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Friday, 18 February 2011

Review: 'The Complete Series 12' DVD

My copy of The Complete Series 12 DVD arrived since it was sent off on a Wednesday at 9:56am, courtesy of hmv.com.

This is perhaps the first time that I recieved a pre-ordered Thomas DVD on a Friday rather than a Saturday, boy was I pleased!
 Things you can expect from the DVD;
- A slipcase is included
- The back cover also resembles the layout for The Greatest Stories US DVD. With an image of Thomas in a recognised Season 12 promo, you can also expect to see images of these engines in circle borders across the back cover; Edward, Henry, James, Percy, Emily, Toby, Gordon, Freddie and Rosie. All on there due to them having episodes to themselves on the Sodor railway.
- Starting the DVD when loaded comes in order; The Warning introduction, Hit Entertainment's ident, the Take-n-Play commercial featuring the Farm playset, the Thomas Land at Drayton Manor commercial, a titlecard for the Complete Series 12.
- Now don't get your hopes up, but there is no Day of the Diesels trailer included as the DVD was submitted to the bbfc way before the trailer was released, I mean, I wasn't expecting it and I have seen it on mobile.
- The main menu features the Thomas promo shot in the bottom left corner, above him is the logo for the DVD. Next to which shows various scenes from the Twelfth Series accompained by the title music from Season Thirteen and onwards and is repeated once. Below the screen is a Play All option, Episodes Selection and a tab showing Subtitles On/Off.
- Selecting the Episode Selection shows the episodes across 4 pages. However, instead of moving scenes in the boxes, you get promo shots for each episode while the background features The Red Balloon from Duncan and the Hot Air Balloon.
- Viewing all the episodes will entertain you for the next 3 hours and 22 minutes.
- All episodes are in broadcast order as seen on the FIVE broadcasts.
- After watching all the episodes, the newest Hit Entertainment ident as seen on the Wobbly Wheels & Whistles DVD will play followed by the Thank You ident. Afterwards you will be returned to the Main Menu where you have completed watching the whole DVD.

Now I haven't really watched the whole of Series 12 in a while but did sometimes catch episodes like Gordon Takes a Shortcut, The Party Suprise and Duncan and the Hot Air Balloon thanks to FIVER. Looking back on the 2008 Series, I think it is one of the best and one of the highlights from the Hit Entertainment era. Seeing all the CGI implements made the Island of Sodor look more life like thanks to the upgrade in picture quality, the film effect and Nitrogen Studios' CGI.

The suprises continue with the returns of certain characters like Duck, Trevor, Ben, Stepney, Murdoch which when viewed in the first broadcasts would have suprised a lot of you including myself, especially with some having larger roles, but watching these again will make you think back and felt pleased while you still would when watching these again.

Looking back on the stories, some of them were really good, a few might seem a tad formulaic, however I am OK with the episodes, partly because of the CGI effects featured which still destracts me from reviewing certain episodes.

Some of them are real winners like Rosie's Funfair Special, however, if you were to ask me which one in this series that I thought was the best, I would go for Gordon Takes A Shortcut as it had it all; Supporting and best loved characters, the straining mood on the music, the structure of helping and rivalry and the drama.
This was the second series to be filmed in HD, but because of the CGI effects had to look more realistic, a film effect was added. Now, this really benefits as Series 12 on DVD looks very glorious and is perhaps even more glorious if viewed on a HD ready TV.

However, the picture can sometimes lack in places, especially on very fast movements which might have the occasional blur, while stock footage from Series 11 may have it's colours differed to Series 12, especially on the sky.

The DVD is presented in 16:9 widescreen. But the titlecard for the release after the trailers looks like a 4:3 fullscreen frame.

There is a significant difference to Michael Angelis' narration sound on Series 12. In the Eleventh Series, Angelis' narration sounded slightly rough, not because of his voice, but because of the sound mixing as it sounded in Series 3, luckily for Series 12, it improved.

Angelis' narration is more clearer to hear, however owing to the tight scheduled recordings since Pierce Brosnan's depature, you may think that his narration sounds rushed, apart from the occasional voices and accents. The music can be heard clearly in places and there is no problem with that bit.

However, with the CGI episodes from Season Thirteen and onwards featuring more enhanced sound, you might feel a sometimes quiet atmosphere when listen to the Twelfth Series' audio.

Obviously because this is a Complete Series release, there is no extras. However with 20 episodes to enjoy, you might not mind, unless you count the trailers at the beginning as extras, it's lacking.

Subtitles are included for the Hard of Hearing. In a way, a traditional extra.
You won't be dissapointed with this release. With it's complete revamp for the CGI era of Thomas, you can perhaps say that the cover, menu and episodes look glorious. Let's just hope that this format be kept for a possible Complete Series 13 release, otherwise it would look messy if the layouts were completely changed over and over again.

Out of 10;
Film - * * * * * * * *
Video - * * * * * * * *
Audio - * * * * * *
Extras - * *
Overall - * * * * * * *

Pre-order The Complete Series 12;


  1. Going into town on Saturday with my sister - she's going to Waterstones and I'm going to HMV and HobbyCraft! Fingers crossed I can get the Lion of Sodor too!

  2. I have the complete season 12 series