Wednesday, 29 February 2012

S16 Ep 14: Emily's Winter Party Special

Well we already have two episodes focused on Winter, one with the word 'Christmas' in it and today's episode is set in the winter, focusing on the female token of the 'Steam Team': 

EMILY'S WINTER PARTY SPECIAL
Written by Max Allen
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
29/02/2012

Plot:
Emily is sure she can find the Fat Controller's lost top hat and can't wait to get her super reward: pulling the Christmas present train!


THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FANBASE

THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS


PRO:
- The lights on Emily and Thomas look amazing
- The music sounds nice giving that Winter Snow magical type music
- The new brake vans return again
- There are longer trains for the engines
- Despite that its set around the Winter/Christmas period, there is still no sign of the infamous 'Happy Winter Holiday'. 

CON:
- This is pretty much of a mash up of 'Topped Off Thomas' and 'Keeping Up With James' put together, the Fat Controller's hat flying away from the wind and doing something good to pull a special train.

- As the plot says 'Christmas Present Train', it is actually called 'The Present Train'


This episode seems OK it tried to be good but it didn't. The episode seems to be a mash up of 'Topped Off Thomas' and 'Keeping Up With James' or it could be a coincidence to the new writer, but in my point of view it feels like a mash up with the Fat Controller's hat being swept away by the wind and an engine want to haul the presents train for being 'Really Useful', that word is really getting overused in the series nowadays.

However, the visuals are great as always, the music was nice and nice to see goods and passenger trains getting longer and that they don't have the 'Happy Winter Holiday' sentence anymore, thanks to Hilary Awdry for taking a stand against it. I do enjoy the episode, but but my views aren't that high.

Rating: 3/5

Note: As some may have read my last post, 'The Christmas Express' have been delayed until Christmas 2012 so there will be a special Christmas review about it later in the year. 

Exclusive: 'The Christmas Express' has been Delayed

Well, I have two exclusive reports today. As TheTopHatts have mentioned on his blog that milkshake! in the UK will not be airing 'The Christmas Express' on its air date. This goes for Australia too, who are now showing Season 16 at the moment on ABC2 as the episode has been delayed until the end of the year, as mentioned in an email that I've received from them today:


'Thank you for your email regarding Thomas and Friends.

You are quite correct that Episode 3 of Series 16 of Thomas and Friends, Express Coming Through, is scheduled to be repeated on Sunday 4 March, on ABC2. 

ABC Children’s Television staff have advised that, in general, children’s programs with Christmas themes are reserved for screening during the Christmas period.  Consequently, a programming decision was made to suspend screening of Episode 18, The Christmas Express, until the end of this year.' 

So on March 4th, which would've been the air date of 'The Christmas Express', the episode will be replaced with a repeat of 'Express Coming Through'. So there won't be any review on March 4th due to the episode's delay. 

'The Christmas Express' will be on ABC2 in late 2012.


Exclusive: Blue Mountain Mystery official website

(Thanks to Thomas & Friends Wikia. This can be seen on the
 'Narrow Gauge & Standard Gauge' video)


As announced by SiF late last year that a new DVD special entitled 'Blue Mountain Mystery' will be released on DVD and BluRay for 2012, Canadian Thomas Fan and YouTuber, CalleyFan, have found the official website of the DVD special here. No trailer has been released yet, but their is footage from the movie itself that you can find on the 'Narrow Gauge & Standard Gauge' video. Their are a couple of Railway Series references in the video and it teaches kids about the differences between the two different gauges.

Another video, shows the new character Luke, the mystery engine and new character that will be introduce in the upcoming special. A downloadable book can be found under 'Hide & Peep Thomas' showing the characters and some pictures from the movie.

'Blue Mountain Mystery' will see the return of the Skarloey Railway engines in full CGI and new voices and introduce new characters such as Owen, Merrick and Luke. The special will be released on DVD and BluRay later in 2012.


