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Author Topic: The Everything Thomas Thread  (Read 349926 times)
Streak

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« Reply #1140 on: December 23, 2018, 07:36:21 PM »

I respect your guys' opinions on what you like and don't like about Thomas. I just mostly had a problem with Rose Supreme. What he/she said came off like I was in the wrong for liking BWBA. I've seen him/her do the same thing on Twitter: say people are stupid for liking "insert thing here".

I was simply saying what I've heard on Twitter. I heard that the viewings for Thomas were up after the change. I saw the nomination for the award. I assumed that it was making a difference. But I mistaken. I'm sorry for that.

I admit, lazy and unimaginative were the wrong words to use. I literally said in one of my latest posts that I wanted to see how people would change up the show if you want/had to. So Rose Supreme just saying that they'd just go back to how it was before felt a bit lazy to me. But even in that original post, I said that I respect his/her opinion which I do, but then you and him went off.

As for the Steam Team, I never said that the current Steam Team of seven wasn't overcrowded. If we really want to reduce it more, we can ditch Emily. She didn't do anything in S22 and her role as token female main character is being filled. And besides, Mr. Seanrail's idea for the Steam Team also included Duck, Donald, Douglas, and Oliver as well. But I guess you left them out so that your "sick" 10 commandments insult can work. (Kind of stupid comparison as the 10 commandments are clearly a more important issue than Thomas and Friends) 14 main characters is a lot you must admit. If the current show put more focus on the Steam Team, then I'd say they could handle a team of 8, 9, or maybe 10 members.

In conclusion, I was tired from studying and angry at Rose when I made that post so I said stuff that I shouldn't of said. I'm not very good expressing my feelings through text. (It doesn't help when some people don't read the full post and they misinterpret what you say but that's a different story). But please understand that I respect you guys opinions but I felt like I was being attacked by Rose based on prior events and I overreacted. Can we please just move on with our lives?
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 07:38:04 PM by Streak » Logged
Chaz


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« Reply #1141 on: December 23, 2018, 07:59:22 PM »

As for the Steam Team, I never said that the current Steam Team of seven wasn't overcrowded. If we really want to reduce it more, we can ditch Emily. She didn't do anything in S22 and her role as token female main character is being filled.

The thing is, Emily is a perfect example of how to work in a new main character into a show by introducing her in season 7 and then became a main character in season 8.  Her introduction as well as her development as a main character was handled far more appropriately than Nia and Rebecca have been handled.  Emily didn't replace anyone, she has no flashy/gimmicky livery or design, and there was no manipulation surrounding her or her prescence.  She was just added, worked in over time and it didn't feel in the least bit forced.

With Nia and Rebecca it seems they are just coming off as desperate attempts by Mattel with an incredibly manipulative vibe attached while just showing up and are welcomed in with open arms.  I also agree that if they had to be in the main cast they should be respectfully be introduced this season, given some backstory and some actual development (and not some stupid episode about counting..), and then by the end of the season have them welcomed into the main cast, not replacing anyone and having the cast go up to an even 10.  You know, a more even number for a childrenís show!

BUT before we go even that far, did the show actually NEED Nia and Rebecca?  Rosie got a new livery and could have used he development in season 21 and 22 and she could have easily joined the main cast and Ashima could easily have pulled a ďGatorĒ and came to visit Sodor and found a reason to stay as a permanent resident, immediately filling the bill better for new main characters than Nia and Rebecca ever did.  Thus you have 1-7, Emily, Rosie, and Ashima as a much more solid main cast.

And no, 10 is not a large cast of main characters.  If you are going to tell me otherwise, then the cast of Full House would love to have a word with you.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 08:08:51 PM by Chaz » Logged
Streak

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« Reply #1142 on: December 23, 2018, 08:35:11 PM »

I do agree with you that how Nia and Rebecca were added could've have been much better. Nia was handeled the better of the two in my opinion. There was build-up what with episodes like A Shed for Edward giving the reason why Edward moves out and she got the whole BWBA movie to introduce herself. There are some problems with the execution however. The whole "homelessness" thing that allows her to stay is barely expanded upon as was a lot of things from the end of the movie. It would be different if they were saving it as a future plot line but after S22, I guess it was just a way to get her to stay and no more. Rebecca was definitely more rushed. Henry just up and moves out with no explanation and at the same exact time Rebecca moves in. It was too convenient. Too engineered. I'm fine with Nia and Rebecca being here but they definitely could've been introduced better. But other than that, I'm fine with Rosie staying as a side character (although it was pretty weird how they went to all that trouble and redesigned her yet she's still a side character) and Ashima wasn't really that interesting in Great Race so I don't know about adding her in.

As for Emily, you're right about her introduction. She got one season as a normal new character and then got slowly worked into the main cast. But nowadays, Emily doesn't really do much. Did she even have a line in S22? Ever since the CGI switch over, Emily's been pretty bland and generically nice. Honestly, her best CGI episode role was Flatbeds of Fear but even then her role could've been filled by anyone. I wish they'd bring back Emily's more impatient side from S8-S12. Back then, she had a clear dynamic with the Steam Team. Now she feels like filler and is being overshadowed especially by Nia who has a leg up on her thanks to her sass.

