Monday, 30 January 2017

DVD Review: Tales From The Rails




Written by
Mark Huckerby & Nick Olster
Helen Farrall 
Davey Moore
Lee Pressman 
Andrew Brenner

Special Features
'All You Need Are Friends' - Sing-a-long song
Really Useful Engines
The Earl's Quiz
Landmarks of Sodor
Guess Who? Puzzles
The Fat Controller's Tales

Directed by
Dianna Basso
Don Spencer

Produced by
Ian McCue (HIT)
Jennifer Hill (Arc)

Release Date

It's 2017! While we await for the upcoming 21st season, this year's special 'Journey Beyond Sodor', more of S20 and the 2017 themed DVD 'Extraordinary Engines', the UK was given its first DVD release of the new year entitled 'Tales From The Rails' featuring episodes from S19 and S20. Is this DVD worth it well let's find out!

The episodes are consisted with two S19 episodes and six S20 episodes. The links to my episode reviews are there for clicking to see what I think of them. In my opinion, the S20 episodes make up for the S19 episodes, although there is only one from that season that I like that is on this list. I'm rather quite pleased that Bradford's episode is on this DVD too as it is one of my favourites, although 'Saving Time' to me is probably one of the weaker episodes from S20. 

The DVD opens up with a trailer for the 2017 tent pole themed DVD 'Extraordinary Engines' featuring the new character Hugo the Rail Zeppelin. Of course some of these episodes, that will be on the DVD, had aired in Japan already but they will be released in the US via iTunes this month and then on DVD over there in February. The UK and Australia will await their release dates, although it might be around March. I have already viewed these episodes on YouTube that were uploaded from Japan as they play the UK dub over there as well as their own one so my views of these episodes will come out later.

To my surprise, the intervals are not even part of the DVD run as they are only placed as bonus features. I don't get why HIT Entertainment would edit the DVDs that way rather than being like the US releases where it's the intro, episode, interval and so on until the credits. It would be much simpler and easier to have that rather than episode after episode, a bit of a nice break in between. However the intervals are the usual. 'Really Useful Engines' gives us a background of Duncan and Connor and I do have to say I like it how Duncan's history was mentioned about him being grumpy about not being polished or his passengers etc. 

The Earl's Quiz showcases episodes such as 'Marion and The Pipe', 'Signals Crossed' and 'The Smelly Kipper', although I don't know why they snuck in a US dub clip for the latter on a UK release. 'Landmarks of Sodor' gives such some explantation about 'Ulfstead Castle' although I felt Rob Rackshaw was shouting most of his words during the clip. The 'Guess Who?' puzzles are pretty much what you expect and they're mostly Samson, Winston and Thomas & Rocky. Good for young kids to enjoy. 

And 'The Fat Controller's Tales' are pretty much the same. We see an engine and their episode. Although I do wish they continue using the Railway Series stories. I know they won't be using Mr. Perkins again, I'll explain that soon, but maybe have the Fat Controller in his office reading a book and saying hello to the viewers and introduces us to the Railway Series story with the illustrations from one of the books. The segment as it is now is just like the 'Really Useful Engine' segment where we known an engine and its adventure.

In previous reviews I have been wondering about the Perkins segments and why they are not on the DVDs as usual. Despite being part of the World Tour series back in 2015, even they could've been filmed in 2014, I now have the feeling it was because of the actor Ben Forster's health. I'm pretty sure everyone by now had heard that he had sadly passed away earlier in January due to his battle of cancer, as stated by SiF and his former boarding school on their respective Facebook pages. I think he had retired as Mr. Perkins to look after his health and that's why we never saw that much of him on the DVDs or on YouTube. If that is the case really then it's good that he did that for the sake of his health, retiring to look after himself, and if any of his family members or close friends are reading this, my condolences go out to you, Ben Forster had played such a bright and colourful character that had been enjoyed and would be sorely missed by many Thomas fans young and old. May he rest in peace.


I think the DVD is good. It's got some good episodes from S20 and S19 despite a couple of mediocre ones. The special features are good and interesting too and I think it's money's worth for every Thomas fan young and old.