Thanks to CalleyFan for the alert.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

S16 Ep 13: Sodor Surprise Day

Week have two have passed and their have been some good episodes and some bad episodes and here are my ratings from the second week of the new series:

Flash Bang Wallop!:
4/5

Thomas and The Rubbish Train:
2/5

Thomas Toots The Crows
2/5

Bust My Buffers:
4/5

Percy and The Calliope:
2.5/5

Thomas and The Sounds of Sodor:
1/5

Salty's Surprise:
3/5

Well the third and final week is here for Australia and England is now in their second week of Season 16. It looks promising with the new electric engine, Stafford, a new track inspector, Winston and the return of the Skarloey Railway engines and the Thin Controller, Mr. Percival. Today's episode that I'll be reviewing will be:

SODOR SURPRISE DAY

Written by Jessica Kedward & Kristy Peart
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Plot:
Today is Sodor Surprise Day, and the engines are all looking forward to having fun surprising each other. Except for Gordon. He thinks it's just silly!


THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

THESE MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

PRO:
- Callan Castle makes it return apperance once again
- Harold looks amazing with fairy lights surrounding him
- Rosie gets a speaking part in this episode

CON:
- Whiff's UK voice is annoying, to be honest.
- Wouldn't it be obvious to Gordon that he can see Thomas near Whiff and the Docks?
- Charlie returns again, but only in one scene.
- Of course, this 'new series' episode wouldn't be a series without the annoying 'three strikes your out' formula.

To be honest, I found this episode weak. "Weak as water" in the words of Mrs. Slocombe from 'Are You Being Served?', one of my favourite British comedy shows. The animation and angles, amazing as always, but that doesn't mean the episode is great. I know I should of mentioned this in my 'Thomas and The Rubbish Train' review, but I seriously don't like Whiff's UK voice, I'm not against the voice actor on this, I think Whiff should sound like an East-End Londener. One my least favourite engines, Charlie, is back again, it's the character that I don't like, he is never seen doing work, sure he may have done in the past in a few episodes, but he doesn't too often. And as always there is the annoying three strikes formula.

I found this weak really, but the ending seems OK with Harold being covered in fairy lights and the opening shot was brilliant with Lord Callan's castle and the trees surrounding it, giving it a Scottish highlands look.

Rating: 2/5

Monday, 27 February 2012

S16 Ep 12: Salty's Surprise

Another winter themed episode, but this time with the words 'Christmas' since the outcry of the 'Winter Holiday/Christmas' controversy last year. Despite that 'The Christmas Express' has been delayed for a possible Christmas release, this episode focuses on Christmas presents and has Salty as the main character since 'Salty's Stormy Tale' from Series 7 (2003). Today's episode is:

SALTY'S SURPRISE
Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
27/02/2012

Plot:
Edward just loves getting Christmas presents, but Salty says he prefers a good story. Try as he might, Edward cannot find a gift to make Salty change his mind.

THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE.

THESE MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

PROS:

- Since the outcry from parents, religious groups and even older Thomas fans, as explained in my 'Ho Ho Snowman' review, about the Winter Holiday/Christmas controversy last year, this episode contains 'Happy Christmas Holidays' and not 'Happy Winter Holidays'.

- Salty looks interesting in green paint in a flashback story.

- The funnel from 'Slippy Sodor' returns.

- The Fat Controller once again dresses up as Santa Claus again.

- Salty's theme was nice to hear as well.

- This episode also teaches a good moral about a present doesn't always come in a box.

CONS:

- Edward was carrying a Christmas tree in his cab, it would be better if its taken on a flatbed to save not getting burnt from Edward's firebox.

- The episode is once again a 'three strikes your out' formula.

- Even though I am pleased they put the word 'Christmas' back in, there is no need to put 'Happy Christmas Holiday' I know there are holidays around Christmas, but you can also put 'Merry Christmas' in.

- Salty doesn't even need a funnel, he is a diesel engine. They need exhaust pipes or motors to move.