The thing about Full House was that the show was always centered around those characters. Thomas and Friends is a different beast entirely. There are so many side characters who get so much screentime compared to engines like Emily and Edward. S13-16 was bad but it at least gave each of the main characters at the very least one episode. S17-S22 haven't done that because they're too busy focusing on characters like Diesel, Philip, Daisy, etc. If you're not going to use a main character, then why are they a main character? We shouldn't have a main cast of ten characters only for three or four to get not as much focus as the other ones. They'd need to put a heavier focus on the main cast if they want to do that. But people still want to see the side characters get episodes. So I don't know what to do.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 08:51:55 PM by Streak » Logged
Chaz


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« Reply #1143 on: December 23, 2018, 09:13:03 PM »

Did she even have a line in S22?

http://ttte.wikia.com/wiki/Emily

Quote
Season 22 - Forever and Ever, Confusion Without Delay, Trusty Trunky (cameo), What Rebecca Does, An Engine of Many Colours, School of Duck, Seeing is Believing, Samson and the Fireworks, Rosie is Red (cameo), Thomas' Animal Ark, Cyclone Thomas (stock footage) and Counting on Nia (does not speak)

The argument with Full House in the picture has nothing to do with the fact that they are different shows (if that wasnít obvious enough).  It is because the main cast number is fairly large, which again your argument for Thomas was that it was too big (which again it isnít).  Other childrenís programming (namely Sesame Street) again have a large cast and seem to get on just fine too.  Characters having a little bit of an imbalance is in some ways normal, if not expected, you will have some who will always get spotlight like Thomas Percy and James and some are going to be used less so, but again still having the main character label attached.

The Brenner era definetely took a lot more of a unique twist by focusing a lot more on side characters and not the main characters nearly as much as the Miller era.  However, the main cast was still used regularly to a point where their status in the show made sense, for the most part.  Toby got the short end of the stick at season 17 and Tale of the Brave, but even then, once Henrietta gained a face in season 18 Toby managed to be even more fleshed out than ever and had at least one lead role every season for the rest of that era.  So aside from Toby, even though Edward had the least amount of lead roles in that era, his consistent appearances were at least in my eyes still worthy enough of having him stick around as a main character.  Henryís removal makes the least amount of sense compared to Edward and Toby since he actually had a LOT of lead and supporting roles in the Brenner era, even two supporting roles in specials.  They donít need to have a perfect balance of main characters, but they do need to find better ways to incorporate new main characters into the show if they really want to win their audience back.
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Cheeky_ULP


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« Reply #1144 on: December 23, 2018, 10:32:40 PM »

Remember when the show was called Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and any character that wasn't Thomas, Percy or James was all Thomas' friends and supporting cast, with no uniform "team" nonsense
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Streak

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« Reply #1145 on: December 23, 2018, 11:11:37 PM »

Remember when the show was called Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and any character that wasn't Thomas, Percy or James was all Thomas' friends and supporting cast, with no uniform "team" nonsense

Honestly you hit the nail on the coffin here. At this point, they should just make Thomas the sole main character and the rest of them supporting characters. But of course a team of main characters that they can show off is more marketable I guess. The Steam Team is just a marketing term with no real meaning in the actual show. Maybe that's why I just can't get angry at Rebecca and Nia replacing Henry and Edward because they didn't get replaced in the first place. They're still around and kicking and didn't get kicked from the show like the Logging Locos and Diesel 10 (who still get toys for some reason. Someone explain how that works.)


The argument with Full House in the picture has nothing to do with the fact that they are different shows (if that wasnít obvious enough).  It is because the main cast number is fairly large, which again your argument for Thomas was that it was too big (which again it isnít).  Other childrenís programming (namely Sesame Street) again have a large cast and seem to get on just fine too.  Characters having a little bit of an imbalance is in some ways normal, if not expected, you will have some who will always get spotlight like Thomas Percy and James and some are going to be used less so, but again still having the main character label attached.


That's not how main characters are supposed to work though. The literal definition of a main character is to be the central focus of the story/show. The characters in the Full House were the MAIN focus so they are the main characters, but Thomas and Friends' main characters aren't all part of the focus. At this point, Thomas really should be the only main character because he's the only one that it all centers around. It's called Thomas and Friends after all. The rest of the cast can just range from prominent side characters, minor side characters, and background characters.

The Brenner era definetely took a lot more of a unique twist by focusing a lot more on side characters and not the main characters nearly as much as the Miller era.  However, the main cast was still used regularly to a point where their status in the show made sense, for the most part.  Toby got the short end of the stick at season 17 and Tale of the Brave, but even then, once Henrietta gained a face in season 18 Toby managed to be even more fleshed out than ever and had at least one lead role every season for the rest of that era.  So aside from Toby, even though Edward had the least amount of lead roles in that era, his consistent appearances were at least in my eyes still worthy enough of having him stick around as a main character.  Henryís removal makes the least amount of sense compared to Edward and Toby since he actually had a LOT of lead and supporting roles in the Brenner era, even two supporting roles in specials.  They donít need to have a perfect balance of main characters, but they do need to find better ways to incorporate new main characters into the show if they really want to win their audience back.

