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Thoughts About TYT Episode Length


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I have been watching episodes of G-1 of My Little Pony on Tubi.

I have to say, there's oodles of things wrong with the G-1 cartoon that'd never fly with the standards of today's animation:  there were animation errors like the wrong character's lips moving, incorrect or missing colors, crossed eyes (no wonder Derpy became deliberate!), and of course it's sometimes hard to keep track of all the characters.  But there is one thing to be said about how shows were delivering content to viewers back in those days:  they did it in nine-minute chunks---a little less than twice the length of a G-5 episode of TYT these days.

I also noticed that the lion's share of G-1 episodes were parts of multi-episode stories, and each story usually took up about 4 episodes.  Several took up 2 episodes, one took TEN episodes.  And while there some were one-off self-contained stories that were told in their entirety in those nine minutes, only nine out of sixty-five episodes were one-offs.  (I counted.)


What I'm wondering is:  would TYT be better if Hasbro took a page out of their 80s playbook, and created episodes that were 9 minutes long, and often made them parts of a multi-episode story?


I'd like to say that I know that the reason these episodes were nine minutes long was because they were designed to be shown in a half-hour block alongside episodes of other shows like Glo Friends, Moon Dreamers or Potato Head Kids---the intro, the credits, and the commercials took those nine minute episodes up to fifteen minutes, thus filling 50% of the half-hour blocks that broadcast television was (and still is) divided into.  And I get that the four-parters gave TV stations and showrunners the flexibility to have four of the five weekdays devoted to a MLP story, and then on Friday they had the option to either do something different or to show a one-off G-1 episode.

But the nine-minute episodes allowed them to have longer songs, more dialog, more character development, stronger characterization (it did happen, though not as often as I'd like), more locations, more setup for stories and plans, and it didn't need to rush the way TYT episodes do these days.

Plus, the fact that most of the stories were divided up into four parts meant that there could be some pretty darn good adventures in G-1---sometimes better than the adventures they're showing us in G-5, if I'm being honest!  (After watching the Tambelon episodes, I'm really understanding why most bronies were in favor of Grogar coming back in G-4 more than Hydia, Reeka, and Draggle!)


Anyhow, with all that context in mind:  do you suppose it'd be better if Hasbro switched to a nine-minute episode format for TYT, instead of the five-minute episode format they have now?

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It is true that having the episodes be nine minutes long would help them tell a more epic story, definitely. However, since TYT is more humor-focused, it's really not necessary. Also, part of the reason the episodes are so short in length, I believe is to help save money. Fun fact in that regard, the animation being the way it is isn't just to help cut costs, it also gives the animation crew an easier time. And do you know what else gives the TYT team an easier time? Only needing to do five-minute-long shorts. 

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