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Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons

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The popular children's Supermarionation series 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' was an exciting puppeteered drama between the forces of Earth (referred to as Spectrum) and a non-corporeal race of Martians (known only as the Mysterons). The show was a unique style of adult-themed war and espionage plots delivered in a format for children and teenagers. Unbeknownst to most viewers however, the show served as a dual purpose metaphor, one classically themed; the other related to recent events from the era within which the series was produced. Here are both of those theories for your reading pleasure:

Spectrum

1) Captain Scarlet is at its heart a Christ allegory. Spectrum resides above the clouds, symbolising heaven. Commander White, as the supreme commander and overseer, represents God almighty. The traitor and antagonist Captain Black represents the fallen angel Satan. This is also referenced in how the evil Mysterons often affect their victims through hypnosis. The Agents Symphony, Melody, Harmony and Rhapsody all have names relating to music. Music is related to angels, which they are collectively referred to as within the series. They are also pilots tasked with the specific purpose of defending Spectrum, symbolic of angels protecting the kingdom of heaven. Finally, Captain Scarlet himself has the quality of being indestructible, regularly dying each episode only to be reborn. This is the core theme of the series, the blood symbolising that of Christ's myth; sacrificing himself for the good of humanity only to be reborn. Tell you what when I first worked this out it blew my frickin' mind. I watched it when I was five years old and never noticed! Due to the differing nature of creator Gerry Anderson's other Supermarionation series such as Thunderbirds and Stingray, it can be assumed that these theological references are simply a story-telling device, a classic theme for a series all about good versus evil.

Captain Black

2) More readily seen within the series is a reference to the then recent passive aggression of the cold war. In the first episode we see Captain Black decimating a Martian city, mistaking a sensor/ camera for a weapon. This is a reference to the Mutually Assured Destruction policy between America and Russia, as this single act leads to war between Earth and Mars. It is not a coincidence that the perpetrator of this attack, Captain Black is Russian, and this character becomes the antagonist for the entire series. even his voice with his Russian accent is used to denote whenever any Mysteron is speaking. Finally, the show itself is based around the theme of war and espionage. Complete product of everything prior to the sixties in terms of US/Russian foreign policy.

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