"(Mattel) just wants those good boy brownie points in those headlines while at the same time, transforming the show into the same mindless dribble as its competitors to make a quick buck. It has absolutely nothing of value to say, no morals told through beautiful visuals, no inspiration behind any of it, and nothing in it that honors its roots. It's just modern-day, corporate, mandated garbage...All the soul and creativity and integrity and uniqueness that made Thomas such a wonderful, memorable show for so long, and what the Brenner era tried so, so hard to recapture is absolutely gone."— The Unlucky Tug
Thomas & Friends (Big World! Big Adventures! era, Seasons 22-24)
"When I first heard about these changes back in 2018, I thought this was the worst direction they would've ever taken for the show. And right after they had done so unbelievably well with it. And even back then, I knew that this series was going to suck. I had seen Season 21 and Journey Beyond Sodor, and there were obvious slip backs in the logic and the writing. And in the end, I was right for assuming the worst, because this was the worst way they could've possibly executed these ideas. All of these crazy ideas are not entirely impossible to achieve, and it can be done really well, if they had given themselves a bit more time to think about the characters, the story, and logical in-universe reasons for these changes. Even though, the international stuff was in production since at least 2016, when Season 20 was airing. What the hell happened?!"— James A. Williams
Thomas & Friends (formerly Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends and also referred to as Thomas the Tank Engine) is a British children's television series. It had its first broadcast on the ITV network in 1984. It is based on The Railway Series of books by the Reverend W. Awdry and his son, Christopher Awdry.
It started airing in the United States through Shining Time Station in January 1989. Eventually, after a few complaints about the show not being diverse enough, the show was rebranded into Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! during its final three seasons, which this article will cover. During this era, Thomas & Friends experienced its first decline in quality since the last three seasons of the HiT model era (Seasons 9-11) and the Sharon Miller era (Seasons 12-16). Because of this, the era has been generally hated by many fans and resulted in the show being canceled. Mattel later announced that the follow-up, Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go!, would serve as a separate reboot to the series. All Engines Go premiered on Cartoon Network as a part of the Cartoonito block on September 13, 2021.
The series follows the adventures of Thomas, an anthropomorphised train, on the fictional Island of Sodor with fellow engines Edward, Gordon, Henry, James, Percy and Toby, along with many other anthropomorphized engines and vehicles. Thomas usually gets into trouble by doing jobs best left to bigger and more sensible engines, but never gives up on being a "Really Useful Engine". Many of the stories from the first four seasons are based on real-life events from Wilbert Awdry's personal experiences.
Why This Era's Not a Big World Adventure and Caused Confusion and Delay
NOTE: This page covers both the film and the seasons within this era.
- One of the main criticisms of this era is that it removes Edward, Henry and even Toby from the main cast (or Steam Team) and demotes them to side characters in a rather rushed and disrespectful way. Edward left in the last 30 seconds of "A Shed for Edward" from Season 21 where none of his friends (except for Thomas) even said goodbye to him when he left Tidmouth Sheds since they just watched and were all happy for Edward, since Wellsworth Sheds is much closer to his branch line. This is somewhat excusable since Edward does have a branch line after all. Unlike Edward, Henry is written off the main cast with a single line of dialogue in "Forever and Ever". Meanwhile, Toby doesn't get any sendoff at all. This has upset and divided many fans as Edward and Henry were two of the first engines to appear in The Railway Series books. Just because Edward and Henry left Tidmouth and that Toby has a shed of his own doesn't mean you should demote them as secondary characters.
- On top of that, Edward, Henry and Toby barely make any appearances in Season 23 and 24 (even though Toby had a few major roles in "The Inventor's Spectacular Bridge" and "Heart of Gold", while Edward had a major role in "Hunt the Truck"/"Hunt the Car"), Henry got no episodes to himself anymore (missed opportunity) and Edward and Henry have next to no lines in the former season which is very disappointing. And also, Edward's last word uttered in the series is nothing but a mere "Ouch!"
- It's also inconsistent as to whether or not Toby is still considered part of the Steam Team as Toby is still in the updated Engine Roll Call. Also, sometimes the official Thomas Twitter account says he is still in the Steam Team but he is still not mentioned in the opening listing all the main characters. The Mattel Twitter account, however, states that he is not in the Steam Team anymore.
