Tuesday, 26 September 2017

S21 Ep.7: Hasty Hannah

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND ARE NOT INFLUENCED FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FANBASE

HASTY HANNAH
Written by
Lee Pressman

Directed by
Dianna Basso

Produced by
Micalea Winters

Air Date
26/09/17

Plot 
While Henrietta is getting her seats refurbished, Toby is given a replacement carriage named Hannah. However, she is so headstrong and reckless that Toby gets fed up with her urging him to go faster and faster, and abandons her to visit Henrietta. Meanwhile, Hannah joins up with James and learns to her cost that going too fast for a little carriage is not at all wise.

PRO
- Moral: Best to be safe than sorry
- The relationship between Toby and Henrietta
- Henrietta and Hannah being sisters was a good twist

CON
- If Hannah is Henrietta's sister wouldn't Toby know her too?


I remember how the way this episode was 'announced'. Sometime last year there were these fake title cards on twitter and one them was for this episode and someone on the Thomas & Friends wikia made a whole page thinking it was real. But of course I now think they knew the whole thing after countless emails to Lee Pressman about upcoming episodes and characters. Now I understand the excitement of it all but they, the email writers, need to realise that not all people like to be spoiled about upcoming things and that needs to be taken to account. Plus they are asking a writer about these episodes who was under contract by HIT Entertainment and Mattel, thankfully though he didn't reveal too much info. To me it shows the impatience of fans, yes we all want things now but there is a saying, 'Patience is virtue'. I wait for product to come out and it's really not that hard to wait. 

Now on with the episode, I quite enjoyed it! The episode did showcase the moral that it's better to be safe than sorry with Hannah's character of course and the voice acting by Lucy Montgomery, who was the voice of Lexi in 'Journey Beyond Sodor', which by the way my review comes out on October 4th after my review of the 13th episode. Her voice was incredible and I enjoyed it. It fits with her personality. 

I also love how Lee Pressman captured the relationship between Toby and Henrietta. They are like a married couple. They need and love each other! They are such a husband and wife duo and the writers capture that so well. It was also a nice twist to know that Henrietta and Hannah are both sisters and I think it was great that they both came from the same railway. A bit like Toby's real railway, the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway. But one thing puzzles me. If Henrietta and Hannah are sisters, wouldn't Toby know her as well? You could create an even better story with the Fat Controller finding her in a scrapyard and gave her new life as a spare coach incase anything happens to any other coach. Toby remembered her very well and just hates her way of thinking. It's not bad but it just a bit puzzling. You might say 'oh they might be from different railways!' the coach that Hannah was made is the same as Henrietta and were built for the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway. 


Episode Rating:
Runaway Engine - 9/10
PA Problems - 10/10
Hasty Hannah - 7/10

Series Rating (So far):
61/70

Monday, 25 September 2017

S21 Ep.6: P.A Problems

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND ARE NOT INFLUENCED FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FANBASE

PA PROBLEMS
Written by
Lee Pressman

Directed by
Dianna Basso

Produced by
Micaela Winters

Air Date
25/09/17 

Plot
The Fat Controller splashes out on a new public address system, but the engines and passengers are struggling to hear the announcements. Holidaymakers end up at the quarry, quarry workers end up at the beach and Lord Callan ends up with an unexpected delivery of pigs!

PRO
- Thomas, Percy and Toby together again 
- Edward's branch line still exists
- Great comedy from Reg and the scrap yard workers
- Moral: Just because they're old doesn't mean they're useless
- The clever metaphor with Edward

CON
- Why can't it be other characters aside the Ffarquhar trio?


I might explain my con better in context. I adore that the Ffarquhar trio was seen again even if it was brief moment but why not have other characters as shown in previous episodes? You could have Daisy or James going to the quarry or Callan Castle and still obtain a 'steam team' character such as Toby or Percy or Thomas to go to Harwick beach. Other episodes aren't afraid to show the absents of a 'steam team' character or where they are designated at, take a look at 'Runaway Engine' last week. Hardly any of the main core characters appearing anywhere and the show won't be harmed really since it is called 'Thomas & Friends'. 

But despite that I love this episode with its comedy from Lee Pressman and the episode's moral. It was also good to see that Edward's branch line still exists since S18. A line where a writer can designate Edward at but not engines like Thomas, Toby and Percy on Ffarquhar. But the fact that the moral was about that just because it was old doesn't mean they are useful had quite the clever metaphor as well regarding to Edward. He's an old engine himself but that is useful, you can see that if you understand the character of Edward and just that made like this episode even more! 

But despite that, I still find this episode enjoyable with the comedy of the Fat Controller and Reg and the people too. It was a good episode and a good start to the second week of this new season! 

Episode Rating:
Runaway Engine - 9/10
PA Problems - 10/10

Series Rating (So Far):
54/60

Friday, 22 September 2017

S21 Ep.5: Runaway Engine

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINONS AND ARE NOT INFLUENCED FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FANBASE

RUNAWAY ENGINE
Written by
Helen Farrall

Directed by
Diana Basso 

Produced by
Micaela Winter

Air Date
22/09/17

Plot
Millie is given extra work around the estate and gets very cross when Stephen and Glynn forget to clear up the garden waste to help her. When Stephen also manages to hurt her feelings and can't find her the next day to apologise, he thinks that she must have run away!

