Monday, 19 August 2013

DVD Review: Railway Mischief



Written by
Andrew Brenner
Lee Pressman 
Paul Larson & Laura Beaumont 


Bonus Features:
- "Sodor Hide and Seek" Game
- 'All You Need Are Friends' Music Video
- Guess Who?

Directed by
David Baas

Produced by
Robert Anderson (Arc)
Ian McCue and Halim Jabbour (HIT)

Release Date:

Distributed by
HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate

Well this turns out to be a bit of surprise to me. I manage to get myself a copy of the Wal*Mart exclusive 'Railway Mischief' filled with five selected episodes of the new and improved Series 17 from a seller on Amazon US. With a new production team and writers for the series as S13-16 was criticised by many older fans as well as parents with its bad writing. Since now that S17 has been aired in the UK and more will be airing in October on milkshake and that the US will also be getting it in the next two months, S17, the DVD is not that special anymore then what it was back in April. But I'm happy to get myself a copy of it as the episodes are worth to have. So here are my views on the DVD itself.


The DVD contains about five selected episodes from the new and improved series 17 which was praised by many of the older fans. 'Gordon Runs Dry' was the most positive of all of the selected episodes since that the original personas made a comeback, Percy shunting coaches and other small elements that made the episode reminisce of the past. Including the mention of 'The local' which was never mentioned at all in the TV series and neither the Railway Series. It's also a personal favourite of mine as Andrew Brenner, the writer of the episode, has made the episode enjoyable and it shows how much he recognise the characters of the series over the years and puts them in for the modern audience and it shows how much he has done his homework. Plus the episode doesn't rely on the narrator too much, unlike the episodes between S13-16, as the visual does the work of expressing the story and the character's emotion. You can see my views on these episodes by clicking on the link in the episode list. Now on with the DVD itself:

The special features are quite simple, a music video that has been released before and the game has been released on 'Pop Goes Thomas' in 2011. So the special features are all rehashes from previous American releases. I guess HIT didn't have the time to produce something new, considering that this was released in April. But that won't stop the highlight of the DVD, the episodes. 


What came as a surprise to many fans of the show was a change of the narrator. This DVD was the first time that many fans have heard of Mark Moraghan, a Liverpudlian actor who's been in such UK shows like 'Brookside' and 'Celebrity Masterchef UK' and for the first time, since Ringo Starr and Peirce Brosnan, narrated for both english speaking regions, the UK and US, the Thomas series. Meaning that the two long running narrators for the UK and US, respectfully, Michael Angelis and Michael Brandon, left the series and that there last contribution to the Thomas world was Season 16 and 'Blue Mountain Mystery'. To me I think what HIT has done was a good choice. Michael Angelis was great around the third - eighth season but by the time of the ninth - sixteenth season of the show he has become dull and bland and his voices for some of the new characters, that were introduced during the model era of the show, were generically the same with his voice. Michael Brandon has been criticised by many US fans saying that he sounds goofy, nasally and did, no doubt, some horrible voices, but I don't see him as a bad actor and he had done some enthusiasm for the series. I am sorry that they've left the series and I'm glad that they've done so much for the fans of the Thomas franchise.

But Mark Moraghan has that nice friendly voice of storytelling that is in the similar style of Ringo Starr, Michael Angelis and Johnny Morris together. He has brought enthusiasm to the series and his voice gave the series a nice charm as well and he has become a fast favourite already! I'll be looking forward to more of his narration when more of S17 will make it debut in October.

The DVD is a must have for Thomas fans both young and old, with five good quality episodes from a new writing staff, it's worth it. Andrew Brenner was the right man to take over the head writing job for this show and bringing Thomas back to its normal roots. It may not have the feeling of the classic series, but it has the sense of nostalgia and great work from the writers and the animation by Arc Productions is top notch, they're in the line of Nitrogen's work even though they are replicating Nitrogen's render from 2009-2012. I recommend this DVD to any Thomas fan with its great storylines, some episodes may look or sound silly, like 'Steamie Stafford', but that doesn't stop of how enjoyable it is. If you live in America, were this DVD is sold at, find it at your local Wal*Mart or if you live in a different country and want to watch some S17 goodness, find it on from a seller. I'm looking forward to the next S17 DVD release which will be coming out to the United States in October this year.
Rating: 4.9/5