Discuss and Rate the Last Thing You Watched (non-movies)

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
MLP season 8 opener episodes. Overall I liked it, the new characters are fun, although having the mane6 be teachers is a bit odd especially since they all already have jobs, except Twilight since the library got blown up and I guess trees aren't covered by the repair crew. I suppose in the end its simply a framing devices for the adventures this season.

I would have liked to see Celestia take a more hooves on roll in dealing with trumple pony. I mean you have someone actively trying to antagonize other species right in front of her and she doesn't curb stomp him? Oh well, I suppose it fits with the writers really not knowing how to handle her anymore, but she did at least get a good quip in. I do look forward to seeing more of the species moving forward and I'm curious to see how the new season will play it.

Never change.
 

Hawki

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necromanzer52 said:
Farscape season 1 and most of season 2. This show is right up my alley. It's about a bloke who falls through a wormhole and joins up with a ragtag group of misfits in a distant part of the universe, as they travel through space, searching for a way home, trying to survive and occasionally having to escape from the space police.
The show's greatest strength is its characters. They have a wide range of personalities and they play off of each other very well.
A lot of the first season is very shaky, but once the plot really gets going and you've become attached to the characters, it just gets better and better. Highly recommended for anybody who's still annoyed about Firefly's cancellation.
Another Farscape fan? Squeeee!

So, pretty much this. I do agree that the first season does take awhile to find its groove, but while I don't think this is a popular opinion, I'd argue that the show peaks at season 2 (for me, 2>1>3>4). And while it does have similarities with Firefly (small crew keeping ahead of a large, oppressive regime, out on the frontier), I'd actually rank Farscape above it.
 

Addendum_Forthcoming

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Silentpony said:
Its gone absolutely bonkers crazy for the last few years. The original writer, Eric Kripke, wrote a 5 season arc that was going to end in Season 5. That was the original intended run, and he left after that. Then more seasons got made, they're up to Season 13 and they're just floundering.
For a few seasons they just went gory, replacing plot with just bloody monsters, then they dropped the whole 'hunting ghosts' one-off episodes for season long stories involving Purgatory, an angel civil war, Cain and Able, new God, old God, lady God, evil God, super Evil God, super evil lady God, and on and on and its just silly.
Yeah, I remember something about a Colt pistol that can kill anything. Which I thought was a pretty cool concept ... it had shades of a pnp RPG Hunter: the Vigil. Or vanilla nWoD game where you had relics that you could create (nWoD: Reliquary). You could make it cursed to offset the cost, etc. I made a sword that was deadly sharp against inhumans but required me to inflict 1A damage on myself with it as a blood sacrifice for every 4A I inflicted upon its edge by the time of the next Full Moon or else it the murder spirit bound to it would be released and ride my flesh.

To be fair it seemed to have its own outrageous moments in the first 5 seasons. Something about the cheesy idea of the two hunters being vessels for an apocalyptic battle, and everyone apparently on both sides of the fence wanted them to end the world ... for what reason? Beats me. Apparently they were bored ... that they just wanted to die or something, even though apparently they can actually just die. So why don't they die as opposed to taking out humanity with them that seems pretty content not to die?

I think I watched about 14 episodes over a couple of years.
 

Trunkage

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Hawki said:
necromanzer52 said:
Farscape season 1 and most of season 2. This show is right up my alley. It's about a bloke who falls through a wormhole and joins up with a ragtag group of misfits in a distant part of the universe, as they travel through space, searching for a way home, trying to survive and occasionally having to escape from the space police.
The show's greatest strength is its characters. They have a wide range of personalities and they play off of each other very well.
A lot of the first season is very shaky, but once the plot really gets going and you've become attached to the characters, it just gets better and better. Highly recommended for anybody who's still annoyed about Firefly's cancellation.
Another Farscape fan? Squeeee!

So, pretty much this. I do agree that the first season does take awhile to find its groove, but while I don't think this is a popular opinion, I'd argue that the show peaks at season 2 (for me, 2>1>3>4). And while it does have similarities with Firefly (small crew keeping ahead of a large, oppressive regime, out on the frontier), I'd actually rank Farscape above it.
I would say sideways. Farscape writers must have been drug-riddled. Firefly was more grounded, but that was too its detriment sometimes. Rigel was too annoying and not enough redemption. They character assassinated Jool. Zotoh was the best, pity she had to go. And Scorpius as a villain was pretty weird and fun
 

Ogoid

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Last two I watched were anime, both on Netflix:

B: The Beginning - 7.5/10

This one was a bit all over the place, a hodgepodge of police procedurals, detective fiction and your typical anime superhuman battles, with some visual bits clearly lifted straight out of Sherlock; still, I found it honestly hard to dislike, possibly because of the very messiness of its tone and writing, the unusual quality of which, along with its very striking visuals, made it stand out for me.

Then, there was

Children of the Whales - 8.5/10

I went into this one with rather low expectations, and found myself quite pleasantly surprised. There's some clear Miyazaki influence in both its concept and storytelling, which is always a plus for me, and some very interesting concepts explored without the heavy-handedness of some other anime; my only complaint would be that it ended just as it was starting to get most interesting, but considering the manga it is based on is still ongoing, that's just to be expected I guess. Really enjoyed it.
 

