart): Scottish Field Agent who plays the bagpipes. He is 38, which would make him the oldest Spectrum Field Agent. He has brown hair and blue eyes. Voiced by Robbie Stevens.
- Captain Magenta (Mario Moro): Italian Field Agent, who seems to think he is a charmer with the ladies. He has black hair and grey eyes. Voiced by Jeremy Hitchen.
- Captain Indigo (John Roach): This character only appears three times throughout the entire series, and never speaks. He is black, with black hair and brown eyes. He has a beard.
- Captain Orange (Unnamed): This character only appears once throughout the entire series, and, in that instance, doesn't speak. He is caucasian, with black hair.
- Captain Brown (Ricky Nolan): This character only appears twice throughout the entire series, and never speaks. He is Caucasian, with brown hair.
- Harmony Angel (Rebecca Drake): Second in command of the Angels, if Destiny is busy with other duties or is injured. Has red hair, which is most likely dyed, and blue eyes. She has a heavy Southern States accent. Voiced by Jules de Jongh.
- Rhapsody Angel (Caroline Foster-Finch): She has light brown hair tied in a plait, and an upper-class English accent. Voiced by Julia Brahms.
- Symphony Angel (Yoko Inukai): She has black hair and brown eyes. Japanese. Voiced by Jules de Jongh.
- Melody Angel (Esther Jackson): She has brown hair and brown eyes. American. Voiced by Heather Tobias.
- Lieutenant Silver (Bethany Craig): She has auburn hair and blue-grey eyes. Australian. She appeared in a few episodes, and only spoke twice. Voiced by Emma Tate.
- Chief Engineer: Featured in Episode "Swarm" and is posted in central control in Skybase. As a possible nod to Montgomery Scott from the Star Trek franchise, he has a Scottish accent.
Vehicles and aircraft
Spectrum ground vehicles
- Rhino TRU (the SPV in Anderson's earlier series). The Rhino TRU (Tactical Response Unit) is a heavy-duty attack vehicle, with an ultra-tough full armour. The Rhino is capable of high speed with the help of twin ram air booster jets at the rear. Supplied with ten wheels (two front sets, three rear sets), as well as with variable ride-height suspension, it is equipped with a multi-wheel steering system, which makes this cumbersome-looking vehicle surprisingly easy to manoeuvre, on any kind of normal road as well as giving it good off-road performance. The Rhino is armed to the teeth with an impressive arsenal; two front mounted twin cannons, with explosive tipped rounds, armour piercing missiles, harpoon guns and magnetic clamp guns. There are also extendable battering rams on the front and rear. It is also equipped with evasive action anti-missiles which can be launched from the rear. The Rhino is a sealed armoured vehicle, and access to the cabin is gained from the hatches on the vehicles sides. Retractable seats will face the opening to receive either the driver and/or passenger and then get into position in front of the control panel. The vehicle can be driven from either side, the steering sliding into position to whoever wishes to drive it. Other hatches are situated on top of the vehicle and underneath it. The drivers cabin has a number of control screens, which act as the drivers eyes, as there is no window. Equipped with all manner of computerized equipment needed for Spectrum work, the Rhino also comes with a security device allowing the driver to lock the vehicle capacity by password and voice command, thus avoiding theft of the Rhino by an enemy if it should be left by itself. Whenever a Rhino is needed on a given mission, Spectrum will use the Albatross to transport the vehicle. The Albatross will land and the hatch beneath will open, a lift lowering to the ground to deposit the Rhino - with driver inside - ready to perform its mission.
- Cheetah RRV (the SSC in Anderson's earlier series): The Cheetah is a rapid response vehicle. It can travel on its four wheels, but this incredible car also features concealed wings and a tail fin that emerges from the boot (US: trunk). When powered by the jump jets in its wings and booster jets in the rear, the Cheetah is able to glide over obstructions with ease. In any mode the Cheetah, like its animal namesake, is capable of extremely rapid acceleration and deadly speed. It has a machine gun concealed inside the front grill, and also possesses star deflectors, which are used to repel missiles. In the first series, these wings were only ever used for landings from Skybase or flying jumps. Only in the second series was the Cheetah shown to be able to take off from the ground under its own power.
- Stallion Raid Bike: The Stallion is Spectrum's high-speed attack bike. With its pressurized canopy and wings it can be launched from Skybase. After leaving the runway, the Raid Bike freefalls, before deploying its wings in stages to glide. As the bike touches the ground, the canopy and wings disengage, the twin rear wheels grip the road and it blasts away. The rear wheels pivot independently of the body, keeping traction on the road. Extra stability is provided at high speed with front winglets. The Stallion Raid Bike is armed with two front mounted machine guns and two racks of missiles.
