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Fireman Sam (CGI era, Season 6-present)

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Fireman Sam
SamS6.JPG
Great Fires of London! Even Sam himself isn't able to save the day from his show's seasonal rot.
Genre: Children's animation
Running Time: 10 minutes
Country: United Kingdom
China (CGI production, 2008-2018)
Canada (CGI Production, 2018-present)
Release Date: November 11, 2008 - present
Network(s): S4C (Wales)
BBC One (UK, 1987-2002)
ABC 4 Kids (Australia)
CBeebies (UK, 2002-2008)
Cartoonito (UK, 2008-present)
Milkshake! (Channel 5; UK, 2008-present)
CITV (UK, 2009-2012)
PBS Kids Sprout (US, 2006-2014)
Qubo (US, 2019-2021)
Piwi/Piwi+ (France)
Amazon Prime Video (International)
Created by: Rob Lee
Dave Gingell
Dave Jones
Distributed by: BBC (1987-2003)
HiT Entertainment (2003-2016)
WildBrain (2017-present)
Starring: Steven Kynman (UK)
Su Douglas (UK)
Tegwen Tucker (UK)
Ifan Huw Dafydd (UK)
John Hasler (UK)
Alex Lowe (UK)
Jo Wyatt (UK)
Colin McFarlane (UK)
David Carling (UK & US)
Nigel Whitmey (UK & US)
Andrew Hodwitz (US)
Ashley Magwood (US)
Dave Pender (US)
Mike Pongracz (US)
Sarah Lynn Strange (US)
Carter Treneer (US)
Mark Ricci (US)
Lily Cassano (US)
Jonah Ain (US)
Chris D'Silva (US)
Lily Cassano (US)
Scott Lancastle (US)
Becky Shrimpton (US)
Jacob James (US)
Margaret Brock (US)
Seasons: 13
Episodes: 200+


"Oh, by the way, if you are one of those little bastards who go about disliking episodes of the original Fireman Sam series because it apparently looks fake in comparison to your magnificently shite CGI series, stop it! Just because your generation is FUCKED doesn't mean you can take it out on classic pieces of your parents' culture."
Jeffery Kitsch, from his "Fireman Sam in Action" critique[1]
"And I can easily agree that CGI Fireman Sam is definitely one of those bad reboots! Why do I call this a reboot instead of just Season 6 onwards? Because Season 6 seriously feels like I'm watching a completely different show! The characters look and act different, the setting is different, the animation is different, the feel is different. One of the best things about Season 5 was because even though it was made a few years after the original series ended, that season felt like a sequel season to the show. Kind of like Samurai Jack Season 5. The characters were the same, the setting was the same, the humour was the same, and some elements from the original seasons were present in this season. But Season 6 has basically nothing connected to the fifth season, or the other four seasons, except for, Sam's catchphrase of "Great Fires of London!", the characters' names and theme song. That's basically it!"
James A. Williams, from his "CGI Fireman Sam" rant video

Fireman Sam (also known as Sam Tân) is a British children's television series. It is based around the inhabitants of Welsh town Pontypandy (a portmanteau of the names of two real-life towns, Pontypridd and Tonypandy), especially firefighter Sam Jones.

The show first aired on S4C on 15th September 1987 in Wales and 17th November 1987 on BBC One, four seasons were made until the show ended with the episode "Disaster for Dinner" on 15th October 1994 in Wales and 17th November 1994 in the UK. Nine years later after the original series ended, it would later be revived by HiT Entertainment for a 5th season, which first aired on S4C on 30th March 2003 in Wales and on CBeebies on 4th April 2005 in the UK, the season was concluded on 25th December 2005 with the episode "Let It Snow", after that, re-runs of this season were repeated on CBeebies until 2008 when the show left the channel and soon started airing on Cartoonito and Channel 5's Milkshake block. Later in 2008, the show was revived again for a 6th season and it would be the first season of the show to use CGI animation instead of stop-motion animation.

While the first five seasons (1987-1988, 1990, 1994, 2005) were well received, the same can't be said for Season 6 onwards (2008-present), which have been poorly received by fans and are considered to be the moment where the show would undergo a seasonal rot. These seasons are commonly referred to as the "CGI series" or "new series" by fans.

