Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Series 20: Ryan & Daisy

So far this series, we've had two episodes that had elements that I didn't know I wanted and loved. Today though, we have an episode that I've hoped for since Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure. But did Ryan & Daisy deliver?

Yes. That's the long and short of it, so if you don't like reading these, you can leave now knowing that I adore this one. Remember last time I was saying that I didn't mind slice of life episodes as long as they were made engaging and fun? This is what I'm referring to. Because this is a fun, entertaining episode.

The best thing about it is Ryan and Daisy's dynamic. I was rather disappointed that they decided to change his original personality from overconfident and dismissive to kind hearted yet rather naive, but it works really well when paired with Daisy.

That said, it brings me on to something I just can't ignore: Steve Kynman as Ryan. Now I like Kynman as a voice actor, and I completely understand why Eddie Redmayne would only be able to commit to one project (on an unrelated note: go and see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It's a great movie all around), but why not just have Steve voice Ryan from the get go? If a kid went straight from Lost Treasure to this, they may wonder why his voice had changed so much?

Sure, the cast has been changed around quite a bit since Blue Mountain Mystery, but more often than not, those changes have been for the better. Ryan, however, sounds far too similar to Paxton, and the fact they have similar personalities doesn't exactly help matters.

And another issue I have is with the moral. In the last two years alone, the "work together" moral has been done at least 4 times now; it's getting really old. Kids only need to see the moral in action once in order for it to stick. If not, let them learn it through personal experience or adult supervision rather than cramming it into more and more episodes! With that said, however...

...this was another example where the moral actually did work for the characters. They're just getting used to each other, so it would be rather difficult for them to co-exist at first. Not only that, but the subtle moral that Ryan learned (sometimes helping a friend doesn't really help them) is actually rather mature, and one the show has never taught before. Whether it was intentional, or just my interpretation, it's fantastic subtlety like that that made the franchise so popular in the first place.

And I'll say it again: Daisy is an absolute joy to watch. I'd go so far as to say this is the best incarnation of Daisy we've ever had, and the fact that she has such variety in terms of getting out of doing things she doesn't like makes her antics a lot more bearable and fun than someone like James. 

Also, the eye fluttering and soft tone was absolutely hilarious; there's no wonder Ryan couldn't say no; she's just so clever and manipulative that you couldn't say no to her.

To add to that, I liked the little development from Branch Line Engines. She meets a bull here, and rather than being frightened for her life, she just sees it as an annoyance. It was great, even if that wasn't what they were aiming for and just had her be annoyed with the bull because it was making her late.

And then there's the ending, which I thought was really heartfelt. It made you think that she had a real admiration for him as a friend and co-worker after all the hassle she put him through. It was great, genuine development, and it's proof that the team have no excuse for screwing up in the future.

Oh yeah, and Toby played a really good role, too. It would've been nice to see Mavis there with him, but I like that he took the quarry work seriously and meant business when Ryan showed up late. Getting the characters right should be the default setting these days, but it's still nice to point out.

Fan Reaction

The Mad Controller's Corner

Final Thoughts
This had near enough everything I could want in an episode; some great character moments, humour and heart. Duck almost hitting Ryan was a bit ridiculous (but it was fine) and the main moral, while great here, still feels overdone, but the rest was brilliant.

Oh, and can I just say that I love the fact that the mail is slowly expanding so that other engines are in charge on certain routes? I bought it up in Letters to Santa, but I never thought it'd be a thing that would already have been addressed. It feels like the team are finally travelling down the road that they want to stick to, and I'm glad about that.

Episode Ratings

Series Rating (so far)

1 comment:

  1. I agree with everything that is said. This is one of my firm all-time favorites, and my top choice yet from the CGI series. Ryan and Daisy are beautifully in character, and their dynamic works wonders throughout. Best episode for since Series 2, hands down, though we MAY have contrasting opinions on that. Also, Steve Kynman sounded spot on delving from Redmayne's performance, and was the perfect replacement (no offense there of course). 10/10