It was nice seeing Salty having a lead episode since 2003, but this episode is not that great, but it's not horribly bad. Some stock footage from 'Merry Winter Wish', 'Let It Snow' and 'Henry's Magic Box' was used in this episode at the beginning but a new piece of footage of Salty at the docks was added. Despite that they have put back the word Christmas in the episode, it would be nice if they say 'Merry Christmas', but then again in 'Thomas and The Missing Christmas Tree', Thomas did say 'Happy Christmas Percy'. As of the animation, once again, brilliant from the dedicated team of Nitrogen Studios and I have to say, I like the design of Edward in the CGI series. Salty's theme was nice to hear a bit of a sea type of music.

But even though they say 'Christmas' again, this episode was OK, but it didn't do great. It tried to be good and it did try, so I'm OK with this episode.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, 26 February 2012

S16 Ep 11: Thomas and The Sounds Of Sodor

Well yesterday's episode was good, but the Calliope playing the original Thomas theme was the highlight of the whole episode. This is another episode focused on music, we had 'Thomas, Percy and The Squeak','Edward's Brass Band', 'Tuneful Toots' and 'Percy and The Calliope' and now we have this:


THOMAS AND THE SOUNDS OF SODOR
Written by Gerard Foster
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
26/02/2012

THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FANBASE

THESE MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS


Plot:
A famous composer visits the island looking for inspiration for a new piece of music. Thomas has been chosen to take him around.

PRO:
- Toby's driver is seen at the front of Toby's cab at the beginning
- The composer was hilarious when he has to come up with a new tune
- The music scene made by the engines was impressive.

CON:
- It was another 'three strikes your out' episode, like always in the recent series
- It was obvious what the Sounds of Sodor is, it's always the engines. 
- Seems Sir Topham Hatt's is always gonna be called 'Fat Controller'. The Fat Controller's real name is of course Sir Topham Hatt, but not because of political correctness in America.
- Annie and Clarabel made an appearance, but I was hoping to hear them talk, shame that they didn't. 
- Despite what I said about the engines' music scene being impressive with the music, it's pointless for a 'grand concert'.


I have to say this episode is just bad, but after watching it, I kind of enjoyed it with the music and visuals, but that doesn't save the episode from being bad. However the story did remind me of 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' from the 1997 Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Annual when the church organ was broken and Henry, Gordon, Percy and Toby use their whistles and bell to play music for the Christmas carol, maybe that could be an episode for the future series. I know that in the UK and Australia, Sir Topham Hatt is called The Fat Controller since the Railway Series. But his name is really 'Sir Topham Hatt', in fact, this is for the people who are new to Thomas, there are three 'Sir Topham's' in the Railway Series, as seen here, he was mentioned as the Fat Director in the first two books until 1948, James the Red Engine was published with the word 'Controller', when BR was nationalised and he was renamed 'The Fat Controller'. When the show entered in US territory in 1989, they renamed him 'Sir Topham Hatt' due political correctness, which is why Ringo Starr re-narrated his line for the episode to fit for the US audience on 'Shining Time Station' and Thomas VHS and DVDs. 

I know I said that the music scene with the engines was impressive, but it was pointless to have in the series for a concert when it just goes for like 30 seconds. However, the story is bad and pointless, but there might be some people who would enjoy it.

I've noticed from some people that this episode came from the same writer who wrote 'Percy's New Friends', which I do have to say this episode is better then the season 15 episode.
Rating: 1/5

Tomorrow: Salty's Surprise.

NOTE: Since that ABC has gone through the same footsteps as milshake! with 'The Christmas Express', there will be no review for it next week as the episode will be replaced by 'Express Coming Through'. Maybe they're keeping it in time for Christmas as ABC did that last year with 'Percy The Snowman'. But whenever the episode's on, I might as well do a special Christmas review in the later months.

Cheers ;)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

S16 Ep: 10 Percy and The Calliope

Well since that yesterday episode was enjoyable to me personally, this one did also, a little. England has already finished the first week of Season 16 episode and Australia are now halfway through the new season. Today's episode focused on a musical insturment, a Calliope. For those people who don't know what a Calliope is, it's all explained here. And the Calliope in this episode played something very nostalgic for people who grew up with the show since 1984. Today's episode is:

PERCY AND THE CALLIOPE
Written by Max Allen
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
25/02/2012

THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINION AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Plot:
When Percy and Diesel are asked to take an old musical steam organ to the smelter's yard, Percy tries to save it by making it work again.

