Tuesday, 29 May 2012

はじめましてトーマスシリーズ いつもなかよし ふたごのきかんし DVD Review

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

はじめましてトーマスシリーズ
いつもなかよし ふたごのきかんし


Episodes:
- Break Van
- The Deputation
- The Diseasel
- Donald's Duck 
- One Good Turn
- Heroes 
- Buffer Bother
- Bad Day at Castle Loch 


Yep, had enough money to buy another Japanese Thomas DVD, what can I say, I love watching these as they are worth the money. There are eight perfectly written episodes from the classical era with six episodes all being remastered from the first three seasons of the show. This is the same DVD as the one here in Australia, the 'My First Thomas' series to introduce the classic era of 'Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends' to the younger generation of Thomas fans, who are growing up with the new series. Sadly in the Australian version, of the DVD, the six episodes from the 1st to 3rd season are not remastered, instead they're VHS transfer. If Australian Thomas fans want the remastered footage, you can buy them on iTunes Australia only. 

The voice acting and narration of the Japanese actors are spot on and for english viewers, you can audio swap and have the narration of Ringo Starr and Michael Angelis with the restored footage, but the opening intro provides the japanese text. There are more DVDs of more characters, which are the same as the Australian release and are worth the money for the remastered episodes, something that HIT needs to make one day for the english viewers. There are compilation DVDs that have remastered episodes, but since that Japan has them and Australia, America (Series 1) and the UK has them on iTunes and/or DVD, why can't they release a complete collection of the remasters on DVD or Blu-Ray? It would be worth the money for many of the nostalgia fans. But this DVD is great and I highly recommend it. If you're a fan from the home country of the show, England, then you'll be happy to know that the DVD are in region two. 

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, 26 May 2012

きかんしゃトーマス じょうきはディーゼルにまけないぞ!! DVD Review

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

きかんしゃトーマス じょうきはディーゼルにまけないぞ!!
Episodes:
- Pop Goes The Diesel
- Dirty Work
- Daisy 
- Diesel Does It Again 
- Mavis
- Bullseyes
- Bowled Out
- The World's Strongest Engine

Bonus Features:
- Trying To Do Things Better
- Diesel 10's Counterattack (Day of The Diesels) Trailer

I've been collecting Thomas DVDs from Japan for a while now and here is one of Japan's recent releases, its like 'Steamies Vs. Diesels' from the US and 'My First Thomas with Diesel' from Australia, only with episodes from the classic era and not really focusing on Diesel. The DVD features six selected episodes of the diesel engines from Season 2, 3, 4 and 6. Not many episodes in the UK, US and Australia have been released, restored, but many episodes on Japanese releases are restored and could almost turn into a series compilation DVD. 

Episodes like 'Bullseyes', 'Bowled Out' seem to be in their current state as what the english releases have with the film, but looking at the ones from the Season 4 DVD for the english viewers and the ones on this DVD, it looked spotless and not all grainy with some bad quality from VHS transfer. 


Leo Morimoto has a great voice with the narration, its a shame that he's not doing now, but their are other things getting in the way. The voice actors in this DVD shows great enthusiasm and with the face of the engine, they always put great emotion in with the Japanese language. Their are bonus features in this DVD, just some trailers and 'Trying To Do Things Better' in Japanese. However with the trailers, there is the trailer for the Japanese release of 'Day of The Diesels' (Diesel 10's Counterattack). With the releases HIT is making with the US and UK audience with four episodes and special features like games for kids and the 'Down at The Station' segments along with the Mr. Perkins segments, which I have to say are great to watch by the way. But this DVD as well as others are worth the money. Eight episodes with five all restored from the 1st - 3rd season.


Rating: 5/5 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Juinper Junction DVD Review

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OWN OPINIONS
AND NOT FROM ANYONE ELSE.

