Thomas & Friends (Seasons 1-8, 11, 17-21)

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Thomas & Friends (Seasons 1-8,11, 17-21)

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"Thomas is a tank engine who lives at a big station on the Island of Sodor! He's a cheeky little engine with six small wheels, a short stumpy funnel, a short stumpy boiler and a short stumpy dome!" - Ringo Starr, "Thomas and Gordon"
Genre: Live-action (seasons 1-12)
CGI (Seasons 12-24)
Running Time: 4 minutes and 30 seconds (seasons 1-7)
10 minutes (seasons 8-12 and 22-24)
11 minutes (seasons 13-24)
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: October 9th, 1984 – January 20th, 2021
Network(s): ITV/ITV1 (seasons 1-3 and 6-9)
Direct-to-Video and Cartoon Network (seasons 4-5)
Nick Jr. (seasons 6-11)
Channel 5 (Season 9-24)
Created by: Britt Allcroft
Distributed by: Various distributors
Starring: Ringo Starr (UK/US; seasons 1-2)
Michael Angelis (UK; seasons 3-16/US; New Friends for Thomas and Other Adventures)
George Carlin (US/NZ; seasons 1-4)
Alec Baldwin (US; seasons 5-6/UK; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
Michael Brandon (US; seasons 6-16)
Mark Moraghan (UK/US; seasons 17-21)
John Hasler (UK; seasons 22-24)
Joseph May (US; seasons 22-24)
Pierce Brosnan (The Great Discovery)
Seasons: 24
Episodes: 584 + 14 films and 6 double-length specials


Thomas & Friends (also known as Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends and Thomas the Tank Engine) is a British children's television series. It is based on The Railway Series of books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son, Christopher Awdry. It had its first broadcast on the ITV network in 1984, and started airing in the United States through Shining Time Station on January 1989 until September 1st, 2020, when all of Season 24's regular length episodes were released in the US on Netflix. The series finished airing in airing order in the UK on January 20th, 2021. The last episode of the 1984-2020 series produced overall is "Thomas and the Royal Engine", despite being released on May 1st, 2020 alongside the "Marvelous Machinery" two-part arc on Netflix in the US, and on May 2nd, 2020 a day later in the UK.

Plot

The series follows the adventures of Thomas, an anthropomorphised tank engine, on the fictional Island of Sodor with fellow engines Edward, Gordon, Henry, James, Percy and Toby, along with many other anthropomorphised engines and vehicles. Thomas usually gets into trouble by doing jobs best left to bigger and more sensible engines, but never gives up on being a "Really Useful Engine". Many of the stories from the first four seasons are based on real-life events from Wilbert Awdry's personal experiences.

