One reason is for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, "The Day of the Doctor," which I've already heard good things about...but haven't actually seen it yet myself (don't get BBC America, and as it turns out, not living in the UK has its drawbacks when it comes to watching Doctor Who online), BUT...first chance I get, I'm totally doing it.
But more relevant to this journal right now is the premiere of season 4 MLP: FiM, which the build-up for has gone actually very well. Unlike last season, spoilers have actually been kept to a surprising minimum. The only real spoilerish stuff that really got out was when Hasbro released that storyboard featurette several months back, and that didn't go nearly as viral as I had feared, so for once, I actually didn't have to go into hiding so to avoid getting unwanted spoilers before I was ready. So for what feels like entirely too long, I was getting the chance to go into a pivotal MLP episode fairly-cold.
And it was so worth it. Let's do it like this EVERY season!
Which of course leads me to the episode itself. After the rather lackluster note season three left the show on for most of the fans, has this new season premiere continued that negative trend, or actually turned things around? Well, naturally, this depends on the individual fans, and I haven't had the chance to see very many insights from other fans on this episode and what they thought about it as of yet. But thus far, those that haven't been pleased with it, are those that are still can't come to peace with Twilight being a princess now, which means they probably never will, and that's more of a personal problem for them (and means it'll probably ruin the rest of the show for them FOREVER too, but if that's the way they want it...) and not a good reflection of the actual premiere itself.
As for me and the rest...things are looking pretty good.
More after the break.
Once the fans came to terms with the fact that Twilight had been "promoted" (so to speak), they were quick to set down what they knew the show would need to do in order to be believable, and continue to be the well-written and enjoyable show we fell in love with back in season one. Things like Twilight having to take time to learn to fly AND to fit into her new position. Acknowledgement that Twilight's princess duties would conflict with spending time with her friends, and with the Mane 6 not being entirely okay or comfortable with that. An evolutionary journey in which the Mane 6 all have to come to adapt to this, learn that their friendships are still important enough to keep as close knit as they had before. And for Twilight to grow into her new role as princess, overcoming her own fears and misgivings about her position and prove she is indeed capable as a leader. Along the way, we also wanted to see more exploration on Equestrian culture and history, and the return of past characters in ways other than just recycled dynamics used in past episodes.
And this premiere, as it happened, managed to meet...pretty much all of that.
Right off the bat, the episode begins with Twilight trying to figure out the mystery that is self-powered flight...with varying success. Rainbow Dash even admits much later in the episode that Twilight was struggling with the concept of flight a lot more than expected. So, check there.
Immediately after that it is revealed that Twilight and the rest of the ponies must part ways, for Twilight must help prepare for the Summer of the Sun festival (speaking of, those this mean it's officially been a "year" in MLP time? If so, it's been one heck of year!) at Canterlot, but the rest of the group are needed back in Ponyville to help with their town's own preparations for the festival, and the parting of ways is those not go over smoothly, especially for Twilight, who, while never explicitly saying it, is fairly clearly fearing that this means they'll start drifting apart. This theme is then repeatedly again and again throughout the whole episode and is in fact the lesson to be learned in this episode: things have changed in their little group, but they all agree their friendships were too important to let that stand in the way, and that thick or thin, they'll have to keep together as the good friends they started out as no matter what. So check there too.
Likewise, the episode is a sort of evolutionary tale of the Mane 6 figuring all of this out, so check there as well.
And Twilight's misgivings about princesshood is addressed, but when things came to the wire, Twilight rose to the challenge, preformed admirably, AND did what needed to be done (as I knew she would!) so put down another check there too.
And we also got more insight into Equestrian mythos with the introduction of the Harmony tree, revealing, finally, the origins of the Elements of Harmony, and even better still, revealed at long last a little of the history and backstory behind not just Luna's rise as Nightmare Moon, but also Celestia and Luna's first defeat of Discord and what they had to do to do it (and what Discord had been doing in response), so check with added emphasis, as that goes above and beyond what we could've hoped for in one premiere!
And we even got the return of a past character...Discord! And even better for me (who's still a little miffed they reformed him), we got the confirmation that he is indeed reformed...in theory. Discord may be playing by Celestia's rules now, but just the bare minimum, and he isn't at all beyond causing mischief still when he thinks he can get away with it without being punished (which he genuinely seems to fear), which is excellent for me, because I had feared they were going to reform him, and then he'll just be always good (and absent) from there on out. Instead, Discord's going to have to eventually earn that reformation, which is what I want to see, so going good there. Plus, a hint that Discord's actions in this episode (though rather roundabout) might actually have been for the greater good. Dunno for certain, I guess that's open for interpretation, but that's what I'm getting out of it. So check, and another personal check from me, so double-check.
So to recap: check, check, check, check, check, check, check...yep, this premiere met all expectations.
And better still, it was an excellently presented episode, given sufficient time to tell its story, and to tell it well. And given the teasers we've had for the regular length season we've got ahead, things indeed seem to be back on track for MLP, at least from my point of view it is, and I really can't see how it could be anything less for the moment. This is the MLP I had started watching the show for. So long as it keeps doing that, I think it can only continue to succeed. I mean sure, there are bound to be naysayers who'll say differently, and they may have just cause to sometimes. And better still, I'm walking away from this premiere feeling much like how I had walked away from season 2's premiere two (or so) years back; ecstatic for the season up ahead and anxiously awaiting to see what it has in store.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.