Saturday, 29 June 2013

S12 Ep.20: Best Friends + Overall

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

BEST FRIENDS
Written by
Anna Starkey 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
26/09/08

Plot:
The brass band is arriving at the docks and Percy wanted to pull them to Great Waterton. But Thomas got the job and he didn't want to hurt Percy's feelings. But Percy discovered it at the docks and was upset. But Thomas had an idea for Percy. 

PRO:
- Moral: Value of friendship
- Neville's speaking role.
- A nice closure to the model era of the series

CON:
- N/A

This episode is a nice closure to the season and as well an era. The episode shows a nice and understanding moral of friendship through Thomas and Percy and showing that Thomas doesn't want to hurt Percy's feelings that he (Thomas) was to pull the brass band to Great Waterton but ended up anyway seeing how he didn't tell Percy about it but made up when Thomas offered the job to Percy by taking the brass band members to the docks. It was nice to see Neville having a few more lines, despite it being for one second and having to be a bit pointless but its better then his other episode, in which he debuted. The episode brings such a heartwarming story that it feels like a happy ending to the model era of the show. I'm glad that they've ended the era with a good story and that it brings a nice watch for anyone. 

Rating: 4/5

OVERALL
And so we end months of reviews of all series of Thomas the Tank Engine between S1-12 and we also end the era of the models of the series. But I'll be honest, the models were getting to be a bore from S10-12, but I'm not saying that they're bad, heck I love the models when I was a kid and I had mixed emotions about the whole change, but I've accepted it and moved on. With the episodes there are some good and some bad but that doesn't mean its a horrid season. The narration for Michael Angelis was brilliant but I can see why they decide to have a voice cast, one narrator with CGI material being used does get off putting. And some of the models of the new characters do look good.

But there are the usual three strikes episodes and repetitive dialogue from the characters and some of the stories are easily predictable, that might go to the other series of the HIT-era, but it's not as annoying as the CGI stories between S13-16. As of the CGI, the animation was in its early stages and they were trying to make it like the models' faces. But it wasn't 100% perfect, but they manage to get the hearts of
Thomas fans when the show went full CGI since 2009.

The models had done an outstanding job for the past 24 years and were a great part of every person's childhood. The dedicated people on the show like Steve Asquith, Terry Permane and David Eves had done great work with people who came and went, Britt Allcroft, David Mitton, Ringo Starr, Pierce Brosnan, to make Thomas the Tank Engine an entertaining show, they deserve full credit into making the show that are part of people's childhoods or lives. They've done wonders bringing the Awdry characters to life, as well as some non-Awdry characters. I wish them all the best in what they've chose after Thomas.

And thank you to all who read these reviews, I hope you've enjoyed reading, despite that if there were differences between you and me, as much as I enjoyed making them. More of my views in Season 17 will be up in October.

OVERALL RATING:
84/100

S12 Ep.19: Push Me, Pull You

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

PUSH ME, PULL YOU
Written by
Sharon Miller

Directed by
Steve Asquith

Air Date:
25/09/08

Plot:
Skarloey refuses Rheneas' help to pull a train for a puppet show and ends up playing the trucks' games.

PRO:
- N/A

CON:
- Skarloey and Rheneas acting like little kids
- Most Skarloey's CGI faces were creepy to look at. 

Once again, another typical new series Skarloey episode with him and his brother, Rheneas, acting like kids over being who is stronger. I hate episodes like these and its a disgrace to the Awdry family, whose father created the wise character that is known on the Railway Series. Though, the CGI faces that Skarloey has were creepy to look at, the big bulgy eyes. Thankfully it was made better in Season 16 and 'Blue Mountain Mystery'. But I hate this episode still. It was dull, boring and was just a slap in the face to the Awdry family. 

Rating: 1/5

Friday, 28 June 2013

S12 Ep.18: Percy and The Bandstand

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

PERCY AND THE BANDSTAND
Written by
Paul Larson 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
24/09/08

Plot:
An open-air bandstand was being built and Lady Hatt was to be given a surprise from the her husband. A brass band playing. Percy is to collect her. However Lady Hatt misunderstood of 'special trip' and Percy was worried about being late.