I definitely think that Henry had strong reasons to stay on the team. Henry especially added a unique dynamic to the main cast and he played off them really well. Toby didn't interact with the rest of the team that often and Edward didn't get much screen time before his last season as a main character. I'd say in order of marketability, the OG Steam Team would probably be Thomas, James, Percy, Gordon, Emily, Henry, Edward, and finally Toby. (Ironically, that's the Roll Call order). If we're going by importance to least importance, I'd say Thomas, Percy, James, Gordon, Henry, Edward, Toby, and then Emily last. (Emily adds nothing to the team that can't be done by Edward and Toby doesn't even live with them so he barely interacts with them) Now I don't believe that any of these characters aren't unimportant, this is just based on the past few seasons and the characters' dynamic with each other.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 11:40:58 PM by Streak » Logged
AJW98Productions


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« Reply #1146 on: December 24, 2018, 07:29:03 AM »

Hey everybody. First of all, I want to wish you all a merry Christmas for tomorrow, to those who celebrate it, and to those that donít, I hope you all have a great day regardless.

Now, Iíd suggest that if the discussion of how to progress the show forward is to go on, Iíd suggest we all be kind and reasonable with each other, and open to the opinions of others. This forum is supposed to be a kind and open environment for everybody to weigh in on things, and this topic especially, as it regards everything Thomas related. With that said I will not lay blame squarely on anyone or any people. Most people involved seem to be past the point of arguing at least, and I suggest we try to keep it this way. Especially since this is supposed to be a happy time of year.

With this in mind, I canít say Iíve really bothered that much with BWBA, I donít like it much, but Iím also well outside the target audience. From what I have seen, I rate it higher than S13-16 at least, but take that with a grain of sand, as I havenít really gone out of my way to watch much of it.

I also donít particularly like the premise of BWBA, but I havenít had many unique opinions to add to the mix that no one on here or twitter seems to have said better. I really canít say much about it that hasnít been said, and I donít particularly like seeing Edward and Henry booted out in favour of the newer cast, but Iím not the one at Mattel making the choices. If the viewer numbers are up, Iíd be okay to see it stay like this for a bit, though I hope it does return to a similar state to that of the Brenner era soon enough. Especially since - if the views are up - I donít see them staying up forever. At which point maybe the show will go through another rebrand. Personally Iíd hope for something I enjoy more, but also one thatís more lucrative for the big wigs at Mattel. But that may not be possible, I do understand.

Iím not sure what Iíd do about the merchandise though, the sad thing is that toys as a concept seem to be getting phased out in favour of more portable entertainment (such as iPads). With that said, if the recent redesigns to the prominent toy ranged have actually caused sales to drop, Mattel really needs to weigh their options. Especially since (from what Iím given to understand), a decent amount of the profit the Thomas and friends franchise makes, comes from the toy lines.

Finally, as to how Iíd reboot the show? Well, thatís complicated. Even moving forward, the BWBA branding would have to be slowly phased out, otherwise itíd seem like a jarring change, much like season 8 was at the time to the classic fans, but perhaps even moreso. My idea probably does seem a little uncreative, and Iím not taking shots with that label, I think it is a bit uncreative, but it is the way Iíd go.

The ďSteam TeamĒ moving forward:
Firstly, drop the concept of the ďsteam teamĒ, the show is called Thomas and Friends, and if we want to make the most out of the merchandiseable side characters, we can rotate them as need be. I think a lot of people think of the concept of the steam team being an inherently classic creation, and whilst 1-7 do come from season 1, even then not everyone has settled into their roles completely. I find the best example of this to be Percy. In the modern series, Percy is one of the most merchandiseable characters we have on the show. But IIRC, he was the least used of the whole cast of steam engines in Season 1, getting 1 lead role, and one prominent side role, and thatís about it honestly. Even though it was in my favourite episode trilogy of the classic series (tenders and turntables).

Big World, Big Baggage:
Okay, so thatís probably my least controversial suggestion, so letís move on to the next one. To phase out the BWBA branding, Iíd still have a decent number of abroad episodes in the following season, but instead of half the season, maybe a third (or a bit less), and gradually reduce them from there. I donít hate the premise of BWBA and the abroad episodes, but I really donít feel like it lends itself well to the Thomas franchise, due to the impracticality of moving engines over oceans. Thomas as a franchise was originally rooted in relative realism (save for the anthropomorphised engines), so Iíd suggest that if (for marketing reasons), the overseas aspects must stay, we could give them a spin off show of their own, much like Gullane tried to do with Jack and the Pack prior to the HiT buyout. And maybe cross these shows over about once per season after the BWBA branding has been all but removed. Admittedly, Iíd rather separate the concepts almost completely, like having Thomas in the BWBA world would be fine, but Iíd rather keep those characters in their own show. Admittedly, this is my suggestion that Iím the least sold-on. Itís not an ideal suggestion, but I feel like itís fairly realistic, if BWBA were to be phased out, at the very least. And whilst the title may not be BWBA by that point, Iíll continue calling it that for convenience sake.

