Nostalgia Critic Real Thoughts On: Thomas and the Magic Railroad

Well, it did introduce us to Mara Wilson. THAT’S a good thing about it.

See the original review here –

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. I would highly recommend doing a review on the original TV show, it may very well surprise you! If not then fine by me.

  2. I do recommend watching perhaps the first 10 Episodes. It can be done in say between 30 minutes to an hour. You’d be amazed at how serious and dare I say sometimes dark the stories can be. Not only that, he music within the themes are so well done, that they really do hit those emotions surprisingly well.
    The episodes are often at times linked to each other like as an actual cereal TV Series.

    Give it a watch and find out!

  3. Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle!

  4. I was hoping to see that out-of-character you were better-informed but no, you were still painfully ignorant to Thomas as a franchise and its intentional art design.Oh well…

  5. Still have the autograph I got from Doug at a convention in which I had him write Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle on it 😀

  6. TheManWithTheKillerPlan

    Oogieloves is what you were thinking of.

  7. it was the early 90s/late 80s. I was born in 1990, and I remember being absolutely crazy about Thomas the Tank Engine. I loved that show which meant I must have been in the target age group, which I would have been in the very early 90s.

  8. The one episode of Thomas The Tank Engine that sticks out in my mind is the one where was almost melted into scrap metal. That was pretty dark.

    Also it used to have all of the voice acting done by Ringo Starr from the Beetles.

    • There’s a few episodes like that.
      The one where Stepney was going to be scrapped by Iron Arry and Iron Bert, and if you go for a more undertone-y look, the episode Saved from Scrap – if Trevor wasn’t saved, he would have been cut up.


      What about the episode Grandpuff where one of the engines mentioned gets punish for being troublesome and ends up becoming a generator! It treats it like it’s death and they never mention that character again! Now that is dark right there!

  9. HEY Doug I just reviewed barney grand adventure and that movie fails on so many levels.that it the movie fews like an insult.And techs you that Imagination can do anything and that you should never grow up.It is worthy of a nostalgia critic


    • Another *villain. But yeah, the diesel wasn’t the main bad guy in the unedited cut.

      • Who was it then?

        • A drifter on a motorbike with a lifelong grudge against Peter Fonda’s character. He, not the diesel, was supposed to have crashed the lost engine after getting jealous of Fonda and bullying his way into taking it for a spin, then show up in the present, still bitter, and start working to take both of them down. They cut him from the movie after the parents in the test audience complained that he was “too scary.”


            How ironic from those parents considering the show had intense moments! Those Soccermoms strike again!

  10. The show hasn’t aged QUITE as well as some people might remember, but yeah, the show got Emmy nominations, and the movie… got reviews calling it one of the worst films of the year. That pretty much says everything in a nutshell.

    In fact, even the mouths not moving worked better in the show, because they were supposed to be like moving storybook pictures, not characters people were supposed to interact with in live action.

    • That’s because they knew that animated trains were ALL THE RAGE!!! Remember Chuggington?

      • Actually, I didn’t even know Chuggington existed until you brought it up just now ^_^ Having just looked it up though, it apparently started 8 years after this movie and 15 years after the show. Suffice to say, I was well past the target demographic by that point.

  11. The Mysterious M

    WAIT! … I thought the “Don’t fuck with Mara Wilson” joke came from the “A Simple Wish” review.

    • Yeah. Her (first) cameo was in that one. Odd that they seem to have forgotten that, but then they do cover an awful lot of material.

      That said, I’m one of those who is also frustrated whenever they start a vlog with “what was the origin of [given property] again? I dunno, I think it was [uninformed guess]. Really? I thought it was something like [equally uninformed guess]. Oh well! Doesn’t matter! Moving on!” It’s not like they aren’t the ones deciding to make these vlogs happen. A super quick google or wikipedia search wouldn’t hurt.

    • Her cameo was in the “A Simple Wish” review, but the review that got her to contact them in the first place was this one.

    • That’s the review she agreed to do after this one. Without Doug making fun of Mara Wilson here, there wouldn’t have been an “A Simple Wish” review.

  12. Funny thing about the Thomas TV series; as Doug brought up a dark age for movies, Thomas’ dark age was from about 2005 until 2013. During that period, the heavily loathed executives of (s)HiT Entertainment meddled with the stories, with writers knowing bugger all about real railways, making the stories stupidly nonsensical (see “Firebox on fire”) and focused only on selling toys, unlike the original stories focusing on the heart and soul of the late Rev W. Awdry’s most beloved literary character. Thankfully, the new writer Andrew Brenner has brought back the glory days of Thomas and Friends; just in time for the Railway Series’ 70th Anniversary.

    Other than that, it would be cool to have Doug look at the episodes of Series 18, since they are probably the best since the emergence from the Dark Ages.

