As a child Thomas and his friends on Sodor took up probably the vast majority of my time. To this day I’m willing to bet I’ve spend more of my life watching Thomas than any other show. The “Complete Collection” is probably my most checked out book at the library as well (and I’m sure the only reason I didn’t own it was we could never find it and shopping online wasn’t really a thing), I owned tons of the Wooden Railway toys and a lot of other miscellaneous merchandise. Thomas and the Magic Railroad was probably the first movie I saw opening week as well. What I’m trying to get at is Thomas means a lot to me so I decided I’d go through the entire show right up to newest completed season (I know that’s not a retrospective but I needed to call this something) and talk about my thoughts of this show as a 21 year old. I’m not sure exactly when I stopped watching (I know it was before the switch to CG) so maybe you can try and see where nostalgia is no longer taking over.
A couple more notes before we start: I won’t cover any of the specials except Thomas and the Magic Railroad (which will go at the end instead of chronologically). This is mostly because from what I can tell aside from the former they are essentially just longer episodes which might end up boring me. Also don’t count these as reviews. I might sound like I’m writing a review at points but I won’t give recommendations and will mostly be talking about my experiences rewatching.
The first thing I was surprised about was the short episodes. I knew they weren’t 24 minutes but was expecting 12 but instead I got 5 (4 minutes once you take out the opening and ending) which for the most part works quite well. We get some fun little stories which vary from introducing characters (the main 7 engines as well as Bertie the Bus and Terrance the Tractor were introduced this season) to trying to teach basic life lessons which is pretty standard for kids shows although I did notice consequences were quite minimal. For example, in “Thomas’ Train” Thomas is super excited about pulling the passenger train for Henry due to his illness but because of his hyperness the coaches weren’t attached to him and he raced off without the passengers before a guard noticed and told him and he went back. The passengers were all angry and complaining until they saw how sad Thomas was and couldn’t be angry anymore.
I also noticed a large amount of episodes with the trains falling off the tracks or getting stuck in something which felt weird. I didn’t remember that being such a common thing and I’ve only watched the first 26 episodes so far and there’s a couple other instances I can remember that happened later.
I also found the first 16 episodes a little hard to get through with only 5 characters (there were some others like Bertie, Terrance and Thomas’ coaches Annie and Claribel but they weren’t that major) which lead to some inconsistent characterizations such as James being fine shunting until the arc (yes it was 3 episodes long so I’ll call it an arc) where Gorden, Henry, and James go on strike because they don’t like shunting trucks and getting their own coaches now that Thomas has a branch line to run. Once Percy and Toby come into the picture my enjoyment rose again so I don’t expect this issue to continue in future seasons.
Overall I enjoyed my time a lot more than I though I would. From being able to essentially talk along with Ringo Starr in “Thomas and Gordon” to humming along to most of the background tracks. I’m really looking forward to future seasons as I’ve been thinking “I can’t wait for Skarloey and his friends to be introduced” or “I’m really hyped Cranky the Crane”