PRO:
- N/A 

CON:
- It wouldn't take a day to complete a bandstand. 

The episode was alright, I do like how the Pack appeared and their faces look good. Though it was unrealistic that it would take to build a bandstand in one day. But the episode alright. 

Rating: 3/5 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

S12 Ep.17: Thomas Puts The Brakes On

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

THOMAS PUTS THE BRAKES ON
Written by
Mark Robertson 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
23/09/08

Plot:
Thomas is to take bricks to the bridge that is under repairs. However Thomas has problems with his brakes and loose all the bricks. 

PRO:
- Murdoch's appearance was OK. 

CON:
- Engines can suffer brake problems but not by squeaking
- How the way Thomas was hanging on the edge of the bridge was unrealistic. 

It's OK and sometimes not good this episode, but it has its flaws. One important thing is brakes, sure engines can have braking problems, but not by a screeching noise. If an event like this happens, the engine would be on full speed and steam would have to be reduced until the engine crashes somewhere off the line. How the way Thomas was hanging on the bridge was unrealistic too. However, it was nice seeing Murdoch, but despite character returns, the story is more important and somehow this doesn't show the story well. I did say that Thomas should've accepted Stanley's help but I know that if we have that then there is no plot.

Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

S12 Ep.16: The Man In The Hills

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

THE MAN IN THE HILLS
Written by
Sharon Miller

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
22/09/08

Plot:
It was Mr. Percival's Birthday and the engines were going to celebrate. Sir Handel told Thomas about 'The man in the hills'. Thomas decided to find him but mistaken the flour miller and the baker. 

PRO:
- A nice homage to 'The Long Man of Wilmington'. 

CON:
- Why aren't the NG engine doing work? 
- You think Thomas knows about 'The Man In The Hills'
- If 'The Man In The Hills' was never seen, how come their's railway lines beside it?

Another bad episode. I do like the homage to 'The Long Man of Wilmington', nice to see some British culture on the Island, this is what it looks in England:


But how the way 'The Man In The Hills' was portrayed was illogical and pointless, if it was never seen, how come railway lines run right near it? Surely all the NG engines should know of its existence, like Skarloey or Rheneas. Plus, Thomas was his usual stupid self, he should know what a miller and baker would look like and obviously not like a hill figure. The episode is not good and its not worth the watch.

 Rating: 2/5 



Tuesday, 25 June 2013

S12 Ep.15: Gordon Takes A Shortcut

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

GORDON TAKES A SHORTCUT
Written by
Wayne Jackman 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
19/09/08

Plot:
The Fat Controller says that there are important passengers are to be collected at Great Waterton and workmen as well. Who ever arrives first will take the VIP and the other will take the workmen. Gordon tries to beat Stanley by taking a shortcut, but he got lost as he took a shortcut. 

PRO:
- Oliver and Toad spoke for the first time.

CON:
- You think Gordon knows where Great Waterton is? 
- Towards the end, you think Gordon knows the way to Stanley's line?
- Where are the signalman doing their job? The engines don't decide to take which track.

Not a good episode, despite that Oliver and Toad talked for the first time, the episode was just not good. Gordon should know where Great Waterton is, as of course he helped with the restoration of the town in 'The Great Discovery'. Plus, where are the signalman in this episode, they choose the track that the engine should take, not the engine, it's all part of the timetable, that if timetables exist on Sodor. And you think that towards the end of the episode, that Gordon knows which track to take, he has been on the Island longer then, Duck, Oliver, Toad and Stanley. The episode wasn't horrible, it wasn't just good. But it's an OK watch a few times. 

 Rating: 2.5/5

Monday, 24 June 2013

S12 Ep.14: Don't Go Back

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

DON'T GO BACK
Written by
Simon Spencer

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
18/09/08

Plot:
Thomas and Diesel decided to race backwards around the quarry.

