My Little Pony Friendship is Magic[note 1] is an animated series based on Hasbro's popular My Little Pony franchise. The show premiered on October 10, 2010 on Hasbro's The Hub channel, now known as Discovery Family as of October 13, 2014. It ended after nine seasons on October 12, 2019. This incarnation of the franchise is referred to as the fourth generation, or G4, of My Little Pony. The show was developed for television by Lauren Faust, who is known for her work on two of Cartoon Network's popular and critically-acclaimed franchises, namely The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
The series stars a unicorn pony named Twilight Sparkle, a student of Princess Celestia, the ruler of the magical land of Equestria. The princess gives Twilight the task of learning about friendship and sends her and her assistant, a baby dragon named Spike, to Ponyville. There, they meet some interesting ponies, including action-loving Rainbow Dash, glamorous Rarity, hard-working Applejack, timid Fluttershy, and hyperactive Pinkie Pie. Together, they go on adventures, solve various problems, and learn about the magic of friendship.
The series was developed by Lauren Faust for Hasbro as a reboot of the My Little Pony franchise. Faust was pitching her own Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls toy line and animated television series to Hasbro Studios' executive Lisa Licht, when Licht asked her to come up with a new version of the My Little Pony franchise. Development started in 2008, with production of the first season spanning through 2009. Jayson Thiessen storyboarded and animated a two-minute short for the approval of Faust and Hasbro. In the animated short used during early development, Tara Strong voiced Pinkie Pie. The show's primary audience is girls 4-12 years old, and Faust designed the show so parents can enjoy watching it with their daughters. The series has generated a cult following among adults. Fiscal reports by DHX Media suggest that DHX Media received around 6 million Canadian dollars a year for the production of the first three seasons of the show.
Toys and merchandise
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is associated with the 2010 relaunch of My Little Pony toy line, having figurines and play-sets based on it and vice versa; the show primarily exists in order to help market the toy line. Hasbro, the company that owns the brand, has come to see My Little Pony as a "lifestyle" brand, with over 200 licenses in 15 categories of products. The brand grossed one billion USD in retail sales in 2014 and 650 million USD in retail sales in 2013. The Friendship is Magic toy line receives new iterations approximately every year. The first toys were sold under the Ponyville title like their G3 predecessors, followed by Pony Wedding, Crystal Empire, Crystal Princess Celebration, Rainbow Power, Cutie Mark Magic, and Explore Equestria.
- See also list of characters
The series has a main cast of six ponies and a large number of supporting and background characters. As ponies mature they gain cutie marks on their flanks, which represent their purpose or calling in life.
There are three main types of ponies:
- Earth ponies: regular ponies. The founders of Ponyville were among this race. They are closer to nature than other ponies and frequently tend to crops and perform manual labor. They have no wings or horns.
- Pegasi or Pegasus ponies: ponies with wings who can fly and walk on clouds. They frequently tend to the weather.
- Unicorns: ponies that have horns and possess more pronounced magical abilities, represented by a glow around their horn when used. Many use telekinesis, but some use other kinds of magic as well.
Outside of the three kinds, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, Princess Cadance, Twilight Sparkle and Flurry Heart possess Pegasus wings, a unicorn horn, and, depending on the depiction, Earth pony magic. They are called Alicorns in the show. Both Celestia and Luna possess extraordinary magical power, allowing them to raise the sun and the moon. Cadance has the power of love which, according to Twilight, allows her to spread love wherever she goes and can quell the fighting in two ponies' hearts. Twilight has the ability to spread the magic of friendship across Equestria. Flurry Heart is a naturally-born Alicorn.
Age and sex
The show's ponies may be grouped by age and sex into colts (younger males), fillies (younger females), mares (older females), and stallions (older males). A pony's sex can be ascertained by the shape and size of their muzzle: stallions' muzzles are angular, squared off and larger, while mares' muzzles have a more rounded appearance and are much smaller than a stallion's. However, this is not the case with some Alicorns. Stallions also have bigger and sometimes bulkier bodies than mares. Another way to determine a pony's sex is by their eyelashes and that mares' hooves are the same color as their coat, while some stallions' hooves are coatless, like Big McIntosh's, Shining Armor's, or Prince Blueblood's. Mares and fillies have eyelashes, while stallions and colts don't. However, baby ponies have eyelashes, with males having a single eyelash, and females having two. In Lauren Faust's head, at least one S1 pony character is trans.
