Sunday, 11 November 2018

UK of Equestria's overall S8 ranking list

As happens each year, once again those of us on UK of Equestria have been supplying lists of how we rank this season's Friendship is Magic episodes. Double episodes count as one, so respondents were asked to provide a list running from 1 to 24. (No ties in individual lists are permitted, though they can still occur in the overall ranking.) We had 15 people take part this season, which is exactly the same as for S7. I actually find that rather encouraging at this point in the show's run.

The tier boundaries here, which differ from those I use on UK of E, are decided very simply. Any episode which has an average rating of five or better (one would mean every single respondent ranked it top!) gets five stars. From there to ten gets four stars, and so on. This does of course have the fault that it doesn't take account of how the season as a whole was received, only the relative positions of episodes within it.

1. What Lies Beneath

2. School Raze (finale)
3. Surf and/or Turf
4. On the Road to Friendship
5. Sounds of Silence
6. The Washout
7. The Hearth's Warming Club

8. School Daze (premiere)
9. The Break Up Breakdown
10. Horse Play
11. The Mean 6
12= Molt Down
12= A Rockhoof and a Hard Place
14. Marks for Effort
15. The Parent Map
16. Fake It 'Til You Make It

17. Friendship University
18. A Matter of Principals
19. Father Knows Beast
20. The Maud Couple
21. Grannies Gone Wild
22. The End in Friend
23. Yakity-Sax

24. Non-Compete Clause

Number of times each episode placed first
3: Sounds of Silence
3: What Lies Beneath
2: On the Road to Friendship
2: School Raze
1: The Break Up Breakdown
1: Friendship University
1: The Hearth's Warming Club
1: Horse Play
1: Surf and/or Turf

Number of times each episode placed last
13: Non-Compete Clause
1: The End in Friend
1: Father Knows Beast

Most controversial (highest standard deviation)
1. Horse Play
2. The Mean 6
3. Fake It 'Til You Make It
4. A Matter of Principals

Least controversial
1. Non-Compete Clause
2. The End in Friend
3. Yakity-Sax
4. What Lies Beneath

No episode this time was universally liked. The season finale was a close call: 14 people voted it in their top nine, but one placed it 22nd. "What Lies Beneath" had a similar, if rather less dramatic, distribution: it garnered 14 top-eight places and a lone 14th. At the bottom, "Non-Compete Clause" was almost universally strongly disliked: it managed one 15th place, one 23rd – and everyone else put it dead last. The AJ/RD character regression was hugely unpopular.

Unlike last year with "Fame and Misfortune", I wasn't sure in advance what would win "Most controversial episode" this season. As things turned out, it was "Horse Play", whose rankings ranged between first and 23rd. It partly depended for many on what they thought of the cringe comedy in Celestia's acting. The greatest agreement was in the poorness of "Non-Compete Clause", and in fact there was a high degree of consensus about the bottom three.

S8 has had a rather mixed reception overall. I think it's probably fair to say that most people find it a step down from S7, although the Student/Young Six are generally very popular. Without the students, I think this season could really have struggled to win favour. Personally I would still place it above S6 overall, but maybe not by as much as I'd have liked. It may have to wait until I've let things settle a bit before I'm really sure where I feel it stands.


  1. I'm actually surprised Horse Play is more controversial than Mean 6.

    1. The margin isn't huge, but slightly more people stuck "The Mean 6" in mid-table somewhere, whereas for "Horse Play" there was a little more tendency to outright like or dislike it.

  2. This seems about right. Interesting to see UK of Equestria preferred What Lies Beneath to Sounds of Silence. Both are among my tops, but I prefer Sounds of Silence by a not-small margin. There isn't really much in the way of surprises otherwise, though I don't doubt, like most Season Finales, School Raze will drop a decent bit were this poll done several months from now. Finale hype always elevates such things a bit, you know. Do people still love Shadow Play? I know it had it's haters even upon review, but the impression I get is many loved it for Star Swirl appearing, so much going on, and the lore and world building after such things being low priority during the Haber-led New Pony era.

    It' also always amusing to see the two different kind of "Mixed" reactions: the kind where it's hard to feel more then an okay/decent feeling towards it (most of the top 2-star and the bottom 2-star ones; Friendship University is an especially good example), and then the kind where there's a big gulf between those that love it and those that hate it. Horse Play being a good example there. Basically the standard deviation thing. I just find such things fascinating is all.

    1. Interesting to see UK of Equestria preferred What Lies Beneath to Sounds of Silence.

      "SoS" suffered a bit from having a few mid-range scores: although nobody outright disliked it, five placed it between 12th and 19th.

      Finale hype always elevates such things a bit, you know.

      Depends on the finale. I don't have firm evidence, but I strongly suspect that "Magical Mystery Cure" is more popular now than it was at the time, since the whole Twilicorn thing is no longer controversial.

      Friendship University is an especially good example

      That would have scored lower, had it not been for one voter placing it top. Nobody else had it higher than ninth, although two others had it in the lower reaches of their top tens.