In a manner similar to other Gerry Anderson series, Joe 90 features gadgets, rescue operations, secret organisations, and criminal and terrorist threats to the safety of the world. One example of advanced technology demonstrated is the "Jet Air Car", a land, sea and air vehicle invented by Professor McClaine prior to the events of the series. The pun of the "WIN" acronym for the World Intelligence Network is similar to that of WASP, the abbreviated name of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol that appears in Stingray. The Cold W ar, significant in 1968 due to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia that August has ended in the futuristic universe of Joe 90. Although, in the pilot, Joe is depicted stealing a new Russian fighter plane to expose its revolutionary design to the West, the story is later revealed to be a speculative scenario imagined by Shane Weston to demonstrate the kinds of espionage in which Joe may be involved if Mac consents to his son starting a second life as a secret agent.
Nevertheless, the Joe 90 universe still sees the Earth's landmasses politically divided into Western and Eastern regions. A recurring antagonist for WIN is the "Eastern Alliance", which dominates Asia and appears in the episodes "Attack of the Tiger" and "Mission -X41". Meanwhile, "International Concerto", "Business Holiday", "Arctic Adventure" and "The Professional" include villains who speak with Slavic accents. "Attack of the Tiger" combines the Eastern Alliance threat with the hazards of nuclear technology. In this episode, Joe must prevent an Eastern nuclear device from being launched into Earth orbit. However, an episode showcasing the benefits of such technology is "Big Fish", in which Joe struggles to remove a crippled nuclear submarine from the ocean floor when it strays into the territorial waters of a hostile Latin American Police state. The series ends on a clip show episode, "The Birthday", in which a number of Joe's missions are recalled as flashbacks when the protagonist reaches the age of ten.