• Editorial: The New Writers Are The Future of Pony!

    The pony train has arrived again, and while I slept off Babscon's cuisine and reminded myself that I write for this site, Season Seven premiered last Saturday. We've had numerous shakeups on the writing staff over the hiatus, and one of those placements was Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco revealed as the writers of the premiere episodes, as well as the story editors for Season Seven.

    After seeing the premiere, I'm confident in this season despite some worrying losses. Let's talk about why Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco are the future for pony after the break.

    With the premiere, much like many previous seasons, the show intended to do something new. The premiere, instead of being two interconnecting "Part 1" and "Part 2" stories, was simply two slice-of-life (no not that one) episodes. "Celestial Advice" gave us a look into one of the fandom's most beloved characters: Princess Celestia by comparing Twilight's current situation to hers back before the "Pilot". "All Bottled Up" is its own self-contained story that furthers Starlight's character narrative in the same vein as "Every Little Thing She Does" by showing how talented she is at manipulation, and the subtle ways in which it can be intentionally or unintentionally practiced. Her magic is ruled by emotion, which can be a good or bad thing depending on its application.

    These episodes are miles away from each other in scope, and I believe this is Season Seven's way of showing us how they intend to differentiate this season among the others. Season Four ditched friendship letters in place of journals, as well as explored more side and secondary characters with the Friendship Keys. Season Five brought Starlight into the mix as well as planted the seeds for Twilight to become a mentor figure. Alongside this, we again had more side characters given some time in the spotlight, from Gilda to Princess Luna, to everyone in "Slice of Life". Season Six furthered the intentions of Season Five, as well as brought in different "black sheeps" of their race, from Thorax to Ember and the final reformation of The Great and Powerful Trixie. Also something something Cutie Map.

    What has Season Seven done? Well, so far we've been given more time to breathe with Starlight as a student, more time for Trixie to characterize herself, and even some very important flashbacks with Princess Celestia. Meanwhile, we're given enjoyable scenes with the ManeMain Six that are clever, in-character, and at times deconstruct what the show has been practicing since its premiere.

    "All Bottled Up" and "Celestial Advice" are excellent slice-of-life episodes, comedically, thematically, and narratively. As I've said time and time again, My Little Pony cannot afford to rest on its laurels with what the Main Six have done. They're experienced Elements of Friendship with seasons of lessons behind them. But you know who doesn't have that? Everyone else. Starlight and Trixie are essentially blank slates, characters that aren't as complete as Twilight. Secondary or background characters such as Princess Celestia or Bulk Biceps don't have their own episodes, but a simple scene or few lines can bring them to life, and the world along with them.

    These two episodes are the pinnacle of when character research and writing experience connect into vibrant scripts. The one thing that can ruin a script is poor timing. Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco don't waste a minute in both episodes, and one of the reasons is because they utilize subplots to their full potential. Did we really gain much character-wise for the Main Six during their room escape? I'd argue no, apart from additions to their team dynamic which we don't get much of unless there's a villain of the week. But the room escape was there for a good reason. If all of that time spent among the Main Six was instead on Starlight and Trixie, the "bottling up" scenes would have worn their welcome twice as fast. Some could call this the "Games Ponies Play" problem, where the end to a story couldn't come sooner because we know what's going to happen.

    Subplots (usually) are used to pad out the story and suspense between the main plot and commercial breaks. Interestingly enough, the subplot contains the Main Six, while the main plot contains the secondary characters or villains of previous seasons. This split of plots can most likely be connected to Lewis and Songco's work on T.U.F.F. Puppy, which had two disconnected 12 minute episodes per airing. Their experience isn't limited, however, considering the episodes they wrote before Season Seven (Top Bolt, Rarity Investigates, Castle Sweet Castle) didn't have subplots that were as pronounced. Those episodes were also excellent, so I'd argue that Lewis and Songco are as ready as anyone else to hold the reins for this season.

    @Lady_Writers on Twitter if you want to tweet at them!

    The last thing I want to mention is that obviously, what Hasbro or DHX allows the show to do has changed over the seasons. There's no doubting that. I would be skeptical to say that Princess Celestia laughing like she did with (or misconstrued as at) would have been allowed in Seasons One or Two. Not only that, but Joanna and Kristine are the story editors for this entire season, so it's possible that they were given more leeway with the first two episodes since they were "premieres". However, since the teasers for the next few episodes seem to give us a mix of Main Six and secondary character focus, I'm optimistic that this season will be excellent or perhaps better than the last!

    I'm rooting for you both, Joanna and Kristine. Thank you and everyone on the staff, from Hasbro to DHX and down for giving us an excellent premiere.

    And that's it for me this week. Thank you for reading. What did you all think of this premiere? Since Joanna and Kristine are confirmed for the entire season, are they ready to keep us entertained for the entire season? Let me know in the comments or feel free to tweet at me here. See you all later. ABagOVicodin out.