Since it's been brought up, let's talk about the differences between the Rainbow of Light and the Elements of Harmony. While the EoH have had traits that make them seem to have life, it's rather subtle and in the background. RoL is quite blatantly a living thing that reacts to outside stimuli. This is gonna sound like a weird comparison but RoL seems like a (broken and overpowered) Pokemon while EoH seems like a Green Lantern ring with limited settings. The creature vs tool affects their application and how they're regarded. EoH's abilities seem much more in line with healing or banishing. Baring some possible debate about Luna's alter ego, EoH doesn't have a kill count at all. RoL has healing ability but is probably far more well known for killing Tirek and the Worf Effect of being beaten by the Smooze. In fact, despite having a more destructive edge, the threat of being killed is a very real problem for the RoL.
I'm not sure how limited the settings on the Elements are. When the Manes first used them, it turned Nightmare Moon back into Luna without any of them being aware of her existence, so they seemed to act on their own. Against Discord, they also seemed to act as a defensive weapon, with the restrict that they couldn't actually kill someone.
Then season three happened, at they were used to help Twilight cast a spell, albeit one that undid something the Elements did. After that, they reacted to a spell when Twilight wasn't trying to use them, and without the other manes being present. Appropriately, that last one went haywire.
From the first two seasons, they were a defensive weapon. From the third, I don't know what they are supposed to be. Except that it's more important than ever that they are actually secured, as they can definitely be used to cause (non-lethal?) harm, knowingly or unknowingly.
I can't really buy the Elements having a will of their own. If they're alive, they're either very literal or kind of a jerk. Except literalism wouldn't explain transforming Nightmare instead of just sealing her in the moon again. On the other limb, that would fit with Nightmare's transformation being something that Celestia set up when she last used the Elements. That would even explain why Celestia didn't tell Twilight about Luna; if Twilight didn't manage to turn her back, Celestia wouldn't want her to feel guilty about it.
The Rainbow... As near as I can tell, it's a living guardian. They refer to it as alive, and it actual seems to think about its attacks at points, although I'm not sure just how intelligent it is. They pull it out a few times when they aren't in danger and it's generally quite playful. A big family dog that goes for the throat in a fight.
Damn. It's been a while since I last saw Midnight Castle
and I forgot how quickly the Freaking Metal
appears. There's less than a minute between the theme song ending and a plague of dragon-things swooping down to adduct ponies. About twenty seconds
for trouble to start.
One of the theme lyrics is "No sign of trouble in sight." Dammit. If that line stays in the lyrics for the rest of the series, no wonder they keep having trouble.
Generally glossed over, but Spike was actually an evil minion at first. He's still the nice guy from later in the series, but right now he's trying to help
Tirac. It would have been interesting to see what he would have grown up into, if he hadn't joined the ponies. Also, while the series never addresses it on screen, how and why a baby dragon ended up in the company of Tirac is fairly obvious, to the point where the questions don't even need to be asked.
I really would have liked to see human Scorpan visit Spike at some point. Scorpan bonded with the tyke to the point that Tirac would threaten Spike to keep him in line, so you'd think that he'd show some concern.
Ah well... This special starts the franchise-wide habit of bringing up something interesting or important in an episode, and never ever talking about it again. While G1 had a habit of killing off the villains, that's probably why the survivors are rarely seen. Heck, that's why the other good guys never seem to reappear, despite the ponies often needed help. Well, it could be that the rest of the world has just as much trouble, so they've never got a moment free.
Anyway, Megan. Why the heck did Firefly look for someone from beyond the rainbow? Megan has a good head on her shoulders and adapts fast, but there are humans in the pony world as well. Maybe they're all too terrified to face Tirac so Firefly needed a
hero from another world? She's not even there for five minutes before the pseudo-dragons try to kidnap her. Traditional Dream Valley welcome, folks. For all that Fnu jokes about Ponyville being a disaster-ridden hellhole, it's not that bad, at least when the Manes aren't causing trouble. Dream Valley isn't that bad, either. It's worse.
To Megan's credit, after nearly falling to her death, she immediately gets back up and is ready for a fight. She goes after the guy that saved her, sure, but he's the only leader that she sees. Not a lot of targets.
The seaponies. That song is freaking awesome, and I will fight anyone that says otherwise. I really want to hear Danial Ingram cover it. With the nature spirit role the G4 ponies have, the seaponies are probably the best fit of the extra pony types from previous generations.
The Moochick. Because of him, I can never be too harsh on Angel. Habbit is an example of what Angel has to put up, except the Moochick is just absent minded and not deliberately unhelpful.
Overall, fun thing. Not even a sentence of explanation for who or what Tirac was, but still fun. I've always had the impression that And Friends
was the result of a game master desperately improvising session after session, without a shred of notes or plans. One thing that am left wondering about, though, is the nature of the transformations at the end. The Rainbow of Light undid what was done to the ponies and Prince... Scorpan...?, but we later learn that Dream Valley was originally an uninhabitable hellhole. So was Tirac's territory like that originally, or was it transformed into a sea by the Rainbow of Darkness?
Now this is how dragons should be. Not just jerky jocks. These guys are threatening. I'll give G1 this...villians were threatening.
Those are not dragons. The dragons in this series talk. The ponies call Scorpan's raiding monsters stratadons.
Oh...hey! The Rainbow of Light. So...he's just giving it to them? He's known them for like a minute and he's just giving them the deus ex machina of the entire series? Oooookay!
This isn't there first meeting. We don't see it onscreen, but it's made plenty clear from their interactions that they've met before, and are on good terms. With G1, you're coming in towards the middle.
Seeing how the ponies settled Dream Valley would have been nice, but it's never shown on screen, or even talked about much.
Didn't take them long to need the seaponies again.
Intelligent usage of allies. Nice to see in any show.
Oh...a musical score. Can we go back to "You Gotta Share, You Gotta Care?" Please?
Why did this even become a thing, anyway?
Why would this ever go away? Musical numbers are awesome.
EDIT TO ADD: I honestly get the feeling though that writers today don't want it to get too dark. Chrysalis could have been terrifying. She had the evil, but the look was just too cute. It may have something to do with the grain discussion we're having...but for crying out loud! Take a look at Cerberus. This is a well established mythological figure...a hell hound with whom you do not want to mess with. He should be terrifying as hell! They turned him into a lovable three-headed bulldog. It's like cartoon makers today are just afraid of making something truly terrifying anymore.
I don't think that it's afraid so much as not allowed. One of the show runners said that there are very firm limits on just how far they can go. Some stuff just won't get past the censors these days.
I think that is indeed the problem. It doesn't seem like the Hasbro execs are the ones to blame. Some of Lauren Faust's original monster concepts actually got rejected for not being scary enough. If the crew really wanted to push it, they might be surprised by what they could do.
Why do you think that she made them so mild in the first place? She was aware that too scary would be rejected, and just happened to overcompensate.
Unfortunately, fools are often planproof.