PRO:
- Thomas didn't make a role in this, a second Percy episode, but he did get a small cameo at the Docks.
- The music at the beginning was nicely made.
- Thier were longer trains for the engines and Brake Vans too, minus Percy and Diesel's train.
- Percy's driver or fireman from the tap of the water tower was funny when they hear the gurgle from the Calliope.
- The original Thomas theme gave a nostalgic moment and so did the episode with its 'Saved From Scrap'-esque storyline.

CONS:
- Percy is once again an idiot through the three strikes. Thier was a bit of a 'Wonky Whistle'-esque moment when Percy was puffing back, by himself at the water tower with his driver or fireman giving him water from the pipe at the water tank.

- The crash from Gordon's Hill was unrealistic.

- The alliteration was bad like 'And junk need junking'


Rating: 4/5 - UPDATE (5/3/12): Watching this episode again and I decided to give it a better rating. First off, the vocabulary in the title is a great way to teach children, like 'Maritime' in Season 10 and of course 'Deputation' in Season 2. Second, many fans have said that this episode makes them remember the Season 2 episode 'Saved From Scrap' with Edward saving Trevor from scarp. So thinking about it and watching it again does make it a good episode and that goes as well with the theme music and the moral of this story, 'Old things can be useful'. Despite the episode have its flaws, it is still a good episode and I hope, albeit they will do this in the coming months or next year, that Trackmaster would make a 'Greatest Moments' toy with Percy and The Calliope. 

Tomorrow: Thomas and The Sounds Of Sodor

Friday, 24 February 2012

S16 Ep: 9 Bust My Buffers!

Another episode named after a well-known catchphrase since the early day of Thomas the Tank Engine. Today's episode that I'll be reviewing is:

BUST MY BUFFERS!

Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn


Plot:
Gordon the grand engine doesn't feel so grand when he bashes into some trucks at the docks and his buffer falls off!

Air Date:
24/02/12

THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

THIS MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS

PROS:


- The shot and angles at Brendam Docks were amazingly well done
- There was actually a good moral to the story about respect when Gordon realised he can 'huff and puff' with his brand new buffer beam that the diesels gave him. 
- A little bit of reminisce is seen in the episode with Gordon going under the bridge with the same layout and angle from the classic series' opening credit.
- This episode shows a industrial side of Sodor with the Docks and Dieselworks.
- It was interesting to see Gordon without a buffer beam and seeing him inside the Dieselworks. 
- Gordon's snoot attitude was like his own in the classic series. 
- This shows another two strike, but it's not annoying in my views.

CONS:
- 'Those are the rules of the railway' and most of the rules have been broken since Series 8. 
- Their was alliteration like 'Gordon sniffed snootily'.
- Thomas' appearance was really uncalled for. Should be a character like Edward in his wise persona from the classic era of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. 



Ratings: 4/5 

When first saw this episode's title, I thought it was going to be bad. But after seeing it, I was left impressed. Sure it had its flaws but the story actually had a good moral about respect, as mentioned in my pro list and that diesel and steam engines are all engines. The silent duo of diesels Paxton and Norman made a cameo despite not having their voices yet, though we will see how Paxton talks in the next year's season. This has to go down as one of my favourite episodes from Season 16. 

Tomorrow: Percy and The Calliope

Thursday, 23 February 2012

S16 Ep: 8 Thomas Toots The Crows

First we have 'Thomas and The Pigs','Thomas' Tall Friend' then 'Percy's New Friends' and now we have another animal/engine related episode in the CGI series:

THOMAS TOOTS THE CROWS

Written by Dan & Nuria Wicksman 
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
23/02/2012


THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS AND FRIENDS FANBASE 


THESE MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS

Plot:


At the farm, Farmer McColl needs help. His scarecrow is so old, he has to send it away for mending. 
This means there is nothing to scare away the crows and they are eating all the seed he has planted in his fields! Farmer McColl doesn't know what to do. But Thomas does!