Why These Seasons Rock

  1. The earlier episodes are very faithful to the original Railway Series books and are also fun to watch (e.g., "Thomas and Bertie", "Whistles and Sneezes", "A Close Shave" and "Edward's Exploit").
  2. The idea of talking railway engines is a really cool idea, and feels realistic (as you can tell by The Railway Series).
  3. A large variety of engines, such as:
    • Thomas (of course)
    • Edward the Blue Engine
    • Gordon the Big Engine
    • Henry the Green Engine
    • James the Red Engine
    • Percy the Small Engine
    • Toby the Tram Engine
    • Duck the Great Western Engine
    • Diesel the Devious Engine
    • Donald and Douglas, the Twin Scottish Engines
    • Daisy the Diesel Railcar
    • BoCo the Diesel Engine
    • Oliver the Western Engine
    • Emily the Stirling Engine
    • Rosie the American Engine
    • Spencer the Silver Engine
  4. The model work in the live-action model series is very well-done, with lots of attention to detail. The same can be said with the CGI models of the humans, vehicles, rolling stock and even the engines.
  5. The Really Useful Around the World videos are pretty interesting and fun to watch.
  6. Well-done narration, especially from Ringo Starr and George Carlin.
    • Ringo Starr (yes, that Ringo Starr) did a superb job of narrating the first two seasons for both the UK and US.
    • George Carlin is often ranked alongside Ringo as the best narrator of the Classic Era. His voices for Bill, Ben, Gordon, James, Sir Topham Hatt, Donald, Douglas, Trevor, Duncan, Toad, Tom Tipper, Daisy and Harold really show how talented and enthusiastic he is.
    • Michael Angelis is also a legend of his name as he has a ton of great voices such as Thomas, Percy, Edward, Henry, Gordon, James, Donald, Douglas, Diesel, Duck, Duncan and many others show how enthusiastic he is.
  7. Likable and relatable title character protagonist (except in Seasons 12-16).
  8. Great voice acting from Season 13 onwards in both the UK and US dubs.
  9. All of the theme songs are catchy.
  10. Speaking of Shining Time Station, the US dub is actually pretty good (except in season six with Alec Baldwin's awful narration in that season).
  11. The Japanese dub is just as great as the UK and US dubs. In fact, it was the first Thomas dub to individually voice the characters, predating Thomas and the Magic Railroad by 10 years.
  12. The show massively redeemed itself during the Andrew Brenner Era of seasons 17-21 after its seasonal rot during the Sharon Miller Era of seasons 12-16.
  13. Great CGI animation for S17-21. Though the CGI for S13-16 looks decent, S17-21 has some of the best animation imaginable thanks to Arc Productions (and Jam Filled Entertainment in the episodes they animated in Season 21).
  14. The engines, rolling stock and road vehicles are based off of actual British railway engines, rolling stock and vehicles, and most of the episodes were based on real-life events.
    • "The Sad Story of Henry" (while bad) was inspired by an incident in America where a steam engine couldn't get out of a tunnel.
    • "The Flying Kipper" was based off an accident at Abbots Ripton in Huntingdonshire in 1876
    • Donald's accident in "Break Van" is based off an accident where a railway engine crashed tender-first into a signal box.
    • "A Better View for Gordon" is based off the famous 1895 Gare Montparnasse train crash in Paris.
    • "Busy Going Backwards" is based off on a couple of "hair-raising" runaway trains in the Tondu Valleys that occurred during David Maidment's time as Area Manager in South Wales.
    • "Percy's Promise" is based off an event where an engine went through a flooded branch line with its passenger train.
  15. There are so many great episodes, such as:
    • "Thomas and Gordon" ("Thomas Gets Tricked" in the US")
    • "Thomas' Train" ("A Big Day for Thomas" in the US)
    • "Percy's Promise"
    • "Duck and the Slip Coaches"
    • "Henry in the Dark"
    • "The Flying Kipper"
    • "Thomas and the Storyteller"
    • "Thomas Comes to Breakfast"
    • "Jack Jumps In"
    • "Percy's Chocolate Crunch"
    • "Thomas' New Trucks"
    • "Henry's Forest" (though sadly, it wasn't well received by the Reverend W. Awdry)
    • "James the Second Best"
    • "Rusty to the Rescue"
    • "Coal" ("Henry's Special Coal" in the US)
    • "Wayward Winston"
    • "Useful Railway"
    • "Edward and Gordon" ("Edward Helps Out" in the US)
    • "Saved from Scrap"
    • "Thomas, Terrance and the Snow" ("Terrance the Tractor" in the US)