Why It's Not The Hero Next Door Anymore

  1. Despite being just another attempt to revive the show again rather than a reboot, these seasons have little to no connection to the earlier seasons as some of the characters look absolutely nothing like they did before, and Pontypandy's layout is completely different. Not to mention, these seasons are completely disrespectful to the original source material.
    • Many elements from the classic seasons are nonexistent in these seasons, let alone the fact there is no continuity to any of them. The biggest example being Dilys Price and her shop. Dilys was redesigned to the point where she looks absolutely nothing like her original self and her shop also looks nothing like how it looked in the previous seasons either. It was completely redesigned with no rhyme or reason why, it's just now a supermarket, even though a normal supermarket looks ten times bigger than Dilys' general shop.
      • However, ever since season 8, the shop is no longer called a supermarket, a likely sign that the writers realised all this.
    • To continue with Pontypandy's layout being completely different, most of the locations in Pontypandy alongside Dilys' shop have now been completely redesigned for no reason at all, and they bear little resemblance to how they looked in the classic seasons, with the most notable example being the Pontypandy Fire Station, which almost looks nothing like the original fire station, especially from Heroes of the Storm onward. Pontypandy also seems to now be set way closer to the ocean, even though Pontypandy is supposed to be based on two real life towns called Pontypridd and Tonypandy, and both of these locations are nowhere close to the ocean in real life.
    • In fact, the only bit of connection with the older seasons of the show are the characters' names, the show still being set in Pontypandy (albeit with a different layout), the theme song, a few of the characters' designs making a small resemblance to how they looked in season 5 and Sam still using his "Great fires of London!" catchphrase in seasons 6 and 7, but that's pretty much it.
    • It may be true that practically every revival is not 100% like the original show it is based off, but with these seasons' case, it doesn't matter because they're classified as seasons and not a reboot, and they're extremely unfaithful to the original seasons that it's to the point where the excuse doesn't even matter anymore.
    • This is not helped by the fact that seasons 6, 10 and even 13 sped up the show's decline in quality, with season 6 hitting new lows with the flanderisations of many of the beloved characters and it pretty much kickstarting all of the problems with the CGI seasons, season 10 being infamous for having some of the worst episodes of the show like "Spy Games" and "Froggy Fantasy", as well as season 13 being infamous for pandering towards political correctness by replacing the voice actors for the black characters in the show.
  2. These seasons are rather unnecessary to begin with, since the show really didn't need to be revived again, as HiT Entertainment already revived the show before with season 5, which ended up being a really good season and a great way at trying to revive the show. They could have simply continued with the stop-motion animation, kept the original continuity and/or taken all the great elements from season 5 and put them over into season 6, but for unknown reasons, HiT Entertainment decided to not do that and instead made the decision to revive the show again in CGI, causing the decline to happen.
  3. Much like Bob the Builder (2015), the Netflix era of VeggieTales, Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service, Shimajiro no Wow!, Noddy, Toyland Detective, Monster High (2016), The Powerpuff Girls (2016), Bananas in Pyjamas (2011), Caillou's New Adventures and Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! & All Engines Go!, these seasons try way too hard to modernise the Fireman Sam franchise, but it's modernised very poorly to the point where it doesn't even feel like the same show anymore, and instead feels like all other generic kids show.
  4. The show now uses CGI animation. While it may not necessarily be a bad thing, and the reason for switching to CGI can at least be justifiable, as stop-motion animation is not easy to create in real life, the problem with the CGI animation (at least in season 6-10) is that it is a massive downgrade from the animation in season 5, and is also some of the worst CGI animation in any kids show ever as it looks robotic, jagged, outdated, dull, weak, ugly and lazy, (especially in season 6 and 7, due to them having very low-quality CGI animation, washed-out textures and colours, stilted and robotic movements from the characters and terrible water, fire and smoke effects) to the point where it somewhat looks a bit like something out of a film from Vídeo Brinquedo.
    • It doesn't help by the fact that the show was animated by Xing Xing Digital in season 6-10, a company that is somewhat infamous for making shows with low-budget animation in them, and thus, they did not do a great job at trying to translate Fireman Sam's animation into CGI.
    • Animation errors are even common in these seasons too, even worse compared to the errors that were made in the previous series. One infamous example is in the episode "Floating Cart", which had one scene where Norman, Mike, Helen and her van all disappear for approximately one-fifth of a second in the UK version, as seen in this video. Thankfully, this error is fixed in the US verison. Another example is in "Sticky Situation", where at the very beginning of the episode, you can spot a literal red line (most likely used for making the animation) on the right side of the screen. How did no one in the animation department notice this till James A. Williams (check below) noticed?!
    • Thankfully, it has improved since Season 11 when DHX Media took over, but it's still not perfect, as the fire and smoke effects still look terrible, and is also still not as good as the animation in season 5.
  5. Aside from the unneeded character redesigns like Dilys', the overall character designs in these seasons are extremely unappealing to look at and are mostly unfaithful to the character designs in the original series, as most of the characters look a lot more buff compared to their original counterparts and unlike the first five seasons, which had the characters designed in a ultra cartoonish, semi-realistic style, the characters in these seasons are designed in a realistic style, a style which does not suit them.
    • Sometimes, there are moments where the faces on the characters can look really uncanny, creepy, ugly, laughable or just simply off-putting, with the best examples are seen in these images.
