Some people are moaning that I am constantly complaining that the UK keeps getting these 4 episode per DVD release US imports. Well I think it's high time I actually set the whole record straight and explained WHY I think these new DVDs are such rip-offs.
This is not just an issue that I have. A lot of parents, and grown up fans on SIF, are sick of paying so much money for these DVDs that are worth £2 if that. Here is a review from Amazon (from 2010) about 2010 release "Thomas and the Runaway Kite"
"In this day and age, there is really no excuse for this kind of shoddiness. A flimsy four episodes. Not even an hour. When I was young, I had no problem sitting through over 2 hours of Thomas.
These new animated episodes lack the charm and vitality of the live action version, and its sad to see this once great institution reduced to this.
Only the other week, they released a DVD with 28 episodes on. 28!! But this - 4! A total rip-off, Hit entertainmnet should hang their head in shame."
That user rated the DVD 1 star and 26 people (out of 28) found it helpful. And if you think that was the only one, you're wrong. This review is for the 2010 release Splish Splash Splosh:
"Perhaps I should've read the small print or something but I actually feel like a a mug for buying this DVD. I ordered it so I could free up some space on my Sky Plus. However, I was pretty shocked to find only four episodes which followed a long advert for Drayton Manor Thomas Land that can't be fast forwarded. What a cheek!!! Please avoid if you don't want to be fleeced."
13 out of 13 found it helpful, and the WHOLE DVD is rated an average of 1.5 stars. 7 people rated it, 4 voted 1 star and 3 voted 2. While yes, some of these DVDs have been given positive reviews, not one has said the DVDs are value for money, only saying that their children love Thomas and Friends. That's it. However the Series 9 release had this review in 2009:
" This DVD is very good value. My friends little boy who is 2 and a half loves to watch this. He is Catalan and can understand and speak very good English and really enjoys Thomas and friends."
That customer rated it 5 stars. Here's another review, this time for Series 10:
"My 3&1/2 year-old son is a Thomas freak (as are many others out there!) and this Series 10 was an addition is his 20-odd DVD collection. The 28 episodes were a welcome length compared to some more shoddy ones (i.e. Splish Splash Splosh with 4 episodes)by HiT entertainment. Michael Angelis' commentary remains the same and is more welcome than Ringo Starr..."
That was another 5 star rating. Finally, this was for Series 12:
"As ever, the complete series releases of Thomas are great value. Series 12 is a nice mixture of old-fashioned live action model trains, mixed with some computer animation (trains' faces, for example) and - most importantly - this is the last series where the regular narrator supplied all the voices. So grown-up fans of the 'old' Thomas will still have plenty to enjoy. Personally, I don't plan to buy any later Thomas on DVD, but with 12 series to fall back on, our family certainly has plenty to choose from."
This was a 4 star rating, as she thought there were two issues: one with picture quality when it's played on a TV (it's not a blu-ray, that's all I can say) and the the other is trawling through menus to get to favourite episodes.
Yes, a lot of reviews don't mention value for money, but there are a lot more positive reviews for the Complete Series DVDs than the recent 4 episode per DVD releases. Why? Here's the maths:
All Thomas and Friends DVDs are £8 (if you shop around) when they're newly released. Complete Collection DVDs hold every episode of each series (Series 1-9 and 11 have 26, S10 has 28 and S12 and 13 have 20, as will, if they're made, Series 14 and 15). The Series 1-9 and 11 DVDs cost 31p per episode. Series 10 cost 29p per episode while Series 12 onwards (will) cost 40p per episode. The 4 episode per DVD releases cost £2 per episode. TWO POUNDS for a DVD that lasts just over 40 minutes and has poor quality episodes! You can draw your own conclusions but the facts are the facts.
I feel like an absolute mug. Every time I heard that a new DVD with new episodes was being released I got really excited over it. Now? I would never go anywhere near them! I'd rather just buy 25 blank DVDs and record them on Channel 5. The quality is as good as it is on home release DVDs at a fraction of the cost. It's even worse in the US as their DVDs are all in fullscreen when the episodes are widescreen on TV. HiT really should get their act together and release more DVDs that are actually value for money. They owe it to their fans to produce good quality episodes and value for money merchandise. If they're going to release episodes on DVD, they should at least include more so that we can feel we're geting much better value for money than we're getting now.