Well this was a long time coming..! It seems so long ago that series 19 began airing, and its whole scheduling was an absolute farce, but with the final episodes (finally) being released last November, it's high time to give it one final examination.
A few notes before we kick off:
- Rather than order the episodes by air/release date order, I'll be doing what I did with series 18's overview and ordering them from worst to best.
- All of the reviews to individual episodes can be accessed by clicking the pictorial header related to said episodes.
- This post will be going over my general, quick thoughts while clarifying certain aspects of the reviews that may need to be.
Yep, I hate this episode more than Big Belle, Fiery Flynn and Race to the Rescue. Why? Because I expected better from this team. Simple as that.
A bit of behind the scenes insight for you: I originally gave this episode a 2. But as I wrote my final thoughts on it, the major flaw with it came to me, and I settled on this score.
I said it in the review, but this is creatively bankrupt as well. The only difference between this and Goodbye Fat Controller is that this had good characters (except Annie and Clarabel); Thomas and Bertie have always had good chemistry with each other.
In series 20, Philip is great (so far). He has the childlike charm that I'm sure the team wanted to go for. This series though? Not really. He just felt far too annoying for my tastes. What doesn't help matters is that he's hardly ever punished for his actions, nor does he own up when he does something wrong.
Capping off the bottom five is Philip's debut episode. Honestly, I still think this was an episode of two halves. The second one salvaged it, but if that was the first half and the second had Gordon get his revenge, the whole thing would've been better.
This episode would be fine. Heck, if watched back to back with Hero of the Rails, it is fine (if incredibly jarring). But that's actually its biggest problem: like Rocky Rescue, it's completely out of place and rather pointless this far into the show.
And now we come to what I like to call "Missed Opportunity City". I love what they tried to do with these two episodes: send one character away for a while and see how the others cope without him. The problem? Salty actually returns at the end of this, meaning they lost out on a more intriguing ending (maybe just seeing Porter alone and giving him some development?)
This has similar problems to the previous episode on the list. The only thing that makes it marginally better is that Bill and Ben make it more entertaining.
Does anyone actually remember this one? If your answer is "no", then you've identified the major issue with it: it's boring and forgettable.
In hindsight, this episode did what it set out to do: finally rid Henry of his awful worrisome personality (that shouldn't really have existed after series 17; a series in which it was non-existent). That said, I stand by my review.
To be honest, an audience's enjoyment of this will come down to how many versions of A Christmas Carol they've seen. On its own merits, the story is so contrived that it's hard to really be invested in it anyway.
This is a fun episode to watch, but only if you care about football/soccer. I honestly think more could have been done in terms of the red card (it's nice that engines are given a chance to change their behaviour, but actually punishing them there and then feels much more effective in terms of morals, the narrative and character development), but it was fine.
I still think this is one of the better Toby episodes we've gotten since HiT took over, and it did everything right that Goodbye Fat Controller got wrong.
You know how Pouty James is being lauded as one of series 20's best episodes because "it feels Railway Series-esque" when all they mean is "James' character has regressed to how it was in the early Railway Series books"? Well this does feel Railway Series-esque, but more from the mind of Christopher Awdry than his father.
I really didn't like Henry's worrisome behaviour. But if they could make it fairly relatable for children, and fun enough for the adults to not be annoyed, I can give it a pass. And since this episode was aired first, it's the one that I prefer, despite the fact The Beast of Sodor was the better episode in terms of his fear and the amazing turnaround of his character since that episode.
It seems like forever that this episode aired..! And although my opinion on Thomas' current "character" has soured by quite a lot (especially when compared to what it once was), this was still a fairly good outing for him.
I still quite like Percy and the Calliope. There are a few reasons why, but the most relevant is Percy and Diesel's dynamic. They played off each other really well, and I was glad that the current team decided to give it a shot themselves.
