Sunday, 23 October 2016

Season 6 reflections.

In case you haven't gotten the hint, I actually liked season 6 a fair bit. Although it doesn't quite fix all of the show's problems, it does go some way towards fixing a lot of them, and especially compared to season 5 it's a much more entertaining season. Most of the main characters have personal flaws again, the status quo is occasionally mucked around with, a surprising number of episodes break from formula, and most importantly, a good majority of episodes are just plain entertaining. There are still plenty of improvements to be made, but this was never a perfect show, and for the first time since season 3, I'm not just being strung along by potential and hope that the show will improve. Just tighten up what we were given here and I'll be happy.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Episode review: "To Where and Back Again"

I'm probably too critical of this show's adherence to formula. Unique plotting isn't the reason why My Little Pony won me over, and as standard as some recent episode plots have been, it's always been the characters that make this show great, and great characters in a fun scenario are easily enough to make up for a generic plot. The point is, "To Where and Back Again" doesn't have a particularly revelatory plot, and it's arguably slightly on the shallow side, but by putting delightful characters in a fun scenario, it manages to be a total blast, and through its exclusive use of new characters, it also manages to feel more fresh than the similarly entertaining season 5 finale was. It's not the show's tightest narrative, and it's still a bit on the silly side, but for the first time in a while, a two-parter isn't really caught up in its own self-importance - and as it turns out, that makes all the difference.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Episode review: "Top Bolt"

One of the biggest challenges facing My Little Pony at the moment is how to best approach its desired angle of turning the mane six into mentors of friendship. While I'm no fan of this direction, I can see the potential, as it can bring to mind just how far these characters have come from the start of the series. Season 6 has made the very wise decision to isolate this sort of episode mostly to three episodes based around the Cutie Map, leaving the six's other appearances to focus on character growth. "Top Bolt" in some ways loses the balance achieved by "Viva Las Pegasus," but it makes up for that with the most charming set of new characters yet, legitimate emotional weight, and one of the best character/setting combinations the map has offered yet. If this particular formula can get any better than this, I will be surprised. 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Episode review: "Where the Apple Lies"

Applejack is a difficult character to write. As a relatively grounded character compared to the rest of the cast, it's easy to view her as someone without many flaws to derive conflict from. However, season 6 has actually done a pretty good job with that, consistently depicting her as a stubborn traditionalist who tends to get stuck in her ways and is hard to dissuade once she sets her mind to something. While the show hasn't done much with these ideas, their presence at least gives Applejack a little bit of much-needed depth. This makes it frustrating that "Where the Apple Lies" decides to dig into Applejack's past instead of developing her in the present, but even in this past incarnation the show manages to put a new spin on these same faults, while also providing a legitimately interesting look at characters before a lot of unseen growth. Unfortunately, this can't save the episode, which is lacking in decent humour and ultimately devolves into the same tiresome cliches that so many My Little Pony episodes rely on. I've yet to find any episode this season wholly unbearable, but "Where the Apple Lies" is the closest it's come thus far. 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Episode review: "Pony Point of View"

What happened to this season? Its first half was so consistently strong, where even its modest episodes had at least the feeling that the show was moving forward. And yet, after the hiatus, it's as if every other episode has to be simple, unadventurous, and lightly bend the characters to fit its morals. Since last week's episode was complex and risky, it's of course time for perhaps the most irritatingly stale episode yet. You know the drill: take an extremely predictable premise and follow it through without deviation, leading up to a moral which is slightly different from expected but no more adventurous. Only, this one has the unique benefit of making its main characters look bad without even trying to justify it, and tacks a particularly terrible ending on. Would it kill this show to finally get some quality control?