BWBA episodes and spin-off:
Iíd suggest for the BWBA episodes (prior to being gradually reduced and removed from the series proper, and introduced into their own show), Iíd say that, why limit Thomas to their overseas representative? If weíre going to keep that concept up for a little, we should at least have James and/or Percy get some screen time overseas, in my opinion. T&F have many merchandiseable characters, so Iíd suggest that we use them. And once theyíve got their own spin off, maybe rotate some of your main Thomas characters through appearing as cameos (and occasionally prominent side characters or lead roles), a decent amount per season. A couple of times a season maybe Thomas could have a lead role himself? Just to put emphasis that the shows are in the same universe, and I think that may help marketability, especially in todayís ďstream whole seasons at a timeĒ mentality of TV viewing.

Moving on, now that we have these aspects to juggle, Iíll go over a few more suggestions before getting to what seems to be the most important aspect to most people (along with one of the most controversial), character balance.

Small Railway and Narrow Gauge episodes:
Iíll admit, the S4 and S5 Narrow Gauge episodes were favourites of mine as a child, so Iím probably a bit bias here, but Iíll do my best to factor my input in. Because I feel like these characters are marketable, but hard to deal with sometimes. Iíd suggest that these 2 areas are hard to work out what to do with, but I have a suggestion; minimum of two episodes for the Narrow Gauge Railway, and one-two for the Small Railway, per season, and if one of them gets more than three, the other shouldnít have more than three. I feel like thatís a good way of balancing these side characters, as they are side characters, but they have had a good run in the Railway Series (especially the Narrow Gauge engines). I feel like this opens the cast up quite a bit, as itís easy to rotate which engine on which line can have episode focus, who prominent side characters can be, and who can cameo. Plus with the NG engines, most standard gauge engines can cameo, and with the Small Railway, Ryan, Daisy, Oliver, and Duck can all theoretically cameo, though really if the plot demands Thomas or a more prominent main character in that position, thatís fine too. I feel like if BWBA is relegated to a spin-off, these engines can get a little more focus going forward, but varying, as the plot demands.

The Railway Series:
When the Small Railway engineís weíre introduced, people loved seeing Railway Series work adapted for television again, we still have a tapestry of unadapted stories from the Railway Series, and a decent amount of unadapted characters too. Iíd suggest varying numbers of adaptations per season, Thomas is still the lead character, and most stories in which he has a lead role, have already been adapted, save for a few more gimmicky episodes in Christopher Awdryís run. Not sure how manyvstories youíd want per season, but Iíd suggest grouping up stories from the same book. Sort of like how the adaptations of the Small Railway engines were grouped up in Season 20. Iíd personally love to see Bear and D199 introduced, though due to some of the (in my opinion) questionable (but in some cases necessary) decisions made in the adaptation of Season 3, Iíd say their introduction may need a bit of rewriting, but it is an adaptation, if doesnít have to be a word-for-word retelling.

Culdee Fell
I considered putting this under the last section, but based on the appearance of this reply Iím writing on the mobile site, the last section started to get a little bloated, so I figured putting it under its own section was the best course of action. So, these engines only ever appeared in one book, you could theoretically get 4 episodes of that in a season (though perhaps it could be cut down to 3, but that may be pushing it). Iíd say after their initial run, they could become returning background characters, with a limited number of prominent side roles and lead roles going forward. The good thing with these engines is, after the initial adaptations, the TV staff can more or less do whatever they please with them, because they only appeared in one book, but as well as that, the Peel Godred branch line is operated by the main line engines in the TV series continuity, which means that any of the main cast (Thomas included), could theoretically appear alongside these engines, plus, one of their initial introductory episodes could effectively serve as a Narrow Gauge episode as well, due to the fact that the premise is Culdee recounting a story to the more haughty members of the Narrow Gauge cast. Though, I would suggest that this story get a bit...Ētamed downĒ for its TV appearance, and put additional emphasis on the fact that itís just a story Culdee is telling, not a real event. (I know that the whole ďwas Godred just a storyĒ thing is questionable between the stories and the expanded lore, but weíll ignore that question, the TV Series is its own continuity after all). But finally, we get the question of liveries for them. This is part of why they werenít considered in the model series, because they all have the same livery...now, this is a hard one, but I suggest that Culdee be kept in his famous purple livery, and perhaps some liveries with the other engines could be varied. This isnít unprecedented, the TV series already did this with the Narrow Gauge engines, Rheneas only ever apppeared in variations of the Skarloey Railway red in the Railway Series, and Rusty was painted black. For the TV series, Rheneas was a darker orange, and Rusty a somewhat lighter shade, whilst Peter Sam, Sir Handel and Duke kept their MSR liveries. Iíd say that the Culdee Fell engineís could be given new liveries, for some of them, and that other engines could have liveries based off other liveries the Snowdon Railway (which the Culdee Fell railway is based upon) has used for their steam engines in real life. And if that doesnít cover the roster of engines they choose to include, they could just as easily make some up, much like Rheneas and Rusty. Plus whilst I know that they had no more stories written about them, as there wasnít really anything more to write that could be based on stories from the Snowdon Railway, but the consensus does seem to be that the season 5 Narrow Gauge episodes are pretty good (save for some of the debate around Indiana Rusty and the Boulder of Doom), so Iíd suggest the Culdee Fell engineís could be handled in a similar way, but, Iíd only introduce them once BWBA would be created into its own spin-off show, as otherwise it opens up a lot of issues when balancing which characters you want to use in lead or lesser roles each season.

