Sunday, November 16, 2014

2014 Classic My Little Pony Complete Series DVD

Mid last week I stopped at my PO Box and found my package from Amazon with my brand spanking new copy of the complete Classic My Little Pony animated TV series and in the following days I have treated myself to some overdue childhood nostalgia.

Yes!  With the right art!
Thank you Shout! 
The show had previously been released in a box set back in 2004 and I owned it then but years later I sold it because it became something that sat on my DVD shelf and wasn't used much.  I figured I truly had no need for it and wouldn't miss it.  Fast forward a few years and I am practically ready to drop $200 to re-buy a box set I had originally purchased for $40.  I was almost ready.  I kept holding out.  With My Little Pony's surge in popularity and Hasbro releasing licensing to anyone that will bring them more revenue, I figured it HAS to get re-released eventually and luckily I was right.  Ten years later but I got it back!

Now a normal collector would want that box set, because BOX SET. However, that box set does not feature art from the original series or art that is similar to the original series.  The art actually looks like G2 ponies who kind of evolved from the "sister" ponies of G1, but were not a part of the TV show.  The new set which is also a 4 disc, features art that is actually the G1 ponies in the style of the show.  Oddly some of the ponies in the artwork are not on the show.  The ones on it are Lickety Split, Gusty, and Sundance.  Then there is Starshine, Blossom (with pink streak in her hair), Cotton Candy, and the June Birthflower pony (she pops up everywhere).  These ponies are not in the TV series, however, they may have been in the previous TV specials which I haven't gotten to just yet.

Who are those ponies????
Rhino, you did me wrong.
Which brings me to the timeline on the Classic MLP TV show.  I actually understand why the show is put together the way it is even though I don't care for it.  The MLP TV show ran for two seasons but prior to the two seasons they had two TV specials AND a movie.  The first special was "Rescue/Escape from Midnight Castle" which was later renamed Firefly's Adventure and released on VHS with a Firefly toy.  The second TV special was "Escape from Catrina."  Both specials were eventually broken up into smaller segments for the TV show, but they aired later in the second season.  This might seem like it doesn't matter except that the ponies involved are different then the ponies on the TV show and affects the continuity.  While I do not know "Escape from Catrina" well, I do know "Rescue from Midnight Castle."  I had that "Firefly's Adventure" VHS and I watched it constantly as a kid.  I loved it.  I loved Firefly.

"Firefly's Adventure" starts in Dream Castle the original home of the My Little Ponies.  The cast includes Firefly, Melody, Majesty, Applejack, Bow-Tie, and Baby Ember among others (this is off the top of my head).  This is also where Megan and the Rainbow of Light are introduced. Then "Escape from Catrina" occurs.  Then the My Little Pony movie happens where the My Little Ponies get Paradise Estate and we are introduced to the Flutter Ponies, Bushwoolies, the Witches, Org, and the Smog.  Finally the TV show happens which kicks off right where the movie left off with the ponies in Paradise Estate and the Witches trying to get back at the Flutter Ponies for ruining their smog.

So the DVD set follows the TV series as it aired in the TV series which means we start after the movie and 2/3 in we jump back in time to Dream Castle and the original cast.  Then we bounce back to Paradise Estate with "The Quest of the Princess Ponies."  After a few episodes with the then current cast they once again jump back in time to "Escape from Catrina" which is the end of the DVD set.  I don't really take issue with it but I would personally prefer it to be in order of original air date, just because it would make a lot more sense.

Funny enough, I tweeted Shout Entertainment over the weekend and asked if there were plans to ever release "Firefly's Adventure" on DVD.  They responded saying there were no plans at this time and I was sad until I realized it is in the DVD set but with the TV show title of "Rescue from Midnight Castle."  Oddly, this particular special originally had no title.

Another note on the two specials, they are edited and it appears at least one song has been removed from each of them.  Sadness.  Also, there is another classic release that is "Escape from Catrina and Other Stories" this is also the edited TV series version.  All of the episodes on this DVD are included in the complete series DVD.  Hopefully, one day we will get the original two specials as they aired the first time around.