- If anything, Mattel should’ve scrapped the Steam Team concept with Edward's departure from Tidmouth to Wellsworth Sheds altogether from then on, but nope. The Steam Team concept was just maintained until the very last season and the announcement of All Engines Go!.
- Quantity Over Quality: Just like The Simpsons, SpongeBob SquarePants, VeggieTales and Family Guy, the series had a very long runtime as it had started in 1984 in the UK and 1989 in the US respectively, spanning a total of 24 seasons and 584 episodes, (not to mention 1 full theatrical film, 13 direct-to-video films/television specials and 6 double-length specials). The show itself isn't bad by all means. It's one of the best kids' shows out there, but it did jump the shark in this era. Besides, it had already gone downhill during the HiT model and Sharon Miller eras. Also, since it had improved during the Andrew Brenner era, it would've been good to end the show sometime around there. But sadly, it became a cash cow for Mattel who decided to milk the franchise with the infamous reboot.
- The theme song for these seasons can be rather generic and isn't as good as the original theme song from the classic era (Season 1-7) or even the "Engine Roll Call" version from the HiT model, Sharon Miller and Andrew Brenner eras. And to make matters worse, it's a lazy rehash of a good song ("Set Friendship in Motion") but with different lyrics.
- The animation in this era, while still a decent effort, is a lackluster downgrade from that of the Andrew Brenner era (and even the Sharon Miller era to a lesser extent). Though to be fair, Jam Filled had just acquired the bankrupt Arc Productions and Mattel did rush them during production:
- Some of the textures look low quality and unfinished.
- The lighting is very inconsistent. It looks way too bright at times while other times it looks non-existent.
- The colors look unrealistically bright. This was most likely done to attract younger viewers but it sure hurt the quality of the animation for most people.
- The liquid effects look quite awful and unconvincing. But they thankfully have improved in Season 24.
- The new rivet designs for the engines in Season 23 and 24, while a nice attempt at looking realistic, don’t look right. They have the rivets far closer together than a real engine would have them, which can be distracting.
- Due to budget reasons, some of the other countries' locations are just redressed Sodor areas. This can be understandable as the animation team might not have the budget to make them actual railways from their separate countries but would lead to criticism about geographic inaccuracies though.
- The infamous body movements (a.k.a. bouncing) of the engines and talking road vehicle characters are exaggerated and overused, even more so than in Journey Beyond Sodor and season 21 as a whole. The characters move in a fashion similar to a Chuggington, Bob the Builder, and Cars-like fashion, and it is very distracting. It also goes completely against the rules of the franchise as the characters moved realistically in previous seasons and the Railway Series books even if it is just a detail and it doesn't contribute to any of the stories. This was toned down a bit in season 24, thankfully.
- Anyone could argue that this was done to give the characters even more character than the static look of themselves, but how can that be a good enough excuse? The engines and talking road vehicle characters are not people.
- Some of the background engines in the other countries, as well as some of the supporting engines seen in those countries, are just Edward, Henry and other Sodor engines repainted, and particularly in the American countries locomotive classes not native to the country are portrayed. The budget reasons are somewhat understandable, but they had plenty of engines that would have been more appropriate for the countries portrayed such as Rosie, Porter, Vinnie, etc.
- Similar to Seasons 10-11 and 13-16, this era puts too much focus on Thomas. Around half of the episodes of each season focus on Thomas's adventures abroad, leaving less time to focus on the other engines on Sodor.
- Most of the remaining episodes are set after Thomas returns as opposed to events on Sodor during his absence, which is another reason why this era was criticized. Does this necessarily mean that Thomas traveled around the world again?
- The narrator has been completely removed in favor of Thomas fulfilling the role, which is completely unnecessary because the series has been well known for having a narrator since its debut. They could have done both, having the original narrator narrate the Sodor episodes and Thomas narrate the international episodes.
- Nia and Rebecca are incredibly shoehorned into the main cast. Not to mention they have very generic personalities with Nia being the foreign type and Rebecca being the happy-go-lucky type. While Nia did get a whole special to introduce her, she is simply thrown into Tidmouth Sheds at the beginning of Season 22 without much explanation other than Thomas bringing her to Sodor at the end of the BWBA film. Meanwhile, Rebecca shows up out of nowhere with no explanation or backstory. It's painfully obvious that Mattel replaced Edward and Henry with Nia and Rebecca in an attempt to pander to gender equality after years of complaints about the series lacking female characters.