Balancing such a massive cast:
People, thereís no denying that Thomas and Friends has a huge cast. And such a large cast is hard to balance. Hence why Iíd do away with the idea of a steam team, I feel like itís limiting, and reduces the show down to a few characters whilst neglecting other marketable ones. So how would I handle it? Well, remember my Percy point from earlier, and my point about perhaps hearing the show to be handled in a way thatís friendly to streaming services? That wasnít for nothing, and allow me to explain why.
In Season 1, itís true that Percy had little to do after his introduction, whereas other engines did have large roles, notably James, Henry, and Gordon all had a decent amount of lead roles. We would see comparatively less of these three next season, as they played more supporting roles, whilst Percy had a very large number of lead roles throughout. Ever notice how the constant aspect of the classic series was Thomas? Whilst the side characters rotated in terms of prominence. This is how Iíd approach the concept of ďlead charactersĒ (that arenít Thomas) moving forward, Iíd still suggest that a lot of the S8 onwards main cast (plus maybe Nia and Rebecca, as I havenít seen enough of them to comment on their presence) should have slightly more screen time than our other rotating characters, but they donít need to be all in lead roles, and their usage can vary from season to season - again, Percy is undeniably an important character to the story in season 1, but he has to wait until season 2 to shine, and other main characters had somewhat reduced roles to compensate for this, while new characters got their time in the sun to be introduced and fleshed out, before being put into side or background roles, throughout the rest of the season, and in following seasons. Iíd suggest doing this going forward, some seasons will have the important side characters being more important than others, some seasons may have lesser side characters playing larger roles. However you want it to work, I feel like this is the best method to deal with such a large cast going forward. The usage of Thomas can even vary through seasons (he was undoubtedly a more noteworthy presence in Season 1 and 2 than in 3 and 4), But I do think keeping him as a frequently occurring background character (or a side character thatís only there to say a line or two) when he isnít in a lead role is a good method going forward, with such a large cast to balance (even though itís easy enough to rotate the main and lesser side characters from season to season), I think this is the way to go about it. Iíd say that Thomas shouldnít have more than about a 1/3rd of the lead roles in a season, and shouldnít have less than a 1/4th. With such a large cast, Thomas is definitely the overarching ďconstantĒ in his own franchise.

Honestly, I havenít seen a whole lot of the BWBA stuff, but from what I have seen, I havenít loved it, and itís not really for me either. And based off the marketing, they really arenít targeting my demographic either, and whilst I donít mind this, it does seem to not be all that compatible with the established Thomas brand up until now, but getting rid of it suddenly, does seem like too drastic of an overhaul. So Iíd phase it out gradually, before perhaps turning it into its own spin-off. But other than the spin-off and BWBA stuff, thatís probably how Iíd handle the show going forward. Itís not perfect, but the TV show does have pre-existing baggage, tone, and the fact that it has extensive toy lines to advertise, to contend with. And those are my suggestions that Iím trying to keep contained within the pre-existing limitations of what already exists.

Criticism is welcome, but I do ask that my opinions are respected, and that everybody (yes, everybody) whoís been caught up in this little bickering match just calm down a little. At the end of the day, weíre a minority of fans expressing our feelings on the internet about a franchise we all love, and want to see prosper, and I donít think we should lose sight of that, even if we disagree on how.

Also, sorry if this reads as being excessively long, a bit of a stream of consciousness, and is chock full of spelling mistakes. Iíve written it from my phone as opposed to my laptop (which I normally write from), and the mobile site makes replying and spell check a bit less reliable in my experience. Doesnít help that I suck at writing in landscape mode. As for why Iím writing now then, as opposed to when I have my laptop, well, in private correspondence, a friend was curious about my thoughts, so I figured Iíd elaborate on them in here, instead of waiting any longer.

Anyway, if anyone reading this has made it this far, thank you for reading, happy holidays, and have a great day tomorrow! Cheesy

~Alex
« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 07:30:35 AM by AJW98Productions » Logged
Streak

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« Reply #1147 on: December 24, 2018, 12:48:18 PM »

The ďSteam TeamĒ moving forward:
Firstly, drop the concept of the ďsteam teamĒ, the show is called Thomas and Friends, and if we want to make the most out of the merchandiseable side characters, we can rotate them as need be. I think a lot of people think of the concept of the steam team being an inherently classic creation, and whilst 1-7 do come from season 1, even then not everyone has settled into their roles completely. I find the best example of this to be Percy. In the modern series, Percy is one of the most merchandiseable characters we have on the show. But IIRC, he was the least used of the whole cast of steam engines in Season 1, getting 1 lead role, and one prominent side role, and thatís about it honestly. Even though it was in my favourite episode trilogy of the classic series (tenders and turntables).

