Wednesday, 18 July 2018

DVD Review: The Complete Series 19


Written by
Lee Pressman
Davey Moore
Helen Farrall 
Nick Olster & Mark Huckerby
Becky Overton
Andrew Brenner
Robin Gay (story idea)

Who's Geffory?
The Truth About Toby
Lost Property
Henry Spots Trouble
Toad and the Whale
Very Important Sheep
Salty All at Sea
Den and Dart
Helping Hiro
Snow Place Like Home
The Beast of Sodor
A Cranky Christmas
Diesel's Ghostly Christmas
Thomas the Babysitter
Rocky Rescue
The Otherside of the Mountain
No Help at All
Goodbye Fat Controller
Wild Water Rescue

Bonus Disc: Start Your Engines 
Slow Stephen
Two Wheels Good
Reds Vs Blues
Best Engine Ever
The Little Engine Who Raced Ahead
Philip to the Rescue

Special Features (Start Your Engines):
Really Useful Engines 
The Earl's Quiz 
Landmarks of Sodor 
The Fat Controller's Tales 
"Race With You" Sing-Along Music Video
"On A Journey Today" Sing-Along Music Video

Special Features (S19 DVD): 

Release Date

Like every other year, the UK has their 19th series compilation DVD of season 19, of course. 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series books and during that year we had seen two specials. One is 'The Adventure Begins' which is a DVD focusing on the Rev.W.Awdry's early Railway Series books and the other is 'Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure', which is one of the yearly specials. Some fans were left in anticipation of what S19 might offer, however some were disappointed by the outcome of it. Considering that S19 is nearly 5 years old in a couple of years, does it still hold up? Let's find out!


I remember watching 'Henry Spots Trouble' when it first came out on 'Whale of a Tale & Other Sodor Stories' when it was a Wal*Mart exclusive DVD and digital download and I hated it because of Henry being in his wimpy persona. But after reading other people's viewpoint on the episode and actually seeing it again not too long after its debut, it was surprisingly a big change from the usual Henry is a wimp episode (e.g - 'Henry's Magic Box') To me what makes it surprising is that Henry's wimpy attitude actually works in this episode! Henry may have human characteristics but he is still an engine and of course what would an engine know about chicken pox? We never had any episode previously of him knowing the concept of it all and it makes the episode more enjoyable. Henry is learning something that is new and different and that is not common to engines. I understand that this episode could work with the likes of Percy or Paxton and I can see that as well. But with Henry and his persona that he was given, he was treated right and kudos to Davey Moore for using that persona and turn it into something that can be relatable to every child with the fear of the unknown story.

'The Otherside of the Mountain' is still one of the most rushed stories I have seen from this DVD still ever since it was a YouTube upload from a Japanese fan. The story is basically a rehash of 'Thomas' Shortcut' with a few little tweaks here and there and the crash was just unneeded, written by the same writer who wrote the former. Sure they want Thomas to see what Bertie sees and to showcase the moral that Thomas needs to pay attention that it feels forced and the build up was really anti-climatic with the poster that Bertie was talking about to Thomas. Just watch 'Thomas' Shortcut', it's heaps better than this story. This is not a way to bash Andrew Brenner as a bad writer, he's not.

'Rocky Rescue' is another terrible episode I just can't stand. The whole team work moral was just hammered down such as Rocky saying he's happy of just being part of a team and the whole working together moral hammered down by Thomas and the rescue team, like we get it! Team work is good, just stop hammering it down, please! But the one good thing from this episode is that Rocky FINALLY has a personality, he has a calm and cool attitude, hopefully they focus more on him in the future. 'No Help at All' had done it more better as the moral was mentioned at times but it really didn't feel like it was hammering it.

'Wild Water Rescue' was a bit bland to watch looking back, there was not really much conflict between Diesel and Percy. What could've been better if Diesel had tricked Percy, Percy was cross with Diesel after finding out that he'd played a trick on him and he didn't get a chance to be on the newspaper, Diesel felt bad and want to make things right and had an accident which involves Percy to rescue him and got his dream to become a reality. I will say that Diesel's complexity is good to see in the episode, it shows that despite being devious, tricky and troublesome, he just wants to be really useful for once towards the other engines. It adds a bit of depth to his character being more dimensional rather than being a one-dimensional villain.

'Diesel's Ghostly Christmas' was still a good watch and I love it how they've separated the two episode as it was on television back in 2015. I do remember someone saying that it didn't add anything new, but what Christmas Carol adaptation is? Many of them have adapted from the same book such as Mickey Mouse, The Flinstones etc. The only one that I could think of that did it different was Blackadder, by having Rowan Atkinson's character going from good to bad like his ancestors, and that was done to fit the show's image and it was hilarious!

I still think 'Goodbye Fat Controller' was a lot more better than 'The Truth About Toby', for the former, despite the whole thing being a rumour, the engines have the right to worry about the idea that the Fat Controller was leaving the railway because there's a fear of the unknown. Who would replace the Fat Controller? A controller who doesn't see the point of having steam engines on a railway and would prefer modern day traffic? Some fans have been saying that Edward was out of character here but to me I say that it fits him. Edward is an old engine and the Fat Controller, in the TV series, sees his worth on the railway and what would happen if he's replaced? There is the potential of him being scrapped by a new one. Whereas in the Toby episode, the engines feared that the Fat Controller might scrap Toby because he was at the scrap yard. Sure according to the Sodor book by the Rev.W.Awdry and his brother George, the coffee pot engines were scrapped by Sir Topham Hatt 1, and that's true, but the TV series had evolved and changed the Fat Controller over the years and we know today he wouldn't have the heart of scrapping Toby, the guy saved him from his old railway! So it's unbelievably gullible that the engines thought something like that would happen. I will say that the ending feels like something for the critics who over the years theorised that Sodor is a communistic island and the Fat Controller scraps engine if they aren't useful in a dictatorial fashion. Sadly there are gullible people out there that will believe anything on the internet and won't bother to research it themselves and actually think of the context of the stories and characters. They would believe anything as fact and that's that, seriously researching things yourself is not that hard! I understand that the episode's message was about not to gossip or believe everything that might not be true, but it was the wrong choice of character in my opinion.

Basically 'Start Your Engines' is just a re-release of the DVD that came out in 2016 as the trailer for 'The Great Race' is still intact with the words 'Coming Soon'. I understand that some fans aren't keen on the idea of having the same DVD again but there are people who miss out on buying it when it came out two years ago. If you want to see my view, please click the title of the DVD above.


Basically, like all series compilations, they are good to have if you have a collection of every season of Thomas. I think S19 is good still and not anywhere like S13-16. There's a dud here and there but there was at least some watchability for those kinds of episodes. 


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