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Why do you think opinions on earlier/later seasons of MLP are so polarizing?


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Older seasons vs. Newer seasons.

I personally like earlier years of MLP much more than later years, but I know there are many people who would disagree.

I was reading the comment section on Equestria Daily one day, and it was a mess. Peoples arguing over earlier vs later seasons of MLP were like watching people from different political parties fighting. Strange that those people watched the same show, but had a completely different viewpoint on them, and I think it’s a pretty simple & straightforward show than most other shows. I think this issue is the one that polarizes the fandom most.

Besides the inherit shortcomings of mankind, why do you think it’s so polarizing about this particular issue? I don’t care if people keep fighting, I’m just curious.

Edited by Sepul-Coloratura
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Possibly comes all down to circumstances surrounding how those seasons came to be. People were still upset with Faust's departure. And the show rotated in leadership in several times, like you could argue the show under Faust was a completely different show than under McCarthy, likewise with Haber, Lewis/Songco, and Haber/Dubuc. Heck, the show under Haber/Dubuc feels like a different show than under just Haber

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I think some people enjoy the earlier seasons less because they were more kid oriented and weren't so fleshed out, but some liked it more because world building aspects weren't so concrete. There's also just thongs we expected over time that didn't happen the way we liked or at all, and the show also putting a greater focus on "side" characters.

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Because lot's of things changed, not just from earlier seasons to later, but practically from season to season. The general "Feel" of the show changed multiple times over it's run, Season 1 and 2 have a different style to them than say Season 6 and 7. The early seasons are a lot more simple, not to mention there were lot's of changes as the show went on, like characters being added or story arcs that some people might like while others don't, like certain characters being reformed or the friendship school. Even season to season the show would make changes, for instance I enjoy most of the show, the first 8 seasons, but I hate Season 9. But everything that makes me despise Season 9 is exactly what somebody else loves about it.

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I see two big issues with nu mlp.

The first and biggest one is fan pandering. Writers kept pushing fanon and shout outs to the fandom way too much. It wasn't just a fandom nod nor a hat tip every once in a season. It became an over exploited resource past season 4. Season 5 is the biggest offender with the dreadful and forgetable episode 100. They even added the jump the shark easter egg on said awful episode, aknowledging they were already jumping the shark and the show was trying stuff to impress people because they didn't have an idea on how to make decent episodes anymore.

Second big issue is Twilicorn and "modernization". I bet you guys will start grinding their teeth at me because I sound like a fan who could never get over it. But I'll explain how this actually made a change (mostly for the worse) on the show.

With the rushed alicornification of twilight came a whole season in which mlp had no idea where to go. Season 4 was a season in which the writers tried 2 unrelated plots and put them together with bubble gum. Season 3's finale was the end of old mlp and season 4 made the protagonists merely secondary characters by the end with lots of time on screen. They still had episodes focused entirely on them till the end of the show, but the show no longer really needed 5 out of 6 of its protagonists. It was no longer about twilight and her friends. It was about Twilight and how she saved equestria twice per season. All the rest was filler. The whole essence of the show was lost. After the rainbow power thing, the mane cast (except Twilight) became idle observers of the events. They no longer had an actually important role in the big events. Even by the finale of the show, Glimmer did more for the cause than the old mane 5 could do. No wonder many fans despise her (I personally love the character, though I recognize how she displaced the rest of the mane 5).

The first 2 seasons were golden because they presented us with a world and characters we would explore along with Twilight and her friends. Twilight was the new girl in town and her friends were more savvy of their enviroment and about commoner lifestyle in equestria. We were learning about the world through the eyes of somepony who knew just about as much the new life she was going through as the expectator. World building didn't need to rely only on old tales and legends. It could be done through show don't tell, and even exposition was believeable because one of the protagonists was learning about things other seemed to take for granted and to be common knowledge. This because Twilight had been a noble and had always been locked up by herself away from mundane matters, making sense that she ignored how life worked away from the castle grounds and the capital city where we can see mostly nobles. The aparent shallow world building was spot on for the experience given what I already mentioned. The show was immersive and everything was new for us. We could explore the characters as the episodes came out.