JUNIPER JUNCTION
Written and Created by
Peter Strange and Paul Rhodes 

'Juniper Junction', a DVD that both children and adults will love for many years. I bought the DVD from a seller from Amazon UK, I tried to buy one from the people from the production company last year but they don't ship to Australia. But since I managed to get a copy I can finally make a review about this wonderful little episode about the kings royal train. The episode is set around early 20th century (1914) and as the modern world is continuing to grow, Juniper Junction is still working. The king (George V) is out for his summer holiday on the royal train and the stationmaster must keep his clock 'London Time'. But unfortunetly, the clocks were 10 minutes early and the kings train stopped at Juniper Junction.

This little short shows off perfect model making a brilliant stop-motion animation and wonderfully made music along with brilliant Gauge 1 vintage model trains. It adds wonderful humor and certainly adds a great piece of nostalgia. It really reminded me about the golden age of 'Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends'. So if you're fan of gauge 1 models, stop animation or animation all together? I recommend buying this DVD. For more information about Juniper Junction, click down below for the offcial website.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, 14 May 2012

S15 Ep. 20: Fiery Flynn + Overall of Season 15

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

FIERY FLYNN
Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tiernan 
Produced by Nicole Stinn 

Air Date:
26/3/11

Plot:
Flynn tries to impress the Diesels with his bravery with potentially disastrous results.

PRO:
- Diesel's devious laugh, I like it.

CON:
- Flynn looked unstable when he's on the rails
- How does Rocky know the emergencies?
- How stupid is Flynn, he's a fire engine, he should know what a fire is! 
- 'You're not on fire Edward/Gordon', talk about stating the oblivious.
'But I'm wet through!' did that sentence even make sense? 
- Why did Thomas and Flynn thank the Diesels? It was their drivers who did all the work.

'Thomas' firebox is on fire...?' yes we were all shocked by that scene, but, as what Chris (TP&T2) pointed out in his Series 15 review last year on his blog, a steam locomotive has a thing called a 'Fusible Plug'. It's a metal cylinder. Its a safety device that is against low water levels in a boiler. If it fails it can damage the boiler and would cause an explosion. Engines like 'Tornado' had a failed fusible plug during its time in preservation and have to be stopped so no damage can be caused. Here is what a modern fusible plug looks like:

But with this episode. I would rather let kids watch 'Fireman Sam' from the 1980's a character who knows how to fight fires. Flynn, he's so stupid in this episode, he's off to fight Thomas' fire but instead goes to Gordon and Edward first. There is a reason why he's called a Fire fighting engine. He fights fires, why did he and Belle save the Dieselworks from being on fire in 'Day of The Diesels'. I still don't know why Rocky is saying all of the emergencies instead of the boss of the rescue centre. The grammar is bad too with the Fat Controller saying 'But I'm wet through?', couldn't he say, 'But I'm wet!'. The one other thing, why did Thomas and Flynn thank the diesels for putting out his fire? When clearly its the workmen who did the job. The only thing I like about this episode is Diesel's laugh, but that did not save the episode for being a total disgrace to fire fighters right across the world. 

Rating: 1/5

OVERALL OF SEASON 15

What can I say, after seeing a total of 20 episodes these were just awfully written. There are bad morals, the three strikes and rhyming were overused and some parts of the episodes looked dangerous without being punished. There are no morals in episodes for example 'Wonky Whistle'. I'm so glad that this series aired before 'Day of The Diesels' came out on DVD and Blu-Ray. The plots are the same and basic like every other Thomas, so if you seen one you've seen them all. The CGI did wonders but was sadly wasted away from the awful story lines, I'm sad that Greg Tiernan decided to finish animating Thomas after this, as SiF had said that he stopped working on Thomas in late 2011, but it was his choice and he knows how the writing is not that well received by the fans. 

I don't know if people would buy the complete collection DVD around 2014 in the UK due to the episode's being badly written. Me, I only buy the CGI Thomas DVDs because of the animation. Their are some episodes that are good, but sadly this is the worst written series in Thomas history. 