- The international episodes are pretty stereotypical at times. Considering that Thomas & Friends is supposed to be a show about trains and engines, these episodes should've taught kids about other countries' railway systems/lines. For example, in China themed episodes, instead of using this as an opportunity to teach kids about the famous bullet trains or rapid transit systems that can be found in China (or any other part of Chinese culture for that matter), "Thomas in the Wild" only teaches kids that pandas live there. Oh, and also Tai-Chi in "Runaway Truck", but that’s it. Everything else is story-based which doesn't count as cultural.
- Even outside of Nia and Rebecca, many of the new characters aren't well-written (except for Yong Bao; despite being introduced in "The Great Race", Sonny, Ruth and a few others) as they have little to no personality, such as Hong-Mei, Isla, Ranger Jill and others. Even returning characters from The Great Race still don't have much personality. Because of how little personality these characters have, they feel like they are only there to sell merchandise rather than to make an entertaining story. They are also pretty forgettable and don't have any impact on the franchise.
- Yet many of these characters aren't merchandised that much if even at all due to Mattel's stinginess on the franchise as a whole.
- The designs for the international characters also make it blatantly obvious that they look like they’re from another country to the point where it is quite derogatory. To make this worse, even the Sharon Miller era (the worst era at the time) handled the concept of international characters better with Hiro and Victor by having them just painted normally and then giving them backstories about when they were in their original countries.
- Most of the episodes are boring to watch such as "Number One Engine", "Forever and Ever", "Cyclone Thomas" and "James the Super Engine".
- Speaking of "Forever and Ever", this episode makes a jab at this era's criticism for removing Edward and Henry in a rather disrespectful way.
- On top of the international episodes being stereotypical, they also provide no explanation for Thomas being in other countries other than him having a job there.
- The same trucks/freight cars on Sodor are used in the other countries, whereas in real life (particularly in North America) the larger rolling stock would be used. And of course, the engines and cars in the USA and other North American territories don't have buffers or coupling hooks (apart from engines built by American builders that were exported to the UK like the Baldwin 10-12-D, the USATC S160 Class, the USATC S100 Class, the British Rail Class 59, the British Rail Class 70 and Lyn of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway ). Many of the countries had switched to some variant of the US knuckle coupler design by the time of Thomas's visit. Hiro has a knuckle coupler making this even less excusable.
- While most of the characters retain their original personalities, James has been flanderized from an arrogant and vain engine who is proud of his shiny red paintwork, but still cares about his friends to an apathetic, blind, stuck up, selfish, and intolerable scoundrel who comes off as an unreasonable bully, especially towards Philip. This character flanderization James was given almost killed every likability James got. While "James to the Rescue" had him act too unlikable, he wasn't at that point of becoming downright disrespectful to another engine for no reason. He was completely blunt with Toby by making a discriminative comment to him. Imagine him acting like this the same way in that episode from Season 15 as he was with Philip in "Apology Impossible". Luckily, James was never portrayed like that ever again since there was an episode where he dreamed of being a superhero and tried to be like one, giving himself the name Rail Rocket. Of course, it wasn't a good episode, but would anyone rather have this than an episode where he torments another engine for no reason?
- A ton of the humor is unfunny and/or forced. There is even toilet humor, a very unfitting thing for the Thomas franchise. Examples include a dog urinating on James' wheels, an elephant shoving its rear end on Thomas to get him back on the rails (to be fair, there is a real-life event where actual elephants in Australia pushed an engine back onto the tracks but not with their butts), and even a bird dropping it’s waste on Thomas. "Rosie is Red" especially has a risky moment in its fantasy sequence where Thomas and Rosie bump into each other, but the way the scene is shot makes it implied that they are kissing each other. This doesn’t fit as Thomas is not romantic in any shape or form.
- This era sort of lacks the realism from the previous seasons and relies too much on cartoon physics (but not as extreme as in All Engines Go!). Examples include the wheels bouncing around in "The Water Wheel", the many scenes of Ace doing an unrealistically long jump off a small ramp, and the infamous scene when Thomas somehow gains enough uphill momentum to be lifted off the track at the top of the hill in one of the opening sequences, and the very infamous crash scene in "Emily to the Rescue".
- The two-part special arc called Marvelous Machinery was just plain awful. It had overly unrealistic imagery by having concepts that do not fit in the Thomas lore at all. This includes jetpacks, flying cars, and the very infamous robot. This two-part special arc also has a scene that blatantly rehashes "Thomas and the Jet Engine" from Season 6.