Kotaro

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I recently finished the 2010-2015 Syfy show "Haven," a supernatural police procedural that's very, very loosely based on the Stephen King book The Colorado Kid. And by "very, very loosely," I mean there's an unsolved murder, and characters called The Colorado Kid and Vincent Teague, and that's about where the similarities end. Regardless, I really liked the show a lot. The characters were really likable and their growth over the course of the series--particularly antihero Duke--was quite nice. It even managed to get a pretty satisfying ending that resolved all but one dangling plot thread (that I can think of), rather than being suddenly canceled. 8/10

And then I started the Netflix reboot of 70's sitcom "One Day at a Time." Bit of a shift going from "Haven" to this, and I've only finished the first season so far, but I'm glad I'm watching it. It's definitely got the soul of an old-school sitcom, with a small number of sets and characters, and a laugh track included, and it's cheesy as hell, but it has a lot of heart. And it's frigging hysterical; I haven't laughed so hard at a sitcom in ages. It also tackles LGBT and racial minority issues pretty well, in my opinion. 7/10
 

Thaluikhain

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trunkage said:
I would say sideways. Farscape writers must have been drug-riddled. Firefly was more grounded, but that was too its detriment sometimes. Rigel was too annoying and not enough redemption. They character assassinated Jool. Zotoh was the best, pity she had to go. And Scorpius as a villain was pretty weird and fun
Farscape was always rather hit or miss for me, there are lots of episodes I skip, but some good stuff in there as well. Also, there are muppets, and various recognisable Australian actors in guest roles very unlike what they usually play.
 

Trunkage

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Kotaro said:
I recently finished the 2010-2015 Syfy show "Haven," a supernatural police procedural that's very, very loosely based on the Stephen King book The Colorado Kid. And by "very, very loosely," I mean there's an unsolved murder, and characters called The Colorado Kid and Vincent Teague, and that's about where the similarities end. Regardless, I really liked the show a lot. The characters were really likable and their growth over the course of the series--particularly antihero Duke--was quite nice. It even managed to get a pretty satisfying ending that resolved all but one dangling plot thread (that I can think of), rather than being suddenly canceled. 8/10
I always get this name confused with Sanctuary's. Their names just don't stand out. Similar premise at the start as well but Sanctuary then veers of into vampire Tesla territory.
 

Trunkage

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Watched Season 3 of Better Call Saul. I liked the stuff with Fring but everything Jimmy is pretty boring and just feels like the are spinning their wheels.

Penny Dreadful S3. It just wasn't as fun as the first two. I couldn't care less about Hartnett's back story. It wasted so much of the season.

Rewatched the Expanse. I don't know what it is in that show, but it feels more flesh out than the average.
 

Hawki

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trunkage said:
I would say sideways. Farscape writers must have been drug-riddled. Firefly was more grounded, but that was too its detriment sometimes.
Firefly's more grounded, sure, but I don't think this can really be compared because they're so different in their approach to worldbuilding. Firefly has a more fleshed out setting, where, even if you haven't seen the 'Verse map that was released after the series, you can still get a good sense of how this world operates (Inner Alliance worlds, frontier outer worlds, Reavers further beyond that). In contrast, Farscape has no real sense of scale or location, and it differs in promotional material as to whether John is even in the Milky Way or not (sometimes it says "the Farscape galaxy," other times it mentions "the other side of the galaxy"). On the other hand, this does let Farscape be far more creative in its plots and creature designs.

Rigel was too annoying and not enough redemption.
Rigel's awesome and doesn't need redemption. :p

They character assassinated Jool.
Um, really? How?

I certainly think that Sikozu suffered character assassination in Peacekeeper Wars, though for what it's worth, she did get redeemed in the comics apparently.

Zotoh was the best, pity she had to go.
True. It doesn't help that her death is rushed. However, when the VG-Zotoh appears in season 4, I think it's well done. Zhaan was always the mother figure to the crew, and as her VG counterpart points out (paraphrased), the crew has 'grown up' and can now stand without her.

Yes, it hit me in the feels, thanks for asking.

And Scorpius as a villain was pretty weird and fun
Yep. Scorpius is a great villain.

Also, Harvey. Harvey is awesome as well.

trunkage said:
Rewatched the Expanse. I don't know what it is in that show, but it feels more flesh out than the average.
"Flesh" out or "fleshed" out? Because those are two different things. 0_0

If we're talking about it being "fleshed" out, then yes, The Expanse, both the TV and books, does very well in worldbuilding, in part because of the confined set of locations, in part due to striving towards scientific accuracy. I actually like the show more than the books though as it does a far better job with the characters, and gives Bobbie and Chrisjen far more screentime (a.k.a. the only characters from the books I really liked.)

If, however, we're talking about "flesh" out...well, Ade, Holden, and Naomi do strip a few times, and Julie Mao's protomolecule-infected form does show a lot of skin (blue or otherwise), so...yay?
 