- Albatross SDC: Amongst Spectrum's fleet of various craft, the Albatross is unique. Skybase carries two of these massive VTOL Deployment Aircraft, which are used to carry vehicles - mainly a Rhino - anywhere it is needed around the world. It can carry the heaviest weight, putting it down or picking it up on any ground, and in almost any conditions. The deployment system of the Albatross is unique. The cargo doors under the belly of the craft open, and unfold to form the landing feet. Then, the vehicle it carries is lowered by a lift from the Albatross' cargo, just as it finishes its landing procedure and approach. The Rhino can be deployed at the same second the Albatross makes its landing, and once it is out, the craft can take off immediately. This 'drop-and-go' deployment, helped by the SlyFOXX anti-detection shielding with which the Albatross is equipped, makes the aircraft perfect for covert operations. However, due to its massiveness, it could attract visual attention, and therefore, the sturdy craft has been equipped with anti-missile Acoustic Disruptors - which makes it a hard target to hit, despite his size. While so massive, the Albatross nevertheless has remarkable swiftness in flight. Powerful pivoting twin multi-directional XBurn engines, set on each side of the craft, give it lifting capability, maneuverability, and in-flight velocity, even while carrying the heaviest of loads. Also unique is the launching method with which the Albatross is launched from Skybase. Set in its hangar over an airlock, the Albatross is held in place by clamps attached to its nose. During launch sequence, the airlock doors open, and the pilot powers up the thrusters. Once ready for launched, the pilot releases the clamps, and the Albatross drops several meters from underneath Skybase, before the thrust of the engines stops its fall and it finally leaves Skybase to carry on its mission.
- Falcon Interceptors (also used in Anderson's earlier series): The five White Falcons of the Angel Squadron comprise the main force of Skybase's air power. The White Falcon is the Spectrum ATF or Advanced Tactical Fighter, piloted by the Angels. Each pilot has a designated craft, assigned to them, with her codename marking the fuselage. The same codename also appears on the front of each Angel's helmet. An ultimate all-around attack aircraft, the Falcon is a high-speed fighter plane powered by two of the very latest Halo pulsejets, with multi-step afterburners. State-of-the art designed wing-tip geometry and variable multi-plane flaps make the Falcon a supersonic strike fighter with uncanny speed and agility, that can outmanoeuvre any other known fighter plane. Because of the incredible forces generated by the supersonic speeds and turning ability of the Falcon, the Angel pilots need to wear specifically designed and fitted G-suits for their protection against G-forces in flight. Armament comes in the form of twin 30 mm Tempest cannons, front and rear, firing titanium-tipped ammunition. Stowed within the main fuselage of the Falcon, a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles can be fired through internal tubes at any target. In the case of an emergency, the front portion of the plane, including the front canard wings, can disengage from the main body and become a self-powered escape pod. In the unlikely event of this pod failing or being damaged, there is still an ejector seat.
- Swift Passenger Jet: The Swift is Spectrum's fast and comfortable executive passenger jet. Smooth handling and travel is provided by a sophisticated design where the whole body acts as one big wing. While designed primarily for relaxation and off-duty travel - it has extremely luxurious living and dining areas - the Swift can be converted into a fully operational control centre at a moment's notice.
- Hummingbird Helicopter: The Hummingbird is Spectrum's multi-purpose helicopter. Its specially developed rotor blade works with a number of jet systems providing fantastic agility and flexible flying. Retractable inflatable floats situated within the nose and side-engine pods sit alongside a standard undercarriage. A high-powered gun is hidden within its belly. The Hummingbird is capable of rapid ascent and descent, flying manoeuvres and speeds previously unheard of in a helicopter.
Hydrolabs Condor Freighter with tail raised for loading.
(These craft are either space vehicles or vehicles not associated with Spectrum but used multiple times during the series):
- Bison Alien Terrain Vehicle: Used on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars.
- Spectrum Space Shuttle: Used to transport personnel to and from Spectrum bases on the Moon and Mars.
- Vampire Fighters:
- Druzynik Battlewagon
- Condor Freighter: The Condor is a multi-purpose airplane.
Comparison with the original series
- Skybase is, essentially, an improved version of the original Cloudbase, carrying a wide variety of vehicles and weapons on board, and housing Spectrum officers. A notable addition is that, on the flight deck, the Angels use a robot (Nicknamed 'F.R.E.D.'), that is controlled through telepresence by a Landing signal officer, who operates inside the base for safety purposes. The officer gives the traditional hand signals to the pilots, such as the order to launch.
- In the new series, Lieutenant Green and Captain Ochre are women. Although the Angel squadron continues to be all-female, the episode "Trap for a Rhino" features a male pilot in training.
- The communications desk is now holographic in nature.
- Doctor Fawn has been totally redesigned and designated Doctor Gold.
- Barry Gray's original Captain Scarlet theme music has been replaced with a new composition (this includes the drumbeat scene transition).
- The Spectrum logo has been redesigned.
- The Mysteron city is now completely green and is built up of lights, spikes or other shapes and gas as opposed to the original multi colored, circular shaped city.
- The green Mysteron 'rings' remain, as does the booming, distorted 'Voice of the Mysterons' in many scenes (it is revealed the voice emanates from actual Mysteron operatives who have used as a conduit). In addition, Mysteron agents eyes - particularly Captain Black's - are often seen to flash a similar bright green momentarily at suitably dramatic moments.
- Modern CGI technology allows the actual recreation of people and objects to be shown on screen.
- Major scene changes are still accompanied by a musical sting, but as noted above the composition is different.
- The new series has more complex romantic subplots, with both Captain Scarlet in the present and Captain Black in the past dating Destiny Angel, and the hints of a potential relationship between Captain Blue and Lieutenant Green, as well as flirtations between several other characters. Examples include Captain Ochre and an off-Skybase motorcycle gang member called Colt, and Captain Magenta's all round womanizer image. The original series had hinted at a one-time relationship between Scarlet and Destiny Angel, and an on-going approach between Blue and Symphony Angel.
- The series also establishes new aspects of the Mysterons, revealing that most retain some remnants of the original personalities and feelings of the people killed (in the original series this is depicted as unique to Scarlet). One episode, "The Achilles Messenger", reveals that a faction of Mysteron society does not want the war with the humans and a rebellion exists though the series was cancelled before this plot element was fully explored.
- Many voice characterizations have changed. Scarlet no longer sounds like Cary Grant but speaks with an American New England accent. Destiny's accent is now British rather than French. Doctor Gold speaks Standard English with an Austrian accent (as opposed to Doctor Fawn's Australian accent). There are also Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Southern American, Indian, Russian, and other accents (and occasional subtitled foreign-language dialogue) heard among supporting characters in addition to English. An interesting note is that although both series used different voice actors, in both series the actor who voiced Colonel White also provided the voice of the Mysterons. One oddity has Captain Black speaking with a British accent both while free and while under Mysteron control, yet the series establishes that the character is from Brooklyn.
- Given the fact that the characters are animated, they do not have the physical limitations of the original puppets. The characters are obviously able to be shown walking and in similar activities with considerable ease. Some of these activities are running, fencing and performing martial arts.
- The original series was noted for its dark tone and level of violence. This has been retained in the new series, with some violent moments being depicted more graphically than it was possible to do with puppets in the 1960s, and the tone is more serious with some mild language.
- Unlike the original series, the updated series ends with an episode that resolves its premise.
ITV chose to air the series on the Saturday Morning entertainment show Ministry of Mayhem, which disappointed Gerry Anderson. "They took my half-hour show, cut the titles off and cut it in half. It wasn't even listed so people who watched Ministry of Mayhem had to wait and watch all the nonsense going on before the first half. When it finished they didn't say there was a second half or when it was going to start. After they had shown all the episodes, legally it had to be cited as a repeat so it never had a premiere. It just broke my heart." Episodes were aired in the order they were completed in, meaning that the series finale aired as the penultimate instalment. This is because an alternative episode had to be made after one was abandoned because Gerry Anderson thought it was too scary for younger children.
As of late 2011, New Captain Scarlet has yet to be broadcast in North America.
Both Series 1 and 2 are available on DVD in the UK, the latter being produced under the ITV DVD banner. Individual volumes are available with three or four episodes on each disk and box sets of all volumes from both series are available separately. Interestingly, the DVD case for Series 2 gives a completely inaccurate description of the episode "Grey Skulls". The description mentions Scarlet taking a camping holiday with his sister and her son when they are attacked by the Mysterons. They then seek shelter in a house owned by an old toymaker and collector (plans were for him to resemble Gerry Anderson) but the Mysterons then bring to life all the toys in the house with murderous intentions. This episode (called House of Dolls) was originally planned and scripted but eventually scrapped as it was considered too scary for small children, and may not have been shown by broadcasters so it was replaced by Grey Skulls. However, the script was given a live performance by the cast at the 2006 Fanderson convention Sector 25 (with a guest appearance by Shane Rimmer as the toy maker). Series 2 is rated 12, due to some rather blunt violence that was not shown in the CITV version. It is also worth noting that the episode in Series 2 known as Duel has the wrong name on the box for the holiday resort. It is called Serendipity on the episode summaries, but was called Tranquility in the episode itself. Furthermore the episode order for the last disc of the season 2 DVD is incorrect. The final episode of the series "Dominion" and the aforementioned "Grey Skulls", which was the penultimate episode, should be watched in reverse order. As of late 2011 the series (Sony Licenced) has yet to achieve DVD release in North America, making it one of only a handful of Anderson series not to receive home video release outside the UK.