  6. Most of the main characters have gotten flanderised beyond recognition:
    • Norman Price suffers from the absolute worst flanderisation and character derailment of all Fireman Sam characters, and even one of the worst in cartoon history. As he has gone from a mischievous boy who would play harmless tricks on his friends and family while also caring about their safety, into an extremely unlikable, loud, whiny, spoiled, bratty, annoying and arrogant jerk who does very illegal, evil, and dangerous things for the pettiest reasons, he is at his absolute worst in episodes like "Spy Games" and "Froggy Fantasy" where he did things like tying James to a chair for a stupid stunt scene for a movie in the former episode and trapping him inside the changing rooms by literally gluing the door shut just so he could be the star of a synchronised swimming show in the latter episode. And has put his friends in danger on several occasions.
      • What makes his character even more aggravating in these seasons is that most episodes involve him doing something ridiculous, and they always end in unintentional failure due to him not planning them out which therefore causes him to get into trouble, but unlike in the first five seasons, these are not harmless pranks or silly tricks, as mentioned above, Norman actually commits a lot of dangerous stunts and tricks that are more harmful towards the people around him.
        • Whilst Norman had his first share of moments where he did harmful stunts in the first five seasons, most of his actions were often planned out to prevent failure and his irresponsible actions only happened every once in a while, not every episode.
      • It doesn't help by the fact that he gets way too much screen time in many episodes of these seasons, even when he's not the main focus. The writers seem to have the motto of, "When in doubt, always shove Norman into the scene."
      • To make matters worse, every episode where he serves as the main character ends with him apologising for his irresponsible and/or reckless behaviour, with the team letting him off with a warning and Norman acting like he's "learned" his lesson, but quickly forgets everything he's learned in the next episode.
        • Because of this, he never gets any sort of character development in these seasons and his personality has remained the exact same in every season of the show since season 6, in fact, his character got even worse as the show went along, not helping by the fact he causes nearly every emergency in seasons 8-10.
    • Elvis Cridlington has gone from a somewhat dimwitted, yet friendly firefighter into an idiotic firefighter who is terrible at his job. Sure, Elvis had his fair share of dumb moments in the first five series, such as trying to put out an electrical fire with a bucket in "A Real Live Wire", but he still did a decent job as a firefighter, but here, his incompetence is so bad that it makes you wonder why he even chose to be a firefighter in the first place.
      • Some examples of him being an absolute moron and a knucklehead in these seasons is when he got scared of being in a helicopter harness (even though he's a fireman) and when he fed Radar the Fire Station Dog chocolate (which are sweets that can actually kill dogs), mistaking them for doggy treats.
      • It seems like the writers were trying to make Elvis more of a comic-relief in these seasons in an attempt of making him "funnier", but it doesn't work well at all because even though Elvis was not a comic relief in the first five seasons, he was still a funny character, and although they do try to make him funny here, but it just comes across as annoying and frustrating than actually funny.
    • Station Officer Steele has gone from a strict and mature authority figure into a silly doofus who never reprimands Elvis when he does something wrong. He does yell things like "Cridlington!", but even that's not saying much. Although, he is still likable most of the time and is much more competent and tolerable when compared to Elvis Cridlington, as he is still capable of doing his job at being the fire station's senior officer.
    • Sarah and James Jones have gone from being kind and caring siblings who both loved each other no matter what into problematic siblings that act like complete jerks to each other to the point where they constantly quarrel and fight each other 24/7 for no rhyme or reason whatsoever.
      • James has also been reduced into nothing more than just a punching bag for Norman, as he often is always the victim of Norman's irresponsible actions and most of the episodes where Norman is at his absolute worst is when he is trying to do something harmful towards James.
  7. Some of the voice acting is painful to listen to, with the voices ranging from annoying to unpleasant, especially the children, Elvis and some other characters, especially in the UK dub.
    • In the UK version, the voices for the children in particular, including Sarah and James sound terrible, as they sound more like adults giving high pitched voices than actual children. The worst example among them is unquestionably Steve Kynman as Norman, whose voice can be downright unbearable to listen to, as it sounds like a terrible cross between Jar Jar Binks and Carl Wheezer from Jimmy Neutron with a Welsh accent at the same time. The worst example occurs during the scene in the episode "Cry Wolf" where he confesses to Dilys that he was the one who set off the fire alarm. It's rather pathetic when compared to the voice actors for the children's characters in season 5 because they actually did fantastic jobs at trying to create real children voices and it feels like they actually had a lot more effort into making the voices, even John Alderton in the first four seasons did a much better job at voicing the children, and he voiced every single character in those seasons too! When comparing those seasons to these ones, it feels the voice actors didn't even try here.
    • Elvis' voice is very annoying to listen to because it sounds like Steve Kynman doing a poor man's version of Elvis' voice from Season 5 and it makes him sound a lot dumber than he was in the first five seasons, similar to the new voice that was given to Muck in the Bob the Builder reboot.
    • Some characters even have almost the exact same voice as other characters, with the most notable example being Trevor Evans, Mike Flood and Charlie Jones, who all sound exactly the same. It doesn't help by the fact that Trevor Evans and Mike Flood shared the same voice actor until season 12 (David Carling). Similarly, James' voice in season 6 and 7 sounds barely any different from Norman's (due to the fact they shared the same voice actor at the time, Steven Kynman), but at a higher pitch. However, as of season 8, John Hasler voices James instead, giving the character a more distinctive voice.