In previous My Little Pony generations, all young ponies were often called "baby ponies", while in Friendship is Magic young ponies and baby ponies are differentiated. Young ponies are simply called "fillies", "colts", or "young ponies", and are grouped with baby ponies under foals.
As of December 5, 2010, the ages of the main pony characters have been left "imprecise" by the show's developer, Lauren Faust. On February 26, 2011, Faust said that she thinks of the six pony main characters as anywhere from 12 to 17 but gives them "adult independence." As of My Little Pony: IDW 20/20, the Mane 6 are twenty years older than they were when they got their cutie marks.
- Twilight Sparkle: The central main character. An Alicorn (originally unicorn) pony with a light violet body and an indigo mane and tail with pink and purple streaks. She studies extensively and has exceptional magical ability. She is now one of the princesses of Equestria. Her spirit represents the element of magic.
- Applejack: An athletic and strong Earth pony with an orange body and blonde mane and tail. She is down-to-Earth and dependable, always willing to help anyone in any matter. Applejack comes from a large family of ponies with apple-related names who manage farms, apple orchards and businesses, etc. She wears a brown stetson hat. Her spirit represents the element of honesty.
- Rainbow Dash: An athletic Pegasus pony with a sky blue body and a multicolored mane and tail. Very brave and bold, she can also be mischievous and proud. She has the ability of speed and clearing the sky of clouds. Her spirit represents the element of loyalty.
- Pinkie Pie: An Earth pony with a pink body and magenta mane and tail. She has a funny demeanor, is very talkative, and a bit air-headed. She also enjoys singing and playing pranks. Her spirit represents the element of laughter.
- Fluttershy: A Pegasus pony with a yellow body and a pink mane and tail. She is very shy and quiet around others most of the time but has a great love for animals and caring for them. Her spirit represents the element of kindness.
- Rarity: A unicorn pony with a white body and a purple mane and tail. She is very stylish and interested in fashion. Although sometimes desiring to be the center of attention, she is always there to help her friends. Her spirit represents the element of generosity.
- Spike: A young, purple and green dragon. He is Twilight's assistant and best friend. He has an ostensibly-secret crush on Rarity. He is hatched by Twilight in a flashback in The Cutie Mark Chronicles. He grows with greed as shown in Secret of My Excess. He prefers hanging out with ponies rather than his own kind.
Nearly every two-part episode features a main villain who is usually defeated at the end of part two. The season four premiere focuses on the Everfree Forest causing trouble as a result of a former villain's past actions, while the season six premiere focuses on the birth of a new Alicorn and later the threat of eternal winter against the Crystal Empire. Each season begins and ends with a two-part episode, except for season one, which ends with The Best Night Ever, season three, which ends with Magical Mystery Cure, season seven, which begins with Celestial Advice, and season nine, which ends with The Last Problem.
- Nightmare Moon: Main antagonist of the season one premiere Friendship is Magic. She is Princess Luna corrupted and possessed by her bitterness over the ponies sleeping through the night and her jealousy toward her older sister, Princess Celestia, who is beloved by their subjects for bringing forth the sun and day. She is defeated by Twilight Sparkle and her friends with the Elements of Harmony, restoring Luna.
- Discord: Main antagonist of the season two premiere The Return of Harmony. He is a draconequus and the spirit of disharmony who causes chaos in Canterlot and Ponyville. He corrupts the main characters to resemble the opposite of their respective elements; once de-corrupted, they turn him to stone with the Elements of Harmony. At Princess Celestia's request, he is released by the main characters and reformed by Fluttershy in Keep Calm and Flutter On. His past action of planting the plunderseeds before his first banishment antagonize Ponyville in the season four premiere. In the ninth and final season, he impersonates the ancient ram sorcerer Grogar and forms a team of villains, consisting of Queen Chrysalis, Lord Tirek, and Cozy Glow, in an attempt to prepare Twilight Sparkle as Equestria's future ruler.
- Queen Chrysalis: Main antagonist of the season two finale A Canterlot Wedding, the season six finale To Where and Back Again, and one of the main antagonists of the season nine finale The Ending of the End. She is the shape-shifting queen of the changelings who feeds off Shining Armor's love for Princess Cadance by impersonating her. She is defeated by Shining Armor and Cadance through the power of their love. In the latter finale, she abducts the Mane Six and the other princesses and replaces them with changelings. She is defeated by Starlight Glimmer, Trixie, Discord, and Thorax. She returns in The Mean 6, where she creates evil copies of the Mane Six in an attempt to gain control of the Elements of Harmony and take over Equestria, but her plans are foiled once again. In The Beginning of the End, she is recruited into a league of villains by Grogar. In The Ending of the End, she, Tirek, and Cozy Glow use Grogar's Bewitching Bell to make themselves all-powerful and take over Equestria, but they are defeated by the Mane Six and their allies.
