My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is an animated series based on Hasbro's popular My Little Pony franchise. The show premiered on October 10, 2010 on Hasbro's The Hub channel, and has finished its second season. This incarnation of the franchise is referred to as the fourth generation, or G4, of My Little Pony. The show was developed for television by Lauren Faust, who is known for her work on two of Cartoon Network's popular and critically-acclaimed franchises, The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
The series stars a unicorn pony named Twilight Sparkle, a pupil of Princess Celestia who is the ruler of the magical land of Equestria. Seeing the young pony buried in books, the princess gives her the task of making friends and sends her and her assistant, a young dragon named Spike, to Ponyville. There, she meets some interesting ponies, including tomboyish Rainbow Dash, glamorous Rarity, hard-working Applejack, timid Fluttershy, and hyperactive Pinkie Pie. Together, they go on adventures, solve various problems, and learn of the magic of friendship. The series has garnered a cult following called bronies.
The series was developed by Lauren Faust for Hasbro as a "reboot" of the My Little Pony franchise. Faust was pitching her own Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls toy line and animated television series to Hasbro Studios' executive Lisa Licht, when Licht asked her to come up with a new version of the My Little Pony franchise. Development started in 2008, with production of the first season spanning through 2009. In an animated short used during early development, Tara Strong voiced Pinkie Pie.
- See also list of characters
- Main article: Ponies
The series has a main cast of six ponies and a large number of supporting and background characters. As ponies mature they gain cutie marks on their flanks, which represent their purpose or calling in life.
There are three types of ponies:
- Earth ponies: regular ponies. The founders of Ponyville were among this race. They are closer to nature than other ponies and frequently tend to crops and perform manual labor.
- Pegasus ponies: ponies with wings, giving them the ability to fly. They can also walk on clouds. They frequently tend to the weather.
- Unicorns: ponies that possess more pronounced magical abilities, represented by a glow around their horn when used. They frequently use telekinesis, but some use other kinds of magic as well.
Outside of the three kinds, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, and Princess Cadence possess both wings and a unicorn horn, though they are called unicorns on the show. Both Celestia and Luna possess extraordinary magical power, allowing them to raise the sun and the moon. Cadance has the power of love which quells the fighting in two ponies' hearts.
Age and sex
The show's ponies may be grouped by age and sex into colts, fillies, mares, and stallions. A pony's sex can be ascertained by the shape and size of their muzzle: stallions' muzzles are angular, squared off and larger, while mares' muzzles have a more rounded appearance and are much smaller than a stallion's. However, this is not the case with Pegasus unicorns. Another way to determine a pony's sex is by their eyelashes. Mares and fillies will have eyelashes, while stallions and colts don't. However very young baby ponies will have eyelashes, with males having a single eyelash, and females with two.
While in previous My Little Pony generations, all young ponies were often called "baby ponies", while in Friendship is Magic young ponies and baby ponies are differentiated. Young ponies are simply called "fillies" or "young ponies", and are grouped with baby ponies under foals.
- Twilight Sparkle: A unicorn pony with a light violet body and an indigo mane and tail with pink and purple streaks. Her spirit represents the element of magic.
- Applejack: An Earth pony with an orange body and blond mane and tail. She is down-to-Earth and dependable, always willing to help anyone in any matter. She also comes from a large family of apple-name related members who oversee an apple orchard and run an apple business. She wears a cowboy hat. Her spirit represents the element of honesty.
- Rainbow Dash: A tomboy Pegasus pony with a sky blue body and a multicolored mane and tail. Very brave and bold, she could also be mischievous and proud. She has the ability of speed and clearing the sky of clouds. Her spirit represents the element of loyalty.
- Pinkie Pie: An Earth pony with a pink body and magenta mane and tail. She has a funny demeanor, is very talkative, and a bit air-headed. She also enjoys singing and playing pranks. Her spirit represents the element of laughter.
- Fluttershy: A Pegasus pony with a yellow body and a pink mane and tail. She is very shy and quiet around others most of the time but has a great love and care for animals. Her spirit represents the element of kindness.