    • "Sidney Sings"
    • "Love Me Tender"
    • "Down the Mine"
    • "Thomas and the Special Letter"
    • "Edward's Exploit"
    • "Haunted Henry"
    • "Emily's New Coaches"
    • "Rusty and the Boulder"
    • "You Can Do It, Toby!"
    • "Hector the Horrid!"
    • "Make Someone Happy"
    • "Duncan Gets Spooked"
    • "James Gets a New Coat"
    • "Three Cheers for Thomas" ("Hooray for Thomas" in the US)
    • "Gordon Takes a Tumble"
    • "Old Iron"
    • "Cranky at the End of the Line"
    • "Mucking About"
    • "Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger"
    • "Gordon Runs Dry"
    • "Emily's Rubbish" ("Emily and the Garbage" in the US)
    • "Duncan and the Old Mine"
    • "Gordon Takes Charge"
    • "Springtime for Diesel"
    • "Pouty James"
    • "Thomas the Jet Engine" ("Thomas and the Jet Engine" in the US)
    • "Special Funnel"
    • "Twin Trouble"
    • "Buzz, Buzz" ("James Goes Buzz, Buzz" in the US)
    • "Ghost Train" ("Percy's Ghostly Trick" in the US)
    • "Old Reliable Edward"
    • "Reds vs. Blues"
    • "The Fastest Red Engine on Sodor"
    • "Kevin’s Cranky Friend"
    • "Dream On"
    • "Thomas and Trevor" ("A New Friend for Thomas" in the US)
    • "Off the Rails" ("Gordon Takes a Dip" in the US)
    • "Thomas and Bertie" ("Thomas and Bertie's Great Race" in the US)
    • "Terrance Breaks the Ice"
  16. The music and songs are well-done, such as:
    • "Thomas, You're the Leader!"
    • "James the Really Splendid Engine"
    • "Rules and Regulations"
    • "Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining"
    • "Percy's Seaside Trip"
    • "Come For the Ride"
    • "The Island Song"
    • "Night Train"
    • "Accidents Will Happen"
    • "The Snow Song"
    • "Winter Wonderland"
    • "Down by the Docks"
    • "The Red Balloon"
    • "Hear the Engines Coming"
    • "Monsters Everywhere"
    • "The Engine Roll Call"
    • "We Make a Team Together"
    • "That's What Friends Are For"
    • "Will You, Won't You?"
    • "Set Friendship in Motion"
    • "Streamlining"
    • "You Can Only Be You"
    • "The Hottest Place in Town"
    • "Our Tale of the Brave"
    • "Never Overlook a Little Engine"
    • "Let's Be Brave"
    • "Somebody Has to Be the Favorite"
    • "He's a Really Useful Engine"
    • "All The Girls Around the World"
    • "Thomas's Anthem"
    • "Free and Easy"
    • "We're Friends"
    • "The Most Important Thing Is Being Friends"
    • "I Want to Go Home"
    • "On a Journey Today"
    • "Roll Along"
    • "Go, Go, Thomas!"
    • "Determination"
      • In fact, the Japanese dub even had its own exclusive song, "I'm Thomas the Tank Engine!".
  17. The Thomas Creator Collective was pretty good.
  18. The crashes are absolutely epic and fun to watch.
  19. Jam Filled Entertainment did a good job when season 21 first popped up, despite Arc animating eight episodes for said season until their bankruptcy in 2016.
  20. It's not afraid to be mature and have dark themes.
    • One example of a dark episode is "Granpuff", where Duke tells the story of an engine named Smudger who misbehaved and often rolled off the rails before he got turned into a stationary generator because the manager wanted to make him "useful at last". If that's not bad enough, Duke then gets abandoned and buried alive in his shed by a landslide.
    • "Haunted Henry" was also a dark episode of the show because of the spooky atmosphere.
    • "Stepney Gets Lost" sees Stepney nearly get melted down until the Fat Controller saves him just in time.
  21. Many good morals that kids can learn, such as:
    • "Be patient" ("Thomas' Train")
    • "Never trust toxic people" ("Day of the Diesels" and "Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure")
    • "Don't judge others from their looks/appearances" ("Heart of Gold")
    • "Don't spread lies about other people" ("Dirty Work")
    • "Be careful what you wish for" ("Toad's Adventure")
    • "Work together" (various episodes)
    • "Trust others" ("Tale of the Brave")
    • "Be honest" ("Who's Geoffrey?")
    • "Be who you are" ("Dream On", "Being Percy", "Whiff's Wish" and "The Great Race")
    • "Don't refuse to take help from others" ("Heave-Ho, Thomas!")
    • "Old friends are still your friends" ("Forever and Ever")
    • "Everyone makes mistakes" ("Confusion Without Delay")
    • "Always obey orders" ("Down the Mine" and "Percy Takes the Plunge")
    • "You can't always get what you want" ("Pouty James" and "Buffer Bother")