  13. Thomas the tank engine first aired in the us as part of shining time station, with ringo starr as the conductor in 1989, so it was the eighties, I remember liking it at age 7, never saw the movie

  14. Hello Doug, I noticed that a few people in the comments have recomended the show to you, so I decided to post this comment on both the channel awesome site and YouTube. I am also sorry its a long comment, but what can you do. I grew up with the show and guiltlessly watch it years later and eat it up. I post this comment so that if you ever do take a look at the show, I would like to tell you a guide of how I think the show is viewed by people who still like it. I take a look at the show and I view it as having four eras. Seasons 1-4 are the Golden Age, Seasons 6-7 are the Silver Age, Seasons 8-11 are the Bronze Age, and Seasons 12 Onward are the Bronze Age. I’ll tell you what Season 5 is later. Seasons 1-4 are considered the best era of the show, when the American Narrator was George Carlin, who does really well, when the characters were lovable, the messages were standard, the music was incredible and each character has their own theme, the stories were pretty good, the models and lack of mouth movement I view as the signs of the classic era, and the environment and sets actually recreate the atmosphere and environment of an old railway island. The fourth season even introduces another set of characters on a another railway and it alternates between character sets. So if you’re going to take a look at the show, then at least grow through the first four seasons. Now, Season 5 is what I describe as the puberty of the show. It is full of crashes, dark sets, disasters, some stuff that legimately still creeps me out with the music, and the American Narrator is now Alec Baldwin; yes, Baldwin was on the show too. I personally still watch it alot, but I don’t demand you watch this Season. Seasons 6 and 7 I view as the Silver Age of the show, where it starts to lose the classic feel of the first four seasons, it still has good stories, but the seeds were planted that led to the big problems of the later seasons. It still is viewed as good by some over target aged fans of the show, but I don’t really say I recomend it to people looking into it. And Alec Baldwin is replaced as the narrator in Season 7 by Michael Brandon who did it from then on. Then HIT Entertainment took over the show and then it entered the Bronze Age, Seasons 8-11. The seeds that were planted begin showing when the characters begin acting out of place, the character Emily is introduced who I personally hate, the stories were only tolerable, and that was enough for hardcore fans to get through it. But the 12th Season onwards is the era that Thomas fans hate. It removes the classic feel of the show by replacing the models with CGI and the Narrator doing all of the voices with voice actors. It has the characters feel not like themselves, less lovable and more idiotic, and they constantly relearn lessons that they learned a long time ago. The stories are basic kids crap with so many plotholes that you question if the people writing it know what they’re talking about (ex: “His firebox was on fire!”). The writing is SO TERRIBLE because the rhyming is stupid, gimmicky, and lazy. And the alliteration constantly needs to reinforce them being trains and it becomes harder to think of them as characters and easier as objects. (ex: their pistons pumped with excitment, we’ll stop their trickery with a woosh and a weesh.) So if you or Rob are still reading this comment by now, I would just like to tell you what I recomend as far as taking a look at the show. I stand by you should watch at least the first four seasons, because those are classic, atmospheric, well characterized, well told, and beautifully orchestrated. In case a haven’t, I’ll warn you that the narrator does all the talking and there are no voice actors. As far as where to look for the show, the DVD releases are really out of order, so I would recommend just looking on Wikipedia for the episode list in order and then going to Youtube for them, because ALL of those early season episodes are on Youtube. Whether you want to listen to the British narrator of Ringo Starr or the American narrator of George Carlin is up to you. So, there you go, I recommend checking out those first four seasons. Take care Doug.

  15. You had to say flubber. Now you need to a real thoughts on Flubber. And, DON’T FUCK WITH MARA WILSON!!!


    I think Doug really underestimates British Animation! Seriously Doug! Some of the animated shows in the U.K were really dark to the point sometimes they would involve really dark imagery! I also feel British Animation took advantage of claymotion, sets, puppets, models and darker storytelling than any other country! Especially the works of Oliver Postgate! His work is incredibly underrated in animation history! Others such as Gosgrove Hall Films, Gerry Anderson, Britt Allcroft and Aardman Animations are just as important as major animation studios in America and Asia!

  17. I saw this movie at the cinema but all I remember about it was being quite disturbed.

    I think the no mouths moving comes from the british stop motion tradition of having a narrator rather than a voice actor. You see it a lot like in the ’75 Paddington series and Bagpuss.
    It’s that idea of having someone specific telling you a story. Also budget, at least for the early series.

    If you have 15 minutes to spare it might be worth checking out an episode or two of the old 80’s series. It’s even got Ringo Starr narrating if you find the UK version. They’re about 5 minutes long and pretty simple but there’s some nice sets and either a cozy or pretty dark atmosphere going on.

    • Ringo narrated both US and UK versions of the first series, if I recall correctly.


