Recently I was directed to a very ambitious and creative project, Nebula-75, a short form puppet drama that harkens back to Gerry Anderson’s great shows like Thunderbirds, Stingray, and Captain Scarlet. After watching the first two episodes I am extremely impressed.
Nebula-75 follows the story of Ray Neptune and the exploits of the spaceship Nebula-75. The format follows Commander Neptune recounting the adventures and exploits of the Nebula-75 as it returns to Earth. The four primary characters are Ray Neptune, the robot Circuit, ship medical and science officer Doctor Asteroid, and Athena, a space maiden. There is also a mysterious evil character, but we don’t know much about him as yet.
Each episode is under twenty minutes long and includes a charming production documentary at the end of the main story. At the beginning of each episode Circuit provides a humorous explanation of production values and scientific accuracy. I can see Circuit becoming a rather acerbic and riotously funny character if this project goes on long enough.
Written and produced in limited conditions they have very aptly called this process Superisolation, a wonderfully apt and wry comment on our current unfortunate situation. It’s very heartening to see a project like Nebula-75 being made with such a positive outlook on the future. It would have been very easy and predictable to take a dystopian view of the future.
The production values of Nebula-75 are low, but charmingly so. Sure you can see the wires on the puppets now and again and the use of a label maker to mark important pieces of tech and equipment aboard the Nebula-75, but that only adds to the humour and appeal of the project. The Nebula-75 team takes special effort to stress that everything we see was made from whatever was to hand in their London flat. After seeing the results, I don’t think anyone can doubt their skills and creativity.
The episodes themselves are in PAL format it seems and not in the modern 16:9 format, which brings back the feel of the old Gerry Anderson programmes many of us remember watching. Given that there are still many fans of Gerry Anderson’s shows, Nebula-75 has a ready fanbase for their project. Anyone that has seen Thunderbirds and the like will immediately appreciate the homage to those classic shows.
Nebula-75 offers a lot of entertainment in a very small package. The story is a throwback to the science fiction of the 1950s and 60s and offers drama and humour in equal measure without diminishing either. It is clear that Nebula-75 is meant to be a fun project that the world can share.
I have been completely drawn in by Nebula-75 and can only recommend that if you ever enjoyed any of Gerry Anderson’s work that you give Nebula-75 a look. Your time won’t be wasted and will probably make you a fan. I heartily applaud the Century 21 Films team work and thank them for efforts. They have taken a situation that has been very difficult for so many and used it to make the world just a little better than it was. We need more Nebula-75 and I will be waiting for more.