My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an animated television series produced by Hasbro Studios in the United States (for scripts) and a DHX Media's studio located in Vancouver (for animation; formerly known as Studio B Productions), which is based on Hasbro, Inc's My Little Pony line of toys and animated works. The series premiered on October 10, 2010, on The Hub, an American pay television channel partly owned by Hasbro. As of April 2012, the show has completed its second season in the United States, and is broadcasting internationally in dozens of countries in over ten languages.
Hasbro selected animator Lauren Faust as the creative director and executive producer for the show. Faust sought to challenge the established "girly" nature of the existing My Little Ponyline, creating more in-depth characters and adventurous settings, incorporating Hasbro's suggestions for E/I ("educational and informational") content and marketing of the toy line. Faust stepped down after the first season, but remains as consulting producer. Jayson Thiessen, the show's supervising director, became the showrunner starting with season two.
The show follows a studious unicorn pony named Twilight Sparkle as her mentor Princess Celestia guides her to learn about friendship in the town of Ponyville. Twilight becomes close friends with five other ponies: Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie. Each represents a different face of friendship, and discovers herself to be a key part of the "Elements of Harmony". The ponies share adventures and help out other residents of Ponyville, while working out the troublesome moments in their own friendships.
The show has been critically praised for its humor and moral outlook. Despite the target demographic of young girls, Friendship Is Magic has gained a large following of older viewers, predominately teenagers and young adults, largely male, who call themselves "bronies". Reasons for this unintended appreciation include Faust and her team's creative writing and characterization, the expressive Flash-based animation style, themes that older audiences can appreciate, and a reciprocal relationship between Hasbro, the creators, and the fans. Elements of the show have become part of the remix culture and have formed the basis for a variety of Internet memes.
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The first episode was first introduced in one of the best family and kids channel, The Hub, in October 10, 2012. There was no short for this new TV show, but there were some commericials about it. It's running time was 21 or 22 minutes, and there is only one language for the episode: English. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic's Program creator is Hasbro, obviously. Friendship is Magic merchandise is popular in many pplaces, although people think "it needs to be about 20% cooler" for mares and gentlecolts. You ask me what genre(s) do MLP:FiM have? I could answer that question for you. The genres are: fantasy, comedy, cartoon series, and some romance filming.
Hasbro, Inc. has produced several generations of toys and entertainment related to the My Little Pony franchise, often labeled by collectors as Generations 1 through 3. The animated series My Little Pony Tales, premiered in 1992, was the toy line's most recent television series before Friendship Is Magic, and it featured the pony designs of the first generation. It was followed by various direct-to-video releases, which featured later designs up to the third generation. Just as Michael Bay's film had helped to boost the new Transformers toy line, Hasbro wanted to retool the My Little Pony franchise and update it to better suit the current generation of young girls. According to Margaret Loesch, CEO of The Hub, revisiting properties that had worked in the past was an important programming decision, influenced to an extent by the opinions of the network's programming executives, a number of whom were once fans of such shows. Senior Vice President Linda Steiner also stated that they "intended to have the show appeal to a larger demographic", with the concept of "co-viewing" of parents with their children a central theme of the Hub's programming.
Faust was initially hired by Hasbro to create a pitch bible for the show, allowing her to get additional help with conceptualization. Faust said she was "extremely skeptical" about taking the job at first because she had always found shows based on girls' toys to be boring and unrelatable. My Little Ponywas one of her favorite childhood toys, but she was disappointed that her imagination at the time was nothing like the animated shows, in which the characters, according to Faust, had "endless tea parties, giggled over nothing and defeated villains by either sharing with them or crying". With the chance to work on My Little Pony, she hoped to prove that "cartoons for girls don't have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness". To do this, she incorporated into the design of the characters and the show many elements that contradicted idealized stereotypes of girls, such as diverse personalities, the message that friends can be different and can get into arguments but still be friends, and the idea that girls should not be limited by what others say they can or can not do. Elements of the characters' personalities and the show's settings were based on her own childhood imagination of the ponies' adventures, in part inspired by the animated shows that her brothers would watch while growing up, such as Transformers and G.I. Joe.Faust still aimed for the characters to be "relatable" characters, using stereotypical "icons of girliness" (such as the waif or the bookworm), as to broaden the appeal of the characters for the young female audience. Animator and writer Lauren Faust approached Hasbro, seeking to develop her girls' toys property "Galaxy Girls" into an animated series. Faust, who had previously worked on The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, had been pitching original animation aimed at girls for years, but was always rejected by studios and networks because cartoons for girls were considered unsuccessful. When she pitched to Lisa Licht of Hasbro Studios, Licht showed Faust one of their recent My Little Pony animated works, Princess Promenade, "completely on the fly". Licht considered that Faust's style was well suited to that line, and asked her to consider "some ideas where to take a new version of the franchise".
