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21 July 2013

My Thoughts on What Season is the Best

Now that the San Diego Comic Con is over and every single nerd has spewed several gallons of gushing hype all over their respective YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr profiles allow me to go back on track with this short little article about a trend that seems to be going a lot in this fandom, and I know how stupid that sounds. This fandom, like any other fandom, is well known for having trends every five minutes. We have the fluffy ponies and the terrible ways they die, or the socks and how saucy ponies look when they are dressed, or we start shipping Tom with Bloomberg and Spike with Gummy (or maybe that's just me), or we start freaking out because the fandom and the show are dying for the fifth time like an undecided terminal patient. Oh, and people getting mad because they have to deal with M.A. Larson’s fetish of putting wings on everything.

But amongst all of them there is one trend that doesn't die nor seems to be getting any weaker, and that's people arguing what season is the best one. There are people who would go to war armed with their mouse and keyboard just to defend their favorite season, and to be honest I don't know why they bother.

I find the discussion of which Nightmare is Best Nightmare more interesting (answer: It's Nightmare Rarity)
It's no surprise to talk about what is best and what is worst, and usually people can manage to make such good points and defend or attack things so much that it becomes a norm to consider things good or bad. For example, the statements "2001 A Space Odyssey is a great film" and "Aliens VS Predator Requiem is a terrible pile of shit" are two statements that I don't share. I think 2001 is an overrated bore-fest and Aliens VS Predator 2 is somewhat of a guilty pleasure of mine. It all comes down to the same principle: Opinions are just opinions, they are not finite. So there can’t be anything solid when saying that a season of a TV show is better than the others. I can't tackle this issue so many fans have without giving my own opinion on the subject, so let’s start there and go through the motions as it were.

I first started watching Friendship is Magic when Season 1 was still airing, the latest episode that was released by the time I got into it was "Sonic Rainboom" that is episode 16 of season 1. I consider myself a lucky guy for seeing the fandom grow and change for that matter. By the time season 1 was over I started looking forward to Season 2 and I perceived this is the time when most of the current fanbase arrived. Many people had their interest tickled when they heard the season two premiere was a two parter and had John de Lancie from Star Trek as the bad guy, so they marathoned the first season over the night and the previous day, and then watched the premiere of the episode. As the season progressed more and more new fans came in, each one brought in by different interests, and by the time season two ended many people started to consider it the best season, as others began to dread season three and its only thirteen episodes length. So, as it was predictable, by the time season three arrived people began to complain about tone, pacing, rhythm and writing quality and it didn't take long for them to start calling it the worst of the three. It got so bad people began to walk away as quickly as they walked in, which begs to question, what did Season three do different from the other two seasons?

Besides this, you whinny bitches!!!

It was a shorter season, and it felt like they crammed in the content of 26 episodes in only 13, but animation and story wise they didn't do anything different. The tone was the same, the timing was the same, it kept on developing characters, and it continued to sell Hasbro's property like no other show has ever had. It can be that the fans hated it because of how much it changed the status quo, what with Discord and Trixie being redeemed, the introduction of the Crystal Empire, Rainbow Dash being a big sister to Scootaloo, or Twilight growing a new pair of wings. But then, why did other changes introduced in Season 1 and 2 went on un-hated? Changes like Rainbow Dash becoming a book fan, Pinkie Pie being more responsible, Luna going from meek pony to Regal and Bombastic, friendship reports being sent by all ponies, Dash having a pet, or Twilight having a brother seemed to be fairly accepted (maybe not so much the last one). I can see these changes bothered people because they might not have been explained so well or the justification for them is not satisfying enough, but when thinking about it any of the other accepted changes never had a build up to it. There was no build up for Dash to become a book fan, or for Twilight to have a brother, or for Pinkie Pie to become more responsible. So I’m asking once again, why are people so hostile towards season 3 and the changes it brought in? 

I think it's a combination of how short it was, with how little it explained certain things and how rustled the fandom's jimmies were after a summer full of rumors and staff changes. This animosity is what made this discussion about what season is best season to come out of the woodwork like the spiders in Arachnophobia. Suddenly there is a necessity to figure out what season has the best stories, the best moments and the best development. I have two questions regarding this point: One, why do we need to do this? And two, is it really worth it? It's kind of funny that I make these questions, since I am the one using his time talking and analyzing a cartoon with colorful ponies in it, but in my case I do it because it's fun and (surprisingly) because people want to know what I think. 

It's not hypocrisy if I acknowledge it! Wahaha!!!

So to answer the first question, do we need this? My answer would be no, we really don't. Even if the dissertation is really well written and your points are good, it's not worth it to bring up a subject that can very likely cause arguments. And to answer the second question, is it worth it? Well, if you have better things to do like mown the lawn or play Skyrim then no, it's not worth it.

