Thursday, April 24, 2014

March of the Ponies: My Little Pony Season 3 review

[NOTE: Links to other March of the Ponies stories will go here as they are published.Part 1 - Abridged MLP historyPart 2 - Review of Lauren Faust's prior works, Part 3 - MLP Comics (TwilightRainbowDashRarityFluttershyPinkiePieApplejackCMCs/Celestia,Spike/LunaNightmare Rarity arc (main series)), Part 4 - Equestria Girls review, Part 5 - Fan-made episodes (Dusk's DawnDouble RainboomSnowdrop); Part 6 - Fan works (MusicDoctor WhoovesFriendship is Witchcraft/Mentally Advanced Series, Fanfictions), Part 7 - Season Reviews: Season 1, Season 2, Magical Mystery Cure, Season 4 (to date)]

Sorry for the delay due to work and video editing, but let's continue the Ron White analogy for Friendship is Magic.

Season 1 was "They Call Me Tater Salad." Everything was consistently good with moments of greatness.

Season 2 was "You Can't Fix Stupid." It hit higher highs but showcased more true misses and had true low points.

Probably the best descriptor for this season.
And now Season 3. Season 3 is "Behavioral Problems." It's got a consistent quality to it, but there are no high points like the previous incarnations, but does manage to occasionally hit a low point.

Season 3 is notable because it's only 13 episodes, half the length of a normal season. Additionally, I'm not 100 percent sure that the third season was being produced with the prospect that it would be the last, but if it wasn't I'd be in shock.

Many of these episodes feel like they're trying to get characters into a position where they can say their arc is in the books. Everyone needs to be in a good place in time for what appears to be the end of the series.

What this leads to, though, is a colossal mess of a season where plot points are introduced and rushed through quickly, and it leads to resolutions that don't feel like they're justified and motivations that don't make a whole lot of sense.

You have to make A LOT of assumptions during this season, and to me, that makes this season the weakest. Earlier seasons could be picked up at any time and you'd immediately have an understanding of the character. You might not get anywhere near the same interpretation through an episode in this season.

That said, there were some truly good episodes, so let's rank the episodes.

13Magical Mystery Cure
12Just For Sidekicks
11Crystal Empire I
10Crystal Empire II
9Magic Duel
8Games Ponies Play
7Wonderbolts Academy
6Too Many Pinkie Pies
5One Bad Apple
4Spike at Your Service
3Apple Family Reunion
2Keep Calm and Flutter On
1Sleepless in Ponyville

Honestly, only the top two were obvious high-level episodes that compare to the early seasons. The bottom two were the authentically bad episodes. And everything else is fairly interchangeable and really are determined by what you value in your plots.

You'll get more information about my thoughts on these episodes in the audio/video (and even more on Magical Mystery Cure in the separate blog I'm setting for it), but yeah, not exactly the best set of episodes.

Best Song/Song Sequence: Raise This Barn (Apple Family Reunion)
Worst Song: Behold, Princess Twilight Sparkle (Magical Mystery Cure)
Worst Song Sequence: I've Got To Find A Way (Magical Mystery Cure)

Funniest Episode: Too Many Pinkie Pies
Best Joke: The full setup and resolution to the Discord paper-eating (Keep Calm and Flutter On), narrowly beating the G3 Pinkie Pie head (Too Many Pinkie Pies)

Seriously... WTF?
Stay tuned for the big finale review (I compare it to one of my favorite childhood shows.)

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