Rating: 31/100

Well that's the end of my S13 - 15 episode reviews. I do hope you enjoy reading them. Be on the look out in the later part of 2012 as I will be reviewing Series 1 - 12, this might take from mid-2012 to early 2013, as I will be away to Ireland and England in August/September and I could be away from the internet. But their are more reviews coming up like my 'Juniper Junction' DVD review, even though its not Thomas, I still like to review it after seeing a short YouTube clip. In July, I will be doing a review on 'Blue Mountain Mystery', but like my 'Day of The Diesels' review that was on my DA page last year, their won't be any spoilers as their are many people who want to see the movie without knowing the plot and surprises, however there will be a movie review on all the Thomas movies that came from 2000 - 2011. I might as well meet up with a few YT friends during the premier of the movie in September, I'll be in London at the time then. 

Right now, I'll be on break before the Juniper Junction DVD arrives in the mail from Amazon. Thanks for reading! ;)

S15 Ep. 19: Tree Trouble

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

TREE TROUBLE
Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tiernan 
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
25/3/11

Plot:
The Diesel and Thomas compete to find the best Christmas tree for the Steamworks and Dieselworks.

PRO:
- Emily is not puffing steam from her safety valve
- Diesel has his season 2 horn again
- I like the little 'yeah' Diesel made.

CON:
- Why do we need an introduction of trees on Sodor?
- Why was Gordon taking the express to Misty Island?
- What was the point of Diesel reversing to his tree?

Well, this episode is my favourite as I do like the steam engine vs. diesel engine rivalry, but not with the 'Diesels can't be useful.' writing. But the things I don't like is the pointless introduction of the trees, why do we need an introduction of trees? Kids would know what a tree is already. During the episode, when the engines were taking the trees, Gordon was racing to Misty Island with express, why was he doing that? Is he taking some visitors there or is it there for decoration? And what was the point of Diesel reversing to his tree? You can see he already crushed his tree anyway. But I do like how Emily's safety valve was not puffing out steam like in other episodes during the CGI series and that Diesel has his second season horn sound instead of that American 'Bulldog Nose' diesel horn. For those people who aren't into railways, this is what the locomotive looks like:


And at the end, giving us the nice Christmas feeling towards the episode, I like the little 'yeah' that Diesel made, it sounds like he is agreeing with the narrator. This episode is OK and its a firm favourite of mine, despite the three strikes and rhyming. 

Rating: 3/5

S15 Ep. 18: Percy The Snowman

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

PERCY THE SNOWMAN
Written by Lizzie Ennever 
Directed by Greg Tiernan 
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
24/3/11

Plot:
Thomas promises to take a depressed Percy to pick up the Fat Controller. But whilst Thomas is finishing his jobs, he only succeeds in covering Percy in snow.

PRO:
- Henry hauling a long tanker train
- Percy's face popping out of the snow brought a bit of Season 5 nostalgia

CON:
- Instead of Thomas puffing away to finish his jobs, why can't he go and get help for Percy?
- How come Thomas shoved the same snow near Percy when their is no snow falling down?
- Thomas should obviously know where Percy was, he shoved snow on him throughout this episode.
- 'They have never seen a snow engine before', what about Oliver?
- How come the snow never melted off Thomas' boiler and smokebox and Percy's wheels as well? 

At first, I thought how the snow was shoved away by Thomas was unrealistic, but if you watch the British Transport Film (BTF) 'Snow', you can see one clip were a bit of snow flew up. But how the way it landed on Percy was just confusing, there was less snow that Thomas was shoving and yet the drift was as thick as the snow you can see in 'Thomas, Terence and The Snow'. This episode is an improvement to the other episode, but it is still bad. I thought, why would Thomas go off to do his other jobs instead of getting help for Percy. Percy would finish his jobs and help out with the special, I guess if that happens there will be no plot. I don't why their was the same snow from before but their is no snow falling? That is highly illogical. 

How stupid is Thomas when he was finding Percy that he can't see as their is a giant snow drift next to him at the same place were Percy was, before he was covered in snow and throughout this whole episode, the snow on Thomas and Percy didn't even melt. A steam locomotive's boiler produce the heat for the water to evaporate and the coal to burn to produce steam and with the heat inside the engine, it should make the snow melt. And the last bit was this, 'They never seen a snow engine before?' I know that the writers might never knew about the classical era, but even if they're writing about a snow engine, they should do their research, the last time that the children have seen a snow engine before was this episode in the seventh season:

Which also didn't melt with the Oliver's heat.