It makes no sense to me to spend time deciding what is the best season, because when you think about it they all are in the same level, as they three have the weaknesses and strengths.

Season one was the one that started it all. It had a lot of charm and the stories were simple in structure but deep in tone, as well as being safe and self contained, but it also was too simplistic when it comes to character development and it barely established any earth shattering changes.

Season two was a lot more experimental and bold when trying new things, developing characters and expanding the world, as well as adding changes in the status quo, but experimentation always comes with an equal rate of success and failure, so not all the things you experiment with are going to work out. Even though season two's ratio fell on the positive side, it did try some things that just didn't work out for me.

And finally season three was an all round fairly good rollercoaster ride that should have been twice as long as it actually was. The stories were great and the character development was great, but it's impossible to shake off the feeling that each episode should have been a two parter.

Uhm...Okay, so, what is the Best Season then?

This isn't me saying what season I consider best, this is me saying that in the end it's all about opinion and you shouldn't get riled up about it. If I was going to pick one favorite season out of the three I’d still stick with Season 2, followed by Season 3 and finally Season 1. Season 2, like I said, had a lot of new ideas and was braver when it came to trying new things, plus it expanded upon the small characters like Cheerilee, Big Macintosh, The Cutie Mark Crusaders, and even adding new mythos and celebrations. It gave a sense of bigness and realism to the world of Equestria, and while Season 3 did this too it didn’t do it in such a big scope as Season 2 did.

But then again, that's just what I think.


  1. In my option I think the second half of season two is when MLP was as at it's strongest, there is only one episode that I didn't like from that period and that was dragon quest!

    1. I will have to agree with your opinion, though I don't fully share it. The second half of Season 2 (from episode 14 to episode 26) has three episodes I don't like at all, and those would be:

      - Putting your hoof down.
      - Dragon Quest.
      - A Canterlot Wedding (Part 1).

      But then it has some amazingly great episodes like:

      - The Last Round-Up.
      - The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000.
      - Read it and Weep.
      - Hearts and Hooves Day.
      - A Friend Indeed.
      - It's About Time.
      - Hurricane Fluttershy.
      - Ponyville Confidential.
      - Mmmystery in the Friendship Express.
      - A Canterlot Wedding (Part 2).

      I do see what you mean though, the second half of Season 2 has a lot of strong episodes, and probably the best writing I've seen from Cindy Morrow, so although I don't fully share your opinion I share most of it.

  2. I hate to be "that guy", but are you going to review Equestria Girls?

    1. Don't hate it.

      I will review it. I just need to sit down and watch it calmly.

  3. As for the actual article at hand, while Season 1 has many individually fantastic episodes, it still feels like its playing it safer than Season 2 or 3, mostly because I believe that the show was still trying to find the right tone and voice that it wanted, something that started to come about much better in Season 2. Despite also agreeing that #2 is the best season so far, it also featured several shifts in tone that made it a bit schizophrenic, particularly the inclusion of Merriweather Williams in the writing staff, who sticks out all the more when writers like Mitch Larson can do a better job at making episodes with "mean" undertones (Return of Harmony, Cider Squeezy 6000). Finally, Season 3 may not have been the best, but it was the most consistent in terms of tone and quality. Despite having a slump halfway through the season, it fairs out very well in terms of quality, where even the lesser episodes of the season had their big silver linings and saving graces. The reason it's looked down upon so much is because the general consensus around the fandom was that we were still a very small minority who was supposed to stand together at all costs. Call it dumb luck or coincidence, for a while we all seemed to agree on what was good and wasn't, buy and large. By the time season started, more people than ever before were watching the series. At this point, it was far beyond the status of a pop culture phenomenon, but everyone had their own individual reasons for why they believed the show was so good and what direction it should follow, hence all the bickering. And yes, the animosity regarding the leaving of Lauren Faust (and Rob Renzetti), other staff changes helped set a less than favorable vibe for the season to come.

  4. I actually liked, what should I call it, the "tone and attitude" of Season 3 the best, and I definitely think it could've been the best of the seasons if it had the same amount of episodes as the other two had. As it stands, my order is 2, 3, 1, same as you. I hope that the tone of Season 3 is a teaser as to what's to come in Season 4 (which it seems to be so far, judging solely from the animatics).

    1. I am pretty sure it's a teaser, according to what we were shown in SDCC. I can hardly wait.

  5. Season 2 because I discovered the show there.

  6. I am kind of in the same boat in that I don't really have a favorite season for the same reason that I don't have a favorite episode. I don't think I could pick one. As you said there are good and bad points for all three but in the end all that matters is your personal opinion. Well spoken indeed. I look forward to your Equestria Girls review even though I haven't seen it yet either (just finding it difficult to set aside an hour to watch it).