Bad Qualities

  1. Because Thomas is the titular character, he often takes up too much screen-time (most notably during seasons 13-16, and season 12 to some extent). Fans either blame him, the writers or even both of them for this. Here's a video that pointed this out. Thankfully, this was toned down in later seasons and has been less of an issue. However, it started up again in seasons 22-24, but at least he had some cameos or was just the narrator instead of appearing in the physical episode. It got even worse when the All Engines Go! reboot was announced, which will be a total continuity reboot due to Mattel and Nelvana taking away so much story potential away for 2021.
  2. The series' quality has pretty fluctuant in more recent years, starting around 2004.
    • Season 8 is considered good by a lot of fans but many tend to say that the show would gradually decline before experiencing it's first major decline in Seasons 9-10.
    • It saw a huge improvement during Season 11 before going downhill again during Seasons 12-16 which are known for being the Worst Seasons of the show.
    • It temporarily improved during Seasons 17-21 before going downhill again during Seasons 22-24 (also known as "Big World! Big Adventures!"). While it's not as bad as Seasons 12-16, it's still generally disliked by many fans.
    • The upcoming 2D animated reboot, Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go!, slated for October 2021, is expected to take the quality of the Thomas franchise to new levels of low, way worse than seasons 12-16 and seasons 22-24. From relying too much on cartoon physics (which is jarring and out-of-place since the original series focused on realism most of the time), forcing Thomas to be the main character of every episode, engines now having fun rather than doing work, kicking out the British aspect and feel from the original, taking Sir Topham Hatt's role as railway director away just to treat him as an utter joke, Thomas acting more childlike than in the original, Gordon becoming a father figure to Thomas and pushing humans to background characters! In fact, said reboot makes seasons 12-16 look like a masterpiece in comparison.
  3. There are even a handful of bad episodes during S1-8, 11 and S17-21, such as:
    • "The Sad Story of Henry" ("Come Out, Henry!" in the US) (the first bad episode in the series)
    • "Dirty Objects" ("James in a Mess" in the US)
    • "Dirty Work" ("Diesel's Devious Deed" in the US)
    • "Middle Engine"
    • "What's the Matter with Henry?"
    • "The Old Bridge" (depending on your view)
    • "Thomas and the Big Bang"
    • "The Other Side of the Mountain"
    • "Who's Geoffrey?" (depending on your view)
    • "Rheneas and the Roller Coaster"
    • "Three Steam Engines Gruff"
    • "Henry and the Wishing Tree"
    • "The Way She Does It"
    • "Emily's Adventure"
  4. Season 12 uses a mix of CGI and models. Unfortunately, using both never works because they unrealistically clash with each other and, to makes matters worse, it constantly switches between models and CGI in many shots, resulting in inconsistency. Worst of all, characters from the classic era that were absent during seasons 8-11 like Duck, Oliver, Stepney and Toad are pandered to the audience to keep the viewers happy for a few seconds, which is just insulting to the classic era fans. Even characters that appeared during seasons 8-11 like Donald, Douglas, Murdoch, Neville, and Bill and Ben are also examples of this.
    • The CGI in Season 12, while impressive for the engine character's faces to make them move and give them more expressions, looks pretty bad, particularly for the human characters, as they some of them look either uncanny or ugly.
  5. Alec Baldwin's narration takes a huge nosedive in Season 6. It becomes a lot more bland, boring and unenthusiastic. He also stops doing his character voices from Season 5, like Henry and especially Bill and Ben, and not even attempting an accent for Donald, Douglas and Duncan. He still does some good voices, like Elizabeth, Byron and Salty, but that's about it. The only Season 6 episodes that Alec does a good job narrating are "Elizabeth the Vintage Quarry Truck", "Jack Jumps In" and "A Friend in Need", while the only voice that he kept from Season 5 is Sir Topham Hatt.
  6. Some characters (those who never appeared in the Railway Series, the show's source material) have received a lot of negative feedback, such as Billy, Charlie, Bash, Dash, Ferdinand, Ace and Vinnie as examples of either being incredibly annoying, unlikable or given only one-dimensional traits.
    • The Logging Locos are much worse than the latter.
  7. Garnered controversy in 2003 when moral guardians said that the crashes could scare kids.
  8. The seasons aren't always perfect and have their share of hiccups, even some of the ones in the Classic Era.
    • Though not a particularly bad thing all the time, Season 5 has a bit of a darker and edgier tone than the first 4 seasons and has some episodes that can prove to be really scary for younger viewers that are the easily disturbed, like "Haunted Henry", "Duncan Gets Spooked", "Toby and the Flood", "Stepney Gets Lost" and "Rusty and the Boulder". While Alec Baldwin did a decent job in narrating, he had some terrible voices such as Gordon and Duncan.
    • While Season 6 is every bit as good as any other classic season, it has bad narration from Alec Baldwin for the US dub (as mentioned in BQ#5) and a washed out camera font.
    • Season 7 is not bad at all, but in the US, they completely changed the music from Mike and Jr in place of a new composing team and the theme song was also changed, which angered fans.
    • Season 8 is pretty good and has a handful of good episodes and is the strongest season of HiT Model Era, but it does have some inconsistencies and plot holes, like the infamous plot hole regarding Henry being bad at pulling the express. Other problems could be the fact that numerous side characters from previous seasons such as Duck, BoCo, Oliver, Bill, Ben, Donald and Douglas are either nowhere to be seen or only make small cameo appearances.
    • Seasons 9-10 are by far the worst seasons of the model era (along with Season 12) and have loads of bad episodes, such as:
      • "Edward Strikes Out"
      • "Emily Knows Best"
      • "Skarloey the Brave"
      • "Follow that Flour"
      • "Wharf and Peace"
      • "Toby Feels Left Out"
      • "The Magic Lamp"
      • "Topped Off Thomas"
      • "Wharf and Peace"
      • "Thomas and the New Engine"
      • "Thomas' Day Off"
      • "Thomas' Frosty Friend"
      • "Which Way Now?"
    • Season 11, is a huge improvement over Seasons 9-10, but can get a little predictable and repetitive at times and has some bad episodes, not to mention the very yellowish lighting is somewhat off. However, this season has nowhere near as bad of a repetition as Season 12.
    • Seasons 12-16 are by far the worst seasons of the show and have loads of bad episodes, such as:
      • "Wonky Whistle" (the absolute worst episode of the series for fans)