I definitely agree with this idea. I completely forgot that Percy only had one real episode in Season 1 so you bring up a good point. If we had to keep the Steam Team in, they should either focus more on them (especially as a unit) or at least distribute the focus evenly across them (except for Thomas, he'd get more focus than all most likely since he's the namesake). But if we're trying to perfect the classic/Brenner era, it's definitely best to just have Thomas as the sole main character, giving the writers complete reign to write for whoever they want. It's strange how they sell so much merchandise of Charlie, Stanley, and Diesel 10 yet they do nothing in the show proper and how there is no/little to no merchandise for characters like Daisy and Duck who are used pretty often. They need to balance it out.

Big World, Big Baggage:
Okay, so thatís probably my least controversial suggestion, so letís move on to the next one. To phase out the BWBA branding, Iíd still have a decent number of abroad episodes in the following season, but instead of half the season, maybe a third (or a bit less), and gradually reduce them from there. I donít hate the premise of BWBA and the abroad episodes, but I really donít feel like it lends itself well to the Thomas franchise, due to the impracticality of moving engines over oceans. Thomas as a franchise was originally rooted in relative realism (save for the anthropomorphised engines), so Iíd suggest that if (for marketing reasons), the overseas aspects must stay, we could give them a spin off show of their own, much like Gullane tried to do with Jack and the Pack prior to the HiT buyout. And maybe cross these shows over about once per season after the BWBA branding has been all but removed. Admittedly, Iíd rather separate the concepts almost completely, like having Thomas in the BWBA world would be fine, but Iíd rather keep those characters in their own show. Admittedly, this is my suggestion that Iím the least sold-on. Itís not an ideal suggestion, but I feel like itís fairly realistic, if BWBA were to be phased out, at the very least. And whilst the title may not be BWBA by that point, Iíll continue calling it that for convenience sake.

Have you seen any of the Sodor episodes? That's mostly the best part of Season 22. The international episodes, while not bad, are pretty dull and repetitive since they all focus on Thomas. But that's beside the point. I definitely like the idea of turning the international episodes into more of a spin-off show. From what I've heard, S23 may change up a few things with the formula established last season. It's clear Thomas will be exploring Italy next season but  it's a possibility that the other three previous countries might focus on the international engines themselves instead of Thomas (which is a start).

Small Railway and Narrow Gauge episodes:
Iíll admit, the S4 and S5 Narrow Gauge episodes were favourites of mine as a child, so Iím probably a bit bias here, but Iíll do my best to factor my input in. Because I feel like these characters are marketable, but hard to deal with sometimes. Iíd suggest that these 2 areas are hard to work out what to do with, but I have a suggestion; minimum of two episodes for the Narrow Gauge Railway, and one-two for the Small Railway, per season, and if one of them gets more than three, the other shouldnít have more than three. I feel like thatís a good way of balancing these side characters, as they are side characters, but they have had a good run in the Railway Series (especially the Narrow Gauge engines). I feel like this opens the cast up quite a bit, as itís easy to rotate which engine on which line can have episode focus, who prominent side characters can be, and who can cameo. Plus with the NG engines, most standard gauge engines can cameo, and with the Small Railway, Ryan, Daisy, Oliver, and Duck can all theoretically cameo, though really if the plot demands Thomas or a more prominent main character in that position, thatís fine too. I feel like if BWBA is relegated to a spin-off, these engines can get a little more focus going forward, but varying, as the plot demands.

The Railway Series:
When the Small Railway engineís weíre introduced, people loved seeing Railway Series work adapted for television again, we still have a tapestry of unadapted stories from the Railway Series, and a decent amount of unadapted characters too. Iíd suggest varying numbers of adaptations per season, Thomas is still the lead character, and most stories in which he has a lead role, have already been adapted, save for a few more gimmicky episodes in Christopher Awdryís run. Not sure how manyvstories youíd want per season, but Iíd suggest grouping up stories from the same book. Sort of like how the adaptations of the Small Railway engines were grouped up in Season 20. Iíd personally love to see Bear and D199 introduced, though due to some of the (in my opinion) questionable (but in some cases necessary) decisions made in the adaptation of Season 3, Iíd say their introduction may need a bit of rewriting, but it is an adaptation, if doesnít have to be a word-for-word retelling.

