Monday, 13 March 2017

S20 Ep.27: The Christmas Coffee Pot (UPDATE: 16/12/17)


Written by
Helen Farrall 

Directed by
Dianna Basso

Produced by
Ian McCue (HIT)

Air Date

Marion believes there's a talking Christmas tree, but it turns out it was something else.

- Nice to see Glynn again
- Awdry canon of The Fat Controller building Glynn
- The UK dub did Thomas' surprise voice better

- Marion's role could've been replaced
- The discovery of Glynn was underwhelming from Thomas in the US dub

I thought that Channel 5 in the UK would air this during Christmas 2016 along with the other three episodes focused on Christmas/Winter along with its sequel, 'Over the Hill'. But they didn't which is a shame. Neither did Japan as well during their run of S20. The only way to see these episodes are on DVDs in the US and the UK. For the US they're on 'Tinsel on the Tracks' and in the UK, 'Full Steam to the Rescue'.

UPDATE 16/12/17 - Even though it had been a year late, I had updated this page with its episode number, date and rating. The series overall will still be on my views of 'Useful Railway' which is provided in the episode listing below:

Anywho, out of all the Christmas episodes that were out on the DVDs, I was looking forward to this one the most, sadly though it wasn't the best in terms of story but I was looking forward to be seeing Glynn again and him getting more focus. When Glynn was first seen in the 2015 mini special 'The Adventure Begins' some were complaining that he was pointless, used for merchandising, being a one off etc. the kind of stuff you hear about many of the new modern day Thomas character, especially around the Barlow/Miller era, although the criticism of that era is fair as there was little to no effort in their newbies. Heck some people doubted Philip and he's been getting some appearances lately. But I digress here.

The discovery of Glynn after the trees fell down to reveal himself was...underwhelming especially with the dialogue coming from Thomas in the US dub. It sounds like Thomas wasn't too surprised when he saw Glynn he just said 'Oh you're the coffee pot engine! How are you?' no surprise, no gasp, just seem like they knew he was there the entire time. I do think it was better in the UK dub, when Thomas discovered Glynn he sounds way more surprised then his US counterpart. In previous years he sound more excited about Gator's return in 'Long Lost Friend' and meeting up with Hiro in 'Helping Hiro'. I have no hate for Joseph May in the end, he is a good voice actor in the show as Thomas and there are people who do like his acting. I think he just needs to improve a bit better as he does deliver some of his line awkwardly in some episodes.

Originally I was hoping that the writers aren't making Marion into an idiot. But thinking back to the episode, I think her portrayal was actually good with her jumping to conclusions that can be very peculiar, 'Sodor's Legend of The Lost Treasure' is a clear example of that. She thought the small engines were magic because of their sizes and that there's only one Oliver on Sodor. That's because she never saw them in her life and that her imagination can go wild, watch 'Marion and The Pipe' when she thought a pipe was part of a viking ship. So her conclusion of a talking tree fits in well with her character and persona. 

But I felt that Marion's role in this episode could've been replaced by somebody else as she didn't really do anything other than telling everyone about a 'talking' tree. For her role, I think Thomas is more suitable to the lead role after all Glynn was on his branch line. But rather than him believing that tree could talk, make him wonder who the voice belonged too. Be like a little investigation episode. Marion's lead role felt forced in my opinion  and like I said before, she could've been replaced by Thomas for the lead role as the focus kept switching on certain characters, at least the latter makes sense or have Marion thinking it was Bill and Ben playing tricks on her until she discovered that it was Glynn.

There are things I do like, especially that it's great to see Glynn again and looks as though he has more purpose than being part of the Fat Controller's railway considering that they were foreshadowing 'Over the Hill' at the end with Stephen not looking pleased and of course I do love how they acknowledge that the Fat Controller had built Glynn. Something that the Rev.W.Awdry had stated in his fictional history book. Although you do have to question his age, the Fat Controller's. I believe the Reverend would be happy that the series is at least acknowledging his work despite he might not like it with characters like Thomas being placed there whether it was in mind or not. The episode is not bad but I think there could've been better options than what it is but the heart of it was right there.