It's deja vu all over again for Generation X'ers such as myself, as everything that was old is new again. Simply wander into any "trendy" store, such as Hot Topic, and you'll find yourself confronted with memories such as Strawberry Shortcake, Transformers, and Fraggle Rock. Another oldie that has made its way back into the spotlight is "My Little Pony", both in the way of new toys and a DVD release of My Little Pony: The Complete First Season, bringing back the animated TV show from 1986.
As mentioned above, the My Little Pony show was based on a line of toys, aimed mostly at girls, which appeared in the mid 1980s. The show deals with a group of, yes, you guessed it, little ponies, who live in Ponyland. The ponies came in many colors, sizes, and varieties, as some as simply ponies, some are unicorns, and some are "Flutter Ponies", who can fly. The ponies are befriended by a human girl named Megan, who helps them in their adventures. And oh, what adventures they are, as the ponies defend Ponyland from various villains such as Queen Bumble, Squirk, the Gizmonks, Porcina (a very vile pig-woman thing!), Grogar, and many more. The ponies settle these matters by relying on teamwork and friendship rather than resorting to violence.
The DVD set features 47 episodes from the show, but something that makes My Little Pony somewhat unique are the story arcs included in the season. The episodes included in this set are as follows:
"The End of Flutter Valley" Parts 1-10
"The Ghost of Paradise Estates" Parts 1-4
"The Great Rainbow Caper"
"The Glass Princess" Parts 1-4
"Bright Lights" Parts 1-4
"Sweet Stuff and the Treasure Hunt"
"Return of Tambelon" Parts 1-4
"Little Piece of Magic"
"The Magic Coins" Parts 1-4
"Woe is Me" Parts 1-2
"Fugitive Flowers" Parts 1-2
"Would-be Dragon Slayer"
"Baby It's Cold Outside" Parts 1-2
"Crunch the Rockdog" Parts 1-2
"The Revolt of Paradise Estate" Parts 1-2
"Through the Door" Parts 1-2
(I did check one episode guide, and according to it, the episode "Mish Mash Melee" is missing from this set.)
I'm going to do sort of a "He Said/She Said" review for My Little Pony, but it will be more of an "I said/They Said". Personally, I found the show to be barely watchable. The characters are annoying. The storylines, while long and drawn-out in some cases, are laughable and often truly stupid. The animation is crude, even by 1980's syndicated cartoon standards, but the colors were certainly bright. On the other hand, my two daughters love the show and are delighted with this boxed set. They have watched the episodes several times (they favor Discs 2 & 3) and they really seem to enjoy it. When asked why, they replied, "It's cute." OK. The show has certainly influenced their play with their own My Little Pony dolls (they now have named for the dolls, taken from the show) and they've used the storylines from the shows to create their own adventures. So, maybe I'm not the one to judge My Little Pony, as its target audience seems to like it just fine.
The My Little Pony: The Complete First Season DVD set contains four DVDs, which feature 47 episodes from the show. All of the episodes are presented in their original 4:3 aspect ratio. The image varies somewhat over the 47 shows. Some look very good, with the colors being bright and having no defects at all. While others show a great deal of dirt and other debris on the image, and a slightly blurry picture. Overall, the video is acceptable, and the for the most part, it is better than VHS. However, the digital clarity does reveal many flaws.
The My Little Pony: The Complete First Season set features a digital mono audio track on all of the shows. This tracks provides dialogue which is clear for the most part, although there is some occasional "popping" on the track. The sound is somewhat flat, but it's what you'd expect from a show like this.
The only extra on this DVD set are four additional episodes, "Rescue at Midnight Castle, Parts 1 & 2" and "Escape from Katrin, Parts 1 & 2". The packaging identifies "Rescue at Midnight Castle" as being the pilot episode for the series.
Is this a true attempt to revive a once popular franchise, or just a shady stab at Gen X nostalgia? Either way, My Little Pony was once popular with little girls and with this set featuring the entire first season of the show, it could be again.