- Rarity: A unicorn pony with a white body and a royal purple mane and tail. She is very stylish and interested in fashion. Although sometimes desiring to be the center of attention, she is always there to help her friends. Her spirit represents the element of generosity.
- Spike: A young dragon. He is Twilight Sparkle's assistant and good friend. He has an ostensibly-secret crush on Rarity. He is hatched by Twilight in a flashback in The Cutie Mark Chronicles. He grows with greed as shown in Secret of My Excess. He prefers hanging out with ponies rather than his own kind.
- See also the list of episodes
All of the show's episodes are rated TV-Y for "all ages".
Season one opened with a "preview", an early screening of the entire first episode five days before the series "officially" started, to coincide with the launch of the television channel The Hub. The introduction of the characters and the plot revolving around Night Mare Moon span over the first two episodes, which together comprise the only two-parter of the season. Episode three introduces the Grand Galloping Gala, which is where the season's final episode takes place. The show's developer, Lauren Faust, served as executive producer for this season. All of season one's episodes are rated e/i for "educational and informative".
Faust announced that she has been less involved in the making of the show for season two, focusing mostly on story conception and script. She is credited under "Developed for Television by" and "Executive Producer" for the first and second episodes, which were produced during the first season's production span. She is credited as "Consulting Producer" for the rest of season two.
The season consists of 26 episodes, 22 minutes in length. Several minor characters return in this season, including Derpy, Princess Luna, and Mr. Greenhooves, as well as the school-age ponies, Cheerilee, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. The season started airing on September 17th, 2011. Like the first season, it opened with a two-parter with the ponies questing for the Elements of Harmony. Episodes 11, 12, and 13 were not aired in production order: episode 13, Hearth's Warming Eve, was aired before episodes 11 and 12, Family Appreciation Day and Baby Cakes, respectively, to be in time for the holiday season. They are listed on the wiki according to air date order. Season two has concluded on April 21, 2012 with the two-parter finale, A Canterlot Wedding.
We Heart Ponies Fan Favorite Mare-a-Thon
A few weeks prior to the airing of Hearts and Hooves Day, The Hub announced it would be airing a "We Heart Ponies Fan Favorite Mare-a-Thon" consisting of nine episodes selected by the fans. The nine episodes were aired directly before Hearts and Hooves Day.
The nine episodes were, in order of appearance:
- Luna Eclipsed
- Green Isn't Your Color
- The Best Night Ever
- Suited For Success
- May the Best Pet Win!
- Party of One
- Lesson Zero
- Feeling Pinkie Keen
- Hearth's Warming Eve
The Hub has confirmed picking up My Little Pony for its 2012 lineup. The Hub has placed an order for thirteen episodes, with writers Meghan McCarthy, Cindy Morrow, M.A. Larson and Dave Polsky returning to the show, and story editor for the first and second seasons Rob Renzetti replaced by Meghan McCarthy. McCarthy has been called "showrunner" in an April 2012 article in the online edition of the L.A. Times. The first song of Season 3, called The Failure Song, was screened at ComicCon 2012. The second, called Ballad of the Crystal Ponies, has been released on YouTube.
Despite the season being shorter than the first two, the show's composer, William Anderson, hinted at the presence of further seasons, of different lengths.
- Ashleigh Ball as Rainbow Dash and Applejack
- Claire Corlett as Sweetie Belle
- Michelle Creber as Apple Bloom
- Andrea Libman as Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy
- Nicole Oliver as Princess Celestia
- Madeline Peters as Scootaloo
- Tabitha St. Germain as Rarity and Princess Luna
- Tara Strong as Twilight Sparkle
- Cathy Weseluck as Spike the Dragon
- Shannon Chan-Kent as Pinkie Pie
- Kazumi Evans as Rarity
- Rebecca Shoichet as Twilight Sparkle
- Michelle Creber as Sweetie Belle
Most of the voice cast consists of Canadian voice actors. They are from Ocean Productions in Canada and the voices are recorded in Vancouver, Canada.
Awards and nominations
The show won a CableFAX award for Best Animated Series on October 18th 2011.