PRO:
- N/A

CON:
- Having fun in a dangerous environment

Just an appalling plot, children are watching this episode and think having fun in a dangerous environment is fun? Where is discipline? In classic series, if an engine had done something bad, he/she is sent to the sheds. Plus the episode is repetitive and boring and not worth the entertainment. 

 Rating: 1/5

Sunday, 23 June 2013

NWR Editorial: The Three Strikes Formula

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

NWR EDITORIAL:
THE THREE STRIKES FORMULA

With the airing of the ten episodes in S17 in the early parts of June, many Thomas fans have praised the  writing of the series for being different towards its predecessors since 2005. But some fans have been given their thoughts that there is still the three strikes formula in the new episodes and that it must be banished from the series all together since a certain head writer used in almost every episode. But there are some thoughts I have about the writing formula. 

Let's go all the way back to 1984 when Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends debuted on British television and see the episode, 'The Sad Story of Henry'. While the passengers were cross, they used these:

1. Pulling him out 

2. Pushing him out

3. Getting an engine (Thomas) to push him out

Compare how that to the ones between S9-16, seeing how the series under the head writer Sharon Miller made the three strikes so painfully obvious with so much repetition and rhyming. Now we'll go to 1986 when Season 2 began airing on UK TV with the episode, 'Bertie's Chase'. While Edward left, Bertie did these three times:

1. Missed Edward at the level crossing

2. Missed Edward at the next station 

3. Bertie finally made it to Edward

I don't think Rev.W.Awdry did these intentionally in his books and I know the classic series doesn't do it all the time. But sometimes a three strikes formula can work if the story is executed perfectly and not in an annoying, repetitive and dreadful written way. I understand that people may find the three strikes annoying in the new episodes but they're not as annoying as the ones from S9-16 some of the strikes like Gordon and the water towers or Hiro collecting some stone trucks which they reminds me of these ones, minus 'Not Now, Charlie' as it does have that feeling on an 'edited' Sharon Miller script, even though I find the episode likeable then his other episodes. I'm not having a personal grudge against some fans opinions, as they are allowed to have an opinion, about the formula. But I'm writing to let some fans know that even the classic series can have some three strikes as well and it can well if the story is good. 

S12 Ep.13: Tram Trouble

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

TRAM TROUBLE
Written by 
Sharon Miller

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
17/09/08

Plot:
Toby is to lead a parade at Great Waterton, but he was nervous. Meanwhile, a new tram called Flora came to the Island. But Thomas thought that Toby should lead the parade alone and distracted Flora. But Toby thinks that he and Flora should lead the parade together. 

PRO:
- Flora's basis and carriage looks stunning

CON:
- Why do we need another steam tram?
- Why would Toby be nervous?
- The entire episode was dull

The episode is just dull and repetitive to watch and why do we need another steam tram when over the years it says that Toby was the only one? Of course to sell toys and playsets to make the character more popular, yet a Thomas character would be popular and likeable if it has a persona, a backstory and a reason why they came to the Island in the first place, like Luke from 'Blue Mountain Mystery', Stanley from 'The Great Discovery' and Hiro from 'Hero of The Rails' and many of the Rev.W.Awdry's characters in the RWS books. Plus why would Toby be nervous of leading a parade? He's an old and wise steam tram so he shouldn't be nervous. Maybe the plot would've work better if it were Flora to lead the parade and Toby was telling her not to be nervous. 

But despite the episode's blandness, Flora and her carriage are stunning, but looks don't save an episode that's been poorly written.

Rating: 1/5

Saturday, 22 June 2013

S12 Ep.12: James Works It Out

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

JAMES WORKS IT OUT
Written by
Simon Spencer

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
16/09/08

Plot:
James, Thomas and Stanley were to take stone trucks to Great Waterton. But with the snowy conditions, it was unsafe and Hector suggested that James should take a safer route. But James didn't like to be told what to do by a truck. But in the end, James knew Hector was right. 