PROS:
- Farmer McColl has a big role in this episode
- The trucks returned with faces again
- The crows were animated nicely
- The visuals and angles were amazing
- A re-edition of the music from 'James Goes To Far' was made, unless if it was used in an episode before.
- The tractors were seen in motion and not just left standing in the background.


CONS:

- Thomas chasing two crows from McColl's field and yet he doesn't even know that other crows will come on his fields.
- 'My scarecrow won't be mended until tomorrow', you can use the straw that Thomas delivered to mend your scarecrow. 

I thought at first, for the farmer scene, that Terence would make a brief comeback, but he didn't, there was no comeback yet. The episode wasn't that good, it still kept the 'three strikes your out' formula and their was a little bit of rhyming from Thomas, like 'I should hoot and toot'. Although it is not as cringe worthry as 'Percy's New Friends' in my opinion, Thomas didn't call the crows: "Mr. Crows" and thankfully that didn't happen.

The writing is once again not from Sharon Miller, this is actually from a husband and wife duo named Dan and Nuria Wicksman. They have wrote episodes for such shows like 'Roary The Racing Car' from Chapman Entertainment. For more information about these writers, you can visit their IMBD page

But this episode is not that good, but it is not horribly bad. 

Rating: 2/5

Tomorrow: Bust My Buffers

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

S16 Ep: 7 Thomas and The Rubbish Train

Well, there are two episodes as my least favourites and two episodes as my favourites. What about today's episode? Well here are my views of:

THOMAS AND THE RUBBISH TRAIN
Written by Andrew Viner
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
22/02/2012

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OWN OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Plot:
It's Thomas's turn to work with his good friend Whiff the Rubbish Engine! He has to be Whiff's back engine and push a very heavy rubbish train, but Thomas is happy to help.

PRO:
- The Duchess finally had a speaking role since 'Hero of The Rails' (2009)
- Diesel was acting devious again
- The seaside, which I think was last seen in Series 11's 'Thomas and The Lighthouse', had returned.
- The crash at Wellsworth station was interesting
- The two tank engines get to stop at signals
- Brake vans were seen once again, aside from Henry's train in the beginning.
- A bit of realism with Thomas and Whiff stopping at signals

CON:
- The three strikes was repetitive, like always.
- Thomas is once again in his conceited attitude again 
- The points magically set themselves again by the engines.


I don't think this episode was great, it's bad but not very bad in my opinion. I know many people won't like this episode anyway, but that's their opinions and I'm fine with it. The episode's visuals are amazing as always, but I'm sorry to say that this episode is getting a low point. I don't hate this episode as much as  'Ho Ho Snowman', but it needs some tweaking.

But incase if you're wondering who wrote it, it's not written by Sharon Miller. It's written by Andrew, not Andrew Brenner, the new head writer, the name is Andrew Viner, the same person who wrote 'Rosie and The Funfair Special' in Season 12 (Thanks TP&T2 pointing that out.). At least its nice to see other writers are making a contribution to the Thomas series despite the three strikes formula.

Ratings: 2/5

Tomorrow: Thomas Toots the Crows


Cheers ;)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

S16 Ep: 6 Flash, Bang, Wallop!

Well five episodes have passed and Australia are nearly halfway across Season 16. So far, here are my ratings from the first week of episodes:

Race To The Rescue:
4/5

Ol' Wheezy Wobbles:
2/5

Express Coming Through:
3/5

Percy and The Monster of Brendam:
3/5

Ho Ho Snowman:
1/5

So 'Race To The Rescue' is still my favourite from this season so far and now 'Ho Ho Snowman' have moved to the top of my least favourite episodes with 'Ol' Wheezy Wobbles' now in second place. While 'Percy and The Monster of Brendam' and 'Express Coming Through' are on my OK list. So now today's episode that I'll be reviewing is:

FLASH, BANG, WALLOP!
Written by Jessica Sandys Clarke
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
21/02/2012

Plot:
The engines on the Island of Sodor are excited! A photographer has arrived to take photographs for a brand-new book.


THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINIONS AND NOT 
FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FANBASE

THESE CONTAIN SPOILERS


PROS:
- Real engines like a Beyer Garratt and 'City of Truro' were used in the book.
- The three strikes seem shorter.
- The crashes were interesting to see.
- The visuals and animation were amazing.
- Their are brake vans on every train.

CONS:
- Thomas' attitude of wanting to be in a photograph shows him in his selfish self.
- 'I had another camera, but it's at the docks', just wondering, why does everyone leave stuff behind at the docks? They could at least bring it with them just incase if anything goes wrong.


Yesterday's episode was a disappointment but this one brought me a good impression. Sure there was the three strikes formula again, but it seemed shorter without the rhyming and I liked it that it had some crashes at the end. I was really impressed that they've used real steam locomotives in the book that the Fat Controller was holding and with the Garratt locomotive, I know that Greg Tirenan liked to see one in the show as a character, as mentioned in an interview by SiF, and that will be interesting to see.

This episode left me a good impression and book covers were interesting to see and the books were almost in a similar style as a Railway Series book, but bigger and thicker. While I was watching the scene of Henry puffing under the bridge that was seen in episodes like 'Splish, Splash, Splosh', the setting reminds me of this:




Just saying, it's first time I noticed this with Henry 
going under it.


Here's a picture, of the same set, that every fan is familiar with.
(Thanks to ThomasPercyandToby2 fo pointing this out)



This episode is part of my favourites in the season.


And incase if you're wondering, no this episode was not written by Sharon Miller, it is written by Jessica Sandys Clarke and it definitely was a surprise to me.

Rating: 4/5


Tomorrow: Thomas and The Rubbish Train

Cheers ;)

Monday, 20 February 2012

S16 Ep: 5 Ho Ho Snowman

The first winter themed episode of the year since the outcry from parents, religious groups and older Thomas fans about the Winter Holiday/Christmas political correctness controversy last year. There are forthcoming episodes in this season with the term 'Christmas' (Salty's Surprise and The Christmas Express) and those will be up in many days to come. For people who didn't know about the PC protest last year, all is seen here with an open letter by Hilary Awdry, the daughter of the late Rev.W.Awdry, from the 'Daily Mail'.

Also England starts their transmission of the new series today on milkshake! with their special guest, the Fat Controller to start the new series, however most of them would've had a head start already. Today's episode that I'll be reviewing is:


HO HO SNOWMAN!




Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
20/2/2012

Plot:
Charlie loves the snow and decides to show Henry that snow really can be fun! He hides behind a huge snowman and as Henry rumbles past, Charlie pretends to be the snowman telling a joke!


THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINION AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FANBASE

THIS MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS

PRO:


- The trucks have returned with their faces, as Greg Tirenan kept his word
- The camera angles were nice
- Charlie got a lead role 
- The animation was stunning once again
- There is no mention of 'Winter Holiday' anywhere, only the word, 'Winter'.
- Henry's Driver is seen, opening the doors of Tidmouth Sheds.
- Charlie's snowman voice was funny to hear though and so was his face when he laughs
- No rhyming (only some from the narrator)
- A brake van was seen at the back of Henry's train, not the new ones unfortunately.

CONS:
- Thomas and Charlie were shunting trucks on Gordon's Hill, what will happen if Henry was diverted on one of those tracks?
- Charlie's 'jokes' were never funny throughout this entire episode.
- Why would Henry be scared of a 'talking' snowman? Henry would've known that snowmen don't talk.

Well looks like this episode is on my list of the least favourite. I don't like Charlie (the character), his jokes are bland and obvious, but his snowman voice gave me a chuckle to be honest and he did get a lead role. When I first saw the title and then the plot, I thought of this, 'Then the snowman said to Henry: "Happy Birthday!"', if you don't get it, it is from the Rakin Bass 'Frosty The Snowman' movie. It's great seeing the trucks having their faces back, shame they didn't have a speaking role, I would like to hear their voices, maybe in the future series when Thomas & Friends are being animated by Arc. But this episode to me is just poor and is part on my list of least favourites.