Hawki

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Star Trek Discovery: Season 1 (3/5)

Oh boy...this show...

I can't really talk about it without acknowledging fan outrage, because no-one hates Star Trek like a Star Wars fan (except maybe a Star Wars fan, but they're busy hating Star Wars right now). And on those complaints, some, I get - the level of technology in Discovery feels far too advanced for its timeframe. Some, I can sympathize - I think the klingons are well fleshed out and actually look alien, but it's hard reconciling their appearance with previous (future?) incarnations. And then there's the absolutely ludicrous arguments. Y'know, that the series is "advocating white genocide because the lead is a black female who's paired with an Asian female, and it's against men because Lorca is a bad guy, and is pushing the transgender agenda by calling a female Michael, while also pushing the gay agenda with Stammets, and some other insipid nonsense that I can't be bothered to repeat here."

So, fine, Discovery is a mixed bag for the fanbase, but as someone who isn't that enamored with Star Trek, what do I think of it? Well, if I had to grade Discovery's quality over the course of its season, it would resemble a bell curve. At the start, we have to deal with some wooden acting, and it doesn't help that Michael...isn't the best character in the world. The season gets better over time, and peaks in the Mirror Universe. Unfortunately, it dips in quality once the ship returns to the Prime Universe. I will say that I do like the characters overall, and how many of them do indeed have a character arc. However, while Michael is...fine, I guess, it doesn't help that the lead character is perhaps the least interesting. I have no problem with her being raised by Sarek, or being Spock's adopted sister, but whether it's down to the actress or the writing, she just feels so wooden in comparison to everyone else.

I'll also say that of all the Star Trek series I've seen, this is perhaps the least "Star Trekky." Not just because of its serialized nature, but because for a show named "Star Trek: Discovery," there isn't much trekking or discovery. I'm pretty fine with this myself - I like how the show tries something new (for Star Trek), and doesn't feel the need to follow convention, but I can understand why people might be put off. But again, I'm reminded of Enterprise. That tried to emulate TOS and TNG and, IMO, fell flat. Hard. But on the other hand, for a season that deals primarily with a war, we don't actually get to see much of that war - "show, don't tell," as the saying goes.

So, yeah. I think Discovery is a pretty mixed bag, one that has great potential if it can iron out its kinks. I will say that as first seasons go it's a far better start than, say, TNG (with its insufferable first season), but as a series as a whole...well, I'd still rank it above Enterprise, but it's not at the level of TOS or TNG. So, mixed start, but it'll be interesting to see where this goes.
 

Hawki

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I stopped watching STD after the mid-season break and really have no desire to get back to it. I might, but I just don't feel like it.

Caught a minute of Seinfeld on TV during my break at work today. Saw that it was cropped for fullscreen. People are so stupid, holy shit. Like I said earlier, I haven't watched TV in a decade. It's probably normal for you folks.
 

Chewster

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Atlanta. So far, Season 2 has been doing a good job of continuing with the (appearently) Twin Peaks-esque weirdness while developing the characters even further and exploring the ups and downs of Paper Boi's slowly increasing fame in the hip hop world and all the grinding and trying bullshit that entails.

Highlights so far (spoilers, obvs): the opening to episode 3 where a tearfully outraged white woman reads Paper Boi's lyrics completely straight and when some girl at that ridiculous German festival in Episode 4 thought Earn was dressed in amazing blackface only to be awkwardly realize he's actually black. Episode 4 is the trippiest and more emotionally weighted thus far and may end up being the highlight of the season. Van's talk with her dopey friend about blackness was a really interesting exchange.

Really looking forward to the rest. Thus far, solid 4.5/5.
 

Hawki

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Addendum_Forthcoming said:
The central themes of racism, youth engagement and regulatory forces kind of ... feels all over the place. Equestria is kind of meant to be this fairly utopian place where such issues don't really crop up, but in these episodes it actually makes you realize that Equestria isn't all it's cracked up to be. After all, in the real world (at least in where I live), active bias crime in the form of the chancellor trying to keep students out of a school kind of strips one of ever being able to assume such a position in the first place.
I can't say I'm that fond of the opener. That said, I think it's more to do with the saccharine approach. That's part of MLP, true, but let's just say there's a reason I gravitate more towards the "wacky" episodes more than the "Twilight and/or friend(s) learn a lesson about friendship" episodes.

That aside, with this point, while it's handled clumsily, there is a precedent for this behaviour. All of the non-pony races have had iffy relations with Equestria to some extent or another in the past, with the exception of the hippogriffs. So xenophobia is something I could see existing. Naysay is a stock character with stock arguments, but it at least tries to deal with the subject.

Addendum_Forthcoming said:
The episode might have been better if they dropped the Chancellor altogether and simply made it an exploration of bureaucracy where it can and does often allow problems to slip through the cracks. Perhaps looking at education not as if a static concept, but addressing new challenges of an evolving sociological frameworks. Which would have been a great concept for an episode, might have lead to more character development between Celestia and Twilight almost as if Twilight Sparkle being a Princess might ... I don't know ... also be a symbol of a changing Equestria with multiple friendly, non-pony creatures inhabiting it and given a solid reason why Celestia was looking for someone like her the entire time?
Eh, maybe.