    • To make matters worse, none of the voice actors from season 5 (John Sparkes, Sarah Hadland and Joanna Ruiz) reprise their roles for the characters that they played as, and even though Steve Kynman, Su Douglas, David Carling, Tegwen Tucker and the rest of the voice crew since season 6 do decent jobs at replacing the voices for the characters (with the exception of few characters like Elvis Cridlington and the children), they don't sound as good as the ones given by John Sparkes, Sarah Hadland, Joanna Ruiz in season 5 or even John Alderton in the first four seasons.
  8. These seasons try hard to be hip with the kids, such as having the characters use smartphones, whilst it may not be a bad thing since the show was never explicitly set in one timeline and it is still airing in a era where everyone uses smartphones nowadays, but either way, it feels quite out of place since the first five seasons rarely tried to be hip with kids.
    • In fact, there is even an entire episode, namely "Alien Bug Hunt", which capitalises on the craze that was generated by Pokémon Go. It's true that Pokémon is one of the most popular franchises in the world and that Pokémon Go is a popular app, especially in 2016, but dedicating a whole parody of Pokémon Go like that really shows none of the writers was even trying here.
      • To make matter's worse, Pokémon Go was no longer as popular by the time that this episode was released, thus making it extremely outdated, not helping by the fact that the episode aired in 2018, that is two years after the game had massive attention.
  9. The music is rather bland compared to the previous series, as most of it feels like the same melodies every single time but with a few notes switched around. Even the rendition of the iconic rescue theme that was recomposed from the fifth season got really dull and repetitive, as there is a section at the end not in the original that never seems to stop playing until the rescue is over.
    • Though it should also be worth noting that the original rescue theme itself was retired from use in season 12.
  10. The emergencies are heavily watered down when compared to the first five seasons, as they're rather way too simple, not very threatening or are rehashed from previous seasons, or in the case of the 11th episode from season 6 "Seeing Red" where Sarah trips over a pebble and hurts her knee, not very well suited for a fire emergency and more suitable for a hospital emergency. However, the worst emergencies these seasons have to offer are the ones caused by Norman, as he causes nearly every single emergency in seasons 8-10 and never learns from his mistakes from doing those emergencies, with the most infamous examples of these emergencies are when he ties James up in a room that has Joe's petrol cans in "Spy Games", and when he caused James to get stuck in the swimming pool changing room by gluing the inside of the keyhole on his changing room door in the infamous episode "Froggy Fantasy", which is considered by many fans to be one of the most infamous moments in the show to date, due to how delusional and despicable Norman was when he did that such a horrible thing to James, thankfully he got punished for it by doing chores after how disgusted the townspeople were at Norman trapping James in the changing rooms.
    • The same can be said about the rescue scenes in seasons 6-10, as they are lackluster and lack a sense of action mainly due to how predictably solved they are and suffer from very slow pacing thanks to the terrible animation these seasons have, where as in the stop-motion era, the rescue scenes were portrayed as very serious and had the viewer fearing what was going to happen to the firemen what if they would make it out alive or not, which is something that the CGI era completely lacks altogether. However, the rescue scenes somewhat improved in Season 11 and have been consistently solid ever since Xing Xing Digital stopped animating the series.
  11. Even though this was unintentional and was obviously beyond the scope of HiT Entertainment's and Mattel's control as they both originally had no idea for what the animation team for the show could sneak in, the show ended up receiving a massive amount of backlash due to one infamous scene in the season 9 episode "Troubled Waters", which involved Elvis accidentally stepping and slipping on a page of the Qur'an.[2] It spawned so much controversies that both HiT Entertainment and Mattel both later realised this was a big mistake, and not only was the episode banned from future airings, but they also stated that they would no longer be working with Xing Xing Digital, one of the animation companies working for the show since the switch to CGI in the first place back in 2008, causing the show to be animated by DHX Media instead from season 11 onwards.
    • The offending scene was later re-edited to have the page changed to a blank piece of paper, but even so, the damage had already been done by then.
  12. Sometimes, a few episodes can often have major plot holes or notable goofs that can often make the viewers scratch their heads, with most of them being even worse than some of the goofs or errors that were made in the first five seasons. Some examples include:
    • Nipper being seen in photo with the Pontypandy Fire Brigade and not Radar in "Norman's Big Fossil Adventure".
    • The rain not extinguishing the fire in the Heroes of the Storm movie. Funny thing is that rain extinguishing fire was used as a plot device during the climax of The Great Fire of Pontypandy, which was made 4 years earlier.
    • The aforementioned scene where Norman, Mike, Helen and her van all disappear for approximately one-fifth of a second in the UK version of "Floating Cart".
    • Station Officer Steele not moving his mouth when he says "come here" at Norman in the UK version of "Paper Plane Down".
    • The door being open when Mike never opened it in "Hot and Cold Running Sniffer Dog"
    • The aforementioned red line that can be seen on the right side of screen in "Sticky Situation".
    • The wrapping paper going through the floor when Norman opens up the present Mandy gave him for his birthday in "Sticky Situation".
    • Mandy speaking in Sarah's voice when she says "and Norman" in "Sheep on the Road".
    • Jupiter's wheels not moving when Sam and Elvis arrive in Jupiter for the second time in "Cry Wolf".
    • Station Officer Steele's helmet being with the other helmets when he said Elvis hidden it in "Norman's Big Fossil Adventure".
    • Sam wearing his new uniform in "Norman's Big Fossil Adventure" (a Season 9 episode).