Check out the episode list

The episodes do not appear to be remastered.  For the most part they are crisp but every now and then there is a very faded clip.  It's not distracting and they only last for a second but in that second I think oh no and then it's back to normal.

I haven't been watching the series with intensity.  I am somewhat coming in and out of it as I craft and do things around the house.  So while I am half paying attention I can't help but notice some funny things.  I very much recognize almost all of the voices not just from MLP but from a variety of 80's and 90's shows.  I can't pinpoint any except for Gusty who is none-other-than Nancy Cartwright.  I didn't need to look Nancy up.  I knew the voice because Gusty's voice is the same voice as Bart Simpson.  Nancy also voiced Posey and Truly.  She also voiced Chuckie on Rugrats, and Kip Kangaroo on Shirt Tales among many other character from animated shows.

I can't not get mad at the TV series.  I still love it for what it is and the memories it provides me with.  I have a distinct memory of MLP coming on with the Fugitive Flowers episode, seeing the crabs invade Ponyland, and me being whisked off to the bus sad I couldn't see the rest of the episode.  So I can't be too mad.  There are moments where I want to scream though.  Every single time Megan sings it's off key and flat.  I am not sure if this is intentional or not but this shouldn't happen.  I can see the idea of singing like a kid might but why influence children to sing off key?  Why not influence them to sing properly?  Really.  Then there are the Baby Sea Ponies.  Where are the mom seaponies?!?!?!  You never see them.  They were in the TV specials, but not in the TV series.  WHY????  In "The Magic Coins" the water dries up and the ponies manage to put the baby sea ponies into a small pool so they don't die in the dried up lake.  Good job ponies!  But where on earth did the Sea Ponies go?

My other quip is the baby ponies versus the older ponies and moms.  Much of the show is based around the baby ponies which is great because I remember as a kid being more interested in what the baby ponies were up to then the older ponies.  The baby ponies talk in broken English which really sounds horribly silly.  Often the older ponies completely forget about the baby ponies.  In "The Revolt of Paradise Estate" the ponies all escape the estate by either literally escaping or being thrown out.  Paradise drags baby Cuddles out and away from her beloved buggie (remember she came with a toy buggie).  The ponies regroup and question if every one got out.  They recognize they are missing ponies and then kicked out the doors are baby Lickety Split and baby Ribbon (I think it was Ribbon).  So they clearly do not check to make sure the young get out.  Those babies have to survive on their own.  Every pony for themselves!  No matter how young.

I couldn't not pick on Truly in "Baby It's Cold Outside."  Truly is very much the source material for Rarity.  There she is outside, the pretty Southern Belle, with her snowsuit on.  She is the ONLY pony with a snowsuit on and as it gets colder out does she offer up her warm snowsuit to the two baby ponies with her.  Nope.  They get to cuddle next to her while they all sing about trying not to freeze.

So even with these flaws it's still a worthy show because lets be honest, children's animation has improved vastly since the 80's.  I have said in the past the show was clearly to promote toy sales and in ways it was, but it does have morals and while the episodes in each season are not connected like the current TV show they do still have a flow about them.  It's clear Cuddles and her buggie were aired around when the buggie was available for purchase.  I am sure Dream Castle was never brought back to the show because it was not available nor were the ponies from the original specials.  The Princess Ponies come in about the time they were available.  My issue with the baby sea ponies and their missing moms is also probably a victim of toy availability.

I went on IMDB to look at the voice actors...
Megan - Bettina Bush who voiced Rainbow Brite and Lucy Little
Spike - Charles Adler who voiced Jem's Eric Raymond, Paddington Bear, and Buster Bunny
Danny - Scott Menville who voiced Jonny Quest, Teen Titans Robin and Nightwing
Molly - Keri Houlihan who voiced Marcie in several Peanuts series
Ariel - Cathy Cavadini who voiced Northstar in the MLP movie, Blosson in Powerpuff Girls, and Clash in Jem

A lot of the actors worked on the same films and shows.  Quite a few were voices in The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Pound Puppies, Jem, Rainbow Brite, and many others.  It's a small world in voice acting.

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