NOTE: THERE ISN’T A NEW MY LITTLE PONY SERIES. THIS WAS A HYPOTHETICAL PIECE I WROTE FOR EQUESTRIA DAILY. BUT I THOUGHT IT MADE SOME NICE POINTS ABOUT THE ACTUAL STATE OF THE SERIES IN 2017 AND WAS WORTH MAKING PUBLIC.
Hasbro has announced in an investor call a spin off show of My Little Pony focused around a bat pony named Sweet Velvet and her friends. While set in same world, Velvet’s adventures take place outside the kingdom of Equestria. Hasbro hopes to target boys and girls equally with the show and impending toyline. Only this picture of Sweet Velvet was shared at the time of the call.
It’s set to premiere some time around fall 2018, and I have to say I’m at least curious. It’s certainly something I didn’t except and a tad fanfic-y but I’m totally down for it. I appreciate that Hasbro is going all in something that’s a little bold and crosses demographics, and it’s definitely emblematic of the core ambition and sense of adventure that launched the series in the first place (something arguably lacking in the base idea that spawned the Equestria Girls spin-offs). Plus it’s probably gonna be a good excuse to expand the lore of the My Little Pony universe, which is definitely something to geek out over.
Of course this is still a way’s away but I have some lingering concerns. We’ve yet to be told who’s working on the series or really anything except the overarching idea and the concept art of Sweet Velvet, so it’s hard to genuinely predict whether or not the show will be good. But if the idea of bat ponies and the recent seasons of Friendship is Magic are anything to go by there’s a good possibility this show will lean more into being big and epic. I like big and epic My Little Pony, but I feel as if the more subtle elements of what made the show special tend to get lost when they attempt larger scale storytelling. Most of all the unique personalities of the mane 6 and how they bounce off of each other to create meaningful conflicts, which tends to happen less and less the further the show steps out of its slice of life groove. If being a darker large scale thing is the idea they’re going for here there’s really no guarantee people will be sold on the new characters in quite the same way (which is already an uphill battle given the sense of connection people have with the mane 6).
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is definitely appealing for its willingness to transcend gendered norms in its content, but at the same time I also think it’s appealing for the sincerity of its “girliness” and its willingness to respect the intelligence of young girls. In that sense I get the feeling an intentionally gender neutral series could diminish the core idea that feminine coded media can be good, which to an extent has already been the outcome of a lot of the gushing over the series emphasizing how “non-girly” it is. But hey it’s not like it’s replacing the main series, and I really doubt Hasbro is going to stop marketing ponies to impressionable young girls.
Of course this is all broad speculation. Count me cautiously optimistic, but whatever this turns out to be I really do hope it’s something good. I have to imagine it’s going to include at least a few of the staff members who’ve worked to make the main series so special, so it should be watchable at bare minimum. I’ve stuck it out through the last ten million proclamations that Hasbro has ruined this franchise so one more can’t hurt. All aboard the bat pony train!