Season 4 and onwards lost that magic because it was no longer the focus of the show. They focused on things we already knew and tried a more strict world building through mythology and sudden exposition. They also gave the whole spotlight to Twilight during the biggest events, relegating the other 5 protagonist to lesser supporting roles. Also, they kept adding more modern topics as they progressed to the point they attempted the school of friendship arc to add inclusiveness to the show, and tried to break the ponycentric world view by making constant use of non-ponies for the last 2 seasons along with the cringeworthy "everycreature" when they could simply go with everybody instead (which would have made fun of the pun that derived from itself, making a smart deconstruction while also delivering the generic lingo to help with the idea of a no longer ponycentric world). Nu mlp is diferent to the first seasons, and while it had its own rights, it mostly had wrongs. People might deem as "simple" the first seasons, not realizing the approach was better and the creation process was far more complex to keep the show hooking and relatable to the watcher. They didn't over do the lore since the idea was to give freedom to the viewer to make its own world building. They kept in mind they were selling toys, and making a strict and convoluted lore limits the imagination of the target audience.

EDIT:

Forgot to put my conclusion, lol

Well, all beforementioned was to reach my point. The polarization comes from the approaches both shows have (wouldn't want to treat post season 3 as the same as the first 3 seasons because they are quite different). It turns out to be sort of a matter on tastes and what you expect to watch. Exploration, pleasent surprises and adaptation to the unknown VS constant exposition, expansion and being in a comfort zone.
The first one is an immersive show in which you can put yourself on Twilight's spot easier given you're supposed to know little of the world. Sometimes you might identify yourself with all the other mane characters on certain topics, and that was the whole point. The approach was of a slice of life that gave lots of freedom to the imagination of the viewer. It allowed us to make our own theories and the children to play with the flexible rulling without falling into contradictions. MLP was a sandbox in which the 6 protagonist characters were given about the same importance most of the time.
The later was an ok show that tried to develop further the setting. It no longer was about the gang, but about twilight as a princess defending equestria at times and the rest of the epísodes didn't really help us learn new things from their interactions. Instead, we were lectured into the lore at times when we weren't watching some career progress of the characters in our comfort zone. This approach put us outside of the show. We were no longer immersed. We didn't feel within the bounds anymore, but as watchers from afar. This is not necessarily bad, but on itself it broke down what FiM had delivered us in the very first season. The closest we got to feel that same magic later on was through Glimmer and Trixie. But that there became a polarizing point on itself, since both characters became intruders to the protagonic set up we had from 5 seasons before. These 2 got into the recurrent cast and they had their own internal dinamics that left outside the other characters. People felt outraged because Glimmer took Twilight's place as a genius with limited social skills who was learning about the world she had ignored for years. Trixie was a surprising adition as a misfit and sometimes trouble maker who meant no harm to others but would still be unaware of the harm she could make.
The polarization is merely due that. The original dynamic and feel was changed suddenly and the beloved main cast lost their relevance over time in a questionable way. That there is the whole thing. Is not that the second approach was bad, but the show deviated too much.

Edited by Jesse Terrence
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Most of it is based on the experience of the viewer watching. Of course bronies who didn't stay with the show until the end are going to prefer the earlier seasons and of course bronies who came late to the series with no expectations are going to prefer the later seasons. Being someone who never dropped out of watching the show from start to finish, there were times I looked back at the older seasons more fondly and times the older seasons felt outdated to me. This is why I don't take other people's opinions on the show too seriously or expect other people to take my opinions on the show too seriously. :nom: It's because I see how people, myself included, can grow to separate the objective quality of episodes from their subjective expectations.  

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I haven't watched the show in a while so I might not remember things and I'm autistic and couldn't really understand the above posts because they're a more deep level understanding of the show which I can find difficult to understand, so take my opinion as you will.

I really like the first 4 seasons. I think they're decently well-written with very few glaring flaws. The last 5 seasons, while I think they introduced some very amazing concepts, they also have some very glaring flaws. If you want me to list some examples, let me know. Maybe these flaws are why people can dislike the last 5 seasons.