- King Sombra: Main antagonist of the season three premiere The Crystal Empire and the season nine premiere The Beginning of the End. He is an evil unicorn who tries to re-enslave the Crystal Empire, and is defeated by Spike, Princess Cadance, and the Crystal Ponies with the power of the Crystal Heart. Twilight Sparkle uses his signature dark magic in The Crystal Empire - Part 2. In the latter premiere, after being restored by Grogar, he destroys the Tree of Harmony and the Elements, enslaves the citizens of Ponyville, and takes over Canterlot before being defeated by the Mane Six manifesting the magic of the Elements.
- Lord Tirek: Main antagonist of the season four finale Twilight's Kingdom and one of the main antagonists of the season nine finale The Ending of the End. He is a centaur who, alongside his brother Scorpan, came to Equestria to steal unicorn magic, but after Scorpan befriended the ponies and asked Tirek to abort their plans, Tirek refused. He was soon banished to Tartarus for his crime, but he escapes and begins stealing unicorn magic. Soon, he has so much strength, he is able to take Earth, Pegasus, and Alicorn magic, too. He is defeated by Twilight and her friends by unlocking the chest and receiving rainbow magic. He returns in School Raze conspiring with Cozy Glow to drain Equestria of its magic. In The Beginning of the End, he is recruited into Grogar's league of villains. In The Ending of the End, he, Chrysalis, and Cozy Glow use Grogar's Bewitching Bell to make themselves all-powerful and take over Equestria, but they are defeated by the Mane Six and their allies.
- Starlight Glimmer: Main antagonist of the season five premiere The Cutie Map and the season five finale The Cutie Re-Mark. She is a unicorn who runs a town where all ponies have equal-sign cutie marks. After her first defeat, she returns for revenge against Twilight Sparkle and travels back in time to prevent Rainbow Dash's sonic rainboom, creating an alternate timeline. She is defeated again and reformed, and Twilight takes her on as a personal student until season seven.
- Stygian: Main antagonist of the season seven finale Shadow Play. He is a unicorn and friend of the Pillars of Old Equestria who was exiled for stealing from them, resulting in his transformation into the Pony of Shadows. The Pillars sealed him in limbo along with themselves for a thousand years, but he is accidentally released by Twilight Sparkle when she brings back the Pillars. He is defeated and reformed by the Mane Six and the Pillars, who free him from the darkness controlling him.
- The Storm King: Main antagonist of My Little Pony The Movie. He is a satyr-like conqueror of lands who invades Equestria with his army of Storm Creatures, underling Grubber, and lieutenant Tempest Shadow. He uses the Staff of Sacanas to drain the four Alicorn princesses of their magic and gain control of the elements, and he tries to destroy Canterlot with a powerful tornado. He is defeated by Twilight Sparkle, her friends, and the newly reformed Tempest.
- Chancellor Neighsay: Main antagonist of the season eight premiere School Daze. He is a strict unicorn scholar and the head of the Equestria Education Association. He attempts to close down Twilight Sparkle's School of Friendship, viewing it as a risk to Equestria, but his efforts are halted by Twilight and Princess Celestia. In School Raze, he attempts to replace Twilight as head of her institution, but his position is usurped by Cozy Glow. After being rescued by the Young Six, he reforms and aids in foiling Cozy's plot to rule Equestria.
- Cozy Glow: Main antagonist of the season eight finale School Raze and one of the main antagonists of the season nine finale The Ending of the End. She is a Pegasus filly who first appears in Marks for Effort enrolling in Twilight's School of Friendship. Later, with the help of Tirek, she traps the Mane Six in Tartarus, captures Starlight Glimmer, and steals all magic in Equestria in a plan to take it over. She is defeated by the Young Six and the magic of the Tree of Harmony. In The Beginning of the End, she is recruited into Grogar's league of villains. In The Ending of the End, she, Chrysalis, and Tirek use Grogar's Bewitching Bell to make themselves all-powerful and take over Equestria, but they are defeated by the Mane Six and their allies.
