Note: This contains spoilers for season 7's preview, found here. Read at your own risk.
Many users here know that Starlight's one of my favorite characters. To this day, I stand by her reasons for which she eventually became the way she was in Re-Mark, the need to have her become a student rather than be sent to jail, and The Crystalling for being a good start to her arc. However, after The Crystalling, Starlight just didn't have a very good season six. Lots of people were turned off by her and rightfully so.
There are three really big problems surrounding Starlight.
- After The Crystalling, DHX returned to its old habits of writing their season arc when it needed to. Ever since season one, DHX has had one successful season-long arc: Starlight's vie for revenge. Twilight's ascension was marred by a terrible premiere. Season four's key arc has two really bad episodes (Breezies, RF) and a finale marred by the Idiot Ball. You get the drill. But the show was able to get away with it at some capacity, because you didn't need to have half the season be confined to an arc.
But season six was the WORST time to return to it. She wasn't merely a secondary character anymore. She became a Mane member. You're adding someone completely new to the wheel. Thus, it's DHX's job to present her as likable, approachable, and (because one of the show's primary demographics is children) a role model to the audience. After Tail, Starlight dropped off the map aside from six episodes, two of them cameos, two the finale. If you don't use her more, then how will you make people care?
- The last two episodes she starred in painted her in a really bad light. Every Little Thing She Does is clearly inspired by Lesson Zero, but like 28 Pranks Later, it doesn't understand why people loved it it. Most importantly, one piece of detail: how to make her sympathetic.
LZ: Before Twilight cast "Want It, Need It" on the CMCs and everyone else in Ponyville, she spiraled out of her control and clearly wasn't in the right mind. She was at her lowest point in the episode (as well as the whole show) up to this point.
ELTSD: Starlight was clearly in control of herself and decided to hypnotize her friends — who have no chemistry with SG whatsoever, yet we're supposed to assume they get along — at the first possible outcome. All with a smirk on her face. She performed a tactic usually by antagonists, but we're supposed to see her as the good guy. She didn't get to her lowest point until the end of Act 2. You're NOT going to get people to like her if she appears in episodes far apart AND have her perform villainous tactics in her return. Why? Because to the audience's minds, she comes across as slow to learn and too dangerous to be around with. If she's capable of casting nasty spells in the right mind, what would happen when she's not?
And in To Where and Back Again, the audience is supposed to be convinced that she's changed. Unfortunately, the writers tried to convince us she changed through exposition. That won't do. TWaBA relies on the audience to follow season six from beginning to end and wants us to trust it that she redeemed herself. One: Show us that she changed from the very beginning of the episode and move forward. Two: Show us in many previous episodes where she not only evolved, but also where she used her personality strengths to her advantage. A two-part premiere and three self-contained episodes (with only one within a sixteen-episode stretch) won't cut it.
Secondly, Starlight's motive to choosing Trixie was out of character. Remember, she chose Trixie because she believed Trixie was a better friend than Twilight. Why's that a problem? SG shares better chemistry with Twilight than Trixie, and despite Twilight being a really awful teacher, the season showed an evolution in their friendship over time. If instead SG chose Trixie because she felt she could get out of her comfort zone, then it would make sense. Why? Because it would show to the audience that Starlight has changed by believing she has the courage of her conviction to expand her horizons.
@@Prince Sidon has this in his back pocket:
Because John Cena is turning 40 next month and may retire in the near-future, Vince McMahon has been pushing for a new, younger talent. Roman Reigns is who he believes will be that new face. Unfortunately, since The Shield disbanded, he's been marred by a wooden in-ring personality and horrendous booking (including being caught in an overrun heel!authority angle), leading the audience to boo him more than cheer. Since he a damn good wrestler, that's a damn shame.
There's a Roman Reigns-like parallel to Starlight. DHX and Hasbro are pushing Starlight on the audience in hoping people will like her. But when you write her as a protagonist really poorly, you won't get people to like her. In contrast, you'll only make people grimace when her name appears. And during a time where she's still really green, that paints an awful first impression on her.
And earlier today, a teaser of season seven was released with Twilight "graduating" Starlight. Twilight spent three seasons and then some before she "graduated" into princesshood, but SG may be "graduating" in as little as one season. Clearly, she has a long way to go before she truly understands the value of friendship, so it doesn't make a lick of sense to rush in such a momentous party. Whether season seven's premiere will really be like this or not I don't know, but I feel very hesitant at this point.
Obviously, most of us bronies want Starlight to be a really good character. And she can be. The Crystalling was really good at presenting Starlight as sympathetic. But if DHX keeps making very big mistakes with Starlight, then bronies will collectively sneer and cringe at her name or presence, and, in turn, many will skip it.
DHX's decision to write Newbie Dash a Rainbow Dash torture porn with an intellectually offensive hazing moral is FIM's biggest stain. If DHX doesn't rebound with Starlight, it'll have another.