Edited by DPBOX
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The base reason that opinions are polarizing is because when you get a long running series with a large fanbase like this one, different people are going to have different preferences about what they want and don't want to see over time, coupled with increased expectations if the show is good.  This can even happen with a series that hasn't been around as long (like The Mandalorian and the way the Season 2 finale was polarizing).  But the longer a series goes on for, the more likely it is to happen.

Edited by SBaby
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I get the sense that people wanted different things from this show. 

I'm not very interested in its moralizing or its setting. I was mostly drawn to this show for its humour and its characters, and I was drawn in around the end of the second season, when the main cast was relatively small. The show didn't really evolve the dynamic between the main characters, which has led that to become one of the weaker parts of the later seasons; most new elements in those relationships are driven by external forces. Those later seasons also try to incorporate the morals into the plot more, but it comes at the expense of the loose plotting and frequent digressions of the early seasons. Since I don't care about that, the later seasons will often bore me with their contrived fables and narrative payoffs, while annoying me when they can barely even rehash the character dynamics of the earlier seasons. 

But other people consider that very important, and watch every episode with an eye towards what lesson kids are taking from it. I sort of assume these people watch a lot of children's television. I figure these people are most impressed by the higher ambition of the later seasons, which regularly take on more complex topics and sometimes show a more mature side of the characters. I think the show treats that as a zero-sum equation - characters become more mature at the expense of the qualities that made them relatable. But not everyone liked those qualities as much as I did. If you found, say, Twilight's anxiety to be annoying, you probably welcomed the seasons where she calmed down a bit. 

And other people still seem most drawn in by the potential of the setting. I've read plenty of posts by people who don't actually care about the mane six or the morals about friendship, and generally don't enjoy the show's lighthearted tone and lightweight approach to worldbuilding. Sometimes I wonder if these people care more about fanfiction than the show itself. I think that's the extreme end - these people probably never actually liked the show - but there's also people who appreciated that the later seasons placed more emphasis on old legends and stuff like that. I assume the latter group mostly started watching the show a few years into its run, or at least were focused on fanfiction up until season 4 or so. I think these people appreciated that an increasing percentage of episodes focused on more than just the mane six's silly problems in Ponyville. 

Not to mention that there's people who like Starlight Glimmer way more than the other main characters. And these observations completely ignore the kids for whom the show is made. 

This is what I've come to think based on reading far too many forum posts about this silly little show. I probably haven't gotten the whole story; maybe someone in the other groups can speak for themselves about how the show's evolution in terms of quality. But I do sense that the difference comes down to why you like the show, which in turn is influenced by how much you like shows for little kids in general. 

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They wanted to do too many things and failed at all of them. The simplicity of early seasons was the strength of FIM. If one wants to tackle worldbuilding, one needs to first like worldbuilding and then learn worldbuilding. It also doesn't help if you push your main characters aside in the process.

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  • 3 weeks later...

In general, the earlier seasons and the later ones have a very different feel. If you were to just watch season one, then watch season nine immediately afterwards, you almost think it was a different show. I for one am definitely on the older season side of things. The older seasons had so much charm and things felt fresh. Character progression and world building felt more natural, and the lessons were better crafted. I could go on and on about how well made the early seasons were.

Over time, the show lost it's original charm. Character development and worldbuilding now felt more manufactured. And overall, episode quality started to dwindle. I'd say season 8 was truly the season where all the charm and quality. Not only was the school of friendship introduced, but the mane six were sidelined by a group of poorly written characters. It was not anything like the first seasons.

As you can see, I definitely like the early seasons better. When it comes to people who actually like the newer seasons better, they most likely prefer the manufactured character and world building to the naturel kind. Maybe it's because they feel the newer seasons felt more structured or mature. My guess is that a lot of them joined later down the line, and simply didn't get to fully experience the charm of the earlier seasons. Either way, it just goes to show how the early/later seasons can be so polarizing.

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