    • Bronwyn's body from the waist down (apart from her feet) not being shown when Moose tells James to get help in "The Pontypandyness Monster".
  13. Though unintentionally most of the time, most of these episodes can show kids very bad morals. For example, in most episodes where Norman starts a fire, steals a vehicle, or even traps another person, he is never given much punishment aside from Sam telling him not to do that.
    • The first five seasons had a bit of character development for Norman Price, which is notable by the fact that when he was the cause of the problem or even the emergency in the episode of those seasons, he would learn his lesson never do it again. But here, there is absolutely no character development at all, with most of them, including Norman and Elvis, remaining the exact same as they were ever since the switch to CGI in season 6.
  14. While not as bad as in the Bob the Builder reboot, some of the main characters in the seasons were either completely absent or were removed entirely:
    • Bella is completely absent during seasons 6-9 despite her café still being there. When she returned in season 10, it's revealed that she moved to Newtown, which makes no sense considering how successful her business was doing back in season 5.
      • To make things even worse, Bella has still not been seen working at her café since her return to CGI, and has only occasionally been seen helping to make pizza, which is another example of why these seasons feel like a completely different show to the first five seasons.
    • Despite being introduced in season 5 and having important roles in many episodes of that season, Dusty was completely removed in season 6 for no reason at all, and was likely replaced with Radar (who was one of the characters introduced in Season 6), an incredibly racist firedog stereotype.
    • Rosa was also completely removed since Bella didn't make any appearances at all during season 6-9, what makes it even worse is that even though Bella returned in season 10, Rosa has still yet to return to the series.
      • Though it was likely that Rosa wasn't brought back because her design might have clashed with Lion's design (who is another character that was introduced in season 6).
  15. In a similar manner to how Bob the Builder and Noddy's Toyland Adventures had US dubs which were kind of pointless to exist, especially for Noddy, since that show was supposed to have a British setting, and although it is more tolerable to listen to most of the time, these seasons of this show were unnecessarily dubbed to American English for American audiences, not only is it pointless because it takes half of the charm away from the original UK dub, but it is also very unnecessary because Fireman Sam is supposed to be a show set in Wales, so there is no reason whatsoever to even dub a show to American English if it takes place in a country from Great Britain.
    • What makes it even more pointless about the show having a US dub is that when it did air in America prior to the release of the US dub on Amazon Prime Video in 2014, it only aired the original UK dub:
      • When the show aired on Sprout (and on Qubo in 2020), the original UK dub aired, and even the version that came out on Netflix starting in 2020 uses the UK dub.
      • Something that makes the US dubs for the CGI series even more pointless to exist is that the first five seasons have never been dubbed to American English once, season 5 retained its original UK dub when it aired on PBS Kids Sprout and on US DVD releases (including the Thomas & Friends: Engines and Escapades DVD, since it contained "Fiery Finale" as a bonus episode), and the original series was localised to the US in a three-episode VHS tape released by F.H.E. (Family Home Entertainment) in 1989, and the UK dub still maintained. Even the USA Amazon Prime releases of the first five series retained their original UK dubs.
  16. The scripts for each episode are flat and badly written, the humour is less funny to whereas either a character says an awful pun or the joke comes off as really bland, stupid, dull and really hard to give a laugh out of, such as Station Officer Steele's infamous line in the episode "Model Plane", "You made me crunch my lunch!".
    • With that being said, these seasons are loaded with bad episodes, such as:
      • "Paper Plane Down" (depending on your view, which started these series on a mediocre note and began the downfall of the series)
      • "Hot & Cold Running Sniffer Dog"
      • "Hearts On Fire"
      • "No Nurse Like You" (depending on your view)
      • "Floating Kart"
      • "Cry Wolf" (considered one of the worst episodes of the show)
      • "Blow Me Down"
      • "Off Duty Sam"
      • "Magic Norman"
      • "Norman's Halloween Heist"
      • "Model Plane"
      • "Jupiter on the Loose"
      • "Open Day"
      • "Night of the Norman"
      • "Escape from Pontypandy Island"
      • "Girls' Night In"
      • "The Great Guinea Pig Rescue"
      • "Three Legged Race"
      • "Lighthouse Lock Out"
      • "The Pontypandyness Monster"
      • "Norman's Big Fossil Adventure"
      • "Pontypandy Heatwave"
      • "Froggy Fantasy" (possibly the worst episode of the entire show)
      • "Sky Lanterns"
      • "Spy Games" (also counts as the worst)
      • "Cadet Catastrophe"
      • "Monster Mania"
      • "Blast from the Past"
      • "Shape Up and Shine"
      • "Alien Bug Hunt"
      • "Wally Wizzo"
      • "Great Billboard of Fire"
      • "Escape from Dinosaur Island"
      • "Norman Burns Up the Dancefloor" (which began the thirteenth season on a very poor note)
      • "New Dog On The Block"
      • "Too Many Peas, Too Many Plugs"
      • "Fiery Football"
      • "Fireman James" (depending on your view)
      • "Deputy James"
      • "Firework Party"
      • "The Why Files 2: The Beast of Pontypandy"
      • "Seeing Red" (easily the most forgettable episode of the entire series)
    • Some episodes even rehash ideas or stories from episodes of the first five seasons, the most notable example includes "Three Legged Race" (which is a rehash of the season 5 episode "Fun Run") and some other newer episodes even reuse several plot ideas from older CGI episodes. Many other examples of rehashed episodes and concepts include:
      • "The Great Guinea Pig Rescue", which is a part rehash of of "A Real Life Wire".
      • "Floodlights", which rehashed "Santa Overboard".
      • "Deputy James", which is a part rehash of "Fireman James".
      • "Stuck In The Muck", which is a part rehash of "Bug Eyed Boy From Venus"
      • "Bus Trouble", which is a part rehash of "Stuck In The Muck".
      • Many episodes that rehash the single of concept of overloading a socket, which was only done right in the season 5 episode, "Norman's Invisible Friend", just in different scenarios, which includesː