      • "Fiery Flynn"
      • "Happy Hiro"
      • "Bust My Buffers!"
      • "Pingy Pongy Pick Up"
      • "Saved You!"
      • "Don't Go Back"
      • "Splish Splash Splosh"
      • "Big Belle"
      • "Ho, Ho, Snowman"
      • "Push Me, Pull You"
      • "Up, Up and Away"
      • "Let It Snow"
      • "Sodor Surprise Day"
      • All of the Skarloey episodes from Season 12
      • "Rosie's Carnival Special"
      • "The Lion of Sodor"
      • "Flash, Bang, Wallop!"
      • "James to the Rescue"
      • "Percy and the Monster of Brendam"
      • "Buzzy Bees"
      • "Henry Gets It Wrong"
      • "Steamy Sodor"
      • "Percy's New Friends"
      • "Henry's Magic Box"
    • Seasons 22-24 aren't much better and ended the series on a pretty sour note (in TV order, not production order). It's got loads of mixed bag episodes and bad episodes, such as:
      • "Forever and Ever" (depending on your view)
      • "Apology Impossible" (depending on your view)
      • "Trusty Trunky"
      • "The Water Wheel"
      • "Panicky Percy"
      • "Thomas Makes a Mistake" (depending on your view)
      • "Gordon Gets the Giggles"
      • "Thomas' Not-So-Lucky Day"
      • "Too Loud, Thomas!" (depending on your view)
      • "Thomas' Animal Friends"
      • "Rosie is Red"
      • "Emily's Best Friend"
      • "The Inventor's Spectacular Bridge"
      • "James the Super Engine"
      • "Out of Site"
      • "Thomas in the Wild'
      • "Grudge Match"
      • "Cleo the Road Engine"
      • "Thomas Goes to Bollywood"
  9. Has made numerous continuity and notable errors just like Pokémon:
    • An example is that whether or not the engines can actually control themselves without their driver or firemen is very inconsistent. In episodes like "Daisy", they seem to be able to move without them, but other episodes such as "Thomas Comes to Breakfast" and "Old Iron" make it clear that engines do need drivers.
      • This inconsistency worsens starting from season 8 onwards, as the engine crews are seen less often in the cabs, and "The Great Discovery" has several instances where Thomas goes into areas that a driver would not have allowed him to, and has at least one accident the driver and fireman would have been injured in. However, throughout seasons 12-16, the engine drivers and firemen are seen more regularly in the engines' cabs, but are strangely silent, and are doing little more than making the engines move and other actions for the engines without question.
        • In the 2021 reboot, as announced from the SiF blog post, the engines will now move without their crews to run them.
    • Geographic inaccuracy error: In some episodes of the US version of the series, the term "railroad" is used to refer the North Western Railway as a railroad, despite Sodor's railways being geographically British. This happened one time in the UK dub of "Elizabeth the Vintage Lorry", with The Fat Controller saying Elizabeth is the "grandest lorry in the whole railroad", which is again geographically inaccurate because a railroad is an American term for a railway. This is thankfully fixed in Baldwin's narration, when Sir Topham Hatt calls Elizabeth "the grandest truck in the whole railway".
  10. Though unintentionally most of the time, some episodes can teach kids bad morals, such as:
    • "It's okay to play with fireworks" ("Sodor Surprise Day"; the most intentionally bad moral given from the show).
    • "It's okay to disobey orders" ("Don't Be Silly, Billy").
    • "Old people are no use at all" ("Toby Feels Left Out").
    • "It's okay to spread rumors, slandering the innocent is okay and that you will not get punished for it" ("Thomas and the New Engine").
    • "It's okay if bullies pick on people other than you" ("Middle Engine").
    • "Take a dislike to those you've never met" ("Edward Strikes Out").
    • "It's fine to always refuse help from others" ("Push Me, Pull You").
  11. Some moments can be scary for younger viewers, most notably Henry's crash in "The Flying Kipper", and Alicia Botti's screaming sound effect used in "Thomas, Percy and The Squeak", that was used when she notices a mouse on Thomas' train.
  12. Some specials that's wasn't good/or poorly written like "Misty Island Rescue", "Day of the Diesels", "The Great Race" and "Calling All Engines!".
  13. Depending on your view, Sir Topham Hatt can be a unlikable in some episodes. Mainly due to the fact that he gets mad at the engines for accidents that were not there faults.
  14. The two 2020s miniseries shorts from Thomas' Magical Birthday Wishes and Learn with Thomas feel downgraded, overly kid friendly and underwhelming compared to previous miniseries content such as Jack and the Pack, Great Race, Friends Near and Far and Really Useful Around the World. Worst yet, Mattel didn't even bother doing American dubs for both miniseries, let alone them being a real disappointment to the 75th anniversary of the Railway Series.
    • Thomas' Magical Birthday Wishes is the most downgraded out of all of the miniseries content, mainly due to the overly cartoony visuals, unnecessary lack of down-to-earth logic (worst offender; the engines' crews don't even appear in Thomas' Magical Birthday Wishes as if Sir Topham Hatt is the only human who lives on Sodor), lack of continuity, the bouncing looking way over the top than in seasons 21-24, Rob Rackstraw's awful performance as Percy, overly simplified stories, limited amount of voice actors to play the characters and lack of backgrounds other than railway tracks, railway stations and other buildings.
    • Learn with Thomas isn't any better. Instead of learning how railways work like signals, points or anything on what to do and not do on a railway, it's a message topic involving something they already learned or is a moral that is about something they already know, and not even the bouncing helped either. Much like the last series, Percy's voice given by Rob Rackstraw still sounds nothing like how Nigel Pilkington voiced as him like usual, the plots have been more simplified and the topics of each episode where both Thomas and Percy learn a thing or two. While none of the lessons are necessarily bad, they're usually stuff like learning how to count to 20, how colors work,or what opposites are, making it feel like a generic preschool show on Nick Jr. than a family show.
    • In general, unlike Season 24's "Thomas and the Royal Engine", neither one of the two are a good end to the CGI series and the 1984-2020 series overall.
  15. While not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing either, some old characters of the show have been shown to never appear again, with Lady, Molly, Arthur and BoCo being prime examples.
    • Some of the newer characters had missed opportunities of being given an episode of their own as the main role such as Noor Jehan, Isla, Ashima, Stanley, Norman, etc. This is a shame because some of these characters are either interesting or really needed some major or more development than before.

