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Equestria Girls was Underdeveloped as a Series


KH7672

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(edited)

I'm hearing more and more, especially as the announcement for the cancellation has dropped that Equestria Girls will be lauded as a great series even surpassing that of Friendship is Magic in some people's opinion which I don't doubt nor have any problem with, however what has come to my attention that most reasons for thinking so comes more from the fact that beyond certain aspects *cough* Sunset *cough* the Equestria Girls series was extremely underdeveloped compared to FiM and consequently is actually easier to latch on to.

Take for example your possible pension for Human Rainbow Dash instead of pony Rainbow Dash. Is that because EG Rainbow is more developed and a better written character? Well what is her character? Brash, energetic, athletic, loyal, speed demon, competitive, lack of desire for the mundane, Daring Do fan. Not much different than FiM RD but you know what she doesn't have? She doesn't have what some consider a botched Wonderbolts arc, or a sequence of episodes with questionable writing decisions. It's a lot easier to like EG RD by merit alone without having to elaborate on anything. She is a blank slate of an already established likeable character.

Now beyond the movies, Equestria Girls mostly consists of Internet shorts, but the problem for the development of the series is that these shorts do nothing but highlight little vignettes already established in the characters. There's no continuity, no character progression, no nuance. It's just look Sunset has anger issues, let's have her get mad at video games, look Fluttershy can be bold and smart in front of the class, look Rainbow Dash can surf well, look Rarity indulges in luxuries a little much. That's it, that's all it ever is with these shorts because in the long run they mean nothing to the series beyond more time with the characters, which is fine, but it's not development.

Now where the real development comes in is in the specials.....well development for Sunset Shimmer and Twilight (and Rarity and Applejack once). The specials are the best time to break out of the limbo that the shorts create, but the problem is besides Rollercoaster of Friendship, none of the specials allow the characters to actually grow by the end. Sunset had a fantastic character growth special with Forgotten Friendship, and ideally that should be it for her, because now the other characters will get their time to develop. Rollercoaster of Friendship did continue that trend well with Rarity and Applejack, but the development falls flat for the rest and we just get short-like vignettes for them. However Rainbow Dash did star in Spring Breakdown....but she didn't develop. She crashes the fun because of a desire to save the day and instead of learning where and when it's appropriate to react, she is completely justified in the end and instead the change has to fall on Twilight. Rainbow did not change. The same goes with Pinkie in Sunset's Backstage Pass. Any attempt that could have been made to expand on her character is push aside, quite literally neglected by the plot so we can focus on Sunset who really has no reason to need this lesson besides the fact she is the only character developed enough to carry the story.

From characters to world building, it's not that Equestria Girls is written any better or worse than Friendship is Magic, it's more that the series has so little substance to it beyond the character basics and much less of a continuous story that there's nothing to be upset with when watching it.

Edited by KH7672
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(edited)

This is kind of how I feel too honestly. While I do enjoy Equestria Girls and think it's a fairly fun series in general, it never really goes much beyond just "Fun" for me, I don't feel like I ever really grew to care about it quite as much as I did FIM. I think if they had gone for an actual series with full length 22 minute or even just 11 minute episodes that actually let the cast develop with more substantial stories, I'd have cared more. Especially if they did more to differentiate the human versions from the pony versions, because other than Sci-Twi they're just the FIM cast but less.

 Still, the shorts were fun and it made a nice side series to FIM. So, I don't think it ever reached it's potential but it wasn't really a waste either. I'm glad we got it, sad to see it go.

Edited by BastementSparkle
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As a series, Equestria Girls was made to sell toys. Indeed, this has been the standard operating procedure for Hasbro since at least the 80s. The shows are intended as glorified advertising for whichever line it's about, and the amazing part is that TV stations PAID HASBRO for the privilege of running their glorified ads. The fact Hasbro's older shows now engender nostalgia from those who remember them is mostly due to the incredible skill, talent and professionalism of the people who did the work of creating them, rather than any conscious effort on Hasbro's part and in future, any similar nostalgia for Friendship is Magic can be laid directly at the feet of Lauren Faust, her initial team of writers, the voice actors and DHX rather than Hasbro.

In short, when the whole premise of the series can be summed up as "We made our pony characters human.", you knew you weren't getting anything terribly inventive and I suspect you will hear more nostalgia for the original series than Equestria Girls.

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(edited)

Agreed, the specials were starting to develop the rest of the characters into a path that FiM characters had not taken. That's why I think it's a shame, it's a lost opportunity, but that's all.

A proper ending would have been better, but it's not like the show had an actual plot to finish or goal to reach. Most of us assumed a nice ending would be set up in graduation, but that's only because it's a highschool show. That must be the most cliched trope about a highschool show's ending.

Edited by DonMaguz
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Hasbro really dropped the ball when they announced a full series by making it 2-3 minute shorts, that's not enough time to do anything, really limiting what they could do. Even smaller 11 minute episode would have been more than enough

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(edited)

I fully agree. And what hurts me about all this is that we know the staff is capable of doing fantastic things with both the world and characters. They're just never able to unleash its true potential. Not only was 2 minutes way too short to pull off any substance, resulting in most of the content feeling like a whole lot of nothing, but it's pretty clear Hasbro held this on a far tighter creative leash than FiM. We know for a fact the reason Spring Breakdown exists was to sell cruise toys (despite the fact I haven't seen cruise toys), and Forgotten Friendship to sell beach toys. So I can only assume a lot of the other ideas were demanded by Hasbro as well.

