Sunday, 31 May 2015

Top 10 Characters That Should Stay in the Past

So I've decided to do two more top 10s because... why not? And since fans are constantly suggesting which characters should return, I've decided to flip the script and make a list of the top 10 characters I think shouldn't return.

The rules for this list are pretty much the same as my top 10 favourite and least favourite characters: I can feature any characters that have been seen on TV (only here it'll be up to series 16 rather than the entire show) or the Railway Series.

Dishonourable Mentions
- Flora
I just don' like that she's basically a female Toby, only much more submissive. And it's a shame too, as I think she'd have done well with a few tweaks. Make her more confident, make her a diesel or, heck, even an electric engine and she'd have been fine.

- Proteus
He's a discount Lady. But at least his introduction may have spawned the return of Sir Handel, so I can't be too harsh

- Madge
This is less her and more the fact that, in every appearance, she constantly ran late. Get rid of that part of her and I'll be happy to see her again

10. Stepney
Before anyone gets upset, let me explain.

I don't hate Stepney... at least in the Railway Series. He's brave, bold and very grateful about his new life on the Bluebell Railway. The TV version really didn't capture this well at all, and that is the Stepney I wouldn't want to see. His TV incarnation just seems far too wimpy and ungrateful, which is shown in Rusty to the Rescue and Thomas and Stepney.

The other thing I really disliked is that he felt like a permanent resident of Sodor from series 5 onwards. Sure, he wasn't seen frequently, but his appearances were really contrived and felt like he was there to satisfy the fans.

If the team used his Railway Series portrayal as a basis, then I would welcome him back with open arms, as long as he was solely a visitor each time (with a proper explanation). But sticking to his TV portrayal? No thanks.

Oh, and if they're going to include him on the Bluebell line, rip up the narrow gauge tracks; they were just unnecessary. The rest of it was, in hindsight, beautiful though.

9. The Logging Locos
I know that Ferdinand had a small cameo in Signals Crossed, but since it was so minute, I'm including him with Bash and Dash.

So why are these so low? Yes, they're annoying as all hell. Yes, their place of residence is a death trap (and its tunnel is seemingly being retconned from the Search and Rescue Centre set) and yes, their voices can be grating.

But the less I see them, the more I... miss their presence. Not to say I like them, but I liked what Sharon Miller wanted to do with them; the execution was just poor. And since Bill and Ben have returned, these three (at least Bash and Dash) are probably never going to be seen again which is both a blessing, but a shame as well. At least in my opinion.

8. Fergus
I'm not much for Fergus. While his design is unique for the series, his "do it right" mentality just feels like a more "in your face" alternative to Duck's, and some fans are already growing tired of that (why I don't know as it's in line with how it's described in the books and in series 2). Having two characters like that is just redundant, and his doesn't have a catalyst to it at all, other than he "wants to do a good job", which is pretty much like every engine on Sodor (at least Duck has Great Western heritage to be proud of and to excuse his mentality).

7. Colin
Don't get me wrong, I like the Wharf. As a new series location for standard and narrow gauge engines to interact, it did a great job. But with the Blue Mountain Quarry, Ulfstead Castle and, most recently, Crovan's Gate being featured in CG, there's no point in having another meet up place, meaning Colin is just redundant, especially since he's fixed there.

Not that he had much of a personality in the first place. Unless Colin can be moved to somewhere on the narrow gauge railway (which I doubt, to be honest), there's no reason to include him.

6. Freddie
Like Fergus, Freddie is creatively bankrupt. But unlike Fergus, Freddie's personality just isn't very interesting. If you want a brave engine, you've got Edward, Toby, the Railway Series portrayal of Stepney. If you want a brave, wise narrow gauge engine, you've got Duke, Skarloey and Rheneas. If you want a fun engine, you have Charlie. Anmd if you want a number 7 for the Skarloey Railway, you have Ivo Hugh, who's literally a blank slate.

All in all, Freddie is pointless. Always has been, always will be.

5. Splatter and Dodge
If there are any twins I hate more than the Logging Locos, it'd be these two. At least Bash and Dash had potential, these have nothing. They're just the typical comic relief characters of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, and they become very tiring very quickly.

That's not even mentioning that they're Class 08s. I understand that these are fairly common on British railways, heritage or otherwise, but enough is enough. Especially when the majority of them are far more memorable than these two.

4. Bertram
Bertram is just a lazy plot device, combining two entries that are further down the list. He has no personality. he's seen only for 20 seconds, so why bother with him? I just see no potential in him at all. If you want to bring that locomotive back, just revert him to being Duke.

3. Billy
Arrogant. Little. Brat. That's all I really need to say about Billy to guarantee his spot on here. Yeah, Charlie was annoying too, but at least now the current team have given him a charm (unless you count Not Now, Charlie) and a proper role in the yards. Billy has absolutely nothing. He's just annoying to the point where you want him scrapped and his face is probably the root of that stupid creepypasta engine, "Timothy".

I'll be glad if we never see Billy again.

2. Smudger (TV)/Stanley (Railway Series)
What part of "Smudger is dead" do fans not seem to comprehend?

He was turned into a generator, the Mid Sodor sheds were buried under torrents of earth, no one in Duke's search party really cared about Smudger (or Stanley, at it was in the books), so why do they want him back?

Also, Smudger is basically a green Rheneas. His model is lazy - although, for a minute of screen time, I can kind of understand - and him returning is just pointless, especially since (and I'll stress this again) he's dead!

1. Lady
Yeah, yeah, yeah, obvious choice... But my choice isn't solely because I have a problem with her; she just would not work with the show as it is any more.

If they brought Lady back, the simple fact is they'd be in a lose-lose situation. If they took away her magic element (like Paul Larson and Abi Grant did in Calling All Engines!), they'd take away everything fans of Thomas and the Magic Railroad liked about her. If they kept the magical element, they'd be going against the structure of the show that they're currently rebuilding.

Whichever way you look at it, she no longer fits into the Thomas and Friends franchise at all, and that's why she should stay in the past.

Agree or disagree with this list? Leave your thoughts below or leave a tweet (@ChrisTomson2013)!

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