Wednesday, 7 December 2016

S20 Ep.8: Pouty James


Written by
Andrew Brenner

Directed by
Dianna Basso

Produced by
Ian McCue

Air Date

James likes to show off and be the centre of attention, but when he doesn't get his own way, he sulks and pouts. One day James is showing off so much that the passengers start complaining so the Fat Controller takes his coaches away!

- This episode feels very early classic series and early Railway series
- Chris Renshaw's theme for James is amazing
- Could this be James' developing moment here?
- The funny faces

- I think James could've learned the moral a bit differently
- James felt flanderised here
- Edward could've helped James overcoming his attitude problem

To me when I first saw this episode back in November, I thought this was one of the best episodes of James we had for a long time and probably one of the best we had this season. His original character is there, vain and arrogant and it feels very much like it came from S1 or his book 'James the Red Engine', it really brought the nostalgia bug inside of me when I was watching it. However as I gave it a second viewing I can see that there are some problems with James himself. We've seen this character development before.

He felt flanderised here as the vanity and arrogance was very much the main focus of the episode whereas he already learned all that during his first book. The term flanderisation or flanderization if you live in America, is defined as taking a single often minor trait of character and exaggerate it more and more. A bit like Ned Flanders from The Simpsons, which is of course where the terminology comes from, more info is here. James' trait is often his vanity and his love of pulling coaches and it shows as the sole focus in this episode whereas in the Railway Series he already learned all that and his character had been shifted to him being arrogant with Gordon and Henry, then prejudice towards diesels until he turned into a grump but does the job of being a mixed traffic engine. I can see that at the end it looks like James had learned to change is attitude but the line 'not for long' can be rather mixed among fans. It would feel as though the moral and the development would go rinse and repeat. 

However I hope that at the end of the episode we do see more development coming from James as it shows with Henry and Percy in the past. However also I think James could've learned the moral about changing is attitude could've been done better if it were Edward telling him about the importance of both goods and passengers. The face pulling by the other engines was rather funny and is there to entertain the younger audience but it would be good to let kids see the wise and knowledgable Edward, it might remind kids of there grandparents helping them out through life. 

One of the best things about this episode too is Renshaw's composition of James' theme. I have a feeling he had heard some of Mike and Junior's themes and wants to make his own version of it. It was great, catchy and has a good beat. The episode is a bit mixed but I don't really hate it. Although James can be considered as flanderised here and I do hope we see some development of him in the future.

Episode Ratings:
Sidney Sings - 8/10

Overall Rating: