Everyone tends to categorize different era of Thomas, which makes sense, because when you look back on the TV series, it's actually been one big clusterf**k of different production companies, management, writing style and quality etc.
So today I'm here to discuss the Miller Era (Seasons 13-16 & its respective 4 specials), and the current BWBA era.
Ok, before I begin this,
I'm not trying to compare or consider one era over the other. Honestly? I think both are pretty bad in their own ways. But that's not what this article is about.
Instead I'm here to point out one glaring element that the Miller Era did better than the BWBA era.
Misty Island Rescue & Season 14 onward
Again, not comparing here. But let's take a look at the ending of MIR. Sodor builds up the Search & Rescue Centre with the help of the Misty Island idiots and the special wood from the island. This ending (and the underwater tunnel) clearly establishes a link between Sodor and Misty Island, from this point onward.
Sure enough in Season 14 onward, we see this in full swing. Thomas goes to Misty Island for jobi wood, the Logging Locos come to Sodor to learn to be useful or whatever. Misty Island's inclusion in the series is made clear, as we know there is a literal link between it and Sodor.
If an episode starts with Thomas on the island, we know by now that offscreen he travelled there to collect logs or something.
But now let's compare it to,
Big World Big Adventures & Season 22.
BWBA ended as follows. Thomas & Nia arrive to Sodor, and everyone there wonders, "Wait, where's The Fat Controller?" to which we're abruptly cut to TFC on a ship asking Ace for Thomas's whereabouts.
It's a cliffhanger ending, and with the big promotion for S22, making everyone aware that Thomas is going to travel abroad again in the next season, we're left wondering if this scene with TFC and Ace is leading up to a link to future episodes.
It doesn't, as episodes such as 'Number One Engine' and 'Trusty Trunky' prove. This isn't a bad thing but,
We're given literally no explanation as to why Thomas is suddenly abroad again. Why is he in India? Why is he in China? How long is he staying in these countries? Has he ditched the island of Sodor yet again for these excursions? (Probably). And how is he still present in the Sodor episodes, like, where is the continuity? (Personally i had hoped the Sodor episodes wouldve have focused on the others while Thomas f**ks off abroad, ala 'Thomas Comes Home' in the RWS)
Both of these episodes just start with "I WAS WORKING ON THE CHINESE/INDIAN RAILWAY" and, that's it. It's abrupt, and just, random. And that was only the start of multiple issues with those episodes, to which I just gave up caring at this point. We all thought Thomas randomly ditching his branch line to be on the mainline or wherever on Sodor was bad and inconsistent enough :L
What's the overall Point?
Basically, the Miller era in its link between special and proceeding season, has consistency and continuity in it. MIR's ending basically tells us "Yes, Misty island is gonna be a thing now in the series", whereas in BWBA, there's no continuity. We don't see Thomas heading off again to attempt to find the Fat Controller, or make a plan to travel again, instead its just an abrupt comic relief cliffhanger and thats it.
You can't say in S22, "Oh the events of BWBA the movie never happened", because Nia at Tidmouth Sheds instantly puts that down.
What are your thoughts on this?
Remember, I'm not comparing one era over the other, I'm saying the link between MIR and S14 onwards, was better than the zero link between BWBA and S22's abroad episodes.