PRO:
- It's great to see Hector being used again

CON:
- It's quite unsafe for James to smash Hector towards the trucks at the hill. 

I'll give the episode about a 50/50. The episode is well suited for James' true persona and it was nice to see Hector not being used once and then forgotten. But it will be unsafe for James and Hector to bash into the trucks, in a reality the pressure could smash the trucks to bits. But it's an OK episode. 

Rating: 3/5

Friday, 21 June 2013

S12 Ep.11: Duncan and The Hot Air Balloon

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

DUNCAN AND THE HOT AIR BALLOON 
Written by
Mark Robertson 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
15/09/08

Plot:
Duncan was sad that the Percival twins would have a balloon ride instead of a train ride for their birthday and so Duncan decided to pop the balloon's air out. But it turns out that Mr. Percival has other plans after the balloon ride. 

PRO:
- N/A 

CON:
- Why was the balloon inflated on the flatbed?

I'll be honest, this is the model version of 'Up, Up and Away', but shown differently (having one engine hauling a light load and not going through tunnels). The only flaw with this episode is the balloon being inflated. Why? When you watch 'James and The Red Balloon', Thomas hauled it like this:

This is not a great episode and hardly not worth the watch. 

Rating: 2/5

Thursday, 20 June 2013

S12 Ep.10: Saved You!

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

SAVED YOU!
Written by
Paul Larson 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
12/09/08

Plot:
Thomas is to take a fireman to Maithwate Station for a medal, as he saved Lady Hatt's cat up a tree. This made Thomas want to become a hero, but they were all backfired. But in the end, Thomas did become a hero for the children.

PRO:
- N/A

CON:
- Getting a medal for saving a cat? 
- Does Duck sound like he has a diesel engine in him?
- You think the signalman knew about Harvey helping out with the tree?
- Shame Harvey didn't have a CGI face.
- Thomas' smile at the end was creepy.

I don't really find this episode great in my opinion, first off, it's kind of pointless to get a medal from saving a cat. There are fireman who get medals for saving people's lives from a burning building. I don't know if it was editing problem, but when Duck was puffing away from the fallen water tower he sounds like a Diesel. I know that the series, when HIT took over, is more focused on fantasy then reality, but you think the signalman would tell Thomas that Harvey is coming? Though I think with that happening, we see that in a pointless way. 

It's a shame that Harvey didn't have a CGI face during the scene and yet in a magazine, he has:


I did like that Duck, Donald and Douglas appeared in the episode, but they didn't make the episode's turn out great. I would say that it's great to see them returned and put that in my pro's, but Duck had made his few second come back in 'Excellent Emily' and Donald and Douglas had made their comeback back in S11 so it's just another cameo. 

Rating: 2/5

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

S12 Ep.9: The Party Surprise

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

THE PARTY SURPRISE
Written by
Simon Spencer

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
11/09/08

Plot:
A party is held every winter at Mr. Percival's house, but Colin was sad as he never been to parties because he's stuck at the wharf and Freddie decided to have the party here, but he didn't tell the Thin Controller about it, until it lead to a near disaster. 

PRO:
- N/A 

CON:
- Where did Colin come from?

I find nothing good with the episode and the only criticism I have with this episode is Colin. Where did he come from? Honestly I wish they gave their characters a backstory so kids can understand the character more instead of just putting them their so he could be a their for toys and playsets. 

Rating: 2/5

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

S12 Ep.8: Excellent Emily

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

EXCELLENT EMILY
Written by
Paul Larson 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
10/09/08

Plot:
With a terrible storm and the engines stuck, Emily was the only engine to finish her jobs and so the Fat Controller called her 'excellent'. But as she was to take Trevor to the airport to clear the runway, she began to be boastful since she's called 'Excellent Emily'. 

PRO:
- Moral: Nobody's perfect and always ask for help and listen 

CON:
- Of course, the three strikes. 