Look, here's the thing. I do like MLP, even if my level of enthusiasm for it has diminished over the years (no real issue, just that at 8 seasons, it no longer has the "oomph" it once had. But let's be honest, it's still a show for kids, and as a show for kids, in a setting where the "magic of friendship" is a literal force, this isn't the kind of place that one can expect weighty themes from an adult's perspective. So, is the episode meant to be an in-depth examination of xenophobia/racism, and the sign of a shifting political/social climate within Equestria, as the races of the world come together? Is it a comment on the school system, and a critique of rigidly following guidelines? Or are these backdrop plot points to be used as a catalyst for wacky hijinks?

I'll give it this though, it does at least make sense in the context of Twilight's arc. I commented way back in the day that Twilight teaching Starlight did seem like the natural progression for her character, as she transitions from student to mentor. So taking numerous students on and doing the same thing does feel like the next logical step in her career path.
 

Auron225

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Well I'm currently about 50 episodes into Hunter x Hunter (2011) so I feel that's long enough to have some kind of opinion on it;

So far it's decent, but for me it falls far short of "Best Shounen Ever" that so many people will name it without hesitation. The plot is a bit all over the place and unfocused...

like when Killua got taken back home, and Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio went to get him. I thought this was gonna be it's own mini-arc. They had to get stronger just to make it past the Testing Gate. I thought I was gonna get to see the whole family and there'd be fights and stuff, but before they get anywhere near the house, Killua is allowed to just leave... and that's it. What the hell was the point?

Gon, the MC, just frustrates me as well;

He gets his ass handed to him in every fight, and somehow still passes the hunter exam. What's worse is Leorio - he's utterly useless and only passed due to being carried by the others for the whole damn exam. But Gon's utter obliviousness is beginning to grate on me, and I do NOT understand why he is so fascinated with his Dad when he doesn't give a flying sh*t about his Mum. All he knows (at the point I'm at) is that his Dad left him because he loved being a hunter too much to settle down (that's called running away from your responsibilities). Literally just unceremoniously leaves his child with someone he hasn't seen in over a decade, tells them to raise his child for him, and f*cks off. If the first thing Gon does when he meets him isn't to smack him in the face, I'm gonna be so disappointed - but I highly doubt that'll be the case since he seems to admire his Dad so much (as does everyone else). He doesn't even know if his Mum wanted to keep him or not, and doesn't care to even CONTINUE listening to a recording to find out.

Killua and Kurapika as characters are fine. Leorio is f*cking useless. The best things the show has going for it in my mind are Killua & Gon's friendship which is endearing, and Hisoka as a character (who is by far the most interesting one, even if he does give off some strong pedo vibes). I'm a bit interested in Melody as a character as well now - hoping she's not just brushed off to the side as a one-note character (ha).

Also the music is alright (not bad, not great), but I'm really sick of the opening. I rarely skip openings in general unless I really don't like the song. HxH's opening is average, but it's been the same song for 50 episodes. They've only altered the visuals a couple of times in places. Whoever decided to never change tracks needs fired.

As a whole, I find it wholly undeserving of best shounen ever. Even if it gets ludicrously good from this point on (doubtful), it will have taken 50 episodes to do so. Boku no Hero Academia beats it by a mile, and I remember enjoying even the likes of Naruto a lot more back in the day. So far HxH is maybe on par with Bleach, but even then not as a good as the "Save Rukia" arc of Bleach.
 

Rangaman

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Gravity Falls - 9/10

I only bothered to finish watching it recently. It's a great show from start to finish, with great writing, morals and characters. My only real criticism is that Mabel's character arc in Season 2 could've been resolved better.

Game of Thrones (Seasons 1&2) - 8/10

Okay, I'm late to the party. And I confess I haven't actually finished Season 2 yet, but I'm damn close. The reason my score isn't higher is because the first season had a few "nothing" episodes that felt like they went precisely nowhere. Season 2, to its credit, is better at getting to the interesting stuff.
 

Addendum_Forthcoming

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Hawki said:
I can't say I'm that fond of the opener. That said, I think it's more to do with the saccharine approach. That's part of MLP, true, but let's just say there's a reason I gravitate more towards the "wacky" episodes more than the "Twilight and/or friend(s) learn a lesson about friendship" episodes.

That aside, with this point, while it's handled clumsily, there is a precedent for this behaviour. All of the non-pony races have had iffy relations with Equestria to some extent or another in the past, with the exception of the hippogriffs. So xenophobia is something I could see existing. Naysay is a stock character with stock arguments, but it at least tries to deal with the subject.
Yeah, well so has the real world. Australia's been involved in more active conflicts in a direct fashion than any other military force of the 20th and 21st centuries. Yet lo and behold we have a FTA with both China and Japan (both countries we've gone to war with), China is practically letting Australian medtech firms to establish for profit hospitals and other direct healthcare enterprises in their domain and we're leasing out entire port systems to their companies in return.