There are only two positives, one is Henry having a long train on tanker wagons and the other is that Percy's face popping out with the snow brought some Season 5 nostalgia on 'Snow'. I think many people found this out already, if not, in 'Muddy Matters' everyone said that Emily has three coaches, yet in this episode, Emily had four coaches. You just have to see it at the beginning of the episode when Henry was puffing with some tanker wagons up on the bridge. But this episode is bad, younger kids will like it, but it is filled with illogical and unrealistic moments that make this episode unmemorable.

Rating: 1/5

Sunday, 13 May 2012

S15 Ep. 17: Wonky Whistle

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

WONKY WHISTLE
Written by Neil Ben
Directed by Greg Tiernan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
23/3/11

Plot:
 Thomas rushes off before his whistle can be properly fixed and scares Farmer McColl's animals destined for the country fair.

PRO:
N/A

CON:
- Thomas puffing off with workmen on the top of boiler who can have serious injuries or worse!
- This episode goes to show how air headed this tank engine is, just puffing away with a vent van filled with animals that could easily get hurt with the door opened.
- What's the moral of this episode?

Why, why was this episode known to existence? Why did it get a DVD release on 'Up Up and Away'? Why on this earth did this get approved? Seriously what has this writer done to the great blue engine that we known and loved since the beginning as an air headed dimwit that children are to be looking up too? So many unanswered questions. There are so many flaws in this episode, why did Thomas just puff away with workmen on his boiler? They can seriously get hurt or worse! And puffing away with one vent with animals with the lock unlocked, the animals can get seriously hurt. If Thomas is to teach kids, then what is the moral of this episode? This episode could be more realistic, if its like 'Near Miss' from the 1991 annual, 'Old Iron' and 'The Runaway' put together and instead of a 'wonky' whistle, Thomas' whistle is not their and you have an episode called 'Whistling Runaways', which I wrote on my DA page late last year. All I know is that, this is a rarity for me as this episode is my most hated, I didn't even bother watching the episode. It should be deleted from the entire Thomas series and its history as this is the worst Thomas episode ever made. I honestly feel bad for Greg Tiernan for his wonderful animation being wasted away due to this episode's writing.

 Rating: 0/5

Saturday, 12 May 2012

S15 Ep. 16: Kevin The Steamie

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

KEVIN THE STEAMIE
Written by 
Laurie Israel & Rachel Ruderman 
Directed by Greg Tiernan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
22/3/11

Plot:
Kevin practices shunting so that he can take part in Thomas and Percy's game. 

PRO:
- I do like it how the camera tracks down with the oil drums.

CON:
- How can Victor collect a new boiler when he runs on Narrow Gauge track?
- Seeing Thomas and Percy shunting a flatbed filled with unstable oil drums can really injure a workmen.
- 'To feel badly', that, ever since 'Misty Island Rescue' is just poor grammar, instead of 'Badly', why not say 'To feel bad.' 
- Why would Kevin bash oil drums around the steamworks? In real life that could land on someone's head hard and cause them a concussion or worse!
- 'Gloopy goo', its been called an oil drum throughout the episode. If its called that it has to be with oil.

Another episode with a poor teaching moral and bad writing from not one but two writers. This episode is bad for kids, why would Kevin think playing around the Steamworks will be fun for bashing the oil drums? What could happen if an oil drum landed on someone's head? And goes as well with the stupid shunting game by Thomas and Percy. The grammar in this episode is horrible, 'To feel badly', just get rid of the 'ly' and it will make sense. Since now we saw the 'Narrow Gauge and Standard Gauge' video now from the 'Blue Mountain Mystery' website and the S16 episode 'Don't Bother Victor', why would Victor leave the steamworks since he is narrow gauge, unless their is a boiler factory on the 'Skarloey Railway'. And I hate it how they called the oil, 'gloopy goo', it has been called an oil drum throughout the whole episode, so why can't it be oil? 