- To be fair, the previous seasons had their share of unrealistic moments but all of that was nothing like this.
- There are a lot of bad episodes much like in Season 9-16 (see "Notable Bad Episodes From This Era" section below).
- The writing is average at best (except for the episodes written by Michael White and others to name a few). The loss of the head writer Andrew Brenner in Season 24 didn't make things any better. To be fair though, Mattel did make some pretty unreasonable requests such as kicking off Edward from the main cast without making fans mad because both engines moved out of Tidmouth. We got David Stoten as the head writer, who still tried to follow what Andrew Brenner did even though that didn't help.
- This series introduces pointless life-lesson segments only there to try and hammer in the moral of the story more into the kid's brain. Not to mention that these segments have Thomas breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience, and that goes against the realism of the series previously had. Sure, there are episodes from the classic era that went against the realism and laws of physics used in Thomas like "Henry's Forest" and "Thomas and the Jet Engine", but they were used to a wasteful degree. Here, it just makes the show look way too self-aware.
- In Season 24, the only characters who get lead roles are the Steam Team members, Sonny in one episode, Kenji in one episode, Ruth in three episodes, Cleo in two episodes, and Yong Bao in one episode. Just seeing the Steam Team in every single episode dies off very fast. If anything, they could have done this in the first season of BWBA. But instead, they did it in the last season.
- If you know the history behind Season 8, the reason why HiT Entertainment just wanted the Steam Team engines to have a lead role in each of the episodes they were given at the time was that they wanted to start small and that it was the beginning of their time with Thomas and Friends. The second thing was that they bought the show after Gullane Entertainment's bankruptcy in 2003. While they did that before they can let the other characters get a lead role a season later, at least they did it in the first season they greenlit. Herewith Mattel when they used the Steam Team more, and again, it felt like they only did it at the last season of the show instead of doing it earlier like how HiT did when they were the ones greenlighting the show for an eighth season. Talk about two seasons, two years and a decade way too late.
- This era introduces fantasy sequences showing what's going on in the engines' imagination. While this isn't a bad idea in itself, they get represented very poorly as they're usually very painful to watch because of how irritatingly embarrassing some of them are. They are rarely used to actually benefit the plot and are just used to sell toys or try to make kids laugh. Thankfully, this got toned down a bit in Season 24.
- Jonathan Broadbent left the series for an odd reason with Rasmus Hardiker and Matt Wilkinson replacing him as the voices of Bill and Ben respectively. While their voices are passable, they lack the wit and charm of Broadbent's.
- The distribution was awful in the US during this era, making the show hard to even access due to Mattel's lack of caring. Here are 6 examples:
- DVDs stopped being released in the US for unknown reasons despite DVDs still being a thing. The only DVDs released in the US during this era were reprints of old DVDs and a DVD of the movie.
- The show was moved from PBS Kids to Nick Jr./Nickelodeon until Nickelodeon canceled the deal with Mattel at the end of 2019. This meant that not as many people could watch the show due to Nick Jr. being a paid premium channel that isn't even carried on some smaller Cable providers, whereas PBS Kids is a free channel that anyone could watch.
- Nickelodeon also apparently made a deal so that they had exclusive rights to distribute these seasons of the show until around a year since the episode was aired which resulted in the initial plan of the Big World! Big Adventures! series being added to Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video with episodes added the day after they were aired on TV to be canceled. This deal also allowed only Nickelodeon to distribute DVDs of these seasons. But apparently, they didn't make any DVDs of it at all.
- If you didn't have Nick Jr., the only way to watch the new episodes in the US was through unofficial uploads on YouTube, which Mattel obviously wouldn't make money from.
- It took an absurd amount of time for some episodes to be released officially in the US. Hell, sometimes over a year.
- On the positive side though, Seasons 23 and 24 were moved to Netflix in the US, which proved to be a much more successful platform for the show. Season 22 was also added to Prime Video to watch at any time although DVDs still are not made for these seasons in the US.
- The laid back slice-of-life pace that the previous seasons had has been abandoned. Now, the show is very fast-paced which is ill-suited for the stories and could make the show hard to enjoy for children who have a hard time keeping up with fast-paced stories.