PRO
- Moral: Be careful what you say and do what you're being told
- Stephen/Millie and Glynn's dynamic was great
- Amazing to see no Thomas or any of the steam team characters
- Nice to see some narrow gauge goodness

CON
- N/A


Like many of Helen's stories, this one is heartfelt, down to earth and nice. Stephen and Glynn's dynamic was great to  see again since the Christmas episodes last year and it was even better with the addition of Millie. The dynamic between the three characters were good to watch such as there banter towards each other. It was also great to see that there wasn't any sign of Thomas or the other 'steam team' characters, considering that the concept of the core characters is not really needed given that this and Season 20 had focused on secondary characters. 

Even though they're at the Blue Mountain Quarry again. It was nice to see some narrow gauge interaction, despite being only for a few minutes. I hope we see them again in future with hopefully some brand new sets. The moral or morals are quite relatable to me, mostly the former, 'Be careful what you say.' I can say things that would rather offend people, by accident of course, and I could get quite apologetic in the end. In the end, it was only a misunderstanding by me and of course there is also the 'Do what you are being told' moral. Quite generic but it was done well in this episode. It's good see some sides of Stephen rather than him being the 'old wise engine'. 

Well that's the first week done for S21. So far it's been good and almost feels better than S20 to me. I feel like there are going to be better episodes next week so stay tuned ;) 

Episode Rating:
Runaway Engine - 9/10

Series Rating (So Far):
44/50

Thursday, 21 September 2017

S21 Ep.4: Stuck in Gear

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINONS AND ARE NOT INFLUENCED FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

STUCK IN GEAR
Written by
Davey Moore

Produced by
Micaela Winter

Directed by
Dianna Basso

Air Date
21/09/17 

Plot
A branch gets stuck in the open gears of his crane, but Harvey is too shy to ask for help. Instead, he tries to fix it himself and ends up derailing himself inside a tunnel.

PRO
- Nice to see Harvey's sensitive side
- Moral: Don't be shy
- Nice foreshadowing at the docks

CON
- N/A


I think the episode was good. Simple but good. I love how they're showing the message about anxiety of asking for help and I can understand what Harvey was going through as I do get a bit shy when I try to ask for help. It's nice to see some depth into his character such as his sensitive side. There were some funny moments too with Salty of course and I do like the foreshadowing that was shown at the docks for Carly the crane. 

There's not much to say, I will admit it was a tad ridiculous of Harvey to swing his crane arm around at the end, but it make sense to show his own growth about not being shy to ask for help.

Episode Ratings
Stuck in Gear - 8/10

Series Rating (So far):
35/40

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

S21 Ep.3: Dowager Hatt's Busy Day

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND ARE NOT INFLUENCED FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

DOWAGER HATT'S BUSY DAY
Written by
Lee Pressman 

Directed by
Diana Basso

Produced by
Micaela Winters

Air Date
20/09/17

Plot
While the Fat Controller is sick, his mother runs the railway and creates chaos by getting everyone to do the wrong jobs!

PRO
- Dowager Hatt
- The gags and jabbing at the Miller/Barlow era
- Emily's voice of reason persona
- The dynamic between Emily and Dowager Hatt 

CON
- N/A


Honestly, I never laughed at a Thomas episode throughout! This probably one of the best scripts that Lee Pressman had wrote in the series. Dowager Hatt was excellent and hilarious with her motherly figure, like her scene with Gordon at Knapford station. Her entrance music was just bada** and her voice by Keith Wickham was top notch! 

There were gags most likely going against the Miller/Barlow era with things like an inflatable balloon, collecting a new hat etc. and there were a few gags that gave me a chuckle like Percy taking the express coaches up Gordon's Hill. I was surprised by the use of Emily with her voice of reason persona, telling Dowager Hatt that there are some engines who are good at jobs that they're good at and it was a good pair up of her and Emily working together to put things right. 

This is probably one of the best episodes I've seen coming from Lee Pressman. There was nothing that I could find that was bad! This is a solid script, 'The Green Controller' done right! 

Episode Rating:
Springtime for Diesel - 8/10
A Most Singular Engine - 9/10
Dowager Hatt's Birthday - 10/10

Series Rating (So far):
27/30

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

S21 Ep.2: A Most Singular Engine

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND ARE NOT INFLUENCED FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

A MOST SINGULAR ENGINE
Written by
Davey Moore

Directed by
Diana Basso 

Produced by
Micaela Winters

Air Date
19/09/17

Plot
Diesel causes trouble between Daisy and Harvey.