Meh, the episode is not bad but OK. But I believe the only reason why fans like this episode is because of, yes you've guessed it folks, character returns. I'll be honest, it was nice seeing Murdoch, Duck, Trevor and Bulgy in one episode, but I state it many times and I won't be doing it in this review of the episode. The episode was OK in general, Emily wants to be excellent, but like I said in 'The Spotless Record', the moral is 'nobody's perfect' and 'always ask for help', though I think it's more like 'Emily's Adventure' with the second moral.

Rating: 2.5/5

Monday, 17 June 2013

S12 Ep.7: Toby's Special Surprise

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

TOBY'S SPECIAL SURPRISE
Written by
Sharon Miller

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
9/09/08

Plot:
The other engines were sent away to do important work, aside from Toby. Toby thought they got important jobs because they discovered things. Toby decided to find something special so to have an important job. 

PRO:
- If you look in the background, you can see the original breakdown crane
- Moral: Not every important job makes you special

CON:
- Toby has made a discovery before, he found Bertram and the Scottish Castle
- 'Looks like Toby' yet a number can be seen on the sign

The episode is OK, in my opinion. But there are two flaws, Toby wants to find something to have a special job and yet in the past he had found Bertram and the castle with the Fat Controller back in S5, which was ten years ago at the time (2008) even though the new series doesn't reflect on the classic series. And with the sign, the model makers should've tried something better to make look like Toby and we see a number seven on the side on the sign, maybe it was taken from the statue from season nine? 

But even so, there are some positives, it was nice seeing the breakdown crane again, one of the original ones is seen in the yards, see the red cricle:

And the moral is good, telling the young audience that everyone can be special without an important job. 

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, 16 June 2013

S12 Ep.6: Heave Ho Thomas

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

HEAVE HO THOMAS
Written by 
Sharon Miller

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
8/09/08

Plot:
A new American engine name Hank is coming to Sodor and so a welcome home party is arranged. Meanwhile, Thomas was to take some goods to various places and to show Hank around the Island. But when Hank says that Thomas is 'the finest little engine' he had ever seen, Thomas wants to prove that he can be strong until a problem happened. 

PRO:
- A nice ditty of 'Hail to The Chief' 
- I like MA's 'American accent' 
- Moral: Strength isn't anything

CON:
- Despite the moral of the story, Thomas should know by now about strength.

I have to say I like this episode, I think Hank is a good character, despite not having a reason to be on Sodor and that realistically, he cannot be on the loading gauge on UK rails due to his size. Though I do like the accent, even though it wasn't perfect, I remember hearing that the accent by MA makes it sound racist to some American audiences, I do respect their opinions and I'm not here to offend any American or Spanish readers here but Michael Brandon, for the American audiences, did it too as well as a hispanic accent for Hector in this season and I think I haven't heard one parent complaining about it. Plus we had past narrators doing the scottish accent as well in the past.

The moral of the story was good too about strength, but despite that, Thomas should know about that moral by now and I think a well more suiting character like say one of the stronger engines on Sodor took a dislike of him or a tank engine like Rosie, as her basis is from the USA. However, the episode is good and I do think it worth a watch. 

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, 15 June 2013

S12 Ep.5: Henry Gets It Wrong

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

HENRY GETS IT WRONG
Written by
Abi Grant

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
5/09/08

Plot:
An old tree was broken and Henry was worried that the workmen would chop it down. So Henry blocked the line with trucks. 

PRO:
- Harold is full CGI

CON:
- Henry would know that an engine can push the trucks out of the way?
- Henry should also know that the Fat Controller and the workmen would never cut down the tree. 

The episode is bad, why is Henry scared that special woodsmen would cut down the tree? He was scared of it at first in 'Henry and The Flagpole' and even if the woodsmen cut down the tree, he knows it would be put for good use such as furniture, as stated in 'Henry's Forest'. The only good thing about this episode is Harold being in full CGI, he looks amazing with setting of the models. 