Culdee Fell
I considered putting this under the last section, but based on the appearance of this reply Iím writing on the mobile site, the last section started to get a little bloated, so I figured putting it under its own section was the best course of action. So, these engines only ever appeared in one book, you could theoretically get 4 episodes of that in a season (though perhaps it could be cut down to 3, but that may be pushing it). Iíd say after their initial run, they could become returning background characters, with a limited number of prominent side roles and lead roles going forward. The good thing with these engines is, after the initial adaptations, the TV staff can more or less do whatever they please with them, because they only appeared in one book, but as well as that, the Peel Godred branch line is operated by the main line engines in the TV series continuity, which means that any of the main cast (Thomas included), could theoretically appear alongside these engines, plus, one of their initial introductory episodes could effectively serve as a Narrow Gauge episode as well, due to the fact that the premise is Culdee recounting a story to the more haughty members of the Narrow Gauge cast. Though, I would suggest that this story get a bit...Ētamed downĒ for its TV appearance, and put additional emphasis on the fact that itís just a story Culdee is telling, not a real event. (I know that the whole ďwas Godred just a storyĒ thing is questionable between the stories and the expanded lore, but weíll ignore that question, the TV Series is its own continuity after all). But finally, we get the question of liveries for them. This is part of why they werenít considered in the model series, because they all have the same livery...now, this is a hard one, but I suggest that Culdee be kept in his famous purple livery, and perhaps some liveries with the other engines could be varied. This isnít unprecedented, the TV series already did this with the Narrow Gauge engines, Rheneas only ever apppeared in variations of the Skarloey Railway red in the Railway Series, and Rusty was painted black. For the TV series, Rheneas was a darker orange, and Rusty a somewhat lighter shade, whilst Peter Sam, Sir Handel and Duke kept their MSR liveries. Iíd say that the Culdee Fell engineís could be given new liveries, for some of them, and that other engines could have liveries based off other liveries the Snowdon Railway (which the Culdee Fell railway is based upon) has used for their steam engines in real life. And if that doesnít cover the roster of engines they choose to include, they could just as easily make some up, much like Rheneas and Rusty. Plus whilst I know that they had no more stories written about them, as there wasnít really anything more to write that could be based on stories from the Snowdon Railway, but the consensus does seem to be that the season 5 Narrow Gauge episodes are pretty good (save for some of the debate around Indiana Rusty and the Boulder of Doom), so Iíd suggest the Culdee Fell engineís could be handled in a similar way, but, Iíd only introduce them once BWBA would be created into its own spin-off show, as otherwise it opens up a lot of issues when balancing which characters you want to use in lead or lesser roles each season.

If there's one thing that's unfortunate about the Brenner era is the lack of the narrow gauge engines. It would definitely be great for them to give them and the Small Railway engines more focus. As for Railway Series stuff, there's not much I can say about that. It would be great to get more Railway Series characters like Bear, D199, and the two remaining small railway engines, but I wouldn't want them to go crazy with adapting Railway Series stories. It would definitely overshadow the original stuff if they did that. The Culdee Fell engines would work great for a special but I'm unsure about how they'd incorporate them in the actual series. Splitting the focus across four railways may be daunting but who says they all have to get an episode per season.

Balancing such a massive cast:
People, thereís no denying that Thomas and Friends has a huge cast. And such a large cast is hard to balance. Hence why Iíd do away with the idea of a steam team, I feel like itís limiting, and reduces the show down to a few characters whilst neglecting other marketable ones. So how would I handle it? Well, remember my Percy point from earlier, and my point about perhaps hearing the show to be handled in a way thatís friendly to streaming services? That wasnít for nothing, and allow me to explain why.
In Season 1, itís true that Percy had little to do after his introduction, whereas other engines did have large roles, notably James, Henry, and Gordon all had a decent amount of lead roles. We would see comparatively less of these three next season, as they played more supporting roles, whilst Percy had a very large number of lead roles throughout. Ever notice how the constant aspect of the classic series was Thomas? Whilst the side characters rotated in terms of prominence. This is how Iíd approach the concept of ďlead charactersĒ (that arenít Thomas) moving forward, Iíd still suggest that a lot of the S8 onwards main cast (plus maybe Nia and Rebecca, as I havenít seen enough of them to comment on their presence) should have slightly more screen time than our other rotating characters, but they donít need to be all in lead roles, and their usage can vary from season to season - again, Percy is undeniably an important character to the story in season 1, but he has to wait until season 2 to shine, and other main characters had somewhat reduced roles to compensate for this, while new characters got their time in the sun to be introduced and fleshed out, before being put into side or background roles, throughout the rest of the season, and in following seasons. Iíd suggest doing this going forward, some seasons will have the important side characters being more important than others, some seasons may have lesser side characters playing larger roles. However you want it to work, I feel like this is the best method to deal with such a large cast going forward. The usage of Thomas can even vary through seasons (he was undoubtedly a more noteworthy presence in Season 1 and 2 than in 3 and 4), But I do think keeping him as a frequently occurring background character (or a side character thatís only there to say a line or two) when he isnít in a lead role is a good method going forward, with such a large cast to balance (even though itís easy enough to rotate the main and lesser side characters from season to season), I think this is the way to go about it. Iíd say that Thomas shouldnít have more than about a 1/3rd of the lead roles in a season, and shouldnít have less than a 1/4th. With such a large cast, Thomas is definitely the overarching ďconstantĒ in his own franchise.