        • "Santa Overboard"
        • "Floodlights"
        • "Magic Norman"
        • "Too Many Peas, Too Many Plugs"
        • "Beware of the Fox"
    • Not to mention, they tend to overdo specials and movies just to try and revive the series or create new sparks and intrests in them, but all that's happening them abusing the franchise even more and making it more of a cash cow. So far, there has been 5 movies in lest than 12 years, all bad.
    • To make matters worse, several of the episodes are written by people like Simon Nicholson (best known on his work on various kids shows, mainly from Bob the Builder during the Project Build It and Ready Steady Build era) and Andrew Brenner (best known for his work on his era of Thomas & Friends (seasons 17-21), as well as the last two seasons of the same show he worked on during the BWBA retooling before David Stoten took over starting in "Steam Team to the Rescue" and season 24).
      • To be fair though, this was the start of Andrew Brenner working for HiT Entertainment, which eventually resulted in the Brenner era of Thomas & Friends. Without these series, Thomas & Friends may not have gotten any better after the Sharon Miller era.
    • It's also worth noting that some of the catchphrases from the previous five seasons were butchered in this series to the point where they aren't quotable anymore and have lost their charm, such as Sam's classic catchphrase of "Great Fires of London" which when in the episodes it's heard in sounds pathetically bad as he says it with laughter as opposed to being almost complete shock due to how worried he was about another fire or incident was happening and he had to stop it from preventing people to get hurt or killed for that matter, which ruins the importance of the iconic catchphrase if you make it be said in a funny kind of way since it wasn't meant to be used for laughter in the first place and was meant to be used for the situation happening in the episode thus getting the viewer pumped to see the fire brigade in action.
  17. These series almost never take themselves seriously, even when there's an emergency, while in the original series, they always knew when to be serious.
  18. These series sometimes incorporate things like sci-fi elements, which feels very out of place considering the show had a down-to-earth, slice-of-life tone in the first five series, in which that tone is somewhat nonexistent here. Major examples of sci-fi use are present in 2 of the movies, Alien Alert and Norman Price and the Mystery in the Sky.
  19. While most of the new characters are good, some of them are just poorly written at best, with them getting very little introduction at all and just suddenly appear in a scene of the episode later with no understanding to who that new character is or are, which makes less relatable and just added to the show to make more merchandise as mentioned below:
    • The Chens are rather unlikable, Lily in particular is especially so, as she is extremely annoying and often takes blames on others for things that they didn't do, the most notable example of her bad behaviour can be seen in "Girls' Night In", where she is misbehaved throughout the entire episode and she tortures Mandy by causing trouble and blaming it all on her, which makes her very easy to hate.
    • Derek is just as annoying and whiny as his cousin, Norman, and he sometimes helps him with his terrible deeds and emergency-causing actions, such as when he and Norman stole fire equipment to use them as oars in "Shape Up and Shine", and even when he tags along with Norman when he drives off in Jupiter in "Jupiter on the Loose", which was extremely immature for both of them.
    • Lion is a bad replacement for Rosa, since he always tends to be a subject of either getting lost or being in a bad situation like Norman does when causing an emergency, as it often happened a lot during Seasons 6-7, and adding to the fact that he tends to be annoying at time and is nowhere near as cute as Rosa was in the previous five seasons, makes him a poor addition to the cast of new characters introduced in the CGI series overall.
    • Nipper is admittedly a rather bland and forgettable character when compared to Dusty, since he got zero introduction in his debut episode Seeing Red and he is just a reskin of Radar (which is another character introduced in the CGI series) and his relationship with the Jones family is rather rushed and forced since he doesn't have much relationship with them and is only connected through Bronwyn's family, making Nipper easily one of the most generic Fireman Sam characters to date.
  20. The show basically became a cash cow for Mattel, HiT Entertainment, Cartoonito, and Channel 5, to the point where show focuses way too much on introducing new characters, vehicles and locations (even going as far as to replace and redesign pre-existing ones like the Fire Station and Wallaby 1, of which was replaced by Wallaby 2 in Alien Alert), but not for interesting story ideas and for new concepts to introduced, but just to sell toys and to milk out on a popular TV show, which also suffers the same flaw as other shows like PAW Patrol, Peppa Pig and Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service.
    • Speaking of which, the toys for the show are very poor quality now, as they have little paint on them, the paint they do have is poor quality and scratches easily and the toys have a very low amount of detailing. Some reviews have also stated that the vehicles break easily.
    • To promote these toys, the series often uses a very unnecessary amount of vehicles for each rescue. In fact, they can often use up to 3 rescue vehicles to save a cat from a tree or to put out a very minor fire.
  21. Some of the vehicles aren't very faithful to how they were in the previous five seasons and have been given completely unnecessary redesigns that look inferior to how they were in Season 5, such as Jupiter for example, as the old fire engine was given a modern look in Seasons 10-present that looks very bloated and some of the iconic features from previous iterations of Jupiter were just completely gone such as the door logo which originally was a newly revamped version of the old door logo which got replaced by a more generic one that looks more like a real fire station badge and looks nothing like the ones from the first five seasons nor even the earlier CGI seasons for that matter, and was only done to make the show more modern, which as said before, they done enough already.
