In this day and age, it’s becoming rarer and rarer for a form of media, especially television, to have a definitive and conclusive finale. Many will either be left to sprawl endlessly until it becomes little more than a shadow of its former self or unceremoniously canceled in the middle of the story and forced to rush the endings.
So, it is with an odd mix of sadness and relief that it’s been finally confirmed that Season 9 of Friendship Is Magic will be the final season. While I will certainly miss the show, I can still take solace in the sheer legacy it has left behind.
When the first episode premiered on October 10th, 2010, many were expecting it to be dead on arrival, little more than another brainless show meant to distract small minded kids for a few minutes while acting little more than a 22-minute toy commercial, only to surprise everyone with its cast of colourful characters, thoughtful and funny plotlines, and an art style that was a joy to look at. What followed what a fandom like no one had ever seen before or I think ever since, filled with people far outside the intended demographic one would expect from “My Little Pony.”
As of today, February 18th, 2019, the fourth generation of My Little Pony has managed to endure for over eight years, far longer than anyone could have ever imagined. In that time, a deluge of fan creations flooded the internet: art, writing, animations, plushies, you name it, someone has probably made a My Little Pony of it. But that was just the beginning, as dozens of conventions were created across the globe, gathering together fans from all walks of life together under the banner of a simple message: “Friendship is Magic”. Friendships have been formed between people who would have previously never crossed paths and people even managed to get married because of their relationship to the show, an impressive feat for a show that was originally mocked as a simple toy commercial.
When the 100th episode, Slice of Life, aired on June 13th, 2015, I remember thinking that this was an unprecedented accomplishment for the show, having lasted longer than any other show made by Hasbro and doing what many shows couldn’t even attempt in reaching the triple digits. So, imagine my shock and utter amazement when I realized the show was about to take that same accomplishment and double it, as Season 9 will feature the 200th episode, a feat never before thought possible from a Hasbro show.
Once the show does indeed finish airing the final episode, Friendship is Magic will then consist of 221 twenty-two minute episodes, a combined watch time of over 81 hours or around three and a half days or so, even longer if you added in the feature-length movie, the specials, and the Equestria Girl’s spin-off series, putting the combined total to somewhere around 86 hours or so.
To put that into perspective, that’s longer than it would take to watch the entire Lord of the Rings movie Trilogy, plus the Hobbit over ten times.
Finally, Season 9 will only mark the ending of Friendship is Magic, not My Little Pony as a whole, especially with another movie already planned for 2021 and potentially a Gen 5 in development. Even if it was the end of the franchise, the fandom that this show created won’t just up and disappear, but will no doubt continue to flourish for years to come.
Myself? I’ve made far too many good memories with this show and the people I’ve met through the fandom to give it up the moment the last episode airs. If anything, I will be there with a smile when the show finally does come to end and I will watch proudly as Friendship is Magic takes its final steps into the world. For if nothing else, this show has managed to firmly consolidate one thing during its almost decade long run:
Friendship truly is magic.