PRO
- Moral: Everyone is unique
- The interaction between Harvey and Daisy
- Diesel making lies again
- The eye of the tiger stare off

CON
- 'My bottom's wet' 
- I think the episode could've been a bit better with its story

I pretty much enjoyed this episode more than I did with this season's opener. Although I'll put out a few cons first. I think the story could've been improved a bit with the idea of Diesel being jealous about Daisy making friends and decides to make up lies about Harvey and Daisy and while everyone was going about the 'real big poo' quote from yesterday's, which I don't find much harm in it since it made sense with Dart had no idea what Daisy means with her french, which by the way I do like that trait with her snobbish and high class attitude, I don't like the quote with Diesel saying; 'My bottom's wet!' it really feels awkward and silly. Why not have him saying 'My undercarriage is wet!', the original line just feels a little low for Thomas. 

But aside from those two cons, I do love the moral about that everyone is unique in their own way and Davey Moore had done a stellar job on choosing the two engines for this story outside of the Steam Team pack. Their interaction was fine with their different personalities and the way they've learned about the uniqueness of each other despite hearing the lies from Diesel, which was a nice little throwbacks to the classic series to me. There was plenty of humour too such as the 'Eye of the Tiger' stare off, although maybe they should've use the wild west stand off music instead? But it didn't bother me in the end.

The episode was good, it's good to see the complexity of Diesel's character still intact. He wants to be useful but still can't get away from his devious habits. 

Episode Ratings:
A Most Singular Engine - 9/10

Series Rating (So far):
17/20

Monday, 18 September 2017

S21 Ep.1: Springtime for Diesel

After the success of S20 that left fans saying it was the best season of this era, fans are now wondering what S21 would hold? We have been given the news back in August that Terence the Tractor is a returning character as well as Flying Scotsman's voice actor stating that his character will return after 'The Great Race'. S21 is also into a new change with Rosie the SR USA Dock tank engine, getting rid of her stereotypical girly pink livery and was given cherry red livery with the North Western Railway logo on her side tanks. Rosie's new looks, voice and job have made its first appearance in the 2017 movie, 'Journey Beyond Sodor', which was released in cinemas in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and on DVD and Digital Download in the US. The DVD will be coming soon in Australia, New Zealand, UK and Netherlands. My DVD and Movie review of 'Journey Beyond Sodor' will be released on October 4th, which is the DVD's release date in Australia.

Now with this year's special out of the way, would S21 be good? Well's let's find out and hope that the episodes don't take long to air by the TV providers in the UK, even though 'milkshake' will be playing 13 episodes until early October. But first:

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND ARE NOT INFLUENCED FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FANBASE

SPRINGTIME FOR DIESEL
Written by
Davey Moore

Directed by
Diana Basso

Produced by
Micaela Winters

Air Date
18/09/17 

Plot
Daisy's springs need fixing after Diesel shunts her.

PRO
- Nice to see some complexity from Diesel
- Den not being dumb
- Love the people in the background
- Daisy caring for her passengers

CON
- The episode doesn't seem to be any start of a story arc.
- 'I'm glad I don't have springs', don't all engines do?
- A bit of a continuity error here. 


So here we are, our first episode of the brand new season that is not given to Thomas. I will say that this episode is good. I like how the writers are giving Diesel some complex development, he can be a rude and devious engine but at times he can feel quite guilty at things and he sometime showcases a soft side to things. I would rather have something like that then keep him as a one-dimensional character who would become completely boring in the end if it was used constantly. I also love how Den is not being this dumb engine who doesn't understand what everything means, the whole 'What 'e means is...' schtick is getting quite old and it's nice to see that Den knows what what means now and I hope the Thomas team keeps up with that. I also love the subtle gags that the animators put in like the two passengers bumping into each other. I also like how Daisy, a character who thinks more about herself than others, actually cares for her passengers despite her broken spring. It's good character development and I give credit for Davey Moore for doing that! 

Although fans have been speculating that this might be a story arc considering that there are three Diesel episodes so far this season; this one, tomorrow's episode and the upcoming Christmas one, 'Big Freeze', but I have a feeling that this isn't one. Tomorrow's episode is going to be Diesel taunting Daisy for being one of a kind despite that he was learning to change his ways so he would become Daisy's friend. I know that this may not be the production order as TV stations don't always air it in that order but there hasn't been anything conclusive on what the production order is. Plus I'll wait and see what the outcome is of the second episode.

The episode is also a bit strange with its continuity as well. In 'The Railcar and the Coaches', Daisy said that she was going off to the Dieselworks for her fitter. Yet Den and Dart in this episode act like that this the first time seeing her. Now you might say, 'Maybe Den and Dart weren't there in The Railcar and the Coaches'. I doubt that as the two diesels are always stationed there. I know some people might say it's not a big deal but continuity is important for a series to make all the episodes feel connected. Also and this is a nitpick, I think it was odd that Den said he isn't glad that doesn't have springs yet many engines do for balance. I don't know much about his basis and trying research about these things on google is a bit of a pain to be honest. But the little reference was just kinda odd.

But in the end, the episode was good with Diesel but I kinda liked 'Diesel and the Ducklings' more because that episode didn't try to develop Diesel's character and he goes back to his old ways in the next and it showcases him being sensitive about other things and shows another side of him. 

Episode Ratings:
Springtime For Diesel - 8/10

Overall Ratings (So far): 
8/10