I mean ... it's a pretty blatant sign of trust when a country gives you access to its blood and organ supplies. Which ranks a solid '4' on my top 5 strategic reserves during a time of war.

When we went into a purely stupid conflict with North Vietnam, but lo and behold although Australia doesn't have an 'official language' Vietnamese is considered high priority for translating government documents, directives and proclamations into. On the sheer time scale of things Equestria has better neighbours than we do (or more so Australia has been an incredibly bad neighbour) ... you get over it, correct the problem, realize nothing is to be gained by it keeping ahold of manufactured hatreds.

More over it doesn't really satisfy my adjoining complaint that despite Equestria being this fairly utopian place, it seems to let what would otherwise be incredibly public scandals slide. I buy the idea Celestia isn't exactly 'hands on' ... but Christ, if you're going to have a benevolent dictatorial Duumvirate you might as well nudge elbows and correct obvious problems.

I mean the Yaks show-wise recently agreed to a '1000 Moons' peace treaty, so assuming the same lunar calendar as here that's about, what? 81 years and change? Frankly it's better than what the Belgians got (or at least in the end what they got). The worst the Hippogriffs did was pull a Switzerland when Equestria has been actively imperiled (though I would argue that the hippogriffs not warning Equestria of the threat is probably a graver diplomatic error than anything the Yaks may even possibly threaten).

About the only real groups one might be able to reason as having a grudge against is the Changelings ... but Starlight performed extrajudicial regime change and secured that problem away for the foreseeable future. Speaking of certain things I don't like about the show ... how they handled the changelings ...

The griffins already had students in Equestrian schools. Such as Flight Training Camp. So quite specifically you have non-pony characters being educated by ponies in what I can only imagine is 'EEA approved' institutions...

So even if you take the idea of some 'natural baseline animosity' you might expect some internal memo from Princess Celestia and Luna to all other departmental heads with a simple; "I'm watching you... don't fuck this up."

Granted, Celestia does seem to let a lot of things slide. Like her 'diplomat' not keeping her apprised of dangerous situations...


You had one job, Twilight.

Eh, maybe.

Look, here's the thing. I do like MLP, even if my level of enthusiasm for it has diminished over the years (no real issue, just that at 8 seasons, it no longer has the "oomph" it once had. But let's be honest, it's still a show for kids, and as a show for kids, in a setting where the "magic of friendship" is a literal force, this isn't the kind of place that one can expect weighty themes from an adult's perspective. So, is the episode meant to be an in-depth examination of xenophobia/racism, and the sign of a shifting political/social climate within Equestria, as the races of the world come together? Is it a comment on the school system, and a critique of rigidly following guidelines? Or are these backdrop plot points to be used as a catalyst for wacky hijinks?

I'll give it this though, it does at least make sense in the context of Twilight's arc. I commented way back in the day that Twilight teaching Starlight did seem like the natural progression for her character, as she transitions from student to mentor. So taking numerous students on and doing the same thing does feel like the next logical step in her career path.
Might be I'm actually incredibly new to the herd, like about 5 months ago. But I've pored over the show, books, comic books, etc ... Single issues to all the comics. Multiple copies of each for certain ones I just needed the cover art for, and I practically preorder the fan series models themselves. I even managed to get my hands on the 2013 Comic-Con exclusive Vinyl Scratch. Lighting effects and all, and to my surprise a scratch free display case.

I still love it, to put it mildly. Either that or I have more money than sense. I find the characters charming, I like the different speeds between the comics and the show/movie. I think it's a perfectly charming still, and the characters are still delightful as ever. I will say it feels like they're wrapping things up, and I'm actually tentatively excited about some aspects I've heard about G5 Ponies they're thinktanking.

I mean ... Ponyville already has a school and honestly Cheerilee is best teacher. Show needs more Earth pony love, and Cheerilee is already best science mare. "Learn potential energy physics, students ... by tomorrow..." She was planning to teach them about light cones, speed, relativity and observational relationship if that blackboard was telling us anything. And apparently those colts and fillies learnt from some of it. Celestia's school can suck it. I know where I'd send my kids, and Cheerilee's schoolhouse they use hay as a floor material. I was singularly disappointed that there was a clear excuse to have her play a role in the starting episodes, but it never eventuated.

I think Cheerilee deserved that school grant more, don't you? Speaking from a position of having worked in education, Starlight's advice is terrible. So Twilight already knows two good teachers. Celestia, but most importantly Cheerilee ... who lives right around the corner. A teacher who knows what it's like to give not merely tutoring, but class instruction.

So why wouldn't you, I don't know ... maybe approach that incredible teacher you know for pointers, or advice on how to engage with her students?

So I ... ehhh ... yeah I see the argument about Twilight's character growth, but at the same time it feels weirdly neurotic. And I get that, that's part of her character. She likes to follow written instructions, she likes lists, she likes decorum and protocol. But at the same time surely by now she knows ponies that can help her not only meet the demands of Equestrian regulations but also how to engage her pupils?