Faust stated that as she provided Hasbro with more of her ideas for the show, she was inspired by their positive response to the non-traditional elements. Faust had initially pitched the show to include "adventure stories" in a similar proportion to "relationship stories", but recognizing the younger target audience, as well as the difficulty of writing complex plots around the adventure elements, she trimmed back this content, focusing more on exchanges between the characters. The show still incorporates episodic creatures intended to be frightening to children, such as dragons and hydras, but it places more emphasis on the friendships among the characters, displayed with a comedic tone. By the time the show was approved, Faust had developed three full scripts for the series.
Faust began to work out concept sketches, several of which appeared on her deviantArt page, including ponies from the first generation (Twilight, Applejack, Firefly, Surprise, Posey and Sparkler), which would later build on the core for the main cast of the show. Hasbro approved the show with Faust as Executive Producer and asked her to complete the pitch bible. In order to do so, Faust brought in Martin Ansolobehere and Paul Rudish, who had worked on other animated shows with her. Faust credits Rudish for the inspiration of the pegasus ponies controlling the weather in Equestria, as well as the character of Nightmare Moon during this period. Faust also consulted her husband, Craig McCracken, a fellow animator and creator ofThe Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. After seeing the initial version of the pitch bible, Hasbro requested more character designs from Faust's team; subsequently, Faust brought aboard Dave Dunnet and Lynne Naylor to further refine the background and character styles.
On completion of the pitch bible, Hasbro and Faust began looking at studios for the animation. Studio B Productions (renamed to DHX Media on September 8, 2010 after its parent company, along with DHX's other subsidiaries) had previously worked on Adobe Flash-based animations and on shows that featured a large number of animals, and Faust felt they would be a good selection. Studio B requested that Jayson Thiessen be the director, a choice Faust agreed with. She, Thiessen, and James Wootton led the completion of a two-minute short to pitch the final product to Hasbro, resulting in the company's sanctioning the full production. Faust estimates that from being initially asked to develop the show until this point took roughly one year.
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The show is developed at Hasbro Studios in Los Angeles, where most of the writing staff is located, and at DHX Media Vancouver in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the animation work.
Completed scripts were sent to Studio B for pre-production and animation using Adobe Flash. Thiessen's production team was also allowed to select key personnel subject to Hasbro's approval; one of those so selected was art director Ridd Sorenson. The Studio B team would storyboard the provided scripts, incorporating any direction and sometimes managing to create scenes that the writers had believed impossible to show in animation. The animators would then prepare the key character poses, layout, background art, and other main elements, and send these versions back to the production team in Los Angeles for review by Hasbro and suggestions from the writers. Thiessen credited much of the technical expertise in the show to Wooton, who created Flash programs to optimize the placement and posing of the pony characters and other elements, simplifying and economizing on the amount of work needed from the other animators. For example, the ponies' hair and tails are generally fixed shapes, animated by bending and stretching them in curves in three dimensions and giving them a sense of movement without the high cost of individual animated hairs. Once the pre-production work was approved and completed, the episode would then be animated. Though Studio B performed the initial animation work, the final steps were passed to Top Draw Animation in the Philippines, an animation studio that Studio B had worked with in the later part of Season 1 and beyond. Faust's initial writing staff at Hasbro Studios included several writers who had worked with her on her previous shows and were approved by Hasbro. These included Amy Keating Rogers, Cindy Morrow, Meghan McCarthy, Chris Savino, Charlotte Fullerton, M. A. Larson, and Dave Polsky. The writing process began with Faust and Renzetti coming up with broad plots for each show. The two would then hold a brainstorming session with each episode's writer, allowing the writer to script out scenes and dialog. Faust and Renzetti then worked with the writer to finalize the scripts and assign some basic storyboard instructions. Hasbro was involved throughout this process and laid down some of the concepts to be incorporated into the show. Examples of Hasbro's influence include having Celestia be a princess rather than a queen, making one of the ponies focused on fashion, and portraying toy sets in relevant places within the story, such as Rarity's boutique. In some cases, Hasbro requested that the show include a setting, but allowed Faust and her team to create its visual style, and Hasbro then based the toy set on it; an example is the Ponyville schoolhouse. Faust also had to write to the E/I ("educational and informational") standards that Hasbro required of the show, making the crafting of some of the situations she would have normally done on other animated shows more difficult; for example, Faust cited having one character call another an "egghead" as "treading a very delicate line", and having one character cheat in a competition as "worrisome to some". Each show also generally includes a moral or life lesson, but these were chosen to "cross a broad spectrum of personal experiences", and not just to suit children. Because intellectual property issues had caused Hasbro to lose some of the rights on the original pony names, the show includes a mix of original characters from the toy line and new characters developed for the show.
