As you already know, two Anderson shows share milestone Anniversaries later this year, “Stingray” and “Space Precinct”. For both shows I am going to take a look at my top 5 episodes. So lets begin with an in-depth (sigh) look at Stingray.
For anyone not familiar with Stingray (Why are you even here?) the show follows the adventures of Captain Troy Tempest aboard the World Aquanaut security Patrol vessel “Stingray”. Operating out of their base (Marineville) – Troy, his co-pilot Phones, and a mute mermaid – Marina, battle the evil Titan, the supreme ruler of the undersea world.
The show premiered in 1964 and ran for 39 episodes.
I should note that this list is of the episodes that stand out to me personally, for breaking the mould or just being exceptionally good, so let us begin.
5. The Loch Ness Monster.
“I didn’t just see it, I tangled with it!”
A W.A.S.P admiral is attacked by a monster while on a fishing trip to Loch ness and orders Stingray to solve the mystery of the lake.
One thing I always thought Stingray lacked was sea monsters, admittedly there was the “Gargon” but it wasn’t nearly as well realised as Nessie was here. He may have been a redress of the Space monster from Fireball Xl5 and perhaps a little cute but he is definitely memorable.
The Episode also has some very atmospheric sequences as the crew explore the hunted castle of Sandy Mcgreggor, fun shots of Stingray been driven to Loch ness and a rarther mental dream sequence of Phones playing the bagpipes.
A real standout here is Barry Grays fantastic score. I always thought Stingray was his best work so I’ll be mentioning him a lot this article. 🙂
Without giving away the ending Stingray does indeed solve the Mystery of the Loch ness monster but in a way that allows the legend to continue. A great episode and much better than how Seaview handled it the year before.
4. The Invisible Enemy
“Marinevilles beaten, just beaten by something we can’t even see!”
A lone man identified only as Thompson is found alone in the middle of the ocean in an hypnotic trance. As Stingray resumes it’s patrol Thompson begins stalking Marineville hypnotising everyone one by one.
An amusing anecdote: I must of been pretty young when I saw this episode the first time around and missed it in all the intervening years, at some point I kind of assumed I dreamt it. In fairness you can’t really blame me as this is easily one the odder supermarionation episodes and completely unlike anything else Stingray did.
Another creepy thought is that you never see the Aliens that did this to Thompson (my namesake). There is always a nice added mystery when they leave the aliens hidden I find (Pink Ice was the same).
The directing and lighting contributes to the atmosphere. this easily shows marionettes at their creepiest with some Barry Gray Synth to boot.
The only downside to this episode is the overuse of Stockfootage in the finale but it’s a small complaint.
3.Rescue from the Skies
Lt Fisher is training to be a Sub-commander, on a training cruise Stingray is badly damaged and a bomb is placed on it’s hull, with no time to send out a normal rescue team Troy must risk a dangerous ariel dive to get to the bomb in time.
A fast paced exciting episode that gives the little used character of Lt Fisher some well deserved limelight, the poor guy never quite got the same amount of screen-time as his XL5 counterpart did, he always seemed like an extra guy that was useful for being a verbal punchbag for shore, here you see him being a professional aquanaut (but still not quite as good as the incomparable Troy Tempest). X20 Zero is also up to his old tricks again, hiding in computer crates and wiring dummy targets to explode.
I’ve always loved Troy’s awful piloting skills and narrowly missing the tower on take off.
It also gave us a Kobyashi Maru test 17 years before Star Trek 2.
2.The Big Gun
The Solarstar Empire declares war on the mainland and begins blowing up islands, as Stingray destroys their first vessel. They set their next target as Marineville.
Once you get past the rather in your face title, the Big gun is another great episode with lots of action and quite a bit of suspense.
The Solarstars set themselves up as a great villains with great designs for their city and their fearsome flagship weapon. It would have been interesting to have seen them return. They’d certainly have a bone to pick with Tempest after he wiped out their entire city (Dick).
Sequences like the fast paced Battle stations as Marineville comes under attack and Stingrays chase into the depths while being slowly crushed make this easily one of the best in the series.
1. The Masterplan
Titans failure to fight W.A.S.P is causing him to lose respect amongst the other marine races, he hatches a plan to deal with Tempest once and for all.
If there was ever an episode that could be closest to a Stingray movie this is it. The story plays brilliantly off the events of the pilot episode with Titan now disgraced that he lost his prized slave and his conquered subjects refusing to respect him. He is forced to devise a masterplan to deal with the terranians and win back his power. I really like this because it really gives us an idea of the underwater world
The cool thing is that he very nearly wins, by half way through the episode he’s fatally poisoned Troy and recaptured Marina. It’s his greed that is his eventual undoing as he wants Stingray as well, so allows Troy to be cured so that he will try and take Marina back. This leads to quite an exciting showdown at Titanica.
In many ways this would have been a great final episode for Stingray and really nicely harks back to the pilot.
Well, thats the top 5 Stingray episodes that stand out for me, going through them it is actually really hard to choose as they are generally all pretty good.
So which is your favourite and why? Let us know in the comments below