Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Most and Least Rewatchable: Season Four

Pinkie points at the camera during her opening song
I'm still waiting for it, Pinkie...
Back to a full 26-episode season this time, which makes things both easier and more difficult. I enjoyed S4 on the whole, despite its very variably written Pinkie. Some very good episodes didn't make my top three – although some of the season's low points were pretty darn low. I doubt there'll be a huge amount of controversy over my winning choice this week (I resisted the immense temptation to put "Bats!" at number one), but there may be a little more when it comes to the episodes I rate as my least rewatched, especially from fans of a certain pony...!

The most rewatchable episodes of S4

3. Filli Vanilli
I am completely and utterly biased here, but that's the point of having my own blog. I was never a big fan of Flutterguy in "Bridle Gossip" (her song excepted), but somehow it's more satisfying second time around. There are some lovely touches in this one: Applejack's unamused look at Goldie Delicious, the firefly lights on the set, Cheerilee's obvious in-joke with Big Mac, etc. But not only does Fluttershy get a real (if short) solo song, but the reprise sees her being even more adorable than usual. I may go and watch this again right now. Yes, I have a few issues with Amy Keating Rogers' portrayal of Pinkie here, but not enough to derail my enjoyment of the ep.

2. Maud Pie
Maud is a somewhat divisive figure in the fandom, and even I don't love all her appearances ("The Gift of the Maud Pie" for one). But in her debut episode, she's absolutely brilliant the whole way through, especially in her dialogue. Her rock poetry is my favourite, but "It doesn't talk. It's a dress" and "I threw it" are right up there. Some may say that it would have been a stronger ep had the Mane Six not ended up being friends with Maud – well, that's as it may be, but I'm not sure it would have been right for Pony. The first of Noelle Benvenuti's two episodes, and by far the more rewatchable.

1. Pinkie Pride
This is pretty much the perfect Pinkie episode. Amy Keating Rogers gets everything right, and the songs all work superbly. The opener, "Pinkie the Party Planner", is bizarrely underrated, perhaps because it doesn't involve Weird Al, but it's still lovely. We also get to see, in "Pinkie's Lament", a version of sad!Pinkie that (hooray) isn't just straight-mane Pinkamena. Talking of Weird Al, though, he's wonderful; this show has excellent taste in special guests, and he does a fantastic job. "Pinkie Pride" is an episode I can't really imagine any fan of Friendship is Magic disliking. It's tremendous.

The least rewatchable episodes of S4

3. Leap of Faith
Easily the least interesting of the "key" episodes, this is decidedly not Josh Haber's finest hour. There's nothing wrong with bringing back the Flim Flam Brothers, as we saw very recently with "Viva Las Pegasus", but the episode just doesn't grip me. One problem is the song, which is pretty forgettable and nowhere near as fun as their debut cider-based extravaganza. It's a shame Applejack got lumbered with this, since an ep about her overcoming a challenge to her honesty could have been fascinating. The one we got... isn't.

2. Inspiration Manifestation
Sorry, Corey Powell and Meghan McCarthy! This is another episode that I had to go back and watch again just to remember anything about it beyond the absolute basics. Once again Spike gets a raw deal (at least he did better in "Equestria Games", which followed) and my attention wandered several times even when I was trying to keep myself focused on what I was seeing. Every season has its filler episodes, but this is one of the least interesting of S4's.

1. Somepony to Watch Over Me
A combination of Slice of Life and Adventure in the same story (*cough* Fimfiction *cough*), Scott Sonneborn's episode doesn't gel. I actually quite like the final act, with Apple Bloom intrepidly setting off into the wilds and having to deal with the chimera. It's what comes before it that's the problem, in particular the story's portrayal of a ridiculously overprotective Applejack. She hasn't behaved like this before or since, and that plus the sheer repetitiveness of it all equals a first 15 minutes that's a trial to sit through.


  1. My most watched episode would have to be Testing, testing 1,2,3 I love the chemistry between Dash and Twilight. My least watched episode would have to be It ain't easy being Breezie, I know it's a key episode, but it did nothing for me.

    1. I really like "TT123", and it wasn't that far off making my list. The breezies episode is somewhat meh for me, but it's important for Fluttershy and I sometimes watch it for that reason.

  2. I'd put 'Filli Vanilli' top and probably replace 'Maud' with 'Twilight's Kingdom' in my own list, although I do love Maud.

    For the least re-watched I'm surprised 'Power Ponies' didn't get on there. 'Leap of Faith' is a good choice though. I genuinely don't think I've watched that one all the way through since it came out.

    1. "Twilight's Kingdom" has the same problem (for this, very specific list) as "A Canterlot Wedding" -- I absolutely adore some parts of it, notably the first song and the climactic battle, but I find myself skipping between them.

      "Power Ponies" is an episode I don't much like -- I'm not a Flutterhulk fan, for example -- but it's not because I find it dull. The ones here I just have very little enthusiasm about either way.

  3. I can't stand rewatching Filli Vanilli. Pinkie aside, I wish they'd come up with more than one song for the damn group to sing. They sing that song into the ground, it's awful! D:

    Good call on Inspiration, though. Probably one of the most forgettable episodes ever.

    1. I could listen to that song for hours. I think I had a 10 hour YouTube version on in the background once while I was doing stuff, and got at least three hours in.

  4. Agreed on Pinkie Pride. I'd also put TT123 and 'Castle Mania' in there as ones I've watched many many times. I know I'm in the minority here, but I'd include 'Princess Twilight Sparkle' in the most re-watched of the season. Really do like that one a lot; the combination of new Alicorn Twi, Discord, evil Everfree, some ACTUAL Celestia time, and the cool flashbacks.

    As for the other end.. wow. Looking at the list of episodes, there's a LOT in there I've never gone back to re-watch on a wimb. Ones like 'Three's a Crowd', 'Simple Ways', the Breezie one, 'Inspiration', 'Trade Ya', 'Inspiration'.. even 'Equestria Games'.

    The only one I actively avoid is 'Somepony Looking Over Me', as I hate Applejack in there. There are a bunch of other good episodes in the season too, mind.

    1. Heh, you mentioned "Inspiration" twice. Just shows how forgettable it is, I suppose. ;)

      I actually think S4 was the most up-and-down season of the lot. My opinion is that S5 had a few low points (as we'll see...) but was generally very good, while S6 started meh with a few exceptions, but has improved markedly recently.