- Much like the CGI seasons of Fireman Sam, the BWBA era tries way too hard to be more hip with the late 2010's audience as much as possible. This is completely out of place for the Thomas series since the original series as the Brenner era and even the Miller era were never meant to be hip and trendy and still at least stayed true to the timeline they were set in. And since the series is set in the late 20th-very early 21st century, it comes off as ill-conceived and suffers from poor timing and historical inaccuracy making the series feel even more poorly unrealistic than it already is. The examples are the fantasy sequences and humor filled with toilet jokes and pop culture references galore, which as mentioned before are pretty lame at best. Luckily, we do not see any of the human characters dancing or flossing, but that doesn't help with the fact that Mattel was making the writers insert some of this stuff just to say that they don't respect the children's intelligence enough.
- Believe it or not, this aspect was originally going to be even worse because as mentioned in a trivia point seen below, a scene of Thomas calling the audience on a smartphone was animated and leaked in early 2018. Since when did Thomas' driver even get a smart device? Or for this matter, what timeline is the Thomas & Friends TV series?
- Some episodes could mistakenly teach or show kids bad lessons as well, mainly in the movie where Thomas abandons his friends to go on a big adventure around the world without telling anybody or Sir Topham Hatt (though Ace convinced him), so this could be the result of why. Ace the Racing Car and Cleo the Road Engine somehow also get no kind of punishment whatsoever for driving on the railway line(s). This is illegal in real life.
- On top of that, it makes no sense that Thomas would go on an adventure around the world without telling anyone when he just learned about the dangers of leaving home without informing others in Journey Beyond Sodor.
- Thomas leaves Sodor in the movie to go around the world making all engines on Sodor flip out by singing this song. However, in the end, Thomas comes back to Sodor only for Sir Topham Hatt to be missing. If he did still appear on Sodor he would have punished Thomas for doing this trip because it's way too dangerous.
- What makes even less sense is that his driver, fireman, crane operators and other workers responsible for transporting him would do so without authorization from Sir Topham Hatt and the other railway officials.
- Speaking of the engine crews, going onto the mainland was one thing. But to go on a worldwide tour, they would need to have their passports and make several other preparations for the journey, did they just have all their arrangements made already in the off chance that Thomas might decide on a whim to travel around the world?
- The entire concept of this era was a kneejerk reaction to Thomas & Friends losing a good portion of its market share to PAW Patrol. Mattel in their infinite wisdom decided that the best course of action was to copy it rather than make something truly unique like they did before. Quite a few fans suggested bringing the live-action models back to make the series stand out which would be unlikely considering taxation in the United Kingdom already went up years ago in terms of live-action children's shows and animated TV shows made in the UK.
- It didn't help that both shows were airing on the same channel in both the UK and the US!
- Out of all the characters introduced in this era, Ace is the least tolerable. He is a race car who obnoxiously acts like a Lightning McQueen wannabe, has no character redemption in him, gives Thomas bad advice and only cares about himself judging by the way he screwed Thomas over plenty of times during his trip around the globe with Nia (whom he picked up from Africa). This could be excused as he could be seen as an allegory for bad influences, but this doesn’t really excuse a lot of his actions.
- Not even rewriting his character is going to be any better considering the one episode he completely disregards the events of "Big World! Big Adventures!" altogether.
- Even if he was an antagonist towards Thomas, his appearance in “Ace’s Brave Jump” gives very little sense for the two of them to be perfectly friendly towards each other. They don’t even have a scene where the two talk it out, giving Ace an opportunity to apologize to Thomas.
- Ace's antics would get him impounded. His owner (if Ace had an owner) would be arrested, be put on a BAC (which means Blood Alcohol Concentration if you're from the UK), both of the above, or at the very least have his license revoked so he won't pull any dangerous stunts like that again.
- With All Engines Go! being a complete reboot to the series instead of being a twenty-fifth season, which it was originally advertised as, this era ended the original show on a sour note and to make matters worse, it seems very unlikely that Mattell is going to revive the original series any time soon.
- And finally, worst of all, the final episode of the original series, "Thomas' Animal Friends". This is not only one of the most annoying and humiliating episodes of the whole show, but it was also a horrible way to end the original show.
- The concept of Thomas traveling around the world and learning about different countries can be really interesting and had really good potential (although it was executed poorly). It also is a great way to introduce more unique engine designs that would be too out of place on Sodor. Although that was an idea done before with the Useful Around the World miniseries.
- Although not perfect or the best season, Season 24 is a slight improvement as the imagination sequences and bouncing have been toned down and the animation has gotten a bit better.
