For some shows, a Christmas episode represents the perfect opportunity to gather together friends and family, to celebrate the essential bonds that ultimately unite the people that populate a given fictional universe. But for the 1960s puppet espionage show Joe 90, Christmas was the perfect opportunity to mix together haunted churches, counterfeiters, fake angels, and jetpacks, with one intrepid, glasses-wearing 9-year-old boy on hand to tie it all together.
Joe 90 was the penultimate show made using Supermarionation, the high-tech puppetry process created by Gerry Anderson and his team in the 1960s. I've never been shy about sharing my love of the likes of Stingray, Thunderbirds, and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons — my credentials may be found here and here — and today I come to share with you one of the oddest Christmas episodes ever made, the Joe 90 episode "The Unorthodox Shepherd." The video up top includes the entire episode, but I've set it to begin at the climax, in which intrepid child spy Joe McClaine becomes a jetpack-clad avenging angel.