THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE
TOP 5/ LEAST 5 FAVOURITE S18 EPISODES
Another Season has been and gone and so, as mentioned in my DVD review, here's my top and least favourite episodes of the 18th season. Please be reminded that over the course of 2014 and early this year some of my opinions may have changed.
One of the best Christmas episodes I think since 'Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure'. This episode definitely shows, what I believe, the true meaning of Christmas, Effort. The engines you see in the story are making the effort to get the lines cleared to get the last train back on Sodor in time for Christmas and Connor promising a small boy to bring him and the other passengers home. It also shows the railway doing the number one important thing like all railways, serving the public. Andrew Brenner had really created such an amazing episode and I'm glad to call this a top favourite.
As I've mentioned in my review for the episode as well as my 'Top 10 Favourite Thomas Episodes' list, I still stand by and saying this as a modern classic. The two writers aren't perfect but this is there best work in their part of Season 18. They've captured James' persona very well and Duck as well with his knowledge about the Great Western Railway and the idea of introducing slip coaches to the series to teach kids about how the way they've used. However I do agree with some people about the 'Emily vs. Duck' joke. It would've been better if they've ended the episode with Emily coming out on top then it wouldn't have been mean spirited, although some 'fans' accepted how the way it end. To me the joke was sour in my taste.
Edward had missed out on an episode in S17 but regained an opening number in August 2014 with this modern classic. Although it has been done before in previous years with the usual tropes, but I believe that each generation has there own Edward episode. The fans grew up with the classic series has 'Edward and Gordon', The post-Awdry classic series fans has 'Edward the Very Useful Engine' and the new series has this one, yes I'm calling it new series because there is still some continuity for it. Andrew Brenner had captured Edward so well with his sarcastic humour, watch the end of 'Cows', and wise persona. It even has a great moral that you should never take your friends granted and that you must always say thank you.
I've stated that episode reminds me of people in this fan base and months after this episode had aired I still think of that. Davey Moore had captured Duncan's grumpy personality very well however I hope we don't see him with that persona too often. We had see him being a bit conceited in 'Duncan the Humbug' over about a new coat of paint for the winter. But this episode does show that we can't please everyone with everything and it's best that we ignore them instead.
Despite its flaws like the lack of coaches and I do agree on people's views for that reason. I usually say that if we have that, having more coaches then we have no plot, but thinking about having that in the plot it could work differently. We might have Gordon getting annoyed that his express, with different express coaches, is late say he stopped at Wellsworth and then he saw Samson coming by and was shocked that his express coaches were there. So yeah it could've worked that way but you might be thinking why I considered this as my fifth favourite episode? Well it's all down to Samson's character of being stubborn and arrogant and always wanting to be right and perfect after one mistake and that his character is pretty much like what a child can be at times. Plus its moral that we always make mistakes is thought out well and that the words 'Confusion and Delay' is needed for an episode like this. They should've called this 'Samson's Confusion and Delay'.
I understand that it's Samson's personality is suppose to be stubborn and head strong but this episode shows that he has lack of common sense. I don't know though of continuity, considering that these episodes were released only on DVD and many DVDs don't follow by production order, maybe we'll wait for the series compilation DVD in future? With the lack of common sense part, Samson thinks a bike, a bus stop and the Fat Controller's car that all look new is deemed as scrap. I also don't like how Harvey was portrayed in the episode as well, he's just there all nervous and worried. I understand with Samson's stubbornness Harvey may've been worried not to mess with him but Harvey should at least stand up against him and put some common sense in him. Plus the lack of remorse from Samson as well for not knowing the car, bike and bus stop. Despite that I like some of the comedy in the episode, it could've been improved with its story and characterisation.
Even though I gave the episode a good rating, it's the choice of character that I don't like. Now if the plot was about Toby being nervous of the junction being new and not being used to it due to him working on a rural branch line then that would work. Plus looking back at the episode, some parts do get repetitive mostly with Thomas and Henrietta saying that Toby is the 'number seven brown tram engine.' It feels a bit lazy in my opinion. I may have given this episode a good rating when I first saw it but my opinions for the episode had changed after seeing it many times and I do believe it's not one of the strongest episodes of S18. The Ferdinand cameo, as it was confirmed by a Thomas & Friends production member, it's really not a big deal. If the writers do consider of bringing him as well as the other two idiots back then there would be some common sense in them.
This episode has a nice moral for kids that everyone celebrates their own way and it was written to show Percy's not giving up attitude. But the story concept is not anywhere new and I understand that can be said for previous episodes in the past but we're focusing on S18. The plot feels like a rehash of 'The Biggest Present of All!', 'The Party Surprise' and 'Salty's Surprise', if you've seen those episode you'll understand. If you haven't, it's main character sees secondary character and thinks that a present might be great to give either it's for a party or cheering up, messes up three times and realises in the end.
I find the episode alright and it shows a nice ending to the Percy and Gator story arc. But there are some unexplained parts such as Gator knowing Owen, the purpose of the rock salt having Gator delivering them from the docks then delivering them for the docks. I don't find it bad it's just not written well in my opinion.
I don't see this as 'Percy and The Monster of Brendam' of S18 as the episode is nowhere near that plot line. It's a bit complex with Salty's story. It's not that frightening enough and I do know that it's a pre-school show but I believe that a young child wouldn't find that scary. I think it would've worked say that the flatbeds have pipes of them and that was the cause of the sound as the flatbeds in the 'flashback' is just generic parts and all. The sound effect would've made more sense.
So these are my most favourites and least favourites in the 18th season. So what would that mean for S19. Well on my wish list I would like to see better stories better then the last as they've proven that in this season and maybe some returnees like Duke, Daisy and BoCo. But only time will tell later on in the year, all we know that Donald and Douglas are set for a return this year thanks to their voice actor, Joe Mill for leaking it back in March 2014 on his website. It's not there now but it's happening.