Reception

Seasons 1-7 (1984-2003 [UK], 1989-2004 [US]) were met with positive reception and are often to be the best of the series by critics and fans of the Railway Series, who praised the series for its writing, humor, characters and early episodes' connection to the Railway Series books and the original stories. Specifically, Seasons 2, 4 and 5 were highly acclaimed by fans. Despite that, certain episodes such as "Dirty Objects", "Middle Engine", "The Sad Story of Henry" and "What's the Matter With Henry" were negatively received by fans.

Seasons 8 (2004) received mixed reception with criticism primarily with HiT Entertainment's decision to Dumb Down the series for Toddlers and others including inconsistences, minor flanderization of some characters (though nowhere near as bad as Seasons 12-16 and mostly depends on the episode), inaccuracies and some bad episodes

Seasons 9-10 (2005-2006) received generally negative reviews from fans and critics who hated these seasons for it's bad writing, more flanderization, bad morals and plenty of bad episodes like "Edward Strikes Out". These Seasons are also infamous for the introduction of Sharon Miller. Sharon was the main criticism of the series as she was completely criticised by the fans because of her responsibility on why the series dropped from quality in season nine, she was criticized for the same story elements repeated every episode.

Season 11 (2007) received mixed to positive reception and much like Season 8, it received a lot more stronger reception. Praise went to the better writing, visuals, Narration and Well Received episodes such as Dream On and Hector the Horrid.

Seasons 12-16 (2008-2012) were critically panned by fans and critics, who hated these seasons for their lack of realism, major flanderization of characters, bad morals and plenty of bad episodes like "Wonky Whistle", which is often considered to be one of the worst episodes of the series alongside "Fiery Flynn". These seasons are also known as the "Sharon Miller Era". There were a few episodes met with critical praise, but not many due to the state the show was in at the time. However, Season 16 is considered by many fans to be a slight improvement over the previous 3 seasons from Nitrogen and some fans still root for Season 12, as it is the final season of the model era.

Seasons 17-21 (2013-2017) received positive reception, with many praising them for having the same charm as the first seven seasons of the show, redeeming the characters who were flanderized and better writing, along with improved animation and great voice acting in the UK and US.