- See also the list of episodes
Season one opened with a "preview", an early screening of the entire first episode five days before the series "officially" started, to coincide with the launch of the television channel The Hub. The introduction of the characters and the plot revolving around Nightmare Moon span over the first two episodes, which together comprise the only two-parter of the season. Episode three introduces the Grand Galloping Gala, which is where the season's final episode takes place. The show's developer, Lauren Faust, served as executive producer for this season. All of season one's episodes are rated e/i for "educational and informative".
This season focuses mainly on Twilight and her getting used to Ponyville as well as the cementing of the friendship between the Mane Six as well as the Cutie Mark Crusaders in the latter half of the seasons.
Faust announced that she has been less involved in the making of the show for season two, focusing mostly on story conception and script. She is credited under "Developed for Television by" and "Executive Producer" for the first and second episodes, which were produced during the first season's production span. She is credited as "Consulting Producer" for the rest of season two.
The season consists of 26 episodes, 22 minutes in length. Several minor characters return in this season, including Derpy, Princess Luna, and Mr. Greenhooves, as well as the school-age ponies, Cheerilee, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. The season started airing on September 17, 2011. Like the first season, it opened with a two-parter with the ponies questing for the Elements of Harmony. Episodes 11, 12, and 13 were not aired in production order: episode 13, Hearth's Warming Eve, was aired before episodes 11 and 12, Family Appreciation Day and Baby Cakes, respectively, to be in time for the holiday season. They are listed on the wiki according to air date order. Season two has concluded on April 21, 2012 with the two-parter finale, A Canterlot Wedding.
Starting with the episode Lesson Zero, Princess Celestia exempts Twilight from submitting a report every week, and asks that all six ponies make reports about their findings on the magic of friendship when they come upon them, which reduces the show's emphasis on Twilight's friendship lessons.
We Heart Ponies Fan Favorite Mare-a-Thon
A few weeks prior to the airing of Hearts and Hooves Day, The Hub announced it would be airing a "We Heart Ponies Fan Favorite Mare-a-Thon" consisting of nine episodes selected by the fans. The nine episodes were aired directly before Hearts and Hooves Day. The nine episodes were, in order of appearance: Luna Eclipsed, Green Isn't Your Color, The Best Night Ever, Suited For Success, May the Best Pet Win!, Party of One, Lesson Zero, Feeling Pinkie Keen, and Hearth's Warming Eve.
The third season premiered on the 10th of November, 2012, at 10:00 AM Eastern Time. The Hub has placed an order for thirteen episodes, but despite the season being shorter than the first two, the show's composer, William Anderson, hinted at the presence of further seasons, of different lengths. Writers Meghan McCarthy, Cindy Morrow, M.A. Larson and Dave Polsky are returning to the show, though story editor for the first and second seasons Rob Renzetti is replaced by Meghan McCarthy, who has been called "showrunner" in an April 2012 article in the online edition of the L.A. Times. Two songs from the third season have been publically screened by Hasbro prior to their official airing: The Failure Song, which was screened at ComicCon 2012, and The Ballad of the Crystal Empire, which was published on YouTube. A clip from the season's premiere episode was debuted on Facebook. The season finale, Magical Mystery Cure, aired on February 16, 2013.
For a brief period in early February, Daniel Ingram, the show's music composer, had season four listed on his résumé and a total of 91 episodes for the show, leaving 26 episodes for the fourth season after the 65 episodes of previous seasons. At the Las Pegasus Unicon convention on 20 February 2013, Meghan McCarthy said that season four's production is "in full swing". Season four premiered on November 23, 2013. An animatic showing clips from three episodes as well as a new song from a fourth episode was shown at the San Diego Comic Con in July. Additionally, on October 23, 2013, The Hub Network released a synopsis of the the first two episodes of season four on their website. Unlike previous seasons, season four is a season long story arc involving a chest with six keys. The season finale is the two-parter episodes Twilight's Kingdom, which aired on May 10, 2014.
My Little Pony Mega Mare-A-Thon
From August 4, 2014 to August 8, 2014, Hub Network ran a "My Little Pony Mega Mare-A-Thon", in which all episodes from seasons one to four were aired in the order they originally premiered. Coupled with the five-day event were "Ask a Pony" commercial bumps in which the Mane Six answer fan questions, My Little Pony Equestria Girls, and three Generation 3 My Little Pony specials: My Little Pony: Twinkle Wish Adventure, My Little Pony: The Princess Promenade, and My Little Pony Crystal Princess: The Runaway Rainbow.
