Friday, 31 January 2014

DVD Review: The Thomas Way

Welcome to the first DVD review for 2014. Today will be looking at the UK's first DVD release of S17, a new era of Thomas & Friends which has been praised by many of the older fans last year when the new season premiered in UK, US and Australia. This is also a new format of Thomas DVDs for the UK as well and here are my views of it, but first:


Written by
Laura Beaumont and Paul Larson
Davey Moore

Directed by
David Baas
Produced by 
Robert Anderson (Arc)
Ian McCue & Halim Jabbour (HIT) 

- The Thomas Way
- The Switch
- Percy's Lucky Day
- Calm Down Caitlin
- The Lost Puff
- Luke's New Friend

Special Features
- Really Useful Engines
- Mr. Perkins Postcard
- The Earl's Quiz
- Mr. Perkins' Storytime
- Who's That Engine? 

Release Date

You can have a look at my views of the episodes provided by the link under the episode list above. I am glad that HIT Entertainment had provided more then four episodes so that parents in the UK can more value with these, and by looking at this list, I can tell that the will be well spent over these episodes, despite a few that have some problems but not as major as the ones between S13-16. Mark Moraghan's narration is of course spot on in these episodes and bring some enthusiasm and it brings a charm towards the episodes too with some of the story lines' simplicity.  

The special features have been seen in 'Santa's Little Engine' last year for the US audience and now are seen for the UK audience. They're more fun then the previous CGI releases and I can see kids can enjoy them. As what Chris Tomson says on his blog that the 'Really Useful Engine' segements are the ones from the Fisher Price website glued together. But they are fun and there may as well be children who didn't watch. The Postcard segment was nice, simple and educational about the narrow gauge engines, I can see that Andrew Brenner had put some research in. 

Of course my favourite is the story time segments with Mr. Perkins, as I said last year on my 'Santa's Little Engine' review, it's a great way to introduce the Railway Series stories towards an entire new generation sharing with the illustrations of John T. Kenny (who illustrated the story that is on the DVD) and some by Loraine Marshall. Although there were livery changes towards the illustrations like Peter Sam being green instead of red, but I understand why as there are kids who are familiar with the characters in their TV series liveries, but it would be better if they kept the illustrations the way they were and mention that it was years ago when they were all painted red. But the actual basis for Peter Sam (Edward Thomas on the Talyllyn Railway) was painted in different colours as well such as GWR green in 1987. 

However there are some errors in her illustrations, Gordon's cab was too tall when talking to Sir Handel, but other then that her artwork is really good and remastered RWS pictures are amazing in widescreen format. However the Mr. Perkins segment in this release has an error, considering that this the same railway that was filmed for the PBS segments in America for the mainland, Mr. Perkins mentioned Thomas. There might be some differences saying that the DVD ones are set on Sodor and the mainland ones are for the PBS audience, but they are the same place so it's hard to see the difference. The Earl Quiz's was nice and fun and the 'Who's That Engine' segment is great as well with the specially made footage by Arc Productions. 

This is definitely a good DVD to have for your child or if you're a big fan of Season 17. These episodes are enjoyable for both young and old, even though they may have a few problems here and there, but like I said earlier, not as major as S13-16. The format of the DVD is better then the previous releases rather then having Engine Roll Call at the end of every episode, leave the song until the end, like the American releases.   

Rating: 4/5