The series' background music is composed by William Kevin Anderson, and Daniel Ingram composes the songs, which are only included if they would make sense in the episode's script. The production team identifies specific parts of the episode where they want music cues, allowing Anderson to create appropriate music for each. Ingram's songs have "became bigger and more epic, more Broadway and more cinematic over time"; The episode "Suited for Success" features a lengthy musical number inspired by "Putting it Together" from Stephen Sondheim's musical Sunday in the Park with George, while the season one finale's song, "At The Gala", is based on Sondheim's Into the Woods. A large musical number in the episode "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" paid homage to the song "Ya Got Trouble" from Meredith Willson's musical, The Music Man.The voice casting and production is handled by Voicebox Productions, with Terry Klassen as the series' voice director. Faust, Thiessen, and others participated in selecting voice actors, and Hasbro gave final approval. The voice work is performed prior to the animation, with the animators in the room to help provide direction; according to Libman, this allows herself and the other actors to play the character without certain limitations. Libman noted that for recording her lines as the hyperactive Pinkie Pie, "I learned that I can go as over the top as I want and they [the animators] rarely pull me back."
Before the show was approved, Hasbro and Faust had planned for episodes to be 11 minutes long, to which Faust conformed in her first full-length script, "The Ticket Master", which was part of the pitch bible. However, Faust preferred more traditional 22-minute episodes, and Hasbro eventually agreed to this. The initial production stages were very tight, requiring a schedule twice as fast as Faust had previously experienced, and frequent remote communication between the Los Angeles writing offices and the animation studio in Vancouver. At times, the two teams would hold "writer's summits" to propose new ideas for characters and situations, at which the animation team would provide suggestions on visuals, body language, and characterization. Faust estimates that the time to complete one episode was one year; at one point, the team was simultaneously working on various stages of all 26 episodes of the first season, and when the second season was approved, that number rose temporarily to 32. Episodes then aired about a month after completion. Thiessen explained that they had pushed to start work on the second season as soon as the first was completed, to prevent staff turnover.
Near the end of the first season, Faust announced that she had left the show, and for season two she stepped down as Executive Producer, to become Consulting Producer. Her involvement in the second season consists mainly of story conception and scripts. Despite her decreased participation, she still has high hopes for the staff members, stating that "the gaps I have left are being filled by the same amazing artists, writers, and directors who brought you Season 1. I'm certain the show will be as entertaining as ever".
-Wikipedia, the free dictionary
Friendship Is Magic takes place in the land of Equestria, populated by varieties of ponies (including variants of Pegasus and unicorn), along with numbers of other sentient and non-sentient creatures. The central character is Twilight Sparkle, a unicorn pony sent by her mentor Princess Celestia, ruler of Equestria, to the town of Ponyville to study the magic of friendship. In the show's opening episodes, Twilight resents this assignment, as she is more concerned about the foretold appearance of Nightmare Moon. When Nightmare Moon does appear, vowing everlasting night and causing Celestia to disappear, Twilight sets off with five other ponies—Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity—to obtain the Elements of Harmony and defeat Nightmare Moon. Before Twilight can activate the Elements, Nightmare Moon appears and shatters them. In a flash of inspiration, Twilight realizes that each of her new friends represents one of the Elements of Harmony, and that she herself is the final piece, Magic. The magical power of the ponies' friendship reverts Nightmare Moon to a repentant Princess Luna. Celestia reappears, reunites with her sister Princess Luna, and allows Twilight to stay in Ponyville to continue studying the magic of friendship.
Later episodes follow Twilight and her friends dealing with various problems around Ponyville. At the end of each episode, Twilight sends a report back to Celestia explaining what she learned about friendship from these adventures. This part of the formula was abandoned in "Lesson Zero", the second season episode in which Twilight was convinced to be less rigid in her perceived duties; after this, all the principals contribute reports, although the formality is disregarded when appropriate. There is a loose continuity in these episodes; a theme throughout the first season, for example, is the ponies' preparation for the Grand Galloping Gala that occurs in the final episode of that season.
A central theme of the show is "cutie marks", iconic symbols that magically appear on a pony's flank once they have discovered their special talent in life. While physically young adults, the six main characters are envisioned as similar in maturity to human teenagers in the 12- to 18-year-old range. One episode, "Cutie Mark Chronicles", highlights how each received her cutie mark as a younger filly. Several episodes focus on the exploits of a much younger trio of pony characters that call themselves the "Cutie Mark Crusaders", who have yet to receive their cutie marks and are teased by other young ponies as "blank flanks". In response, they desperately hurry to try to discover their talents and receive their own cutie marks, often doing so in comical fashions.
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