Seasons 22-24 (2018-2021) , also known as Big World! Big Adventures!, was met with overwhelmingly negative reviews from fans and critics. The main criticism directed on those seasons was the removal of Toby, Edward and Henry from the main cast, not to mention the additions of Nia and Rebecca.

The upcoming 2D animated reboot Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go!, slated for October 2021, was met with universally negative backlash from fans of the original series; primary criticisms were aimed at its new character designs and lack of realism, particularly the fact that the characters can now deform their shape cartoonishly. The characters were also criticized for bearing personalities that bear little resemblance to the source material. Some unfavorably compared it to shows such as Teen Titans Go! and Thundercats Roar, with many parents complaining that even their children did not enjoy it. Britt Allcroft (the TV series' creator) and Veronica Chambers (daughter of Wilbert Awdry) were also highly dismayed by the new show, and Allcroft sympathized with the upset fans in a Facebook post.

Trivia

  • It first aired on PBS as a segment on Shining Time Station. It then premiered on PBS in 2004 as a standalone program, airing on the channel until 2017. The show then aired on Nickelodeon (and later Nick Jr.) until 2020.
  • The Three Railway Engines, the first book of the Railway Series was published on George Carlin's eighth birthday in 1945.
  • George Carlin was the preferred choice for the narrator of the US dub by Kenn Viselman, the head of marketing for the franchise.
  • According to Britt Allcroft, she chose Ringo Starr as the narrator of the UK dub after hearing his voice on television and thought children would relate to him. At first, Allcroft denied that he was chosen because of his Beatles fame, since she was not a fan of the band at the time.
    • Ringo accepted the job of narrator after reading all of the Railway Series books released at that time. He also recorded narration for the Ladybird audio books.
    • Ringo Starr recorded the narration for the first season in eight days. That includes re-doing four episodes due to the tone of his voice.
    • After Ringo left the show in 1989/1990 (both British and American versions) to continue and focus more on his music career, he stated in an interview that Thomas will always have a special place in his heart and he is proud to be a part of Thomas's world.
  • On the BBC game show Pointless, when asked who took over narrating the UK version of the series from Starr in 1991, four out of the one-hundred people remembered that it was Michael Angelis.
  • The show is extremely popular in Japan due to trains being one of the most common ways to travel in the aforementioned country and many of the show's merchandise is exclusive to the Japanese market. In fact, Fuji TV, a popular Japanese TV network which aired the program, helped co-produce the show's third season and it even got three crossovers with a Japanese children's program named Ponkickies.
  • Alec Baldwin is the last narrator to play Mr. Conductor.
    • Alec Baldwin is also the first narrator to not narrate any Railway Series story adaptations.
  • While Carlin usually insulted most of the shows he worked on, he usually spoke very fondly of both Shining Time Station and Thomas and Friends, even in some of his stand-up comedy routines. In an interview on "TV Legends" conducted shortly before his death in 2008, he explained that he signed on to both shows so that people could see a gentler side of him.
    • In technicality, George Carlin was the first official American Thomas narrator after Ringo Starr's narrations were done.
  • Due to different societal norms in the United States, the Fat Controller is always referred to by his real name, "Sir Topham Hatt".
  • Season 23 was the last season of the original 1984-2020 series to air in the US due to Mattel and Nickelodeon's broadcasting deal ending on December 31st, 2020 in favor of streaming the episodes on Netflix, which started on March 15th, 2020. Season 24 was the only season to stream all of its episodes for the franchise's future in the United States.
  • Season 12 is the last season to use the train models and the first season to use CGI.
  • Season 24 is the final season to use CGI animation, and the final season of the original Thomas series overall before the release of All Engines Go!

Comments


avatar

Trashanimal

12 months ago
Score 14
This is why I've always loved rail transportation all my life.
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Spindash101

12 months ago
Score 0
Same here.
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Eli Boy

11 months ago
Score 0
Me as well.
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Rockman138

4 months ago
Score 1
Railway transport is fun.
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Nitesh Surya Vanapalli

10 months ago
Score 2
Little engines can do big things!
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Mickey Mouse

9 months ago
Score 3
Unpopular opinion, Season 12 was not that bad, in fact, I own it entirely on DVD.
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Rockman138

6 months ago
Score 0
It maybe to me and some fans, but I understand.
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Mickey Mouse

8 months ago
Score 3

They're two, they're four. they're six, they're eight!

Shunting trucks and hauling freight

Red and green and brown and blue

They're the Really Useful Crew!

All with different roles to play round Tidmouth Sheds and far away

Down the hills and round the bends

Thomas and his friends!