Rating: 1/5 - I had a bad feeling about this episode in the first place.

Tomorrow: Flash, Bang, Wallop!



Cheers ;)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

S16 Ep: 4 Percy and The Monster Of Brendam

Well, three episodes have passed and still I have only one least favourite episode from this season already. And the UK will be having thier episodes tomorrow, but some may have a head start since the new episodes are up on YouTube. Today's episode that I'll be reviewing is:

PERCY AND THE MONSTER OF BRENDAM


Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date: 19/02/2012

THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FANBASE

THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Plot:

On the island of Sodor, the fog is beginning to swirl into Brendam Docks. Percy is there, waiting for cargo and listening to one of Salty's tales!


PROS:


- Thomas did NOT get a lead role or any role in this episode, only a cameo
- Their were new styles of brake vans on the Stanley and Edward's trains
- The visuals were amazing
- The fog wasn't as thick as it was in 'Spencer The Grand'
- Their was no rhyming in the episode 

CONS:


- It was another 'four strikes your out' episode, that is if you count Henry's look out for the 'Monster of Brendam'. 
- Edward, Henry and Toby have once again lost their personality as being wise. 


I only like this episode for the stunning CGI and even the use of brake vans on Stanley and Edward's trains. For a moment, I thought Edward was hauling Toad, you get to see a small glimpse of the back, but it looked smaller than he was (Toad). It was actually great that there were new style of brake van on Stanley's train, which looked like this:


LMS 20T Brake Van that Stanley pulled at the start (Thanks to ShuntingTank043 for pointing that out)


And this is the brake van that Edward hauled which is not the GWR 'Toad' Brake Van. 
It is a LBSCR Stroudley 20t Brake Van. 

(Thanks to ShuntingTank043 pointing it out.)


However the personalities of Edward, Henry and Toby have been lost, instead of having them as wise engines, we have them as wimps because they're afraid of the 'monster'. But it turns out the monster was someone else instead and won't be saying who it is. However, the story was OK, the shadows of the fog were funny to look at, mainly Butch's bit so all I can say for this episode... It's OK. 

Rating: 3/5 - It's OK, there are only two flaws that I don't like, as you can see in my cons. But the best bit of all, Thomas didn't even get a role in this episode and I was really hoping it, but I still do like Thomas, the character despite the personality they gave him and also the use of brake vans on Edward and Stanley's trains and even Toby waiting at the level crossing as a car was passing him. If there were a vote between this episode and 'Percy's New Friends' from last season, then I would choose this over the Season 15 episode.

Tomorrow: Ho Ho Snowman!

Cheers ;)  

Saturday, 18 February 2012

S16 Ep. 3 Express Coming Through

Well I've already had one episode down as my least favourite and now here is the third episode of the new sixteenth series. Today's episode is:


EXPRESS COMING THROUGH

Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stonn

Air Date:
18/2/2012

THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINION AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Plot:

It's a big day on Sodor! The Fat Controller's mother, Dowager Hatt, is having a party and she has invited some very important visitors.


PROS:

- Thomas hauls the express carriages again since 'Paint Pots and Queens'
- Not one, but five carriages were hauled by Thomas
- Dowager Hatt was her usual funny self
- It was another 'two strikes your out' formula with no rhyming
- Captain, the boat, actually has a captain on board.
- This episode didn't show Gordon going off to collect the stranded passengers, he just left the station and the screen fades to the stranded visitors at Knapford.
- The animation is once again flawless, including the interior of the express carriage, from the dedicated team of Greg Tirenan's Nitrogen Studio team. 

CONS:

- If the express is 'heavy' for Thomas, how come he can haul and shunt them in 'Thomas and Gordon' and 'Thomas' Train' and possibly other episodes, as I can't remember some Thomas episodes. 