Helen Farrall has had an amazing couple of years, to the point where I honestly feel that she should be head writer of the show rather than Andrew. This episode isn't the main reason as to why her work is so special (we'll get to that soon enough), but it was the one that made me realise that she belonged on the team (even though Toad & the Whale aired before this).
Was anyone really wanting a Victor and Kevin story before series 19? Sure, Victor was a good character and Kevin was a semi-competent assistant, but it felt like that's as far as it could go. Thankfully, the team proved us wrong.
Out of all of Helen Farrall's episodes (and I'm including her series 20 efforts in this), this is probably her least memorable effort. It was just a simple, down to earth look into the railway's general operations, and I appreciated that a lot.
Has there ever been an episode that fans didn't know they wanted until they had it? Well I still believe that's the case with this one, and it's a crying shame that they haven't capitalised on this momentum for these two in series 20.
The Great Race made this look even better than it actually was. Yes, a 60 minute special made a 9 minute episode look better than it was. Then again, that's probably due to the fact that there was a heavy focus on the story here than the marketing.
This one, however, had a pretty big complaint. Depending on how much you can tolerate a baby's crying will affect how much you like this one, and since I've a lot of experience with kids on public transport, I have a high tolerance to it.
I'll be honest, it was so difficult to choose which of these two was the best. Not just because they're full of charm, drama and character, but because the basic stories are fairly similar: a character sees/feels something wrong, other characters doubt them, then it's up to the star to save the day.
Stephen has been an absolute delight since King of the Railway, and it was a shame that he was rather under-utilised in series 18. Thankfully, this episode arrived to show that he still had a very important spot in the show, and that only grew during series 20.
Odd numbered seasons tend to be a bit patchy, and this one is no exception. Mostly average by Brenner's standards. #TTTES19— SteamTeam (@SteamTeam3211) November 1, 2016
Diabolical! I'm not featured nowhere near enough, a very poor series I'm afraid. Feel ashamed to be a part of it, frankly. #TTTES19— The Mad Controller (@NWRMadMan) November 1, 2016
A season the split the fanbase right down the middle, how could we go wrong :P Well, at least I like it. #TTTES19— Tinsel Tom (@MarioOnage64) November 1, 2016
#TTTES19 highs and lows a plenty - but I can't shake the feeling this is more like a filler series— Christmas Tur Kee (@davis_selby) November 1, 2016
My favourite season so far, however S20 seems to be topping it. Brenner and his crew keep getting better and better! #TTTES19— Alex 🇳🇴 (@SodorSteamworks) November 1, 2016
#TTTES19 I can tell this was a very experimental series and many new features were added in and was basically a playground for the writers--— twinkletoes (@islandofodor) November 1, 2016
@islandofodor --I guess that's why it's set before SLOTLT. While there are bad episodes in there, it also has some of the best too.— twinkletoes (@islandofodor) November 1, 2016
There are some ups and downs of this season, I think they should've add build up to SLOTLT, its experimental ...#TTTES19— Thomas Stansfield (@NWTom25) November 1, 2016
#TTTES19 is mediocre at best, IMO. When the episodes were good, they were REALLY good, but most of them were awful, which weighs it down.— Nick (@NickN05L31) November 1, 2016
Least good of the Arc era. 50/50 for me, the good episodes were amazing while the bad episodes were REALLY bad, 5/10 overall #TTTES19— Michael S (@MichaelSth1995) November 1, 2016
The animation and humour were great and many great stories were almost RWS like. Many duds but hardly a return to the Miller era. #TTTES19— Nick the Halls (@redbritmad) November 2, 2016
#TTTES19 This season wasn't as good as S17 or S18 were, but was still a good season, great music, great animation improvement. There's also— thomastugsfan (@thomastugsfan14) November 2, 2016
#TTTES19 fantastic episodes such as "Toad and the Whale", "Den and Dart", "No Help at All", "Thomas and the Babysitter", and "Slow Stephen".— thomastugsfan (@thomastugsfan14) November 2, 2016
Series Rating: 6/10