  22. Despite the fact that these seasons didn't completely kill the show, and are actually doing better in comparison to Bob the Builder (2015) and Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go!, these seasons overall have completely damaged the reputation of the Fireman Sam franchise as we know it and have completely ruined the show with little to no signs of them ever bringing the show back to how it once was. It has even gotten to the point where these seasons are now even more recognised by kids than the original four seasons and even season 5. In fact, even after Mattel bought HiT's properties in 2012, the series has still not fully improved from any of its flaws, and even some of the stuff that they have improved like the animation and the rescue scenes in season 11 is still not enough to consider the show to be good again.
    • What makes all of this even worse is that the changes that were made to did not really gain that much controversies when they were first released aside from a few small complaints from older fans, but they sadly weren't enough to make HiT Entertainment realise how much they butchered the franchise by making the bad decision to switch to CGI, and they did not even listen to any of the criticisms that many fans of Fireman Sam were giving to these series, causing the show to downgrade into a low quality show that is nowadays and is now only enjoyable to children and not to both adults and children, like the first five seasons were intended to.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Much like the Bob the Builder reboot and unlike Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go!, these series at least keeps the show's original premise from the first five seasons, as every episode of these series still always has a moderate conflict that Sam (and/or someone else in the Pontypandy Fire Service) has to resolve.
  2. In most dubs, the show still uses the season 5 theme song during season 6-9 (albeit shortened to 30 seconds) and the newly re-recorded theme song for season 10-present is pretty good as well.
  3. Despite many of the voice actors not doing great jobs at voicing most of the characters, some of the voice actors either sound tolerable or do decent jobs at voicing some specific characters:
    • Despite being weaker than John Sparkes' performance for Sam, Tom and Steele and Sarah Hadland's performance for Penny, Steve Kynman, David Carling and Tegwen Tucker at least do good jobs at voicing Sam, Station Officer Steele, Tom Thomas and Penny Morris respectively.
    • Even though they have exactly the same voices as each other, the voices for Mike and Trevor are at least tolerable to listen to.
    • The children's voices in the US dub, most notably Norman, are actually pleasant to listen to and they sound more like children than their voices in the UK dub, mainly due to the fact that the voice actors in the US dub are voiced by actual children and not adults like in the UK dub.
    • Colin McFarlane's performance as PC Malcolm Williams is pretty good as well.
    • At least Andrew Hodwitz in the US dub does a better job voicing Elvis Cridlington
  4. Even though many of the main characters were flanderised beyond recognition, some characters were either fortunate enough to not get flanderised or are flanderised but are still likable and enjoyable, including:
    • Sam
    • Penny (despite not being as strict about safety and discipline as she was in series 3-5)
    • Station Officer Steele (despite his flanderisation, depending on your view)
    • Dilys Price (despite her aforementioned redesign)
    • Tom Thomas
    • Bella Lasagne (despite her absence throughout season 6-9)
    • Mike Flood
    • Mandy Flood
    • Helen Flood
    • Trevor Evans
    • Even some flanderised characters can still be likable in some ways. For example, Elvis Cridlington, despite being flanderised into a idiot, is still a friendly person and still loves rock music like he does in the previous seasons.
  5. The CGI series did introduce some new likeable characters, such as James and Sarah's parents Charlie and Bronwyn (revealed as Sam's brother and sister-in-law), mountaineer Moose Roberts, coastguard Ben Hooper, PC Malcolm Williams, new firefighters Arnold McKinley and Ellie Phillips, Radar the fire station's loyal Dalmatian and the Sparkes (mechanic/inventor Joe, veterinarian Lizzie and wheelchair-bound Hannah).
  6. Although most of the attempts at trying to be funny fail very miserably, there are still a handful of good humour in the CGI series, such as:
    • Elvis Cridlington pretending that his wheelchair is a fire engine and yells "Nee naw, nee naw!" while coming down to help Steele and Norman (who are both trapped in the railings) in "Elvis Sings the Blues".
    • Station Officer Steele chasing Elvis with fly swatter tool in episode "Hot Air".
    • Hannah at times making facial expressions followed by a facepalm.
    • Arnold phrasing many things in quick heavy technical terms.
    • Usually Ellie says remarks in an annoyed/angry manner, like in one episode: "I'll give him [Mike Flood] a good day's work in a minute!"
    • Steele yelling "Cridlington!" when Elvis silly acts, like juggling carrots landing on Steele's head/helmet.
    • Steele getting blown back into the swimming pool when Elvis sneezed.
    • Penny (with the jaws of life) helping Chief Fire Officer Boyce (whose foot stuck in a bucket) at end of episode "Bronwyn's Millionth Customer".
    • Sam giving a one-liner at ending of episode "Open Day": "Sorry sir, Elvis has left the building."
  7. Depending on your view, season 11-present can be considered a slight improvement, as the rescue scenes have started to become been more satisfying when compared to seasons 6-10 and the animation (especially the lighting) has improved as well, and unlike Bob the Builder (2015), where DHX Media made the animation worse due to it trying to mix the realistic style that the reboot was going for with a cartoony style, DHX Media actually managed to make the animation in season 11 match the style that these seasons go for.
    • As a matter of fact, the animation has had a massive upgrade in season 13, which can be considered to be another improvement to the series.
  8. As mentioned before, Bella Lasagne returned in season 10 and is still a likable character.
  9. Some episodes of these series still do teach kids some good morals and fire safety tips.
  10. There are also some good or decent episodes, such as:
    • "Norman's Ark" (considered the best of these seasons)
    • "Poorly Penny"
    • "Sailor Steele" (depending on your view)
    • "The Wrong Smell"
    • "Bronwyn's Millionth Customer" (a decent way to start season 8)
    • "Sam's Birthday"
    • "Space Train" (depending on your view)
    • "Float Your Boat"
    • "The Prince in Pontypandy" (which started the eleventh season on a high note, and a good way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the series)
    • "Red Hot Chilli Nibbles"

