Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Why "really pretty good, considering" won't be enough for Season 4

Despite the practically rock-solid certainty of large swathes of 4chan that the show is in terminal decline, the only sensible answer to that question is: "No idea yet." I think most fans would agree that season 3 of Friendship is Magic was the least impressive yet, but how much of that has to do with Lauren Faust's departure and how much is due to other factors remains to be seen. It's interesting that Hasbro seem to have given the creative team more freedom once Faust had gone, perhaps realising that they'd made a mistake, though I doubt they'd admit it.

Season 4 this winter will be the big test. The team have had a long time to prepare for it, it's a full 26 episodes long and the sense of people finding their feet without Faust will no longer be an excuse. In short, it must be more consistently good than S3 if faith is to be maintained/restored (delete according to preference). Yes, S3 had some wonderful moments, not least "Sleepless in Ponyville" — one of the all-time classic episodes — but it also had some pretty shaky moments. It simply wasn't up to the overall standard of either S1 or S2.

I've only seen a few snippets of Equestria Girls, but it looks as though that may be a potentially terrible movie saved and lifted into the realm of the genuinely good by a tremendously talented creative team. That's not a million miles from what happened with "Magical Mystery Cure", where MA Larson and Daniel Ingram in particular came up with the goods, to the extent that the only really major complaint was the one they couldn't help: that it was very clearly a two-ep story forcibly crushed into 22 minutes.

But that's not going to be good enough when S4 finally arrives. What I want, and need, to see is a season whose episodes are excellent in their own right. Not "really pretty good, considering", but just plain excellent. FiM is a special cartoon, as all of us in this remarkable and (let's be honest) bizarre fandom know. The standards it set in S1 were amazing, and it mustn't aim simply at being a good, solid kids' cartoon. It has to be more than that, and I'm sure Meghan McCarthy knows it. Let's hope she can pull this off.

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