My personal favourite is Lady Hatt's Birthday Party. The Fat Controller (Sir Topham Hatt) is clearly both devoted to, and terrified of, his wife (a sort of Penelope Keith character), and suffers the most tremendous trials and indignations in order to be on time for her birthday party.
Another good story is 'Busy Going Backwards', in which the break van Toad becomes tired of always seeing things slip away from him because he is stuck at the back of the train.
'I have forward thinking views Mr Oliver,' he tells Oliver the Great Western Engine. 'I could be a leader.' And so it turns out when the trucks detach themselves from Oliver at the top of Gordon's hill and the train, now with Toad at the front, runs backwards down the hill out of control.
The songs are just as good as the stories and include 'karaoke style' words at the bottom of the screen. Be warned - the tunes are annoyingly catchy and you will find yourself humming 'Donald's Duck' at work ! 'Night Train' is very atmospheric and beautifully filmed, but the rather dark images may be lost a little on young children.
The games are a bit simplistic.Read more ›
Although, there are some solid entries (Cranky Bugs, A Better View for Gordon, Double Teething Troubles, Busy going Backwards and Rusty & The Boulder to name but a few) there are several clangers. These include Baa!, Duncan Gets Spooked, Snow, Bye George and Stepney Gets Lost. The stories have clearly been Americanised - there is crash in nearly every episode!
Some new characters are introduced aswell: Cranky The Crane, The Horrid Lorries, Old Slow Coach, Thumper and Derek The Diesel. Cranky The Crane is made a bit of a regular the others only appear once. This is all very well for the toy franchise but, come on, let's see more of the old favorites such as Henry.
This is definately not the worst series - I reserve that spot for series 3 - but certainly isn't the best. If you're after the classic stories then go for the first two series, which are a lot better.
Percy's Chocolate Crunch follows a typical day for Percy, as he avoids the threat of dirtniess, as the water tower is out of use and therefore he cannot wash. After a rather dusty and grimmy day of tasks, Percy is releaved to find that his next job is to deliever a train of sugar to Mr. Jolly's Chocolate Factory. At last he can be clean! However, disaster strikes when the rails are dosed in slippery oil...and Percy is soon to find that he his dirty spree is far from over!
Next, we are introduced to a whole new cast...the Sodor Construction Company. Meet Jack the Front Loader, a vehicle on a mission to become accepted into the Pack, a team of construction vehicles. Can Jack prove himself useful to the team? Or will his enthusiasm get the better of him? (My favourite episode on this DVD)
Diesel is determined to prove once and for all, that he is the World's Strongest Engine. But with the trucks help, it becomes clear that he is far from it.
Iron Arry and Iron Bert (from Stepney Gets Lost) return and are up to no good when they find that the steam engines have a weak spot - being the Middle Engine. Percy learns how to catch the sneaky diesels out, but James learns that it's not as easy as it is! (One of the best episodes on the DVD)
Bill and Ben are saddle tank engine twins who do everything together, but jealous shows it nasty face in this episode "Buffer Bother" (listed above as "Bill and Ben's Excellent Adventure"). Bill lands himself in a spot of heated jealousy when Ben is rewarded with a shiny new set of buffers.Read more ›