I would never have guessed that this would be the first TV show that a reader would write in suggesting that I review.
It probably doesn’t need to be stated, but My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is indeed the most recent incarnation of the Hasbro toy-line tie-in. Hasbro allegedly produced this series (which had not been updated since 1992) after seeing how Michael Bay’s Transformers films were boosting toy-line sales for that franchise.
Lauren Faust (who had previously worked on The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends) had previously been pitching animation targeted at girls for years and was brought on as executive producer after approaching Hasbro with another such concept.
This might not seem like such a big deal; alliances like this happen in the entertainment industry all the time. What really separates My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic from all the other standard fare is that it seems to have actually worked. After only one season, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has developed quite a following.
More curiously, a good chunk of the fans of this show aimed at very young girls are actually twenty-somethings and male, more commonly known as “Bronies.”
Much like with Twilight, Miley Cyrus and World of Warcraft, the show’s devoted fan base is contrasted by devoted haters, some of whom (or at least the ones who contacted me) have dubbed the increasing popularity of MLP:FIM “The Aponylypse.”
Considering the first major project I wrote as Bad TV Examiner was an editorial about remakes and adaptations, it was understandable why it would be assumed that I would be one of the latter.
However, I’ve since had the opportunity to familiarize myself with the material, and the Bronies have since gained another convert.
Lauren Faust has done the impossible. Only a dozen out of a hundred or so remakes are ever successful, and the ones that are actually better than the originals are exceptionally rare. But Faust has done all this and more.
She has taken one of the most pointless and embarrassing relics of the thirty-minute toy commercial era and reformatted it into a series that is not only appealing to all ages, but has actually inspired an Internet phenomenon.
It’s sort of like the Justin Bieber of animation, if you will.
Shows like these are commonly known as “guilty pleasure” shows. We wish we had shows like them when we were kids and don’t mind watching them with our own children, or even by ourselves, as long as nobody knows we are still watching cartoons in general (apart from the ones on FOX or Adult Swim).
The concept is not new; shows like Spongebob Squarepants, Pokemon, Regular Show, Martha Speaks and Willa’s Wild Life also enjoy continued support from older viewers who either wish they had them growing up, or who were originally the target audience but never quite outgrew them.
All that seems to separate MLP:FIM from these other guilty pleasure shows is that the older fan base isn’t necessarily guilty about it.
Mind you that this isn’t to say that there is nothing to feel guilty about. I especially feel guilty given what was previously stated about remakes in general.
As was said before in the original series about remakes and big-screen adaptations, the entertainment industry as a whole is obsessed with them. If only one remake or adaptation every ten years is successful, that’s still enough to motivate them to continue cranking out all the other steaming piles that we frequently complain about.
As was stated above, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is more than just a successful remake. It is a remake of one of the worst relics of the 80s that has somehow since given rise to an Internet phenomenon.
The success of MLP:FIM is most certainly going to give the entertainment industry as a whole the impression that they can remake everything.
To the industry I say: No you can’t. You’re not Lauren Faust.
As for Faust herself, well, all this success with the older male crowd was apparently not what she was aiming for. She originally expressed pride in the show’s appeal to older male audiences, but then stepped down as executive producer after only one season and has since announced to be working on something called “Super Best Friends Forever,” another project that sounds initially like a recipe for a girls-only disaster.
So for all intents and purposes, the negatives of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic are all external and pertain more to its influence than its content. But even though it evidently was not what Faust was hoping for, there is actually very little negative to be said about the series itself.
To understand how it is that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was able to buck the awful trend, please continue here.