Rating: 1/5


Friday, 14 June 2013

S17 Ep.10: Not Now, Charlie

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

THIS REVIEW CONTAIN SPOILERS, CAUTION IS ADVISED

NOT NOW, CHARLIE
Written by
Davey Moore

Directed by
David Baas

Produced by
Kallan Kagan (Arc)
Ian McCue and Halim Jabbour (HIT) 

Plot:
Charlie is a small purple engine who likes to tell jokes. One day Charlie discovers an elephant on the line and tries to alert the other engines. 

PRO:
- Charlie actually doing work
- The elephant
- Moral: Don't make jokes all the time or otherwise someone won't take you seriously during a serious matter.
 
CON:
- Charlie's jokes
 
 
Charlie may as well be slowly growing to be likeable. He's not actually being annoying and goofing off his work just to have fun. He just jokes around while he's doing work, doing work! Sure he may as well did some work in S14 and S15, but this time it looks serious. Looking at the elephant, it looks so real! I thought I was looking at a real elephant for a moment, well done to Arc on such great craftsmanship. It does have a nice moral about making jokes all time or no one will take you seriously. But the one con I have with this episode and that is of course Charlie's jokes. They're not great, but not many people can be a comedian. I was kind of hoping that there would be a slight mention of 'Henry and The Elephant' but I can't expect too much. Plus the episode has a bit of similarity of the S7 episode 'Percy Gets It Right'. So I believe the episode is OK. It did its best and I find better then any of Charlie's other episodes.

Rating: 3.5/5


So far Season 17 has shown some good sign of its new writing style. Sure it still has the three strikes in some places here and there, but it's not as irritating as what S9-16 shows us. Sure the episodes aren't perfect but I'm not one of those people who were expecting it to be like the classic series dumped right in front of me or expecting everything to go their own personal way. It takes time to write good quality episode and who knows when it'll get better? Right now the seventeenth series is now on hiatus in the UK and more episode reviews will come when Channel 5, the provider of the episodes on their kids hour 'milkshake', will announce more new episodes.  

S12 Ep.4: Mountain Marvel

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

MOUNTAIN MARVEL
Written by
Sharon Miller

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
4/09/08

Plot:
Peter Sam had found a lost statue of Proteus 

PRO:
- It was nice to see Proteus not forgotten 

CON:
- Despite him not being forgotten, he is still a pointless character

It would be better that instead of a statue it should be the engine itself. It would be made for a better episode and backstory for the engine on why he was there in first place, even though it sound like a 'Hero of The Rails' plot. It was still nice to see that Proteus is not forgotten but still he is a pointless character and the episode would be better if Peter Sam had found the engine and Peter Sam talking to Duncan, Freddie and Mighty Mac were repetitive. It's alright though, the episode. 

Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, 13 June 2013

S17 Ep.9: The Switch

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

THIS REVIEW CONTAIN SPOILERS, CAUTION IS ADVISED

THE SWITCH
Written by
Davey Moore

Directed by
David Baas

Produced by
Kallan Kagan (Arc)
Ian McCue and Halim Jabbour (HIT) 

Plot:
When Luke is sent to Ulfstead castle to deliver stone, he meets Millie, the Earl's private narrow gauge engine. They decided to switch jobs for the day.

PRO:
- Millie
- The Vocabulary like 'estate'.
- The Earl asking the Thin Controller permission 
- 'Peas in a Pod' bit of a reference to the classic series
- The castle grounds
- Moral: Respecting others jobs

CON:
- N/A


This episode is good, I like Millie, one of the new characters that will be making her debut in 'King of The Railway' this September. With Millie, she had a great french accent that teaches kids different words like 'bonjour' and 'au revoir'. The stare off she did with Luke was funny. I like it how when Millie and Luke were waiting for the Earl of Sodor, who will also make his debut in September as well, to see if the Thin Controller granted permission instead of Luke and Millie just puffing off without permission like in S17's predecessors. The Earl saying 'Peas in a Pod' is almost a reference to 'Thomas and Bertie' with "Like peas in a frying pan...", the castle grounds look amazing as well in CGI, it really reminded me of the castles that I've seen in Ireland and the UK, minus a narrow gauge railway. The vocabulary is being expanded well with words like 'estate' great thing to teach kids and the moral about respecting others jobs is a nice way to learn about other peoples jobs and that all jobs are important no matter what. It's a good episode and was directed well. 