But there is one pro and that is the camera tracking down the oil drum. But this episode is a horrible one, their is bad teaching moral here for children about the steamworks, maybe their should be an episode were Kevin is playing about the Steamworks and damaged all the equipment and nearly hurting all the workmen which will make the Fat Controller cross and telling him that playing about in factory or workshop is bad since it can cause injuries. If Andrew Brenner is reading this, I hope he writes an episode like that with Kevin remembering his lesson. 

This episode is bad and I have no idea why it would be released on 'Up, Up and Away!' and that will go to tomorrow's episode which is dubbed by many fans as, 'The worst Thomas episode in history'.

Rating: 1/5

S15 Ep. 15: Big Belle

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

BIG BELLE
Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tiernan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
21/3/11

Plot:
Belle's attempts to befriend Toby only frighten the steam tram away.

PRO:
- I do like the design of 4MT basis that they gave to Belle, despite the water cannons.

CON:
- If Thomas was piloting Percy's mail train, if not, its dangerous for them to be on the same line.
- I don't see why Toby just left Henrietta at Knapford, Toby could just take it to the carriage sheds, that's if they have one.
- 'Toby is wise and wonderful' and in this episode, Toby is a wimp, like always.
- Belle is really obsessed with Toby wanting to be her friend.
- How tall was Gordon's Hill? 
- There were three rails at first, but over the other side there were two tracks.
- In 'Day of The Diesels' they showed Belle actually running out of water, here in this episode, she used up so much water she could've run out of it. 
- Belle should've backed up towards the trucks at Framer Trotter's farm, not puffing around the whole island.

This episode received a lot of cons by me, but I won't explain all of it. First off, I do like Belle, she's a good character that I think the female audience from the target range should look up too, in 'Day of The Diesels', here, no. What is the moral of this episode for kids? 'If you want to be friends just run around places for no reason and they hide and you feel bad and they're your friends for good?' Belle is just being obsessed for being friends with Toby just because they have bells and Toby is being the usual wimp. But the design of the 4MT basis was spot on by Nitrogen Studios, despite the water cannons. But well done to Nitrogen Studios for making it great. However, this episode has no great moral and is not perfect. 

Rating: 1/5


Friday, 11 May 2012

S15 Ep.14: Stuck on You

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

STUCK ON YOU
Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tiernan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
18/3/11

Plot:
Thomas and Butch don't listen to Victor's instructions, so they don't know how to work Butch's new magnet.

PRO:
- Butch making a comeback since he had been a cameo since Series 5.
- James and Gordon hauling more rolling stock. 
- This is the first time that we see a 'two strikes you're out' formula.

CON:
- I hate Thomas saying 'I know all about X' 
- Wouldn't Butch, his driver (if he has one) and even Thomas know how a magnet work? 
- How does Rocky knew all of the emergencies? 
- Wouldn't there be more important emergencies? Like a ship is sinking or an engine is hanging dangerously over a cliff? 
- If Rosie wants a new wheel, can't she go to the 'Steamworks' and get one?
- Wouldn't Thomas be able to take the pipes to Farmer McColl himself?
- How did Thomas and Butch get through the transfer table at the Steamworks.

Alongside with the return of Stanley, Trevor and Bertie, this is another season highlight. For the first time ever in Thomas history, Butch has his first speaking role. For many years since his debut in 'Cranky Bugs', he was nothing more then a cameo. Here is Butch during his appearance and one second of fame in 'Horrid Lorry', without a face:


After that, he has been shelved as a cameo appearance in many episodes from S5 - S11 and in 'Thomas and The Magic Railroad' and a few DVD specials. James and Gordon hauling more rolling stock such as coaches and trucks in this episode was great to see, though Gordon had three express coaches in one part of the episode and the best thing, this was a 'two strikes' formula instead of the usual three, this will be carried out in some S16 episodes. However, like other S15 episodes, there are the usual flaws, one of the things I hate about this episode is Thomas saying 'Don't worry Victor I know all about ____' and we all know what will happen then. Thomas should realise that he may not know everything in future episodes, instead of shoving his stupidity down our throats. But even though I hate this 'I know everything' tripe, wouldn't he, Butch and his (Butch's) driver know how a magnet works? And how does Rocky know the emergencies, is he physic? But even though Rosie needs a new wheel, she could just go to the steamworks and get fixed and Thomas should deliver the pipes himself to Farmer McColl. 