Two songs, Find a Pet and Becoming Popular (incorrectly named Every Pony), have been nominated for the Outstanding Original Song - Children's Animation category for the 39th Daytime Emmy Awards. Both songs lost to "In the Happy Little Land of Hoboken Surprise" from The Penguins of Madagascar.
Hasbro is currently in the process of localizing their Generation Four My Little Pony toy line in many countries. thumb|300px|right|CN Arabia next bumper for Friendship is Magic. While granted many countries are currently receiving G4 products, as of 2011 those same countries are still persisting with the G3.5 products as well (Russia, for example). So far, only a handful of countries outside the United States had converted to G4 entirely, or even began receiving G4 toys and merchandise officially.
As for the broadcast of the television series itself outside the United States, thus far it is currently airing only in English for the English Canadian audience on Treehouse TV, and on Boomerang for audiences in the United Kingdom.
Originally, although no defined date was stated, there was an announcement for other television debuts of the show roughly during the summer of 2011 in other countries, such as Denmark, the Middle East, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. This had been done via a deal Hasbro made with Turner Broadcasting System Europe to distribute this show, as well as other shows based on Hasbro's intellectual properties, throughout various channels they own in those regions, such as Boing (Spain), Boomerang, Cartoon Network (Denmark, Middle East, Norway, Sweden), and Cartoonito (UK). More recently, the UK release of the series had been clarified further, adding that the series will debut at the end of July 2011 on Cartoon Network, along with the full, official release of the G4 line of toys. However, unlike prior reports, the first season eventually premiered earlier in the UK on Boomerang instead, starting on July 4, 2011, and broadcasting once every weekday afterwards. The European Spanish dub had been confirmed to debut in September 2011 via Boing. The European French dub was confirmed to be coming to the preschoolers' channel TiJi. The Italian dub had made its debut on Italia 1 starting August 29, 2011. The German dub was confirmed to debut on Nickelodeon starting September 17, 2011. The Dutch dub started airing on Nickelodeon/Nick Jr. early September 2011, and was largely unnoticed by not being shown in most TV-guides or even on Nickelodeon's own sites. The Polish dub is set to debut on MiniMini on 15th October.
United Kingdom and Australian broadcasts
Since its first airing at the start of July, the UK broadcast has been placed in several different time slots (3PM, 7AM, 1:30PM, 10:30AM and 6:30AM), has had weekend episodes added to and removed from its schedule, and has both picked up and seemingly lost sponsoring from Tesco. However, until 2012, the weekend episodes were never in continuity with the episodes played during the previous week, and no episode after Fall Weather Friends was shown, Boomerang instead opting to air the first half of the first season repeatedly. On irregular weeks there would be no episodes, with the network airing a marathon of another show instead.
At the beginning of 2012, Boomerang began advertising a 'new season' of My Little Pony, to begin on January 9th at 3PM; however, the clips they showed were from the second half of the first season. On January 9th, Suited for Success was broadcast for the first time, and followed the same pattern, repeating all episodes from Suited for Success to The Best Night Ever multiple times.
On the 5th of March, the show apparently went on hiatus.
The Australian broadcast of Friendship is Magic is much like the UK broadcast in most regards. The show debuted on Cartoon Network Australia on October 31, 2011 at 6:30 AM Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time and remained in that time slot on weekdays. It was eventually pulled off in mid-December and premiered on Boomerang in early January 2012 with a better advertising campaign and established time slots (12:00 PM and 8:00 PM on weekdays and 9:00 AM on weekends; changed to 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM on weekdays). Also like the UK broadcast, only the first half of season one (Friendship is Magic, part 1 up to Fall Weather Friends) and reruns of it are shown until new episodes were advertised in March 2012, which are the latter half of season one. Reruns of the entire first season are currently being aired on Boomerang, with both halves assigned to separate time slots.
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There is little information about the non-English dubs of the series, however My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is known officially in the following languages as:
- Arabic - ماي ليتل بوني
- Chinese (Taiwan) - 彩虹小馬
- Czech - My Little Pony Kouzlo přátelství
- Danish - My Little Pony Venskab er ren magi - not to be confused with the Norwegian title.
- Dutch - My Little Pony Vriendschap is betoverend - also applies to the Dutch Belgium (Flemmish).