In an interview with WorldScreen.com, Stephen Davis, president of Hasbro Studios, stated about Friendship is Magic, "We are now going into our fifth season—just a tremendous success for us." In May 2014, the Hub Network stated on Twitter and Facebook that season five is "coming 2015". A May 7, 2014 article on Examiner.com states that season five will consist of 26 episodes. An animatic showing a four-minute-long clip from a new episode was shown at the San Diego Comic-Con in July 2014. On November 17, 2014, a teaser for the fifth season was uploaded to the official MLP YouTube channel, with a date of Spring 2015. Season five premiered April 4, 2015. This is the first season to premiere on the rebranded Discovery Family channel. The April 8, 2015 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Fall 2015 / Winter 2016 Frontlist states, "Season 5 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will air in US in 2015 for 26 more episodes, bringing total of 117 episodes aired by end of 2015."
A Discovery Communications article about Discovery Family's 2015-16 upfront season mentions "My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Season 6" as part of its daytime programming lineup. Jim Miller stated in a Twitter reply regarding this on March 31, 2015, "I think that's a typo." Hours later, "#MLPseason6" was tweeted by both Meghan McCarthy and Michael Vogel, and both "Don't believe it. #MLPseason6 #conspiracy" and "Believe? #MLPSeason6 pic.twitter.com/GcHUkEjPHu" were tweeted by Josh Haber. Miller later confirmed the announcement to be true on Twitter. On July 8, 2015, Hasbro stated on Twitter that season six would be "coming later this year" but the following day, it was revealed to be an error. On September 19, 2015, Miller confirmed via Twitter that there will be 26 episodes for this season.
A January 28, 2016 press release by Yahoo! TV states that "Season 6 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic will premiere on Discovery Family this spring." During Hasbro's Toy Fair 2016 presentation, a premiere date of May 2016 was announced; however, a Discovery Family promo later confirmed the premiere date for March 26, 2016. At a press showing at the 2016 Toy Fair, Hasbro previewed some animatics of season 6 episodes. They featured new griffon and dragon characters and a new Hearth's Warming Eve-themed song.
Party with the Ponies!
On December 31, 2016 starting from 6:00am ET/5:00am CT, Discovery Family ran a "Party with the Ponies!" marathon to count down to New Year's Day on January 1, 2017. The marathon consisted of the second half of season six, Equestria Girls, Rainbow Rocks, Friendship Games, and Legend of Everfree.
Leah Jade in early March 2016 after meeting with DHX tweeted that "season 7 of MLP is in production" and in mid-April 2016 stated that she would remove said tweet if not OK to post. Later in mid-April 2016, Jim Miller was asked regarding the matter and replied, "We're still working on 6!", and Jade removed her relevant tweet. On April 29, 2016, Miller was asked, "Do you know if there will be a season 7 of mlp[sic]?", and replied, "That's Hasbro's decision to make." On October 4, 2016, World Screen reported, "Next year will also see the premiere of a new season of the hit TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic," and Equestria Daily quoted Hasbro PR, "Hasbro can confirm that My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is not switching to Netflix for Season 7." On October 18, 2016, Hasbro reported through a press release that season seven would air on Discovery Family in Spring 2017. On January 1, 2017, Discovery Family confirmed via private message on Twitter that the show's seventh season will air sometime in April. On March 15, 2017, the network confirmed that season seven is scheduled to premiere on April 15.
On April 8, 2017 starting from 6:00am ET/5:00am CT, Discovery Family aired a "Pony Palooza" marathon leading up to the season seven premiere on April 15. The marathon consisted of every episode from seasons one through six and ran all week long during the day.
On May 25, 2017, Jim Miller confirmed that the eighth season was in production and would start airing in 2018. That same day, Michael Vogel implied he wrote some scripts for the season. Hasbro 2017 Investor Day webcast presentations from August 3, 2017 include a 2018 "MY LITTLE PONY SERIES" image showing Ocellus, Sandbar, Applejack, Twilight Sparkle, Yona, Spike, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash at the School of Friendship. Seapony Silver Stream and a The Mean 6 animatic were presented as "the first look at the Season 8 premiere" at Hasbro's HASCON convention on September 9, 2017. On February 8, 2018, Discovery Family announced via their press website that season eight would premiere on March 24. A fan-run Twitter account's mid-March 2018 tweet identifying Rachel Bloom as "guest star on the upcoming season of My Little Pony" has been retweeted by Nicole Dubuc and Rachel Bloom. A May 2, 2018 TFOU trailer for the European French dub of season 8 previews some[specify] scenes, including from Marks for Effort.