Plus why are they emergencies? Wouldn't there be more important ones like a ship is sinking and people are in need of help, or a hiker being injured, which would be good with this story, after all Harold hasn't been used much at the Search and Rescue centre and even an engine hanging dangerously off a cliff. And finally, how on earth did Thomas and Butch get across the transfer table when they were stuck together? 

Anyway, despite the flaws, this episode is OK, if you like or don't like this episode, and that goes to the other episodes I've reviewed, then that's fine by me. I think, in my views, it's one of the seasons best, but it would not surpass the great classics like 'Escape', 'Thomas and Bertie' or heck even 'Edward's Exploits'. But, again, if you like or don't like this episode, its fine by me everyone has a different taste in something. 

Rating: 3/5

S15 Ep.13: Stop That Bus!

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

STOP THAT BUS!
Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tiernan 
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
17/3/11

Plot:
Thomas takes Bertie on a tour, but Bertie has to pick up Dowager Hatt and her friends.

PRO:
- Bertie has a speaking role at last in a CGI episode
- Dowager Hatt is hilarious once again
- Victor's whistle
- The view from the top of Gordon's Hill
'My mother doesn't like to wait.' how the way the Fat Controller was reacting was funny too.
- How Dowager Hatt and his friends were getting into Thomas' cab was hilarious 

CON:
- How the way Bertie was on the flatbed was unsafe.
- Is Thomas deaf or something? He should've let Bertie or Dowager say something.
- There are other places aside from the Logging Station on Misty Island, not the two unstable crazy cranes.
- Bertie could've fall off whether he's not on the flatbed or not on the 'Shake-Shake Bridge'.
- Where did the Fat Controller come from on the pump car?
-  The only way to Misty Island is the tunnel, not on the mainline. 
- Wouldn't the Fat Controller or Dowager Hatt know it would be dangerous to ride on Bertie, unstable on a flatbed?
- How did Bertie get off the flatbed at the level crossing, nobody knows.

Well, here is another series highlight, Bertie has his own voice for the first time since 'Thomas and The Magic Railroad' I have to say they do give him a nice accent. Dowager Hatt is funny once again and I have to say, I like how the Fat Controller was reacting how he doesn't like his mother not waiting and how the way she was getting in the cab was funny too. Plus the view from Gordon's Hill was really nice too and I'm glad they gave Victor his whistle. But I don't like how the way Bertie was on the flatbed, how the way he wobbles along the line and the awful 'shake - shake bridge' with Thomas you bound to know that in real life he would fall off and break himself. 

How the way the Fat Controller came out of nowhere on a pump car and Thomas was on his way to the island, are their other ways to Misty Island? Because, how come they say that the only way is the tunnel were Bertie is blocking the only way to the tunnel? 

This episode is not a big favourite of mine, I know a few people who liked it and that is fine by me. It's only good feature was Bertie, but due to the unsafe features in this episode (the flatbed and how the way the Fat Controller, his mum and her friends were riding on Bertie.) this episode is not that good.

Rating: 2/5

Thursday, 10 May 2012

S15 Ep.12 Spencer The Grand

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

SPENCER THE GRAND
Written by Jessica Sandys Clarke 
Directed by Greg Tiernan 
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
16/3/11

Plot:
Spencer disobeys orders and tries to puff to the Duke and Duchess of Boxford's Summer House in the fog.

PRO:
- This episode was not written by Sharon Miller
- The Fishing Village and Castle Loch makes their return in full CGI
- Spencer having a centric episode.

CON:
- How much fog is there on the island? 
- Railways can't close due to the foggy weather
- Why would Percy get lost in the fog on his way back to Tidmouth?
- How Spencer know what the summer house looks like in the fog?

