Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Complete Series 18

Joy of joys! The Complete Series 18 is coming later this year! It's being released in June - a great month for me already since Tekken 7 and Crash N. Sane Trilogy are released either side of the DVD - and its RRP is £7.49. Sounds great! So why am I writing a blog post about it now? Well...

My issue with this cover isn't with the stock standard Thomas image on the cover (series 1-9 had the exact same image on them until they were re-designed). What baffles, and annoys, me is that tagline at the top of the box art and the ridiculous justification for it.

Yep. For some reason, Mattel have decided to split the televised and direct to DVD episodes up and use a two year old DVD to sell a brand new release! Why? Series 17 had 6 episodes that were direct to DVD, yet when The Complete Series 17 came out, all 26 episodes were split evenly between the two discs. So why not do that with this release?

Well, the "official" justification is:

Sorry, but I call BS on this.

You are selling 26 episodes in a complete series DVD for £7.49! This could be even better value depending on where you get it from! How much more value for money could people possibly want?! Slapping a two year old DVD on the top of the release isn't going to have any positive effect whatsoever. If anything, it could turn people away since they're needlessly segregating the 6 "DVD exclusive" (they've since aired on Channel 5, so that's bollocks) episodes and bundling that 2 year old DVD (that some kids may already own) with the other 20.

...did I mention Dinos & Discoveries is 2 years old?

Don't get me wrong, I like that they're trying to add value to releases. The problem is that they're trying to add it to a DVD that really didn't need the help. If they want to add value to new releases, they should instead be focusing on adding more to the ones that have 6-7 episodes on them. Fact is these complete series compilations put other releases (except the specials) to shame in terms of value and that needs to change.

What can they add to the 6-7 episode releases? I honestly don't know. Maybe increase the episode count to 10? Maybe add bonus features that aren't on other releases (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't)? Heck, with the lack of frequency that Channel 5 has in terms of airing episodes, why not beat them to the punch and release a couple that haven't aired (or have, but incredibly recently)?

To sum up, The Complete Series 18 will be a great DVD tainted by a really stupid business decision. If they keep this up, don't be surprised if The Complete Series 19 becomes a 3 disc release, bundled with both Full Steam to the Rescue! (meaning there'll be series 20 episodes in a series 19 release) and Start Your Engines separately. Because hey, they're "DVD exclusive episodes that will add value", right..?


Sunday, 5 March 2017

NWR Lettering

Yep, this has been a legitimate "talking point" since Rosie was re-designed because fans would rather recycle old talking points rather than try and find something new to discuss. And since I haven't produced a post in a while, and this is a fairly easy topic to get my thoughts out on, here's why I think the complaints are stupid.

Defenders of the new lettering say it's "Railway Series accurate" which, let's be honest, isn't true. Sure, rolling stock may have had NW lettering (the Spiteful Brake Van being the most notable example), but the only engines that did were Pip and Emma, and that was solely due to the fact they pulled the Wild Nor Wester to London.

That's not to say no engines are bare: Mavis has the Ffarquhar Quarry Company on her sideplates while Bill and Ben have SCC on their tanks to represent the China Clay Company. But they're the only ones really, and they're technically not on the NWR's books.

Because of this, and Rosie's re-design, I actually want the engines to gain the NWR lettering at some point. First off, it's three letters that represent the railway they're working on, for crying out loud. Why shouldn't they have it?

Second, do fans realise that the numbering system is actually NWR specific? Some engines keep theirs for the sake of heritage (probably), but the main 7, Donald and Douglas were all given new numbers when they were bought/saved, so the NWR branding would just enforce that idea. They don't even need letters, just a logo to represent the railway.

Third,the North Western has been mentioned a few times by name in recent years (TAB and Bubbling Boilers being the two most prominent examples), and the lettering addition would be a nice way to capitalise on that.

Basically, the whole thing is a complete non-issue. If they want to add lettering to every engine, fine. If it's only for Rosie, fine - if a bit odd. The major thing to take away is that nothing would change regardless. It'd still be a show about fictional engines on a fictional railway on a fictional island having adventure.

The only difference? The show's staff would actually acknowledge that the main standard gauge railway has its own name. That's it. Fans need to learn to pick their battles and grievances. There are a few issues with the show that stop it reaching higher than it could do; this sure as hell ain't one of them.

Oh, and to those saying it's not right for other fans to do this sort of stuff? Leave them be. It's their headcanon for their series. Stop trying to ruin their fun.