Reception

While the first five seasons were positively received and remain very popular by fans, season 6-present of Fireman Sam received a mixed reception from parents and television critics, but received backlash from fans of the older seasons for having no connection to the previous seasons, unnecessary character redesigns, poor attempts of modernisation, terrible new voice acting (notably the UK version, but with a few exceptions) and flanderisations of several characters.

At this time, the decline in quality of Fireman Sam wasn't too noticed for around a decade until James A. Williams uploaded a video in 2017 (later re-edited and reuploaded in 2022) discussing on how the series went downhill after the switch from stop-motion to CGI in season 6, commenting that he refers season 6-present as a reboot because it feels like he is watching a completely different show. After the video was uploaded, it made many Fireman Sam fans (and in some cases, casual fans as well) realise how much the show has declined and it caused these series to gain more notoriety and backlash than they originally did.

Despite the negativity and complaints from fans, these series are still beloved by children (especially with the young Prince George (Prince William and Kate Middleton's child), being his favourite cartoon)[3] and the show has become even more popular after the switch to CGI, with many children mostly recognising these series of the show even more than the original four seasons and even season 5, as well as the fact that Fireman Sam himself was a Top 10 UK best-selling character toy according to NPD Group in April 2011.[4] Even to this day, the show remains very popular.

Videos

Trivia

  • The show has gained quite a few controversies during these seasons:
    • As mentioned earlier, the season 9 episode "Troubled Waters" got banned due to a scene where Elvis accidentally steps and slips on a page of the Qur'an.[2]
    • Along with Peppa Pig, the show as a whole got some accusations about it being "sexist" because of the use of the word "fireman" in the title and in the show itself.[5]
    • In 2019, Fireman Sam was banned as a mascot by the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue service because they claimed he was "not inclusive enough".[6]
  • In many episodes of the CGI series, a picture of the Fire Brigade from season 5 can be seen in Station Officer Steele's office.
  • A pilot for the CGI series was uploaded on YouTube in 2008 by deviousdeseasel, it has since been deleted but it was luckily re-uploaded by a YouTuber named ஜூண்டூசி (joe) in 2020, the pilot was made as a test by Xing Xing Digital. It reuses audio from a few season 5 episodes, most notably "Fun Run" during the rescue scene, and "Firefighter of Tomorrow" during the scene where Sam and Norman are talking to each other.[7]

Episodes With Their Own Pages

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