Tara Strong Interview, Meghan McCarthy Q&A Plus Big Announcement!

This afternoon, I participated in a fun Google Hangout on-air with some major players in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic universe: Tara Strong, the voice of Twilight Sparkle, Meghan McCarthy, the show’s story editor and co-executive producer, and Ted Biaselli, Hub Network’s VP of Programming. Check out this video of my chat with them, where we discuss the process of recording dialog, busting out the Twilight Sparkle voice at the coffee shop, and kidnapping Bronies:

So, has anyone written this My Little Pony/Game of Thrones fanfic yet? ;)

The full hour long “Hub Network’s What’s the Hubbub?” Q&A can be watched below, which covers a slew of fabulous questions from other press in attendance:

During this session, we also got the scoop that MLP is officially coming back for season 5 in 2015 – hooray!

The season 4 finale airs in two parts this Saturday, May 10th at 7 AM PST/10 AM EST on The Hub Network.

My Little Pony Season Five Announcement

As you may know, I’m a big fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This afternoon, I participated in a fun video Q&A with Tara Strong and Meghan McCarthy that drew so many Bronies it broke the Internet! I’ll have the full video for you as soon as it becomes available, but in the meantime, here’s some very exciting news for you: MLP is officially coming back for season five! Full press release:

For Immediate Release 
May 7, 2014 
Popular Animated Series Set to Debut in 2015 

LOS ANGELES – Twilight Sparkle and her beloved pony friends will continue to celebrate the magic of friendship as the Hub Network announces season five of its hit animated series “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic.” The series, from Hasbro Studios, is slated to air in 2015 on the Hub Network, champions of family fun and the only network dedicated to providing kids and their families entertainment they can watch together. The network has ordered 26 episodes for season five.
“My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” follows the magical Princess Twilight Sparkle and her trusted assistant Spike, who live in Ponyville in the enchanted land of Equestria, along with her colorful pony friends – honest Applejack, generous Rarity, kind Fluttershy, loyal Rainbow Dash and fun-loving Pinkie Pie. Together, they teach one another valuable lessons about the most powerful magic of all – the magic of friendship.
“My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” features key voice talent including Tara Strong, Cathy Weseluck, Andrea Libman as well as Tabitha St. Germain and Ashleigh Ball, who both also provide voice to characters of the Hub Network’s “Littlest Pet Shop.” The series is executive produced by Chris Bartleman, Kirsten Newlands and Stephen Davis and was developed for television by Lauren Faust. In addition, season five will continue to include co-executive producers Meghan McCarthy and Jayson Thiessen, who is also the supervising director, as well as composer Daniel Ingram, who was nominated for a Daytime Emmy® Award for his previous work on “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic.”

Follow the new season of “My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic” on Twitter at #MLPSeason5.


My Little Pony

Once Again, Journalism at its Finest

I’ve complained before about new outlets that put little to no effort into fact-checking in an effort to rush a story on their air. Another fine example of this occurred this morning when Fox 31 KDVR in Denver reported on this morning’s tragedy in Seattle. Using an iPad, the new anchor showed viewers photos from the accident site that were taken in real time and uploaded to Twitter. The fatal mistake occurred when the anchor started flipping through all of the trending photos live, on the air, and apparently without checking what the content was beforehand. First, we see a picture of Edward Scissorhands; then, a photo of a Chimichanga; then…a photo of a full-frontal nude male. The reaction of the whole news crew when this blunder happens is pretty priceless; you can click here to watch it, but it should go without saying that this is not safe for work!

Besides the obvious problem with airing full-frontal nudity on afternoon news, this whole scenario points to the larger and more disturbing trend of carelessly airing anything, anytime, under the guise of news. Even if the news station hadn’t potentially violated federal law*, why in the world were they showing irrelevant snapshots in the first place? It gives the appearance of the news station doing exactly zero research beforehand. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps they did look at the Twitter stream ahead of time and just clicked through the irrelevant content by mistake, but still – could you not open the newsworthy photos in a new tab? And if a Twitter stream has close-ups of genitalia on it, should that not be a sign to skip using that platform as a source live on the air? From what I can tell, it looks like they were pulling up any photos that were included in the trending topic. It should truly be a no-brainer to anyone with even a vague familiarity with Twitter that there will be all kinds of unrelated material being spammed or incorrectly marked with the topic at hand, so why would you use it as a source? Furthermore, if you allow yourself to be surprised, you have no way of knowing that the pictures “From the scene” that you are viewing are actually from the location or day in question. Even 10 minutes of research could have produced an iPad browser with multiple tabs opened to newsworthy material from individuals at the location, instead of wasting viewer’s time with unverified nonsense.

On another note, I think the selection of photos aired perfectly sums up social media in a nutshell. Horrific tragedy? Check. Pop culture? Check. Food? Check. Nudity? Check!

*ETA: I should point out that the FTC is likely all but giving up prosecuting “Fleeting nudity”, although airing obscene content still remains illegal according to their site. What they consider to be “Obscene” is another interesting and inconsistent topic!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 4 Premiere

After hearing a lot about “Bronies” last year, I decided I should watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on Netflix to see what all the fuss was about. After I watched it, I understood why a lot of people love it: The show is well-written and I feel like I can personally relate to the misadventures of the characters, which makes it very funny to watch. Seeing Twilight Sparkle run around tearing her mane out and stressing over her to-do list cracks me up – I keep saying that Twilight and Spike are just like myself and Jai. So now I guess I am a Brony, or a Pegasister, however you want to call it.

I wasn’t too impressed with Season 3, as I felt like the stories weren’t as well-written and the ponies were acting out of character; I received an early screener link to the two-part Season 4 series premiere, so I was curious to see whether the show had “Jumped the shark” yet. And no, FTC, the episodes were not downloadable so I didn’t “Receive” anything, my eyeballs merely viewed an early online streaming preview at the episodes. Which I was actually happy about, since I don’t have cable and I can see the show now instead of waiting for it all to come on Netflix!

The premiere episodes are “Princess Twilight Sparkle – Part 1 & 2″. This picks up where season 3 left off, with Twilight becoming an Alicorn and being crowned princess. As Twilight prepares for the Summer Sun Festival, she worries about her friendship with the other ponies changing as she gains more responsibility – but soon has much more to worry about when Princesses Celestia and Luna go missing and the forest starts attacking Ponyville. As the gang tries to unravel this mystery, they take a trip back into the past. What could be causing this evil: Is it Discord? Has Princess Luna morphed back into evil Nightmare Moon? Or is it something else? Spoiler alert: The answer involves the Elements of Harmony and a mysterious new power that looks like the makings of a new toy tie-in.

I thought these episodes were a little underwhelming, but I tend to prefer the standalones over the traditional season premiere storyarcs. (I feel like I just time-traveled back to a 1998 X-Files messageboard with that statement!) I feel like they’re dragging Discord out unnecessarily and it’s getting a little old – look, I get that fans love him, and I loved Q on Star Trek: TNG too, but it seems a little stale at this point. I get the feeling they’re trying to angle him as a more regular character, but try not to beat a dead pony with a stick. But the characterizations were pretty true to form and I enjoyed watching the episodes, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season has to offer.

Season 4 of My Little Pony debuts tomorrow morning, November 23rd at 7 AM PST/10 AM EST. Will you be watching?