      I seem to prefer the British voice narrators than the Americans! I love Geroge Carlin and Alec Balwin! It’s just Ringo Starr and Michael Angelis give the narrations more timeless and in the darker espiodes more disturbing! British Animation I’ll always consider underrated! I bet Doug doesn’t know that the famous short film The Snowman has a sequel called The Snowman and The Snowdog! It’s decent, it just feels more like a remake than something completely new! Still it’s decent just not as good as the original!

  18. Actually, the reason the mouths don’t move is to help teach kids about reading faces and learning social cues. Specifically, parents of autistic children praise the show because the stiffer faces makes learning how to read emotions easier for the autistic.


      In addition, the use of the narrator to voice the characters were used incredibly common in the U.K to create a storybook style of narration in many British Animation from the 1960’s to early 2000’s! Most famously, anything Oliver Postgate created etc! I can see where Doug’s coming from with the lips in the film especially without the narration! Though I’m amazed he never mention how atrocious the voice acting was! As a fan of Thomas! The film isn’t good! I can’t blame the director however because the film’s production went through hell and Britt Allcroft who directed and wrote the film had to mortgage her house twice to get the film complete! I see it’s protential! But because of the test screenings that changed the intense moments, the rewriting of the script, the voice actors, and production budget problem, it results in a bizarrely watchable, but poorly written, and the acting is odd!

  19. My favorite scene from this NC review is “Am I Alec Baldwin’s delusion?!” I wonder how the original cut of this movie would have turned out. Also, you go on Buzzfeed, Rob? That’s pretty cool. You’re not too old if you’re going on Buzzfeed. lol

    • I would highly recommend looking at the backstory to this film. It’s, pun intended, a trainwreck.

      I mean, this is one film where Studio mandating actually killed it. Britt Allcroft, the creator of the original show, was tasked with creating it. She made a script, she assembled a cast of british people from all over, based solely on their voices. I mean, Thomas was to be voiced by the Taxi driver that picked her up when she went location scouting on The Isle of Man. He opened his lips and started talking and by the time they reached her destination, she was adimant that he was the voice she had been looking for. Britt is a woman that is totally dedicated to finding the best, not just the most recognizable. she started making it, the writers and the people surrounding it thought that this was going to be a wonderful story… Then Hollywood got involved… They fired her entire cast and hired a new, American one, they threw out the script and introduced the new one. She managed to create a villain for it, it was supposed to be a human called P.T. Boomer.

      Boomer was actually a really damn awesome character… And was cut, because test screening stated that his villainous ways was too scary for the kids. As such, he was removed and they had to reshoot a lot of stuff.

      Naturally, the movie bombed and Britt got the blame. HiT that had just acquired the rights took her off the project in response. Britt got fucked hard by this, it was completely NOT her fault and yet she got stuffed with the blame.

  20. Steve the Pocket

    I’m assuming you skipped right over those super-long comments up there, if you bothered reading any at all, so here’s all you really need to know about “the show”, or at least the one you remember being on PBS:

    It was essentially two shows in one: An original live-action show taking place at a train station in some unnamed American town, and the Thomas shorts, which were integrated in the form of “Mr. Conductor” (played first by Ringo Starr and then by George Carlin because why the fuck not) grinding the plot to a halt to tell the kids stories. As far as I can remember, neither one ever insinuated that they were anything more than stories, but I guess someone decided they needed to incorporate both universes into the movie somehow.

    I can’t even begin to imagine what UK viewers, who had no idea what “Shining Time Station” even was, thought when they saw the film.

  21. Okay, so a bit of history for Thomas the Tank Engine – the character of Thomas actually goes all the way back to a series of books called the Railway Series, the first book of which was published in 1945 and Thomas’s first appearance was a year later. The books still receive intermittent publishing but for the most part it has been retired. It wasn’t until 1984 that it got (successfully) adapted for ITV (one of Britain’s commercial channels). Previous attempts had been made, all the way back to 1953, but poor production quality generally meant that it wasn’t received well. There was a minor adaptation done, but only for the purposes of the children’s reading programme Jackanory.

    I did admittedly have to check about dates, but I knew you guys would’ve been young enough for it to be a thing. Though seeing as you would’ve been 8 and 10 when it got over to you guys that might’ve been why there was the cut-off. *shrugs* I can only guess as I wasn’t even alive when the first few seasons were made. Hell I was born the year it got to you guys

  22. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    Im so glad at the end(the last few seconds of this video) you brought up that sparkle,sparkle line. Speaking of which:
    f yeah sparkle,sparkle,sparkle
    also the generic song you used in that video the mysterious mr.enter has used it about two or three times.

    But in my opinion the thomae and the magic railroad review is one of my favorite classic nc episodes (btw)

    Now to go ask rob a question about two movies i think you guys should do on real thoughts (toodles!!)

  23. In 140 Characters or Less

    Mara Wilson has lost her mind: she drank the SJW Kool-aid and follows/retweets a well-known anti-#GamerGate harasser and self-professed pedophile Sarah Nyberg (aka Sarah Butts). Another one Lindsay ruined!

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