Well there are only three positives to this episode that did not save this episode from being unrealistically bland. First, I'm glad that this episode is not by Sharon Miller, but still, it didn't save the episode being bad. But I do like it how Spencer has a centric episode instead of being it with another engine like Gordon, Edward or Thomas. 

But there are the downsides to this episodes that I didn't even bother watching. First, why would the railway be closed when its full of fog? Over the years many kinds of engines travel in fog whether its thin or thick as the signalman guides them with points and signals, heck it happened in the Railway Series, 'James and The Diesel Engine' in the story, 'Crossed Lines' despite an accident at the end. Which would make for a better episode. There can be some accidents to the engines in fog, like the Harrow and Wealdstone crash in 1952. As I said earlier, the signalman guides engines with points and signals even during the foggy weather, so why is Percy saying that he is lost, were the signalman on holiday? 

Look at Misty Island, its filled with fog and the logging locos still get to work, so why can't the Sodor engines? 

Rating: 1/5

S15 Ep. 11: Surprise, Surprise

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

SURPRISE, SURPRISE 
Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tiernan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
15/3/11

Plot:
Thomas tries to hold a Christmas party at the Sodor Steamworks for his friends, but does not tell Victor.

PRO:
- Diesel doing some shunting at the beginning, as what an 08 class shunter do in real life.
- I like how the camera is panning the engines movement at the beginning, instead of the camera staying still like in other episodes.
- Stanley making his comeback in full CGI and with a new voice actor.
- At least their is the mention of 'Christmas Trees' even though this episode is full of the 'Winter Holiday' rubbish.

CON:
- Even if Percy's traction rods have been broken, wouldn't he need a flatbed to be transported?
- Even if Thomas wants a party at the Steamworks, why can't he tell the Fat Controller?
- The three strikes has been used twice in this episode. The engines broken down and the things to be collected for the party.
- Again Charlie's jokes are stupid and annoying his 'Jelly-copter' proves it.
- How the way Charlie fell off the line was unrealistic, one bump and off he goes.

Despite we see our first surprise for the series, Stanley, this episode is bad. Thomas shouldn't worry about bothering Victor, he should ask the Fat Controller if its OK to hold a party at the steamworks. And even if Percy's traction rods are broken, a flatbed should be in order to take him to the works so he won't have any more damages on the way. Charlie's 'jellycopter' is just stupid and unfunny and how the way he fell off the tracks was unrealistic and also the same three strikes formula has been used twice. 

But I have to say, despite the episode being bad, their were other bits that I enjoyed. With Stanley, its great seeing him back. I remember hearing people on YouTube saying that his UK voice sounds like Pierce Brosnan's from 'The Great Discovery'. When clearly their is a major difference. I do like how the camera was panning the engines movement at the beginning with Henry and James passing Thomas and at least their was the mention of 'Christmas', but only for the trees. I said this before, if over-protective parents who think saying 'Christmas' in a kids show is bad, then why throughout the whole episode their are Christmas decorations, trees, lights, presents and everything else? even if it mentioned 'Winter Holidays', it is still Christmas. 

Rating: 1/5

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

S15 Ep.10: Let It Snow

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

LET IT SNOW
Written by (not surprised) Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tiernan
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
14/3/11

Plot:
While collecting logs for an animal shelter, Thomas sings the Misty Island Snow Song in hopes of making it snow.

PRO:
- The lights at the beginning brings a Christmas feeling, despite the words 'Winter Holidays' being everywhere.
- I do like episodes that are focused on Thomas and Gordon, hence why I chose the above picture.

CON:
- This episode says that Thomas and Gordon were singing the 'Misty Island Snow Song' when really its just a pointless rhyme. 
- What are Hill and Sea logs? they're still 'Jobi' logs.
- Why would Gordon park himself near the tunnel? Can't he stay at the Logging Station?
- Singing a 'song' or being really useful cannot make it snow.

