Friday, 12 June 2015

DVD Review: The Complete Series 16


Written by
Sharon Miller
Jessica Sandys-Clarke
Andrew Viner
Dan and Nuria Wicksman
Max Allen
Gerard Foster
Jessica Ekdward and Kristy Peart
Andy Bernhardt

1. Race to the Rescue
2. Ol' Wheezy Wobbles
3. Express Coming Through
4. Percy and the Monster of Brendam
5. Ho Ho Snowman
6. Flash, Bang Wallop!
7. Thomas and the Rubbish Train
8. Thomas Toots the Crows
9. Bust My Buffers!
10. Percy and the Calliope
11. Thomas and the Sounds of Sodor
12. Salty's Surprise
13. Sodor's Surprise Day
14. Emily's Winter Party Surprise
15. Muddy Matters
16. Whiff's Wish
17. Welcome Stafford
18. The Christmas Tree Express
19. Don't Bother Victor!
20. Happy Birthday Sir!

Special Features

Directed by
Greg Tiernan

Produced by
Nicole Stinn

Release Date

Distributed by
HIT Entertainment (UK)

In early 2012, fans were shocked to hear that Nitrogen studios were not going to animate Thomas & Friends beyond 2012 and the show's animation was switched to Arc Productions for 2013 - beyond. There last Thomas product to animate was the sixteenth season as well as the DVD special 'Blue Mountain Mystery', which was going to be originally titled as 'The Runaway Engine'. With the 15th series leaving many fans dubbing it as 'the worst' written season in the history of Thomas, Season 16 left many in doubt at the time. Will it hold up three years after the broadcast of these 20 episodes? Or would some fans skip this and await for the complete 17th series? Let's take a look at the final Nitrogen Studios release. Note that I won't be linking the episodes to my views as I like to update my views on them, which will be here:


I said years ago that I've liked Season 16 but now looking back at it it's bad. I've only seen like three episodes, because as an old saying 'When you've seen one episode, you've seen them all'. They follow the same formula, repetitiveness etc. plus like S13-15, the narrator has too much dialogue and they're same lines going over and over and over again. However I still think it did better then what S15 had provided us, S16 had provided an episode like 'Happy Birthday Sir!' where we see Thomas putting work first. The episode that people love the most from the DVD is 'Percy and the Calliope', I like that episode too because of its vocabulary expansion (Calliope) and that it shows a good moral about recycling and restoring old things and of course Robert Hartshorne's rendition of the original Thomas theme for the Calliope. But I find it to be overrated at times all because of Percy's character and how the way he acted in the episode, especially when he pushed a Calliope up the hill despite that he was pushing it the whole time.

That's another thing about the episodes from the Sam Barlow era they have plot holes and continuity errors everywhere, examples like Toby and Dart not being on Misty Island before despite that they were there in the past season. Or the Duchess of Boxford being at Wellsworth station despite that Thomas will pick her up at Maron and that she could've taken another train. But I have to give the Barlow era some credit here when it comes to the new characters having one-dimensional traits. The logging locos are idiots and share the same persona as Bill and Ben but they're more better characters then say that plot device called Lady but I still don't care about the trio. There are two episodes from this season that I liked and that's 'Welcome Stafford' and 'Percy and the Calliope', I've already said what I liked about the latter despite feeling that it's overrated at times. Stafford's episode was pretty good and it had provided some logic of his basis for running out of batteries. Although it shares some problems with its story and that is of course sharing the same formula.

The weakest episodes in my opinion would have to be 'Whiff's Wish' and 'Bust My Buffers'. Whiff's episode shares the familiarity of 'Dream On' from S11 and 'Bust My Buffers' does share some racial-like undertones. Plus many episode share so many redundant opening dialogue such as 'All the engines on the Island of Sodor like/are/do...' they add nothing to the plot at all! 

Michael Angelis, which this was his last season to narrate, sounds rather bland and slow while narrating. He's not terrible but you can see that he doesn't bring enthusiasm anymore and it was right of HIT Entertainment to hire in Mark Moraghan. Nothing against Angelis here but he was getting rather bland.

The animation is great as usual from Nitrogen. Although in the past there had been some limitations of their camera angles so it was nice to see them doing more of an expansion of them such as Gordon charging with the express and the camera pans out from the wheels. 

So is this the best DVD to get? Probably not considering that the episode still share the same formula as S9-15 but at least they're an improvement over S15. Maybe skip this and await for 'Railway Mischief' or '1st Class Stories' in the coming months or the complete series of the 17th season next year or maybe like me you want to add each season to your collection, buy the cheapest one, Amazon charges 7 GBP (but you have to pay extra due to their new regulations) eBay charges about 6.00 GBP and can also ship internationally. But before you do purchase the DVD if you're from another country I suggest looking up your region code and if it's not the same as the DVD I suggest watching it on your Laptop or computer as you can change codes for an amount of time. I know it's a bit redundant to say that but I've seen many people Amazon over the years complaining that they've bought an American DVD to play on their DVD player in a different country.