But the show has already made jokes about Twilight's .... let's call it "Helicopter friendshipping" ... as in Helicopter parenting but somehow creepier. It's funny, and kind of adorable, and it is a definite character flaw that the show sort of hammers home that Twilight is kind of coming into her own in these regards. Now she knows she has this problem, and she knows she has to deal with it in her own way ... but geeze ... how often do we need that idea that Twilight needs others as a crutch rather than as a means to be better on her own?

A clear example of this was Season 7's episode Royal Tensions (S7E10). Where arguably Twilight through her incessant need to observe, be an intelligencer, a constant lookout of her charge ... and she inevitably makes the situation worse. Stressing Starlight out. And this was intentional on the part of the writers to hammer home that Twilight still has 'creases' she needs to iron out. Another example would be EqG's Forgotten Friendship special ... where we finally got to see Sunset apologize to Celestia ... possibly something that she should have done 3 movies ago... ultimately Twilight kind of makes things worse (albeit temporarily).

I think the show has plenty of fun ideas to play around with. But I say that as a person that recently discovered it, and fell in love. Not as someone that has been watching it over a period of so many years. I remember watching the first two episodes like 5 years ago... someone told me to watch more, and by episode 7 I was thoroughly hooked. I kind of 'got it' that idea of the charm.

And I'm pretty sure that charm is still there. In spades. As you'll notice I'm giving examples majoritively of just the last season of why I think this show still has a lot of potential to create new, touching, charming storylines. But S8 is off to a kind of lackluster start. I'll still eat it all up. A lot of seasons start off as kind of ... meh? I mean S1 starts off as meh. Still delivers some fun moments, and some cute dialogue ... particularly between Nightmare Moon and Twilight. I think the way to approach it, at least the two starter episodes, is merely as a springboard. "This is the set up, this is the stage, now all of those is out of the way ... time for some fun!"

But kids' shows can be nuanced. Plenty of kids' shows that have that character development, and explorations of existential angst, conflict, diminished expectation, and compromise...

I think a lot of the problem, squarely, has to do with how Hasbro has sort of ... see, there's events where Hasbro did things right, but then cracked the whip on other issues to the detriment of character development. To give you an example, frankly I'm surprised Rules of Rarity (Canterlot Boutique, S5E14) went through without Hasbro batting an eye. It was quite obviously not only a complaint about an artist's alienation to their work due to overbearing pressures from figures outside creative production, but also how this might drive one to creative bankruptcy regardless of initial successes that drove its popularity.

And it's a phenomenal episode.

Another example would be The Perfect Pear (S7E13) where, holy shit ... an actual confirmation (kind of sorta, pretty much, yeah) that Applejack and her siblings are essentially orphans. Which is a lovely touch that was only hinted at with Scootaloo about the fact that there are kids that don't have conventional families, but says nothing as to the validity of whatever family they do manage to create for themselves. Which is obvious, but it was handled incredibly well. It's probably one of the best portrayals of an unconventional family unit and familial discord, and it's told in a really touching, loving way to handle what is both traumatic but also heroic, and very human.

Plus Day and Shatner ponies...

But the problem is we couldn't exactly have this character development or these insights into character portrayals well until Hasbro actually started relinquishing a part of the carte blanche chokechain of 'no dead ponies'.

So there are big ideas in this "kids' cartoon" ... and it's real things people encounter when they start having to pretend to be an adult.
 

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Hawki

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Addendum_Forthcoming said:
More over it doesn't really satisfy my adjoining complaint that despite Equestria being this fairly utopian place, it seems to let what would otherwise be incredibly public scandals slide. I buy the idea Celestia isn't exactly 'hands on' ... but Christ, if you're going to have a benevolent dictatorial Duumvirate you might as well nudge elbows and correct obvious problems.

I mean the Yaks show-wise recently agreed to a '1000 Moons' peace treaty, so assuming the same lunar calendar as here that's about, what? 81 years and change? Frankly it's better than what the Belgians got (or at least in the end what they got). The worst the Hippogriffs did was pull a Switzerland when Equestria has been actively imperiled (though I would argue that the hippogriffs not warning Equestria of the threat is probably a graver diplomatic error than anything the Yaks may even possibly threaten).

About the only real groups one might be able to reason as having a grudge against is the Changelings ... but Starlight performed extrajudicial regime change and secured that problem away for the foreseeable future. Speaking of certain things I don't like about the show ... how they handled the changelings ...

The griffins already had students in Equestrian schools. Such as Flight Training Camp. So quite specifically you have non-pony characters being educated by ponies in what I can only imagine is 'EEA approved' institutions...

So even if you take the idea of some 'natural baseline animosity' you might expect some internal memo from Princess Celestia and Luna to all other departmental heads with a simple; "I'm watching you... don't fuck this up."
I could go through this point by point, but as utopian as Equestria may seem, concerning those creatures, how many times have we seen them truly intermingling with ponies? Canterlot, Ponyville, Manehattan, etc. - every pony settlement has seemed to be pretty mono-species...ic. And even way back in season 1, the Mane 6 were afraid of Zecora - that's an episode that explored xenophobia much better than this one.