I didn't even bother to watch this episode at all as it is filled with pointless rhyming, which is suppose to be a song, pointless three-strikes formula. At first when I read the plot, I thought Gordon and Thomas were actually going to sing the 1940's song 'Let It Snow' by Frank Sinatra, hence the title of the episode. This is an old issue now, but, why put the words 'Winter Holidays' in an episode where all around the stations and places we see lights, Christmas trees and people holding presents and is covered in snow, just keep the word Christmas in. 

How can it snow, depends on the cold climate, not being useful or saying a rhyme. Plus, I hate how they shove words down our throats like 'Really Useful', sure it has been used in the classic series, but its everywhere now in toys, books, DVDs etc. but the word is really getting overused now. But on a side note, I do like how the animators made the lights around the station at night bringing a Christmas feeling towards the episode, a little bit and I do like episodes that are focused on Thomas and Gordon, despite the bad writing, it really made me think of the older Thomas episodes like 'Thomas and Gordon' seeing the character standing side-by-side. 

But this episode is stale and bland and is certainly not my favourite, but younger kids would like it.

Rating: 2.5/5

S15 Ep.9: Henry's Happy Coal

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

HENRY'S HAPPY COAL
Written by Sharon Miller
Directed by Greg Tiernan 
Produced by Nicole Stinn

Air Date:
11/3/11

Plot:
'Arry and Bert tease Henry about using special coal.

PRO:
- Despite the error of Henry having his welsh coal, at least kids are learning something that the Railway Series had before.

- This episode also reminds me of the Railway Series story 'Out of Puff' from 'Henry and The Express' by Christopher Awdry, one of my favourite books. 

- Gordon hauling five coaches?! Not three?, not two? not one? Thank you Nitrogen.

- I love the interior of Henry's cab.

CON:
- Many people have pointed this out since 'It's Good To Be Gordon' in Season 10, Henry doesn't need his special welsh coal. That's another problem, they just call his welsh coal 'special'. What's wrong with calling it Welsh?

- Thomas' appearance is really not needed.

- If the inspector is to inspect coal, why does he need to check on the 'Sodor Search and Rescue Centre'? Sure Belle was to be introduce in this series after 'Day of The Diesels' but since that she won't be appearing in a while, the visit was just pointless.

- 'Arry and Bert following around Henry.

- Where was Henry's fireman?

- When Henry splutters, he sound almost like a car.

I never like the idea of Henry having his special coal back when clearly since the first series, the Fat Controller says this to Henry in 'The Flying Kipper', 'I'm sending you to Crewe a fine place for sick engines, they'll give you a new shape and a larger firebox. You'll feel a different engine and won't need special coal anymore, won't that be nice?' So yes, Henry doesn't need his special coal anymore thanks to his new shape, period. But I do have to admit I like the RWS reference of his special coal, but why call it special when its called 'Welsh coal' in the show's earlier years and in the books. 

Speaking of the Railway Series, when I first saw this, it really reminded me of 'Out of Puff'. It'll be more better if the episode was called, 'The Wrong Sort of Coal!' as there are many type of coal around the world that could possibly damage an engine's firebox, like in the story. I'm glad that Nitrogen Studios gave Gordon five coaches, something that fans wanted since the beginning of the CGI series and I love the interior of Henry's cab with all the controls that you can find in a steam locomotive.

But still, the flaws, why is Thomas everywhere in this episode, first he was at the fields, then Knapford and then at the search and rescue centre. Why can't there be a different engine from the Steam Team or any character outside of the pack. Sure we know Belle was to be introduced in this season, but that's a few episodes away, but since the inspector is on the island to inspect coal, why does he need to go to the Search and Rescue centre? It's pointless, there are no steam engine's working there. And another thing, why were 'Arry and Bert following Henry around for the teasing? Shouldn't they be at work at the smelters yards? And where was Henry's fireman? We have his driver, but what about the fireman? As Henry was spluttering on his way to Boxford station, the summer house, Henry sounds like a car. When an engine is having steaming trouble, it needs to be checked. 

The episode has its flaws and its ok-good moments, but what's on my pro's list, the episode is far from being saved. It would make a lot of sense if its about Henry having the wrong sort of coal and not that normal coal is bad for his larger firebox.

Rating: 2/5