On March 17, 2018 starting from 6:00am ET/5:00am CT, Discovery Family aired a "Pony Palooza" marathon leading up to the season eight premiere on March 24. The marathon consisted of every episode from seasons one through seven, included shorts such as Fundamentals of Magic as well as behind-the-scenes looks at season eight, and ran all week long during the day.
Season nine was announced during Hasbro's Entertainment Brand Preview Media Event at the New York Toy Fair on February 17, 2018. On March 16, 2018, Patton Oswalt's wife Meredith Salenger posted on Instagram that she, Oswalt, and their daughter Alice Rigney Oswalt recorded an episode of My Little Pony that is "all about family". World Screen's TV Kids Guide 2018/2019 edition lists My Little Pony Friendship is Magic as a "221x22 min." program, placing 26 episodes after the 195 episodes of seasons one through eight. Kathleen Lim—My Little Pony Best Gift Ever layout artist; My Little Pony Season 9 character layout artist—worked on "the 2nd to the last ep" on December 20, 2018. On February 16, 2019, it was confirmed that season nine would be the final season of the series. Egmont Publishing UK's August 8, 2019 My Little Pony Annual 2020 and September 5, 2019 My Little Pony: Essential Handbook: A Magical Guide for Everypony each include coverage of season 9. On February 27, Discovery Family confirmed on Twitter and Instagram that season nine would be scheduled to premiere in April 2019.
On October 6, 2019, Discovery Family began airing a "Pony Palooza" marathon, which will lead up to the 90-minute series finale on October 12. The marathon will consist of every episode from seasons one through nine and will run all week long during the day.
A Decade of Pony
A behind-the-scenes special titled My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - A Decade of Pony aired on Discovery Family on October 11, 2019, one day before the 90-minute series finale. "In this new behind-the-scenes special, the creators, animators and voice actors behind my little pony: friendship is magic share their favorite memories from the past nine seasons by inviting viewers into the recording studio to witness the magic that goes into making an episode from start to finish. Featuring an historical overview of the series and interviews with Mane Six cast members, creator Lauren Faust and other series creatives, fans will gain never-before-seen access to the making of my little pony: friendship is magic."
Clip show episodes of the series are being released, the first of which was released through the 9Now video-on-demand service in Australia on April 20, 2020. These episodes replace the words "Friendship is Magic" in the series logo with "Friendship is Forever" in the opening sequence, and they feature various clips of episodes from seasons one through nine alongside brand new animation.
Episode order and release schedule
Eleven episodes were released online prior to their airing on television. On iTunes, Hearts and Hooves Day was released a few days prior to its scheduled airdate; Too Many Pinkie Pies, Apple Family Reunion, and Spike at Your Service were released a few hours prior to their airing; Scare Master was released more than a month prior to its scheduled airdate. Wonderbolts Academy and Castle Mane-ia were released on Hubworld.com a few days before their airdates, Pinkie Pride was released on Google Play a few hours prior to its airing, The Hooffields and McColts was released on Amazon Instant Video prior to its airing, The Mane Attraction and Daring Done? were released on YouTube prior to their airings, and Stranger Than Fan Fiction was released on Netflix prior to its airing.
Numerous[specify] episodes have been aired out of production order: season two's episode thirteen by production order, Hearth's Warming Eve, was aired prior to episodes eleven and twelve by production order; season three's episode eight by production order, Just for Sidekicks, was aired after episodes nine, ten, and eleven; season four's episodes eleven and twelve by production order, respectively Pinkie Pride and Three's A Crowd, were aired in opposite order; season four's episode eighteen by production order, Trade Ya!, was aired after episodes nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, and twenty-two; season five's episode fifteen by production order, Scare Master, was aired after episodes sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, and perhaps[specify] twenty-one; season six's episode nine by production order, The Fault in Our Cutie Marks, was aired after episodes ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen and nineteen; season six's episodes twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, and twenty-six by production and Discovery Family-airing orders, respectively Where the Apple Lies, Top Bolt, To Where and Back Again - Part 1, and To Where and Back Again - Part 2, were aired in the order To Where and Back Again - Part 1 on Tiny Pop, To Where and Back Again - Part 2 on Tiny Pop, Where the Apple Lies on Discovery Family, and Top Bolt on Tiny Pop; season seven's episodes seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, and twenty-two by production order, respectively Daring Done?, A Health of Information, To Change a Changeling, It Isn't the Mane Thing About You, Once Upon a Zeppelin, and Marks and Recreation, were aired in the order To Change a Changeling, Daring Done?, It Isn't the Mane Thing About You, A Health of Information, Marks and Recreation, and Once Upon a Zeppelin; and season eight's episode eighteen by production order, Yakity-Sax, was aired before episodes fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen.