Thomas, he's the cheeky one

James, is vain but lots of fun

Percy, pulls the mail on time

Gordon, thunders down the line

Emily, really knows her stuff

Henry, toots and huffs and puffs

Edward, wants to help and share

Toby, well let's say, he's square!

They're two, they're four. they're six, they're eight!

Shunting trucks and hauling freight

Red and green and brown and blue

They're the Really Useful Crew!

All with different roles to play round Tidmouth Sheds and far away

Down the hills and round the bends

Thomas and his friends

They're two, they're four. they're six, they're eight!

Shunting trucks and hauling freight

Red and green and brown and blue

They're the Really Useful Crew!

All with different roles to play round Tidmouth Sheds and far away

Down the hills and round the bends

Thomas and his friends!
avatar

NeptunePerson2018

8 months ago
Score 0
I like Mountain Marvel, The Old Bridge, Rheneas and the Rollercoaster, Henry and the Wishing Tree, and The Magic Lamp.
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GrilledCheese800

8 months ago
Score 0
Same.
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Yoshi and Tails Fanboy 130

6 months ago
Score 1
This used to be one of, if not my favorite shows of all time growing up, I moved on from it in 2013-Early 2017 but I got back into it sometime in 2017, I lost interest in the show in late 2017 and the entirety of 2018, but I got back into it sometime in 2019. IDC if I’m too old to watch this show, it’s one of my fav shows ever.
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Rockman138

3 months ago
Score 0
It doesn't matter what age you are. Watching a show made for a young demographic at an older age does not make you inferior.
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Zekeman1991

5 months ago
Score 1
Seasons 22-24 are terrible they clearly are hated by fans and it's considered the second worst era due to it's fantasy sequences that ground the plot to a hault Rosie is Red and Forver And Ever shouldn't be in the good episodes catagory. Watch Unlucky Tug's review of the series you'll get a better idea if you watch it.
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P51Mustangfan42

5 months ago
Score 1
should seasons 12-16 be on Terrible TV shows wiki
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Funny

5 months ago
Score 3
Unfortunately not, it's a niche show.
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Rockman138

5 months ago
Score 0
Regardless of how bad those seasons are. It's unlikely due to the fact preschool shows are not allowed on that wiki (all except for The Magic School Bus Rides Again, everything else is a big fat no).
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Trevor807

5 months ago
Score 10
The Magic School Bus Rides Again is NOT for preschoolers. It's for elementary schoolers.
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Zekeman1991

5 months ago
Score 0
They really should. As well as Seasons 22-current. If Spongebob Seasons 5-8 and Simpsons Seasons 11-current are on it why not Thomas?
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Isaiahrichmon367

one month ago
Score 0
It should if the stupid niche audience show rule wasn't around. Spongebob SquarePants seasons 6-8 were made for kids and it's still on there so why the heck couldn't Thomas and Friends seasons 12-16 ans seasons 22-24 be on there as well!!??
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Master Chief

5 months ago
Score 0
We should make a page for Jack and the Sodor Construction Company.
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Mr. Dready

4 months ago
Score 2
I still enjoy the original theme song even to this day.
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ThePCGamer

3 months ago
Score 0
I love this show! I watched it when I was little!
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DearMaster6

2 months ago
Score 0

I like the show, I watched this on Sprout.

And for I said, the stock footages are used, and in some CGI episodes until season 24 for the stock footages used, this sometimes it was dubbed over it, probably to be added on the bad qualities?
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Ilikepizza

one month ago
Score 0
I really only like the model seasons. I'm not a fan of the CGI seasons.
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Neat Structure

one month ago
Score 1
If I’m gonna be completely honest, the disliking of Michael Brandon, as mentioned in the Bad Qualities section, is overblown here. This is an unpopular opinion, but I like him better than any of the other narrators in the show. He at least gave the characters emotions. Angelis on the other hand sounded horribly lazy while Baldwin sounded like he was just going by the daily swing of things and waiting for his paycheck.
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COMICSDUDE1245

20 days ago
Score 0
  • INSERT THOMAS THE TRAIN THEME EARRAPE!*
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Dls100

15 hours 21 minutes ago
Score 1
So, is Seasons 9-10 gonna get its own page as well or no?
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AlfeProblemSolverz

3 hours 30 minutes ago
Score 0
It will on Terrible TV Shows Wiki. I moved it to 1-8, 11, 17-21 mainly because when seeing a lot of rankings, Seasons 9-10 (specifically Season 10) are considered bad by the majority of fans. Along with Season 12, it's considered the worst seasons of the model era.

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