- Estonian - My Little Pony Sõprus on imepärane
- Finnish - My Little Pony Ystävyyden taikaa
- French (Canada) - My Little Pony La Magie de L'amitié
- French (France and Belgium) - My Little Pony Les amies c'est Magique
- German - My Little Pony Freundschaft ist Magie
- Greek - My Little Pony Η Φιλία είναι Μαγική
- Hungarian - Én Kicsi Pónim Varázslatos Barátság
- Italian - My Little Pony L'amicizia è magica
- Norwegian - My Little Pony Vennskap er ren magi - not to be confused with the Danish title.
- Polish - My Little Pony Przyjaźń to magia
- Portuguese (Brazil) - My Little Pony Amizade é pura Magia
- Portuguese (Portugal) - My Little Pony A Amizade é Mágica
- Romanian - Micul meu ponei Prietenia este magică
- Russian - Мои маленькие пони Дружба – это чудо
- Serbian - Moj mali poni: Prijateljstvo je čarolija
- Slovak - My Little Pony Prijateljstvo je čarovnija - this is the show's title as printed on the Slovak logo currently on Hasbro's Slovak website, however, the spelling is questionable because it generally is incorrect. It should be spelled as Priateľstvo je čarovné.
- Spanish (Mexico and Spain) - My Little Pony La Magia de la Amistad - albeit the Mexico and Spain versions share the same title, they have completely different dubs performed by different voice actors.
- Swedish - My Little Pony Vänskap är magisk
- Turkish - My Little Pony Arkadaşlık Sihirlidir
More language dubs are expected to be announced before the end of 2011. Other than the titles, virtually all the characters' English names had been retained by default.
- Main article: Home media
Both season one and season two of Friendship is Magic are available for download from iTunes. Episodes can be purchased in either 480p Standard Definition or 720p and (as of iTunes version 10.6) 1080p High Definition. Individual episodes cost US$1.99 in SD or US$2.99 in HD, while entire seasons, including Season Passes, retail at US$39.99 (SD) and US$49.99.
Episodes of Friendship is Magic have been added to online video streaming service, Netflix, starting April 1, 2012.
Target has offered a two-episode DVD, Celebration at Canterlot, as a bundle together with select toy sets.
On February 28, 2012, a five-episode Region 1 DVD, subtitled The Friendship Express, was released by Los Angeles-based distributor Shout! Factory. The DVD contains the following episodes: Friendship is Magic, parts 1 and 2, Over a Barrel, Hearth's Warming Eve and The Last Roundup. Bonus content includes biographical sketches of the main characters, a karaoke sing-along of the opening theme song and an episode of Pound Puppies.
A Region 4 release is slated for June 20, 2012. Australian entertainment company Madman has been given the rights to distribute season one of Friendship is Magic in both Australia and New Zealand. The release will feature five separate DVD volumes, each disc containing episodes from the show's first season. A full-season box set with all volumes packaged together will also be released, starting at a retail price of AU$29.99.
Mentions in other media
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The show has been mentioned, referenced, and parodied in various media outlets: it has been parodied in the skit-comedy show MAD; the main characters' initials were briefly displayed in an episode of The Cleveland Show[specify]; its cult following, bronies, has been covered on the comedy talk show Red Eye, and mentioned on the satirical show The Colbert Report.
The series uses a typeface named Generation B for its subtitle and various opening credits.
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My Little Pony Friendship is Magic has been well-received by many critics. The A.V. Club gave the show an overall rating of B+, praising the absence of cynicism and lauding the humor, art and direction despite its mainly commercial purposes. Michael Payne of Strange Horizons also gave a favorable review of the show, commenting that it is "made by adults who won't talk down to their audience and who don't think that 'all ages' means 'underlying irony'".
Among the more negative reviews is the infamous Cartoon Brew blog entitled The End of the Creator-Driven Era in TV Animation, authored by Amid Amidi. The blog expresses Amidi's disdain towards the commercial nature of modern day animation, stating that "watching names like Rob Renzetti and Lauren Faust pop up in the credits of a toy-based animated series like My Little Pony is an admission of defeat for the entire movement, a white flag-waving moment for the TV animation industry".
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