Seriously, imagine a world where the series was actually 11 or 22 minutes, even if that meant fewer episodes a year. We could've gotten actual character arcs to not just give the Humane Seven some much needed depth, but possibly even develop more of an ongoing story involving their geode powers and the magic leaks. Maybe even letting Sunset's ties to Equestria get the focus it deserves. I honestly think it could've exceeded FiM in quality if they were only given the chance to, which they never were. And if anything, the proof of their potential in stuff like Forgotten Friendship and Dance Magic makes it hurt more because it just makes me think we could've gotten more stuff on that level. That, and they actually made me hold out hope that some day they will be able to make the series as fantastic as it could be. But alas, it was not meant to be.

It's pretty tragic IMO.

Edited by Toon4Thought
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What's that? Mane 5 getting the proverbial finger in favor of characters made by the new staff?

ImagineMyShock.jpg.2ef2898a72b27fba6a036847a9d32387.jpg

It's not that they weren't getting the same crap in favor of The Powerful Unicorn but there was no time to flesh that crap out. The lack of time actually saved EQG Mane 5 from being used as your typical FIM plot propellant that fuels standard 22 min episodes.

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5 hours ago, Kiryu-Chan said:

Hasbro really dropped the ball when they announced a full series by making it 2-3 minute shorts, that's not enough time to do anything, really limiting what they could do. Even smaller 11 minute episode would have been more than enough

 

The Youtube shorts are cute but I agree that 11 minute episodes would've been even better. 

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(edited)

Well, duh.

The reason why EQG was planned in the first place is obvious. And the lack of the character's depth was inherit within it.

The worse part is, the series doesn't seem to know it's own strength and weaknesses. I enjoyed the EQG shorts 100 times better than the specials because they don't fall flat trying to make some epic storyline with borrowed blank characters.

EQG's premise is simply "Yay! Human ponies!" and the shorts doesn't try to do much more than that. The shorts doesn't try to convince us telling the characters are actually not the same characters from FiM and they are original. What you see is what you get. Human Applejack, done. No need to know any more than that in the shorts, which is the way it should be.

I enjoyed EQG because of it's vignettes. Why? The characters are clones from another show. We already know Fluttershy. The reason they made EQG was because we know these characters already. Familiar characters in a different setting.

The specials doesn't benifit from this. They have to make complete stories and arcs which requires actual characters. So in here, Rainbow Dash isn't the Rainbow Dash. She might look liker her, but she isn't. It defeats the purpose of EQG franchise. And unlike the shorts, the specials have to continue the story from the previous ones. That's also why EQG were never free from the first movie's failure. Even later on we got good stuff like Sunset Shimmer, Sci-Twi's relationship developed, it never changes that how ridiculously things were going in previous series. Sunset Shimmer and Sci-Twi only works in a deeper level because they are original. I actually consider them the only characters in EQG.

The most exciting parts from EQG specials? Most of them are not even in the movie. Ponies meeting the human versions of them. Sci-Twi's reveal. Sunset Shimmer going through the portal. Whenever a character comes close towards the portal, fans scream. EQG specials constantly and pathologically relied on the FiM franchise's power. Why? Because they didn't have something to offer by their own. So they kept using familiar characters (FiM ponies) and familiar settings (Equestria). Later on, they even made something like Spring Breakdown, which solely relies on the concept of going to Equestria and meeting ponies, being ponies. (Which is ridiculous. What next? My Little Human - Equestria Filly?) At least EQG shorts has something simple but different from FiM that only they can offer.

These are symptoms of them not being faithful to the franchise's premise and trying things out of reach. If they did a good job establishing characters and introducing interesting concepts, building an engaging story despite the inherit shortcomings, then it might have been good regardless of what I said. EQG was not an original franchise to begin with, and they didn't offer something that only EQG could offer, nor built original stuff that is so good that makes everything irrelevant.

Edited by Sepul-Coloratura
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A big part of why I liked that first season of Equestria Girls so much was because I essentially view the entire series as an appendage of Friendship is Magic, distilling that show's charm and humour into fun little vignettes that put familiar characters into a new setting. That's all I wanted from it, and that's why I get annoyed every time it tries to distance itself from Friendship is Magic. want Rainbow Dash to be basically the same person in both shows, because that means I can project everything I know about the pony Rainbow onto the human version. And that allows the show to focus on fun gimmicks, which it did so well in that first season; it's also why I'm so bored by Sunset Shimmer, who never quite became a fully coherent character, and who often doesn't show the fun little nuances of the other characters. Even with Twilight Sparkle, who I think doesn't behave enough like her pony counterpart, they can draw upon the other version's personality quirks for the sake of Equestria Girls stories.

So you're basically right, in that I like Equestria Girls so much because it doesn't have Friendship is Magic's baggage. But I don't really view the two shows separately, and I don't see how that's a problem. This show did its own thing, and at its best it's way more memorable than what Friendship is Magic usually offers. 

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At the end of the day, Equestria Girls, much like Friendship is Magic, was created to sell toys and to give Hasbro plenty of profit. When the toy sales are successful, they will keep things going. If they are slumping, they will cut their losses and end things and try again in several years. EQG was a spin-off to FiM so I see Hasbro wanting the latter to get more benefits whilst the former got whatever it was given. I prefer EQG--I don't really need to explain this story again as I've done so many times in the past--and yet, it used a format that it wasn't able to utilize fully without having to rely on the main show to guide it along until it could stand on its own two feet. It also didn't help that Hasbro wanted a specific format to be used, one that people have already mentioned so I don't need to repeat it.

EQG did what it needed to do despite having a lot thrown against it be it from Hasbro, the writers, and even the fans. It will always have a special place in my heart regardless of what happened behind the scenes which lead to it being finished without a proper conclusion. I'm satisfied with EQG getting as much as it did as it could've been abandoned a lot sooner in favour of FiM.

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