- There are still a few good songs such as:
- "Where in the World is Thomas?"
- "We're Friends" (depending on your view)
- "Free and Easy"
- "Let's Dream
- "Legend of the Lost Engine"
- "Don't Stop" (depending on your view)
- "Party Train"
- At least the more outlandish elements are confined to the fantasy sequences for the most part.
- Some episodes from Seasons 22 and 23 are devoted to side-characters like Rosie, Merlin, Bill and Ben, Diesel, Samson, Duck, Bulgy, and even Toby of all engines, which showed hope that the Steam Team wouldn't be the only characters who get a lead role in an episode.
- There are a handful of good/ decent or even a few amazing episodes, mostly the ones written by Michael White and a few other writers, such as:
- "An Engine of Many Colours" ("An Engine of Many Colors" in the US)
- "School of Duck"
- "Seeing is Believing"
- "Thomas' Animal Ark"
- "Hunt the Truck" ("Hunt the Car" in the US) (which ended Season 22 on a high note)
- "Free the Roads" (which started Season 23 on a high note)
- "Heart of Gold"
- "Diesel Do Right"
- "All Tracks Lead To Rome"
- "Mines Of Mystery"
- "Wish You Were Here"
- "Deep Trouble"
- "Thomas and the Royal Engine" (which started Season 24 on a high note)
- "Thomas and the Royal Engine", in particular, ended the original series on a decently high note and was a fairly fitting conclusion in production order.
- "Thomas' Fuzzy Friend" (despite the infamous scene where the dog whizzes on James' wheels)
- "The Great Little Railway Show" (depending on your view)
- "Nia's Bright Idea"
- "Sonny's Second Chance"
- "Yong Bao and the Tiger" (the episode that ended the international episodes on a high note).
- "Gordon and Rebecca Coming Through"
- Some of the jokes are funny, such as this scene, this scene, and this scene.
- The English voice acting is still great, especially with Joseph May and John Hasler as Thomas respectively, and Rachael Miller as Rebecca. The Japanese dubbing for the characters is still great, too.
- Some of the international characters who had minor or no speaking roles in "The Great Race" received proper voice actors and speaking roles, Examples include Carlos, who had a single line voiced by David Bedella in that special, is voiced by Gabriel Porras in "Big World! Big Adventures!", and Yong Bao, who didn't even have a single line in "The Great Race". That's not to say that these characters have received any character development, as some are still bland and uninteresting, all except for Gina, Lorenzo, Yong Bao, Ashima, Shane, and a few others.
- At least the designs for the characters made are still interesting to look at since the crew is basing most of the characters off their bases.
- Due to the writers being true to Thomas as possible, a lot of the continuity is common, and most of the maintaining characters (minus James, except in Season 24) had the same personalities, though the same can't be said with the notorious All Engines Go! With Andrew Brenner being the head writer for the last two seasons of his tenure as the head writer for Thomas, some people could find some good in those seasons after all.
- While not as great as a head writer compared to Andrew Brenner in "Steam Team to the Rescue" (his debut as head writer) and Season 24, but great as director of the CGI run of the show. David Stoten at the very least did a semi-decent job with his one-off season as the head writer. Though, it's too bad some of the scripts for this season got the greenlight like the Marvelous Machinery two-part arc episodes and "Kenji on the Rails Again".
- At least none of the episodes set in China ended up getting the show banned from China by the Chinese Government since they are also aired and dubbed into the Chinese language and broadcast through the Chinese airwaves themselves. It's also lucky the show never got banned in China either because no one at Mattel (or even the writers) would stoop so low as to have the show portray Chinese people or Chinese culture in a borderline racist manner.
- Emily finally receives a number in Season 24's "Emily to the Rescue", that number being that she is the number 12th engine on the Fat Controller's railway. Even if it does question how this has not been done in Seasons 7 or 8, or even in Season 9, it's still nice that she earns one anyway. It makes sense given the fact that she has been on Sodor much longer than the engines that arrived after her like Philip, Whiff, Timothy, Marion, etc.
- There are still a lot of good morals here and there as shown and told from other episodes:
- "Never let others change your views" from "Thomas' Animal Friends" (although a bad episode).
- "Everyone makes mistakes" from "Confusion Without Delay".
- "Everybody is special" from "What Rebecca Does".
- "Don't steal wild animals and respect wildlife" from "Tiger Trouble".
