Emily's New Coaches (Thomas & Friends)
"Emily's New Coaches" is the first episode of the seventh season. It was released on DVD and broadcast in the UK on ITV1 on October 6th, 2003, and aired a year later in North America in 2004 airing in Canada on February 9th, 2004, aired in Japan on March 20th, 2004, the United States with Michael Brandon's narration on September 18th, 2004, the same day as when "Thomas to the Rescue" and "Henry and the Wishing Tree" aired on PBS, and in Australia on October 12th, 2004. It re-aired with music from Robert Hartshorne and Ed Welch whilst keeping Michael Angelis' original UK narration when Season 8 premiered with it on Nick. Jr. in the UK on the same day, August 8th, 2004.
Why It Rocks
- This episode made history to the Classic era by introducing Emily has the first female tender engine in the TV series.
- Emily's basis really stays true to her original class as she was based on the GNR Stirling 4-2-2 engine that is seen on the Great Northern Railway in real life.
- Emily's personality and character development really bring the episode onto good track.
- The near collision was filmed perfectly.
- Oliver finally speaks in this season after a season of being given non-speaking cameos (Season 6).
- Thomas' care for Annie and Clarabel.
- Emily's theme is the best music track for Season 7.
- Michael Angelis' narration for the US and the UK are both very good.
- The brief inside Season 1 stock footage from "Thomas Breaks the Rules".
- Why would Edward and Percy mind much about Emily taking Annie and Clarabel?
- Error in the beginning of the episode when the narrator says "Thomas was taking Annie and Clarabel back to the yards", he is actually taking some red coaches instead of Annie and Clarabel.
- Sadly, after this episode. The way Thomas' care for Annie and Clarabel now comes off as poorly executed and rather mean spirited as shown in Season 9's infamous "Thomas and the New Engine" and in "The Great Race", getting the audience a bad impression to the point that Thomas is acting like a complete jerk who gets really angry over the newcomers to Sodor taking Annie and Clarabel without any reason whatsoever. At least that wasn't even seen or ever heard from again ever since "Counting on Nia" from Season 22, as in that episode, Thomas is okay with Nia taking Annie and Clarabel.
- This episode marked the first of several things:
- Jocelyn Stevenson's first episode as executive producer.
- The first episode where Michael Brandon is the primary US narrator.
- The first episode in the UK to use the original opening credits since the fifth season episode, "Snow".
- The first time a female steam engine is a main character and has appeared in an episode.
- Britt Allcroft's first episode as script consultant.
- The first production to feature Thomas' new wincing face mask since the original one made its last appearance in Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
- This episode, "Percy Gets it Right" and "Best Dressed Engine" are the only episodes (especially in this season) to use stock footage from a music video.
- Stock footage from "Really Useful Engine" is used, as is mirrored stock footage from "Thomas in Trouble"/"Thomas Breaks the Rules", which was also stock footage from "Thomas' Train".
- According to a SiF interview with Robert Gauld-Galliers, Oliver's role in this episode was originally meant for Toby or Percy. A piece of concept art shows Toby in Oliver's role, and the caption beneath it says "Percy & Emily's Line," with "Toby" written above Percy much more faded. This suggests that more than two different characters were considered for the role.
- At Maithwaite, a London, Midland and Scottish Railway poster is seen.
- In Michael Brandon's narration, Oliver says "Thanks!" and Emily pants "I did it!" after they nearly miss Thomas.
- This episode marks Annie and Clarabel's only speaking roles in the seventh series.
- This episode marked the last of several things:
- The last time to introduce a new future Steam Team member until "Big World! Big Adventures!" with Nia and the twenty-second season episode, "Confusion Without Delay", with Rebecca joining the main cast.
- This episode was released on the Happy Little Helpers VHS/DVD the same day it aired on UK TV.
- This is the only episode to date (excluding Pierce Brosnan's original cut of the twelfth season) and the only production until "The Great Discovery" that Emily speaks in a Scottish accent in the US dub (Michael Angelis' US narration only).
- In the American version (both this episode and the TV series in general), Emily has an American accent.
- In a rare picture, Oliver and Emily have switched tracks at Wellsworth.