Rating: 4/5

S12 Ep.3: Rosie's Funfair Special

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

ROSIE'S FUNFAIR SPECIAL
Written by
Andrew Viner

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
3/09/08

Plot:
Emily was chosen to take the funfair special and Rosie to be the back engine. But Rosie wanted to take the train. She then thought to take the funfair train and Emily can take the milk to high farm. But the trucks came loose as Emily was already coupled to the train. Then a few mishaps happened and Rosie put things right. 

PRO:
- Rosie having an episode to herself 
- An episode focusing on the two female engines

CON:
- Stepney's pointless appearance 

I find this episode to be enjoyable. It was interesting to see an episode focusing on two female engines without any sign of Thomas being shore-horned in for a pointless part of the episode. To me, I think Rosie is probably one of the best female characters the series had introduced. She's energetic, determined and wants to work hard and that is a good sign for a role model for the female audience from the target range of the show. I like Emily, around 7th series, though when you think about it Emily was pretty much the same before her persona was butchered up as a bossy and mean engine
(e.g - Thomas' Milkshake Muddle).

But there is one downside to the episode and that is Stepney cameo. It was nice seeing him return, but I'll be honest, it was pointless and they could've chose a different character for the cameo. I said before and I'll say it again, character returns do not make the episode or series great, only the story. I'm pretty sure most of the fans know that by now. But the writer is a fan of the RWS and I think maybe that's why he put him in?

But in the end, the episode was nice and enjoyable and much of a favourite to me. Hopefully there's an episode with female characters as the lead role in the new and improved series.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

S17 Ep.8: Luke's New Friend

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

THIS REVIEW CONTAIN SPOILERS, CAUTION IS ADVISED

LUKE'S NEW FRIEND

Directed by 
David Baas

Written by
Davey Moore

Produced by
Kallan Kagan (Arc)
Ian McCue and Halim Jabbour (HIT)

Plot:
Up at the Blue Mountain Quarry, Luke finds a scared young dear, so he tries to get the other engines to work quitely. Although that's not an easy thing to do.

PRO:
- The CGI for Ulfstead Castle, the deer's and the BMQ looks incredible 

- Moral: Belonging somewhere

- The adding of lamps on the NG engines

- The explosions.

- No name given to the deer.


CON:
- The error's of brake vans.

The episode was a sweet and cute episode and of course better then a so called episode were an engine is friends with some animals in a poorly written season. I'll say this, as much as I liked Nitrogen's work on bringing Thomas and his friends in CGI, Arc really added some extra detailing into the render, the castle park look amazing (the grass for example), the deer's as well, though they remind me of Nitrogen's render in 'Percy's New Friends' and the detailing of the BMQ, mainly the floor. Plus I may have noticed that Rusty has some extra detailing of smudge around his paint work. I believe the moral is, in the deer's point of view, about belonging somewhere. It belongs in nature not at a working quarry were it can actually get hurt. Plus the explosions were a nice touch so I think they'll have an excuse for those BMQ dynamite toys that the wooden railway has been releasing last year. There is one con I have for this episode and that is the brake van. First we see a standard gauge brake van behind Luke's train, then we see no brake van after that and then we see a NG brake van as Luke and his friend left the quarry. Though it is an animation error but it's still illogical to have a standard gauge brake van. I'm also glad that they didn't gave a name for the deer like 'Deer' or Mr/Mrs Deer, I hope they don't do that again in Thomas episodes though in future. Overall this is a nice episode, but not up in the standards of yesterday's episode or like 'Gordon Runs Dry'. But it's nice and sweet and defiantly a watchable episode.  

