Thursday, March 08, 2012

Admit it - You Love My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

As a child of the 80's, My Little Pony was one of my favorite toys. I had far too many of them, from the standard ponies, to the sparkle-eye ponies, to all other wild variants on the franchise. I remember watching My Little Pony movies as well. I recently found some footage from those movies and, well, let's just say it wasn't as good as I remembered it.

The My Little Pony craze disappeared for a long time, seeing some small revivals here and there. But recently the brand has had a huge re-start on The HUB network, complete with redesigns of the ponies, new toys, and a brand new TV series. It was by accident that my family found out about it, and I Tivo'd a few episodes of the new series to share in the nostalgia with my daughters.

I didn't have high expectations at first. However, the new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series stunned me in just how fantastic it is, from well-developed characters to storylines that even adults can enjoy. This is not some puff-ball girly series - the characters are amazingly well developed for an animated show for kids, the humor is witty, and the plots are complex and full of adventure.

So when it was announced that the first DVD of the new series, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: The Friendship Express, was being released this month, I couldn't wait to get it.

In My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: The Friendship Express, the benevolent Princess Celestia, ruler of Equestria, selects unicorn Twilight Sparkle for a very important assignment - to learn about the most important magic of all: friendship. With her new friends, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie, Twilight sets out on amazing adventures, and they all learn what it means to be true friends.

The DVD includes the first two episodes of the series (a 2-part episode, really), as well as three other episodes from first and second season that all involve the Ponyville Express train at some point in the episode. (Hence the title, The Friendship Express.)

The 2-part series opener is where Twilight Sparkle is sent to Ponyville and becomes friends with the other ponies. While there, Nightmare Moon (Princess Celestia's younger sister) comes back from banishment and tries to conquer Equestria again. Twilight and her friends soon find they each have unique characteristics that make up the Elements of Harmony, which they use together to defeat Nightmare Moon.

In Over a Barrel, the ponies travel to a frontier town where the have to help settle a dispute between the settler ponies and the native buffalo herd. (Very wild-west feel to it.) During Hearth's Warming Eve, which is essentially the Christmas episode, the ponies retell the story of how earth ponies, unicorns and pegasai ended their centuries-long hatred of each other and worked together to build a new society in friendship. And in The Last Roundup, Applejack doesn't return from a rodeo out of town and her friends set out to find her and bring her back home.

Also included on the DVD is a sing-along - there are LOTS of songs in this show - coloring sheets, and a profile for each of the ponies.

I'm honestly surprised how much I like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The moral of each episode is evident without beating you over the head, the ponies are funny and well-developed, and it's a show I'm not afraid to let my daughters watch over and over. Even some of our adult friends have become fans of the show after seeing it at our house.

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: The Friendship Express is now available on DVD. Check this out for your family and I'll bet you'll be hooked, too.

Full disclosure: I received a copy of this DVD to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed here are my own, although I have no doubt you'll agree with me if you watch a few episodes yourself. 

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