I don't normally do things like this...I was pretty hyped for Season 4, though, and I did have high hopes for it. I was not disappointed. The crew certainly has a lot to live up to. But in general, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about what I want out of something new (like an upcoming video game sequel or a new season) except exactly what it should be: something new.
Today, I was just thinking about it. And I've determined what I want out of Season 5.
Did you ever notice something about the first two seasons? What I saw in the fandom back in 2012 was that 80% of the fandom had one of four absolute favorite ponies, Twi, Flutters, Dashie, and Pinkie, with at least three-quarters of that centered around Twi and Flutters. I'd even go as far to say that more than half the MLP fandom was absolutely crazy for Fluttershy. I was. I was drinking that Fluttershy Kool-Aid (and I still am) but I have seen a shift lately. The fandom is balancing out. There's been a serious growth of the Rarity fanbase. Did anyone notice just how good Rarity was in Season 4? All of her feature episodes were absolute perfection and even in all the episodes where it was a full-cast feature or she had a minor role, she was still awesome. Some of my favorite Rarity scenes were from Castle-Maneia (Rarity and Fluttershy go excellently together...think "Green is not Your Color.").
You know who still hasn't got that much love? Applejack.
That's what I want to see in Season 5: More Applejack.
Now there's a problem with Applejack.
Where did Twilight see herself during the first few seasons? I think she wanted to become a princess herself from the get-go. Maybe that was planned from the very start. Now she ended up achieving that and I think the team did a spectacular job of making it work despite some fears among many of us.
What did Fluttershy want to end up doing? Well....I'm still trying to figure that out, but I think it's to overcome her own fears and mental blocks and be less reserved overall. For someone as reserved as Fluttershy, that task is next to impossible. As someone who is reserved too, I can want to be more outspoken, but the thought of actually doing it can be terrifying even if I make great leaps and bounds.
What does Rainbow Dash see herself being in the future? A Wonderbolt (which I think she can easily do given that a Sonic Rainboom is no longer legend)
What does Rarity want to do with her life? World-renowned fashion designer.
And how about Pinkie Pie? Well...she's also like Fluttershy...only Pinkie Pie can be so random...she's more or less the wildcard.
How about Applejack? Applejack probably has no plans whatsoever to do anything bigger than the family farm.
Where am I going with this? Character growth. It's what makes them relateable. You ever wonder why not many people love Celestia? Because she's perfect. I don't mean she's a good character. I mean that she has no personality flaws. Celestia is just and wise ruler. Just and wise are properties you want in a ruler; however, they don't make for very deep characters. Celestia has everything she could ever want and need. She has absolutely no room at all to grow.
I think that's the problem with Applejack. I think that's why we don't see many Applejack episodes. Applejack is far from perfect, but she is where she wants to be and she sees herself being no place else. That was confirmed by "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" when she knew it was her destiny to stay on the family farm. Applejack is going nowhere, folks. And I hate to see that. She makes for a wonderful support character but that's really about it. What little room Applejack had to grow has mostly been filled. Episodes like "Applebuck Season," "Look Before You Sleep," "Fall Weather Friends," "Over a Barrel," and - most recently - "Bats!" have addressed the one quality that makes Applejack imperfect: her stubbornness. And I loved all of these episodes so don't get me wrong. But with that one quality being Applejack's (pretty much) only weakness, there just isn't much they can do with her. I think that's why she's always being called "best background pony."
I really can't find any other weaknesses in her. She has some great strengths that make her the person (or pony) you want close to you: blunt, caring, empathetic, diligent...these are great qualities in anyone. But those qualities don't make for good episodes. Truly great episodes address a weakness and challenge that character with that weakness.
I want to see more Applejack in the next season. I really do. I hope they can find something about her in the previous four seasons that makes her weak besides her stubbornness. You can't make too many episodes about it without the subject being beaten to death and people get sick of it. You can't replace her because that hasn't worked out very well for many shows in the past (remember Randy from That '70s Show? Who even liked Randy? Eric Forman was much better).
Hopefully they can pull it off!