Honestly, I havenít seen a whole lot of the BWBA stuff, but from what I have seen, I havenít loved it, and itís not really for me either. And based off the marketing, they really arenít targeting my demographic either, and whilst I donít mind this, it does seem to not be all that compatible with the established Thomas brand up until now, but getting rid of it suddenly, does seem like too drastic of an overhaul. So Iíd phase it out gradually, before perhaps turning it into its own spin-off. But other than the spin-off and BWBA stuff, thatís probably how Iíd handle the show going forward. Itís not perfect, but the TV show does have pre-existing baggage, tone, and the fact that it has extensive toy lines to advertise, to contend with. And those are my suggestions that Iím trying to keep contained within the pre-existing limitations of what already exists.

Criticism is welcome, but I do ask that my opinions are respected, and that everybody (yes, everybody) whoís been caught up in this little bickering match just calm down a little. At the end of the day, weíre a minority of fans expressing our feelings on the internet about a franchise we all love, and want to see prosper, and I donít think we should lose sight of that, even if we disagree on how.

Also, sorry if this reads as being excessively long, a bit of a stream of consciousness, and is chock full of spelling mistakes. Iíve written it from my phone as opposed to my laptop (which I normally write from), and the mobile site makes replying and spell check a bit less reliable in my experience. Doesnít help that I suck at writing in landscape mode. As for why Iím writing now then, as opposed to when I have my laptop, well, in private correspondence, a friend was curious about my thoughts, so I figured Iíd elaborate on them in here, instead of waiting any longer.

Anyway, if anyone reading this has made it this far, thank you for reading, happy holidays, and have a great day tomorrow! Cheesy

~Alex

I agree with a lot of what you say. Doing this would definitely perfect the Brenner formula. Personally, I'd still say that I'd change up the show a good deal and make it new but if we were to restore the show to how it was before, this would be a good way to do it. I really appreciate all the ideas you wrote out and I respect all your decisions and opinions. I hope everyone does too, even if they don't necessarily agree with all that you say. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas.
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Rickenbacker 325

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« Reply #1148 on: December 24, 2018, 07:01:48 PM »

Off topic about what you guys are talking about, but it seems like there has been a change to the Troublesome Truck Salt Van. Now it could just be the light, but a picture I saw on eBay shows it in the new packaging with the same color roof as the original Salt Van from a few years ago. The one thing that bugged me what that the roof color was different.

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Streak

Hello, glad to be here! "Ew Aw Few Few"


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« Reply #1149 on: December 24, 2018, 09:53:10 PM »

I believe that's the same shade of gray it's supposed to be. You can see one out of box in one of Chaz's pictures on the Spiteful Brake Van thread and it seems like it matches for the most part. Your's looks a little lighter but I think that's probably just the lighting.

Honestly I'm more focused on the packaging. Why the heck do they refer to all the rolling stock as simply "Rolling Stock" instead of the actual name of the product. This probably bugs me more than it should.
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DrNickRiviera995

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« Reply #1150 on: December 26, 2018, 10:26:24 AM »

Question about Falcon, Stuart and Duke;

I've never read the books so forgive my ignorance if it's answered there, but from watching the tv series, I can never really understand:

1.  Just why were Falcon and Stuart's names changed?

2.  What happened to Duke after Series 4?  He's a focal point of the early narrow gauge shows, but then isn't around anymore post s4.
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HLC Railroad

Steam Locomotive Enthusiast


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« Reply #1151 on: December 26, 2018, 11:02:24 AM »

Stuart and Falcon were their names before they moved to the Skarloey Railway. Duke was only in season 4 because they switched over to using larger narrow gauge models and the funds to build Duke werenít there, and then they turned him into Bertram for that one episode before painting him back the early 2000s, seemingly to use him on screen again, but that never happened. Kind of unfortunate because if the funds were there to build a larger scale Duke then heíd proabably be in the show right now.
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With all these people building their own replica Thomas characters, soon we may have no choice but to have 4K Thomas and Friends remakes.

Thomas:Done | James:Recently Complete | Sir Handel:Finished | Gordon: Needs Paint and Eye Mechanism | Henry: Cad and Chassis

Need I say more?
DrNickRiviera995

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« Reply #1152 on: December 26, 2018, 12:52:07 PM »

Thank you for the reply, yes it's a shame he went away.  Maybe they'll bring him back at some point in the newer shows.  Very surprised they haven't yet. 
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Griffin


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« Reply #1153 on: January 03, 2019, 06:05:36 PM »

Just saw this video from PineTreeJunction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34ao3H_aT40 (great channel, check them out) and seeing that excavator's treads at work gave me a "Terence in Season 1" vibe... can someone please make a G scale Terence now???
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Waiting for Bachmann Stepney...
Chaz


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« Reply #1154 on: January 05, 2019, 10:14:39 PM »



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyHw_w2UgJg

Hey Bach-man, Iím loving your newest revision on your Sodor layout!
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