Rating: 4/5


S12 Ep.2: Steady Eddie

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

STEADY EDDIE
Written by
Sharon Miller

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
2/09/08

Plot:
Edward is to take a brass water wheel to Great Waterton on the express line. But Edward wanted to show off which lead to trouble for the water wheel. 

PRO:
- Oliver making a brief comeback

CON:
- Edward wanting to show off is not his true character


Despite the brief comeback of Oliver, which by the way as I said many times that character returns don't make the episode great, this episode is not good and that is because of Edward wanting to show off the water wheel. It's really not his persona; wanting to show off to children. 

As of Oliver's appearance it's not worth for the episode to be better, Oliver just passes Edward with Arthur and that's it. It was nice to see him back though.

Rating: 2/5 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

S17 Ep.7: Henry's Hero

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

THIS REVIEW CONTAIN SPOILERS, CAUTION IS ADVISED

HENRY'S HERO
Written by
Paul Larson and Laura Beaumount 

Directed by
David Baas

Produced by
Kallan Kagan (Arc)
Ian McCue and Halim Jabbour (HIT)

Air Date:
11/06/13

Plot:
Henry and Hiro take on some bad coal and start puffing black smoke. Will Hiro be able to deliver their loads when Henry goes back to the shed?

PRO:
- Moral: Keep on trying
- The angles
- Duck's Somerset accent

CON:
- The moral seems to be shoving down the throat


The episode is good it has a good moral about keep trying even at the worse of times but the morals seem to be shoving down people's throats. The angles of Henry and Hiro pushing trucks were just amazing to look at and Duck's somerset accent, it had what I believe what Ringo was trying to do in Duck's debut. But as I said before character returns can't make an episode great only its story. In the end this was a good episode and I found it enjoyable and this is better then 'Steamie Stafford' of course.

Rating: 4/5


S12 Ep.1: Thomas and The Billboard

Five years ago, 2008, was a big step in the history of Thomas the Tank Engine. Sodor Island had announced that the series will be turned into CGI with HIT's other brands due to money problems. Series 12 shows the progress of the CGI transformation of the show by Greg Tiernan, who is now former director of the show now since the animation was transferred to Arc Productions in 2011, and his crew at Nitrogen Studios. The last ever Thomas production to show case the models in its entire form was 'The Great Discovery' narrated by Pierce Brosnan, which brings the narrator. In 2007, HIT announced that Pierce Brosnan will become the new narrator for Thomas & Friends for three specials and seasons and so replace the long term narrator Michael Angelis and American narrator Michael Brandon. However, for some unknown reason, they've returned for the series. So let us finish off this nine month review with Season 12. I've done my S13-16 review last year, so you can view them in the 2012 category. Let's start with the first episode 'Thomas and The Billboard', but first, the usual:

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

THOMAS AND THE BILLBOARD
Written by
Mark Robertson 

Directed by
Steve Asquith 

Air Date:
1/09/08

Plot:
It was Knapford station's birthday and a special billboard is to be printed to celebrate the day. The billboard is to have all the engines all Tidmouth sheds. But as the photographer was taking the picture, Diesel accidentally moved right in front of Thomas. But Thomas thought he was moved right in front of him on purpose and so was cross. But in the end he lost the billboard in the water and a new photo was to be taken which made the engines late for their jobs.

PRO:
- The CGI looks amazing

CON:
- A billboard can't be made in a day.
- The accident with the billboard was unrealistic


Possibly one of the good Thomas openings for a new series in CGI. The faces aren't 100% perfect, but they were in the early stages and they were better when series 13 came into broadcast. But with the CGI it makes everything on Sodor more lifelike (the workmen are a notable one). But despite it being a good opening episode, there are the usual flaws with the episode. I know it's a kids show, but a billboard can't be made in just one day. The accident, I find it unrealistic, was the rope too weak? It would've been better if Thomas was diverted to a siding, not a branch line, a branch line is a singular track but it has stations, and a loose tree branch ripped up the poster? It would've been much more better.

But despite those two cons, it's still a good opening episode and I think it's worth a few watches.

Rating: 4/5