Addendum_Forthcoming said:
Granted, Celestia does seem to let a lot of things slide. Like her 'diplomat' not keeping her apprised of dangerous situations...
Yeah, but I doubt it would have crossed her mind.

Frankly, I think this is the fault of the episode - Chancellor Naysay seems to be fairly xenophobic, but I can't tell if this is meant to be exploring some dark underbelly of the Equestrian mindset to "outsiders," or whether it's just him and him alone. I might go with the latter, if not for the fact that this entire thing could have led to actual conflict given how the non-ponies react.

And what's more, he may even have a point about securing Equestria's borders. How many times has Equestria fallen to an outside force, only to be saved by the Mane 6? By the time of the episode, the movie is apparently a very recent event, so the Storm King is presumably fresh in everyone's mind. But, apparently, no, Naysay is a dick, and we're meant to agree that he's a dick.

Addendum_Forthcoming said:
I will say it feels like they're wrapping things up, and I'm actually tentatively excited about some aspects I've heard about G5 Ponies they're thinktanking.
I'm frankly dubious at this point as to whether G5 is even a thing, but that's another matter.

So I ... ehhh ... yeah I see the argument about Twilight's character growth, but at the same time it feels weirdly neurotic. And I get that, that's part of her character. She likes to follow written instructions, she likes lists, she likes decorum and protocol. But at the same time surely by now she knows ponies that can help her not only meet the demands of Equestrian regulations but also how to engage her pupils?
Presumably, but I've long since accepted that the Mane 6 will remain static to at least some extent or another. Twilight's shift in role makes sense, but her personality, while far less neurotic than it once was, isn't going to change in a cartoon where consistency is king (if not necessarily status quo - I'll give that to its credit).

But kids' shows can be nuanced. Plenty of kids' shows that have that character development, and explorations of existential angst, conflict, diminished expectation, and compromise...
I do agree, but given its intended age group, FiM can only do so much of that. The episodes you mention below are solid, but, well, at this point I'd say that even now, MLP is a "good" show. But due to various factors, I can't call it a "great" show.
 

Addendum_Forthcoming

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Hawki said:
I could go through this point by point, but as utopian as Equestria may seem, concerning those creatures, how many times have we seen them truly intermingling with ponies? Canterlot, Ponyville, Manehattan, etc. - every pony settlement has seemed to be pretty mono-species...ic. And even way back in season 1, the Mane 6 were afraid of Zecora - that's an episode that explored xenophobia much better than this one.
Yeah, I can see that. I think I might have brought up this complaint before with another poster? About the nature of magic in Equestria? How Maud Pie can do shit with rocks that would outstrip even most gifted unicorns in terms of what can only be described as 'magic'. Moreover even while not having 'magic' ... she seems to know a hell of a lot about magic. One time of which actively assisting with doing what was once thought impossible, as in stealing cutie marks. So why exactly does Celestia's school only allow unicorns?


Zecora's introductory episode deals with xenophobia better, I agree. I also quite like the idea how it's the younger ponies amongst them that actually seem far less perturbed. Not only that, but live dragon experimentation. It's actually kind of messed up. I mean, it's a sapient organism ... maybe, I don't know, try to track down its parentage or kinship? Nope, live magical experimentation on pre-natal dragons.

If I was in Twilight's place for that entrance exam, I'm pretty sure I would have dropped out if only on moral objections. It's pretty messed up. You'd think Spike would have a chip on his shoulder about it, because I know I would if I found out I was basically kept in storage waiting for a colt or filly to use me in their entrance exams.

Yeah, but I doubt it would have crossed her mind.
Well evidently not because she congratulates Twilight a minute later after apparently getting over the surprise of her diplomat not actually telling her the worst aspects of their meeting.


Frankly, I think this is the fault of the episode - Chancellor Naysay seems to be fairly xenophobic, but I can't tell if this is meant to be exploring some dark underbelly of the Equestrian mindset to "outsiders," or whether it's just him and him alone. I might go with the latter, if not for the fact that this entire thing could have led to actual conflict given how the non-ponies react.

And what's more, he may even have a point about securing Equestria's borders. How many times has Equestria fallen to an outside force, only to be saved by the Mane 6? By the time of the episode, the movie is apparently a very recent event, so the Storm King is presumably fresh in everyone's mind. But, apparently, no, Naysay is a dick, and we're meant to agree that he's a dick.
Right, but it seems to be a stretch the idea that children of foreign powers studying in Equestria (when none of them barring the Changelings have invaded) should somehow be purposefully antagonized. I mean two of those beings so maligned by Naysay have actively assisted Equestrian interests both there and abroad. Ember becoming Dragonlord through Equestrian interference basically stopped a worse potential Dragonlord taking the throne. You had Thorax who orchestrated regime change against Changeling leadership and ousted Queen Chrysalis.

The Storm King is very truly dead. So Equestria got its pound of flesh.

