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Started watching midway through the first season. Started writing not long before the beginning of the last.

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Tell Your Tale - First Impressions · 3:40am Apr 10th, 2022

OK, so a while back I reviewed the first half of the G5 premiere movie, but never actually bothered with the second (partly cause, well, it was a little underwhelming). To sort of make up for that (and also cause I just feel like it) I'm going to give my impressions of the first real G5 media to follow that movie (and about time, too!) - the first four episodes of the YouTube series "Tell Your Tale". First I'll cover each episode individually, then I'll talk about what I get from them as a whole.

(One thing I will say up front, though, is that the new voices for each character fit them will enough that I didn't even remember they were new until halfway through the second episode. Then again, I haven't seen the film lately, so I can't say if that's cause they resemble the originals or just fit in their own way.)

A Home To Share

Our first episode of G5... is a denser and wackier Castle Sweet Castle.

Now, yes, I know that just comparing this to G4, however inevitable, is unfair, and that this plot does fit well right here (at least, if Hasbro wants to sell Crystal Brighthouse playsets). But, well, sometimes I can't help it when they make it this easy for me! And I do think the comparison helps elucidate the main flaw here - the song.

Now, don't get me wrong - I don't think it's a bad song. In fact, it likely beats some of the ones from the movie, and stands well on par with Ingram & co's works, including the obvious comparison "Make this Castle a Home". And while the characters being sort of idiots is - as in the "original" - a pain, these friendship novices can perhaps be forgiven it a bit more than the Mane 6 who we knew knew better.

No, the issue is... "Make this Castle a Home" is a two-and-a-half minute song in an episode more than twenty minutes long. The song here is four-fifths of it's predecessor's length... but the episode is a quarter of it's own, at a bit more than five minutes. (I'm ignoring both reprises here.) So while we technically watch the New Five screwing up for less time than the Mane Six, it dominates the episode a lot more - especially since they seem to have tried to make up for the length reduction by upping the pace. Shots are shorter, more often shared... maybe it's just my perception, but that's what I'm giving here, right? And that doesn't help the other aspect, cause the intense craziness makes everyone look even more foolish for the most part.

That said, the rest of the episode was better. The initial planning scene (which I had already seen in a preview) was pretty nice, and the scene with Sunny and her dad's photo felt like a message that yes, this show was going to have more to it than just crazy hijinks - and I'm always up for Sunny facing some self-doubt, even if (as in the movie) it doesn't challenge her quite as deeply as I'd like. And somehow the pace of the song worked a lot better when the characters were working together and succeeding.

Zipp's Flight School
This one I did like a bit more, perhaps because the comedy came less from characters acting like idiots and more from them being sarcastic and clumsy. And it's another rational early plot - no flight for a long time means nopony who knows how to fly, or teach flying. Isn't it good Zipp's such a natural ?

Speaking of Zipp, this is clearly the ep meant to establish her as a protagonist - beyond what the movie did, of course - and it more or less worked. Her reluctance, commitment anyway, that flashback, and her delivery... all good. That said, there were a couple of things which would have been nice - her showing her brainy side more (maybe trying to teach aerodynamic theory and confusing everyone except an eager Izzy) and someone mentioning that she was the Crown Princess (seriously, she seems right up there with Season 4 Twilight for ignored title at the moment).

Besides and beyond that, it was a solid ep. The pegasi guest stars were unavoidably shallow, but memorable enough to probably find their place in the fan conciousness (especially when we have so few characters to play with in this era) and I liked how the wingless cast was integrated too, especially their first scene.

Sisters Take Flight
...I swear, I said that last bit about Zipp before I saw this one. (Still waiting on her to use her brains, though...)

This episode arguably filled a necessary niche, as the cast do gather in Maretime Bay as the first ep suggested. (So should this actually be the second?) Besides that, though, it sadly lacked much of a "heart", being almost entirely cringe and slapstick without any serious emotional scenes like the last two. Bearable on it's own, but I hope the general trend is towards the prior eps balance rather than this one.

Nightmare Roommate
OK, I guess Hitch does have his own place in town and doesn't have to move in... wonder if they planned that? His one scene is nice, though.

This one was overall so-so... I've never really had a roommate, so I can't judge how useful the advice is. We do get quite a look around the Brighthouse, though - it's a lot bigger than the original lighthouse!

And as for Zipp's brains... well, crossword puzzles aren't much, but I guess I'll take it?

So... one mixed, one good, one kind of flat, and one so-so. It's not the flying start FIM had - especially when paired with the movie - but it's not a crash either. Maybe the series, like Zipp's flight students, just needs time to find it's wings.

I do have concerns, of course. I'm really not sure if this length works that well... I consider that both of the weaker episodes could have been improved with a few more minutes. (But then, it's all to do with how they'd use them, isn't it?) Certainly, there's no time for anything complex, but I guess that's why we're getting another series, huh? And the length seems to create a preference for fast-paced physical and cringe comedy over anything more dialogue and character-based.

As for the New Five... well, I got a good sense of most of them in the movie, and they've mostly lived up to that. Still no breakthrough Pipp bit, but hopefully soon. And as for Sunny... well, I'll give her a bit longer too before whispering "Marey-Sue". (She doesn't seem to have retained any alicorn powers... wonder if that'll change, though?)

Oh, and just a little quibble, but however they put them up, I'm pretty sure Zipp's Flight School should be the fourth episode - the others all form a sort of "moving in trilogy", while it has everyone just hanging out in Maretime Bay like, well, they live there.

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