There is a fascination with anthropomorphized trains among the younger set. My six year old is no longer interested in watching Thomas on TV, but still plays with trains and is totally absorbed by model railroads. We can’t get Underground Ernie here in the US (even on torrent sites … as we would say at Georgia Tech: “damn poor British pirates”), and Chuggington seems a cheap knockoff. Transporters aims to help children, especially autistic children, to read emotions, but somehow lacks the same entertainment value. The early years of Thomas were especially problematic in this regard as the train’s faces were quite static, now CGI Thomas may have rectified this issue.
I found this quote online from SFGate:
“Children’s TV show characters that need to be fired: I have no clue how Sir Topham Hatt still has a job. The island of Sodor is the most inefficient and dangerously run railroad in history. I would rather ride in the Indiana Jones Temple of Doom mining cart than take a trip from Knapford to Tidmouth on any of those death traps.” …
Sir Topham Hatt (“Thomas & Friends”): Considering that Sir Topham Hatt seems to be more of a robber baron/dictator than a CEO, who has enslaved a bunch of anthropomorphic trains on his secret island, I’m thinking a firing might not go far enough. He really needs to be tried for war crimes. In any event, the Island of Sodor railways are so badly mismanaged and filled with preventable accidents, that it makes Muni look like the shining jewel of transportation safety by comparison. I’m especially annoyed by the fact that Sodor appears to have the broken-down infrastructure of a Third World country, but everyone dresses like English royalty. Fire Hatt!
I personally envision Sir Topham Hatt as a super-villain who needs to fight James Bond.