The real threat seems to be just how lenient everyone treats Discord. As in actively betraying Equestria after they gave him a reprieve. Tirek was arguably a bigger threat to Equestria than the Storm King was (speaking of epic battles, Twilight v. Tirek). Arguably what Discord did was way worse than the crimes he got turned into a statue for to begin with.

Moreover we've tread this ground before. How Cadance and Shining treated Thorax? Had that whole Red Scare vibe in season 6?

Not only that, the biggest threats seem to come from within pony society itself. The Pony of Shadows (Stygian), Sombra, Starlight, Sunset, Nightmare Moon, Tempest ... Tempest was the real power behind the Storm King. It was her idea to capture the Alicorns, it was her knowledge that helped the Storm King gain the staff able to take their power, and it was she who captured them in the first place.

If it was Tempest, not the Storm King, that wanted the power of the Alicorns for herself, Equestria would have been more than screwed ... because she got the staff, knew how to use it, and also captured all the princesses. G4 ponies seems to be a story about just how messed up unicorns can be. I'm surprised they haven't had a pony Tribe War ... oh wait, they did. And it lead to Hearth's Warming Eve after dooming their original lands to the Wendigos forcing them to come to what would be Equestria to begin with.

When armed with that weight of history you'd think that the overriding mentality might be; "Now, maybe we shouldn't be arseholes and give this whole friendship and co-operation thing a chance?"

Dragons? Fine. Griffins? Fine. Hippogriffs? Ditto. Yaks? Temperamental, but fine. Naysay's attitudes should be considered antithetical to basically whatever happiness Equestria has. Just the Great Blizzard alone ... let's say if there were a hypothetical nuclear winter event on Earth, you'd kind of hope 1000 years later after we've rebuilt we might still collectively understand nuclear weapons are bad.

Presumably, but I've long since accepted that the Mane 6 will remain static to at least some extent or another. Twilight's shift in role makes sense, but her personality, while far less neurotic than it once was, isn't going to change in a cartoon where consistency is king (if not necessarily status quo - I'll give that to its credit).
I think you're neglecting a lot of obvious growth there. CMC got their cutie marks, Changelings have been all but neutralized as a threat. Rarity has apparently become an absentee boutique operations fashion designer. Dash has joined the Wonderbolts proper. Fluttershy has .... balanced out? Her time spent with Discord feels like it's given her a slight edge of chaos or maybe more actively rebellious in terms of not just being an active doormat for the machinations of the rest of the Mane 6. Starlight has gone from a great villain, to a bit meandering, to actually endearing and her relationship to Twilight is blossoming into something quite sweet and charming. We learnt the background of the Ponyville Apple family and the tragi-heroic and touching tale behind that. Twilight's become a teacher, though how much of that was a logical leap from 'librarian' is debatable.

And this is just stuff from S5 onwards...

Let's just take Twilight's character development for a moment...

I will say as much as I love the idea of the Ponyville Library getting nuked (now that's how a show ups the stakes), I'm not loving what they replaced it with.

After Twilight's battle with Tirek the opportunities it could have told ... about how Twilight is basically homeless and having to at least temporarily move back to Canterlot into her other Celestia-Welfare home. How she makes plans to build her own home in Ponyville by hoof with the assistance of the community she helped save?

Don't get me wrong, I really love how they showed Twilight feeling effectively homesick for the Ponyville Library. How she's almost frightened of the castle she basically went eminent domain + Crown soil on. Because it does actually invest in her character that she had real attachments to Ponyville that was central to her character. Which was lovely. It meant something to her and despite being a glorified treehouse, itwas still a home she had built somewhere...

But I think the same story could have been told, and the dilemma better remedied, by Twilight figuratively and visually building a home in that community with the assistance of her friends and the community she saves. Nails, planks, and all.

Plus you know, Twilight and Moondancer. Which is kind of creepy and stalkerish ... because Friendship is Bribery, Reconnaissance and Subterfuge.

That being said, I think there's a hell of a lot of character development there. Specifically with her character. How she relates to Starlight, how she adapts losing her home, her relationship to members of the community like the CMC, and so forth.

I don't know. The charm is still there for me. Plus it's one of the few shows that has invested me to such a great extent. Season 7 turned out to be pretty collectively awesome all things said. Just, you know, ugh ... Star-Swirl. Too much Star Swirl. So I kind of hope Season 8 has merely had a 'slow' start. Which isn't all that uncommon.

I was kind of hoping if they were planning to expand the focus it would be more in the direction of Starlight, Sunburst, Discord, Trixie (especially Trixie), etc ... but then again, G4 has already been really unicorn heavy. I also imagine John de Lancie already commands a decent paygrade up on the other voice talent by amount of content, or perhaps he would prefer more recurring rather than near-main cast status.

Plus I imagine writing for Discord is particularly bloody hard given the much higher degree of co-ordination between writers, animators, storyboarders and voice talent that it would demand.

Just given visual cues and screenplay, I could see half a page of writing + art direction notes per 2 or 3 seconds. And honestly Meghan McCarthy is probably already overworked as it is...