Saturday, 27 August 2016

Episode review: "Dungeons & Discords"

Season 6 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has often been criticized for an abundance of slice-of-life episodes, but the simple fact of the matter is that slice-of-life is the format which best complements this show's brand of humour and storytelling. "Dungeons & Discords," an episode which is somehow even better than last week's, is very close to the ideal FiM episode, using a relatively simple story to deliver not only some of the show's funniest scenes yet, but also to deliver organic and significant character development, and it does all of that while stretching modestly out of its own comfort zone. Why is this season so unpopular again?

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Episode review: "The Times They Are a Changeling"

My Little Pony, as a fantasy setting, is prone to depicting some of its races as consistently evil, or at least consistently unpleasant. While the griffons and dragons aren't necessarily evil, they are stereotyped with negative traits, and the changelings - one of the most fascinating and enigmatic of the show's races - is distinctly shown as almost exclusively villainous. "The Times They Are a Changeling" is the show's third - and, to date, most successful - attempt to give one of its "evil" races a deeper and more human element, and while it retains the main issues of "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone" and "Gauntlet of Fire," the episode is so packed with depth and profundity that it rises above those issues as one of the show's most impressive achievements.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Episode review: "28 Pranks Later"

"28 Pranks Later" was a particularly worrisome synopsis. It promised to repeat the worst crimes of "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well" and continue to have Rainbow Dash re-learn already-known lessons. Thankfully, the episode itself is surprisingly good-natured and entertaining, even though it still feels like a repetition of earlier character development. It's just too bad that this is the show at its most thuddingly predictable and simplistic, repeating all of the previous episode's mistake with better characterization and humour. For an episode so close to being legitimately solid to simply not go the extra mile suggests that this show is simply not willing to do what it needs to do to reach its former quality, and that's the most disappointing thing this show has done since "Newbie Dash."

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Episode review: "The Cart Before the Ponies"

Usually, I'm not all that bothered by My Little Pony incorporating predictable plots, as long as it can put some unique spin on it. Take my favourite episode of season 5, "Rarity Investigates!," which by all means offers a deeply predictable detective mystery. That episode stands out for everything around the central mystery. It has a lovely noir style, a previously uncommon character dynamic, relevance to a major character arc, and a modest degree of continuity. However, episodes like "The Cart Before the Ponies" show why predictability is used as a major point of criticism. With only a small degree of hidden depth, and with a message indicated before the halfway point, this episode feels safe, and although not without its moments, wears out its welcome long before the end.