Thomas & Friends

TV review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
Thomas & Friends TV Poster Image
Thomas and his train friends huff and chuff around.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 32 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 33 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

Kids will learn positive social lessons about teamwork and cooperation; they'll also be exposed to vocabulary words like "reliable," "determined," and "useful."

Positive Messages

Though Thomas and his friends sometimes feel "cross" with one another, they rely on one another for help and support. Themes include perseverance and compassion.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters work well together and are good friends. On the (relative) downsite, there aren't many female characters.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There are lots of tie-in Thomas products available, but there's no brand placement within the show itself.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Thomas & Friends is told through the voice of a single narrator and is compelling even for the youngest viewers, without overstimulating young children's sensitive field of perception. It is generally a male-centric series, though a few females do make appearances.

User Reviews

Parent of a 2 and 4 year old Written byreedsmom March 20, 2009

What's up with the RUDE Thomas Shows?

My son has been watching Thomas since he was 2, he has an obsession with Thomas the Tank toys, shows, movies, anything to do with it. At a certain point I had... Continue reading
Adult Written bylorildixon April 9, 2008

An excellent series for children

Currently Thomas only comes on PBS, in my area, once a week. Thankfully we own several videos also. With all of the junk shows out there, we are so glad to have... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 13, 2009

for boys ages 2-4

the show is good for boys 2-4 but i hate it.
Teen, 14 years old Written bylolkekdude September 23, 2017

If you think about it, it's kinda violent

There's lots of train crashes There's this one character in a movie who demands thomas to steal treasure from a pirate ship The fat controller gets m... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THOMAS & FRIENDS, on the fictional island of Sodor, Thomas the Tank Engine and his other engine friends are kept busy porting loads of steel, food, and passenger cars to meet the demands of their human counterparts. Model engines with expressive faces are the media with which this tale is told, creating a fascinating fictional world that many young viewers will enjoy. By staying true to the single-voice narration, the storybook aspect of the show has been well maintained.

Is it any good?

Parents can be assured that this series has educational aspects as well as behavioral modeling. The Thomas the Tank Engine stories were conceived by a young British boy early in the 20th century, who would listen to the trains as they chuffed through the countryside. The stories he told his son -- who has consequently passed them on to his own son -- have been documented in books and toy train models. Since the series was introduced to television viewers in the 1980s, Thomas & Friends has seen a healthy fan base sprout worldwide. Some of the expressions on the train's faces can be a tiny bit creepy, but the intention behind the animation is good, as follows the tradition of a well-told story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role that Thomas and his friends play in the Sodor community in Thomas & Friends. How do they help their community and each other?

  • Do you think the various train characters enjoy their jobs or not? Why aren't there more female trains?

  • How do the characters in Thomas & Friends demonstrate perseverance and compassion? Why are those important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love vehicles

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