- Ashleigh Ball as Rainbow Dash and Applejack
- Claire Corlett as Sweetie Belle
- Michelle Creber as Apple Bloom
- Andrea Libman as Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy
- Nicole Oliver as Princess Celestia
- Madeleine Peters as Scootaloo
- Tabitha St. Germain as Rarity and Princess Luna
- Tara Strong as Twilight Sparkle
- Cathy Weseluck as Spike the Dragon
- Shannon Chan-Kent as Pinkie Pie
- Kazumi Evans as Rarity
- Rebecca Shoichet as Twilight Sparkle
- Michelle Creber as Sweetie Belle (seasons 1-3)
Most of the voice cast consists of Canadian voice actors. They are from Ocean Productions in Canada and the voices are recorded at Dick & Roger's sound studio in Vancouver, Canada, with the exception of Tara Strong, who records all her dialogue at her home in Los Angeles, with occasional trips to Vancouver to record with the rest of the cast.
Hasbro, the company that owns the brand, sees international media licensing as an important revenue source. The show and its related media is broadcast around the world.
In addition to theatrical compilation films—Kidtoon Films' January 1-30, 2011 Friendship & Adventures (episodes: Friendship is Magic, part 1; Friendship is Magic, part 2; Buffing Up;[dubious – discuss] another The Adventures of Chuck & Friends episode[specify])[dubious – discuss] and Hoyts' November 10-December 16, 2012 It's a Pony Party (episodes: A Bird in the Hoof; Party of One; The Best Night Ever)[dubious – discuss]—Friendship is Magic has led to six original films: four of them Equestria Girls, one of them The Movie, and one of them A New Generation.
Equestria Girls franchise
On October 20, 2014, Hasbro and AllSpark Pictures announced a feature-length My Little Pony movie slated for release sometime in 2017. Joe Ballarini (Ice Age: Continental Drift) was originally announced to be writing the script. Meghan McCarthy acts as co-producer and screenwriter. The main cast from the TV series reprise their roles along with various actors such as Emily Blunt and Kristin Chenoweth voicing new characters. The film released theatrically on October 6, 2017 in the United States.
My Little Pony: A New Generation
In February 2019, Hasbro and Boulder Media announced a new feature-length film during an investor event at the North American International Toy Fair and included it as part of their 2021 slate of film releases. In January 2021, the film was revealed to "take place in the same world featured in Friendship is Magic and Pony Life, but jump ahead in time to focus on a new generation of ponies and unexplored corners of Equestria". In June 2021, Robert Cullen, José L. Ucha, and Mark Fattibene were announced as the film's directors, Cecil Kramer and Peter Lewis as producers, Tim Sullivan and Gillian M. Berrow as screenwriters, and various actors including Vanessa Hudgens, Kimiko Glenn, James Marsden, Sofia Carson, and Liza Koshy as the main voice cast. The film was released on Netflix on September 24, 2021, in the United States.
All seasons of Friendship is Magic are available for download from iTunes. Episodes can be purchased in either 480p Standard Definition or 720p and (as of iTunes version 10.6) 1080p High Definition. Individual episodes cost US$1.99 in SD or US$2.99 in HD, while entire seasons, including Season Passes, retail at US$19.99 (SD) and US$29.99.
Episodes of Friendship is Magic have been added to online video streaming service, Netflix, starting April 1, 2012.
Target has offered a two-episode DVD, Celebration at Canterlot, as a bundle together with select toy sets.
On February 28, 2012, a five-episode Region 1 DVD, subtitled The Friendship Express, was released by Los Angeles-based distributor Shout! Factory. The DVD contains the following episodes: Friendship is Magic, parts 1 and 2, Over a Barrel, Hearth's Warming Eve and The Last Roundup. Bonus content includes biographical sketches of the main characters, a karaoke sing-along of the opening theme song and an episode of Pound Puppies.
A Region 4 edition was released on June 20, 2012. Australian entertainment company Madman has been given the rights to distribute season one of Friendship is Magic in both Australia and New Zealand. The release will feature five separate DVD volumes, each disc containing episodes from the show's first season. A collector's box will also be released, starting at a retail price of AU$29.99; it will contain the volume 1 DVD and be meant to store all volumes after purchase.