This episode is good in my opinion, sure it had some flaws, but it was back to its two strikes formula like in the first episode. It was good to see Thomas hauling express coaches again and it did remind me of 'Thomas' Train'. I don't know about the next episode though, but I will wait and see what it brings for the fans tomorrow.

Rating: 4/5 - (EDIT: 24/02/12), After watching it again, I do have to say it brings back the nostalgia of the classic episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends with Thomas pulling the express coaches. Despite the flaws it was good.


Cheers ;)





Friday, 17 February 2012

S16 Ep. 2 Ol' Wheezy Wobbles

Well the first episode has done and now we have more to watch of Season 16 of Thomas & Friends. Today's episode that I'll be reviewing is:

OL' WHEEZY WOBBLES
(Thanks to Thomas and Friends Wikia for the Picture)

Written by Sharon Miller 
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air date: 17/2/2012



THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINION AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FANBASE

THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS:

Plot:

Ol' Wheezy has stopped working. The Logging Locos do not know what to do, but Thomas is sure he can help.

PROS:


- The animation was stunning
- The shots were great
- The music was nice to listen too
- Ferdinand had a couple of lines in this episode, despite saying 'That's Right!'
- Thomas' Driver and Den and Dart's Engineers (Drivers) appear 
- There was a few rhyming only from the narrator

CONS:

- This was a 'four strikes your out' formula (Thomas' driver, Den, Dart and then Thomas' driver again)
- Ol' Wheezy doesn't need fixing to do the swing around the logs, what he needs is to fix up to be a proper crane.
- The narrator says that Dart have never seen engines like the Logging Locos before, but Dart already met them in 'Tree Trouble' in Season 15.
- The drivers and firemans are just a zombie like thing, not saying a word, they're the engines hands.
- 'I can't fix this', Dart is a diesel engine, of course he can't fix anything, only his driver .

Well, this has to go down as one of my least favourite episodes because of my cons. I do like the Logging Locos, I know there are people who don't like them, but they are hilarious to me. 


Ratings: 2/5


Tomorrow: Express Coming Through

Cheers

Thursday, 16 February 2012

S16 Ep. 1 Race To The Rescue

It's a brand new year for Thomas and Friends as Series 16 is on air in Australia now and will be in the UK on February 20th. This will be the last season to be made by Nitrogen Studios, a Canadian animated company led by Railway Series fan, Greg Tirenan. The reason why this is the last series to be produced by them is explained here. However, this would also be the last season for head writer Sharon Miller who, last year, was stepped down as head writer. So from February - March, there will be Season 16 episodes and today, our first one is...

RACE TO THE RESCUE
(Thanks to Thomas & Friends Wikia for the picture)

Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tirenan
Produced by Nicole Stinn
Air Date: 16/2/2012

THESE ARE SOLEY UNDER MY OWN OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE. 


THESE MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS.


PLOT:
It's Flynn the fire engine's first day on the road. His wheels are fixed by Victor and now he can run on road instead of rails. But he is not too happy.

PROS:
- Another episode which Thomas does not get a lead role, but few scenes at the beginning and end.
- This episodes focuses on some road vehicles needing help such as Bertie, Butch and, of course, Flynn.
- We finally get to see Flynn on the road for the first time.
- No rhyming, repetition and three strikes, this was only two strikes. 

CONS:
- Flynn bumping and rolling on soft road makes him feel like he never went on the roads, I know he said he haven't been on the road for a while, but he should at least know the experience by now, but that's just me saying this.




Well at first, I had a 50/50 feeling when I saw the title, but it left me a bit impressed of the how the episode went. Some people say the plot was a bit like 'Fiery Flynn' and trust me, this episode beats the Season 15 episode out of the water. It definitely beat other CGI opening episode such as 'Creaky Cranky', 'Thomas' Tall Friend' and 'Gordon and Ferdinand'.

Rating: 4/5 - It's good, but it does need some work, but trust me this is better than 'Fiery Flynn'.

Tomorrow: Ol' Wheezy Wobbles

Cheers ;)