Friday, 27 May 2016

The best and worst episodes from each season of FiM

Something a little different today: me, rambling about stuff on the basis of nothing but my prejudices. Okay, that's not really different, but it's pretty much what a blog's for. Also, the title is misleading: I really mean the episodes I like most and least from each season. These do change over time, so don't be surprised if they don't quite match things I've said in the past. Right, go:

S1 best: "The Cutie Mark Chronicles"
This is a piece of brilliance by M. A. Larson; it easily beats "Party of One" for me, even though I like that episode. In this one, the whole Mane Six and the CMC get things to do, we learn a heap of backstory that's still relevant years later and Fluttershy gets to sing. Despite everything that's going on, it doesn't feel rushed. I even like Manehattan here.

S1 worst: "Owl's Well that Ends Well"
Cindy Morrow wrote some episodes I love, as we'll see in a moment, but this ain't one of them. The "Spiked punch" joke and the Villain!Spike sequence are amusing and some of the scenes with Twilight are touching, but – but – the episode as a whole is rendered close to unbearable by the interminable "Hoo?" thing. It's the S1 ep I rewatch least.

S2 best: "Hurricane Fluttershy"
And here's Cindy Morrow's best. This  remains my favourite episode of the series, let alone the season. That's because it's a fabulous exploration of the friendship between Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. Almost everything about it works, despite the rather predictable ending. It could almost win just on the strength of Rainbow's smile when she notices 'Shy in the tornado.

S2 worst: "Baby Cakes"
Call me heartless, but I have almost no interest in the Cake twins. The story is boring, repetitive and unmemorable, and Pinkie's "wiggle" songlet is one of the worst in the show's history. The brief creepy sequence when Pinkie loses the foals is the only bright spot in an episode I would be very happy never to watch again.

S3 best: "Sleepless in Ponyville"
An easy decision in an often underwhelming season. Unlike some people, I like "Magical Mystery Cure", but it's not as good as this. It's a lovely ep, emotional and involving throughout, with clever, thoughtful touches like AJ's sensitivity. It was this episode that propelled Scootaloo into second place on my "favourite pony" list.

S3 worst: "Games Ponies Play"
On another day, "Spike At Your Service" might have got the nod, but at least that has the RD/AJ fanfic scene and Rarity's kitchen squeamishness. This episode, apart from Rainbow and Flutters' cute hoof-bump, is really pretty boring to the extent that I sometimes forget about it completely.

S4 best: "Pinkie Pride"
No, not "Filli Vanilli", even though I used to rank it top. Not "Twilight's Kingdom" either, which has lost a little of its shock value now, Weird Al, like John de Lancie, gets the need to be a pony more than just a guest voice, and the whole episode is tremendous fun throughout – except, of course, during "Pinkie's Lament".

S4 worst: "Power Ponies"
This episode simply doesn't work for me. It's not the concept itself – I very much like the Power Ponies comic annual – but the execution. It feels disjointed and some parts are remarkably boring for the subject matter. "Leap of Faith" isn't terribly interesting either and my least favourite of the "key" episodes.

S5 best: "Amending Fences"
Larson on top form again, just three episodes after his wildly different "Slice of Life". In this episode, we're almost back to old-fashioned friendship lessons for Twilight, though without letters to Celestia. Moondancer is a great character, Minuette is instantly likeable, the callback to the S1 premiere is perfect and Pinkie's cameo absolutely fits.

S5 worst: "What About Discord?"
I originally placed "Princess Spike" (by the same writer!) in this position, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that "WAD?" is worse. It's basically one joke stretched out for 22 minutes, and while I'm not surprised by Discord thinking it okay to make Twilight frustrated and upset, I expect better of her best friends.

And what about S6?
Obviously, I can't give out proper awards here. All I'll say for now is that "A Hearth's Warming Tail" holds its own with the very best this show has had to offer. I haven't yet seen an ep in S6 I really dislike (yes, I still like "Newbie Dash"), so that spot is vacant even provisionally for now.


  1. An interest list. A lot of non-surprises based on what I've heard from you before, although the lack of 'Filly Vanille' stands out.

    If I were to do a similar list of my own, there'd be many recurring episode titles from here, with a few exceptions.

    1. "Filli Vanilli" is still very high, certainly top three in S4. Some days, I might still rank it number one. I just think "Pinkie Pride" is immensely satisfying.