The series uses a typeface named Generation B for its subtitle and various opening credits. Generation B is also used by other media. A similar fan-created typeface, Celestia Medium Redux, is used by Gameloft's mobile game. Some of Hasbro's online usage of Generation B in January 2016 got broken, either removed or attempted to be switched to Lakki Reddy (Telugu: లక్కిరెడ్డి).[specify]
The Japanese language dubs use three different fonts in certain key areas. One of those fonts is used for the subtitles to its opening and closing themes, and the subtitles to songs that are not translated are used with this font as well. Another font is used for the opening credits and a variation of that font appears in the series' Japanese logo. The font that is used for the Japanese version of the Gameloft mobile game is used for the episode titles.
Regarding Generation B, the January 21, 2016 case 1:16-cv-00320-CBA-PK has a complaint from Font Brothers against Hasbro with exhibition both of Hasbro materials and of fan materials. Font Bros deleted one of two instances of its years-old online statement, "Generation B is one of the official fonts used in the TV series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic! Enjoy, my little Bronies!", on January 25, 2016.
The series has received positive reviews from critics. Todd VanDerWerff of the A.V. Club favorably noted its "sheer and utter joyfulness" and lack of cynicism, unlike many other shows that garnered a cult following of parents and adults. He complimented the characters' stylized appearance, the stories' relative complexity for children's television, and the solid jokes which make the show enjoyable for parents as well as children. He gave the series a B+. Genevieve Koski of the A.V. Club later commented that Friendship Is Magic is an example of a show that, while considered "girly", has been able to tap into the nerd culture to allow it to gain wider acceptance than other comparable forms. Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media, an organization focusing on the parenting aspect of children's media, gave the show a rating of four out of five stars, emphasizing its messages of friendship, tolerance and respect, but advised parents to be wary of the "influence the characters might have on their kids' desires, since it's rooted in a well-known product line of books, toys, and just about everything in between." Liz Ohanesian, for L.A. Weekly, said that the show is "absolutely genuine in its messages about friendship but never takes itself too seriously". Matt Morgan, writing for Wired's "GeekDad" column, praised the show for having "rebooted the long-time Hasbro property while managing to lace it with geeky undertones" and being one of the few "girl-focused shows that a geeky dad can appreciate with his daughter".
Kathleen Richter of the magazine Ms. believed that Friendship Is Magic did little to change the nature of older animations for girls, which she considered "so sexist and racist and heteronormative." For example, she suggested that, through the character of Rainbow Dash, the show was promoting the stereotype that "all feminists are angry, tomboyish lesbians." She also considered that the only darker-colored ponies shown to date were in positions of servitude towards the "white pony overlord." Lauren Faust responded to these claims by stating that while Rainbow Dash was a tomboy, "nowhere in the show is her sexual orientation ever referenced" and "assuming [tomboys] are lesbians is extremely unfair to both straight and lesbian tomboys", and further stating that "Color has never, ever been depicted as a race indicator for the ponies." Amid Amidi, writing for the animation website Cartoon Brew, was more critical of the concept of the show, calling it a sign of "the end of the creator-driven era in TV animation". Amidi's essay expressed concern that assigning a talent like Faust to a toy-centric show was part of a trend towards a focus on profitable genres of animation, such as toy tie-ins, to deal with a fragmented viewing audience, and overall "an admission of defeat for the entire movement, a white flag-waving moment for the TV animation industry."
Friendship is Magic originally premiered with an average viewership of 1.4 million per month, but expanded to 4 million per month by the end of the first season, making it the highest-rated of any Hasbro offering at the time. Advertising Age reports that the viewership doubled between the first and the second season. The Hub reported that Hearts and Hooves Day which aired on February 11, 2012, in the middle of the second season, was the show's most-viewed episode ever, and the second highest of any program of the Hub network; its viewership exceeded 150% of that of the previous year. This was surpassed by the two-part season two finale, A Canterlot Wedding, airing in April 2012, marking the broadcast as the highest viewership for the Hub Network to that date.
Awards and nominations
Friendship is Magic was nominated for three British Columbia Leo Awards for Animation, "Best Program", "Best Direction", and "Best Overall Sound". Additionally, the songs Becoming Popular (The Pony Everypony Should Know) and Find A Pet Song, both written by Daniel Ingram, were nominated but did not win for "Outstanding Original Song – Children's and Animation" in the 39th Daytime Emmy Awards. The show was named the best animated show for the 2011–2012 television season in a user poll at the website Television Without Pity.
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