Superhero Sunday: Thermoman

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In honour of St Patrick’s Day, I thought we’d celebrate an Irish superhero.  Being more or less completely ignorant to the comic book world, however, I figured I’d stick with what I know – television.

44437_my_heroArdal O’Hanlon (of Father Ted Fame) starred as Thermoman, a superhero from planet Ultron who assumes the identity ‘George Sunday’ to fit in on Earth.  He saves Jane, a nurse, from falling into the Grand Canyon, and subsequently falls in love with and marries her.  Every episode revolves around George’s attempts to fit in despite not fully understanding Earth’s customs, and having to fly off at a moments notice to save mankind by thwarting imminent disaster – all while trying to win round Jane’s disapproving parents, deal with constant interruptions from his American cousin Arnie, hide his identity from their conspiracy-theory loon neighbour Tyler, and protect Jane from the advances of her creepy boss, ‘Britain’s Favourite TV Doctor’ Piers Crispin – played by the wonderfully smarmy Hugh Dennis.  Oh, and he also runs a health-food shop – y’know, cos he’s got so much time on his hands…

It was actually not-unfunny, considering that even though comedy should have evolved since then, some shows seem to indicated we’ve gone backwards (Mrs Brown’s Boys), but this show came at a time when British sitcoms weren’t completely terrible.  There was certainly a transatlantic feel to the whole thing – the American character Arnie for a start, but also the fact that the show was written by a team rather than the show’s creator, the latter being how British shows are normally written. Thermoman has many super powers, including X-ray vision, flight, super-strength, mind-control, communicating with animals, and of course, as his name dictates, thermo-powers.  All this from the stupid priest from Father Ted…

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The show ran from 2000 to 2006, and was cancelled after O’Hanlon left the show and was replaced for one series by James ‘Give me work, give me anything, please’ Dreyfus, a move which was incredible unpopular with viewers, and rightly so – people mostly tuned in O’Hanlon’s patented dimwitted performance, an obvious throwback to his days as Dougal in Father Ted; why the writers seemed to think that people would happily accept Dreyfus as his replacement still confuses me to this day.  But it was popular enough in its prime to be shown on Friday nights, which generally belonged to American shows at the time.  In fact, I’m surprised I even remembered the damn show.  I don’t foresee this post getting many views, so as a reward for those of you who *did* read it, here’s a video of ‘My Hero’.  Kind of.

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