- "Don't pretend to be something that you aren't" from "Outback Thomas".
- "Not everyone is interested in being in the spotlight" from "Shankar's Makeover".
- "Never let your imaginations run wild, otherwise, you will land in trouble" from "Panicky Percy" (another bad episode).
- "There's no such thing as bad luck/superstitions do not exist" from "Thomas' Not-So-Lucky Day".
- "Be careful what you wish for" from "Free the Roads".
- "Be creative with your ideas" from "Batucada".
- "Every Christmas is different, even if Christmas is all around the world" from "Kangaroo Christmas".
- "It's okay to laugh every now and again" from "Gordon Gets the Giggles".
- "Winning is not everything" from "Grudge Match" and "Number One Engine".
- "Let everyone help you, even if you're trying to fix a mistake you made by yourself" from "Thomas Makes a Mistake".
Notable Bad Episodes From This Era
- "Number One Engine" (which started this season and the BWBA era on a sour note)
- "Forever And Ever"
- "Confusion Without Delay"
- "Trusty Trunky"
- "What Rebecca Does"
- "Thomas Goes to Bollywood"
- "Thomas In The Wild"
- "Thomas and the Monkey Palace"
- "Outback Thomas"
- "Tiger Trouble"
- "Apology Impossible" (which started the second downfall of the series and the downfall of the entire franchise)
- "The Water Wheel"
- "Samson and the Fireworks"
- "Runaway Truck" ("Runaway Car" in the US)
- "Cyclone Thomas"
- "Thomas and the Dragon"
- "Rosie is Red"
- "The Case of the Puzzling Parts"
- "Banjo and the Bushfire"
- "Counting on Nia" (depending on your view)
- "Crowning Around"
- "Chucklesome Trucks"
- "The Other Big Engine"
- "Gordon Gets the Giggles"
- "Thomas Makes a Mistake" (the lowest rated episode on IMDb and worst episode of the BWBA era)
- "Grudge Match"
- "Steam Team to the Rescue" (depending on your view)
- "Panicky Percy"
- "Laid Back Shane"
- "Rangers of the Rails"
- "Out of Site"
- "First Day on Sodor!"
- "Lorenzo's Solo"
- "Too Loud, Thomas!"
- "Diesel Glows Away" (which ended this season on a sour note)
- "Emily's Best Friend"
- "Thomas and the Forest Engines"
- "Emily to the Rescue"
- "Shankar's Makeover"
- "Nia and the Unfriendly Elephant"
- "James the Super Engine"
- "Thomas' Not-So-Lucky Day"
- "Ace's Brave Jump" (the most pointless episode of the series)
- "A New Arrival"
- "World of Tomorrow"
- "Cleo's First Snow"
- "Thomas and the Inventor's Workshop"
- "The Inventor's Spectacular Bridge"
- "Kenji on the Rails Again"
- "Cleo the Road Engine"
- "Thomas' Animal Friends" (which ended this era and the entire series on a sour note in airing order)
Before this era came out, many fans were very concerned, believing Mattel had made the wrong decision to do these ideas in such a ridiculous way. When this era of the show came out, it received a mixed reception, with some claiming it wasn't as bad as they thought, and others outright despising it. As time went on, it has been critically panned by fans and critics alike, especially after The Unlucky Tug made a video explaining why this era is terrible, with some even thinking that it is as bad as, if not worse than the Sharon Miller era. However, some fans do still claim this era was not as bad as the Sharon Miller era, but there weren't enough defenses on that era to prevent these three seasons from not getting this page.
The failure of this era caused Mattel to cancel the original series and rebooted it as Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go!, which received much worse reviews.
- Season 24 is the last season of the show to feature CGI animation, and to follow the continuity established from season 1 up to that point, as the next series, Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go! has been confirmed to be a 2D animated, and act as a complete reboot to the show.
- In a leaked trailer from Season 22, Thomas is shown video calling the audience via a smartphone to tell them about his journey around the world, but is shown through the perspective of the smartphone camera. It could be originally going to be an alternate introduction segment for the episodes not taking place on Sodor.
- Season 22 was originally going to be streamed on Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu, but was dropped in favor of the show being aired on Nick Jr. However, Seasons 23 and 24 were only released on Netflix due to Nickelodeon's contract expiring.
- Christopher Ragland, Percy's American voice actor, is married to Rachael Miller, who voices Rebecca in both UK and US English dubs.