Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 121: What if Your Daemon is a Changeling?

With the Olympics over and the usual silly statistics (GBR won golds in more sports than any other nation, fact fans) going with them, I can return to other things. My piece about why ponyisms shouldn't be confined to fanfics will have to wait a while, as I seem to have all kinds of other stuff I want to post. Like this! Six stories, for the first time in a while, including one I really should have read years ago. Not a bad week overall, either.

Sandbox by Summer Dancer
Lyra Heartstrings and the Hand of Man by Between Lines
The Late Twilight Sparkle by InsufferableUnicorn
Five Hundred Little Murders by Estee
Raven by SaintChoc
Milkshakes by punzil504

★: 0 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 3 | ★★★★: 2 | ★★★★★: 0

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Most and Least Rewatchable: Season One

Fluttershy singing "So Many Wonders"
Fluttershy being cute. The horror!
I was wandering through the EQD archives earlier and came across this post from June, in which Seth chose the ten episodes he found the most rewatchable. I like the idea, but am going to tweak it slightly – and also add some negativity, just for the hay of it. I haven't kept statistics relating to how many times I've seen any particular episode, so these are simply how I feel about the eps I mention. Let's start with the winners:

Monday, 22 August 2016

Episode review: S6E16: "The Times They Are a Changeling"

The changeling nursery
Well, that's not nightmare-inducing at all...
This is going to be a relatively short review, as I'm absolutely exhausted right now. Still, this time we had a new writing team in Kevin Burke and Chris Wyatt. (As an aside, have you noticed how few female writers the show has now?) The title also gave away an admittedly rather ill-kept secret: that we were going to see a changeling play a major part in an episode for the first time since "A Canterlot Wedding". (I don't think that "Slice of Life" cameo really counts!) Past the break for a bit more.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Pony Music Library 22: "Winter Wrap Up"

I'm still recovering from that gripping hockey final; I really wasn't expecting us to beat the Dutch, but I'm so glad I watched the last quarter live. Anyway, it's PML time again – and I suspect quite a few of you have been wondering when this particular song would turn up!

What? "Winter Wrap Up"

Who? Daniel Ingram, Steffan Andrews (orchestration) and Cindy Morrow (lyrics)

Which? Show song

When? December 2010

Why? "Three months of winter coolness..." – go on, I dare you not to smile. This was where it all began as far as big show songs are concerned. Before this, early FiM fans had Pinkie's little ditties and Flutterguy's bout of weirdness to enjoy, but "Winter Wrap Up" took things to another level. It was actually leaked a few weeks before the episode went out (nothing new under the sun!) but even in 2016 I love watching people's first reactions to this. This is the point where many watchers become actual fans/bronies for the first time. It's also where we first heard just how good Rebecca Shoichet's singing voice was for Twilight. Oddly, there are two "official music videos" for this: one is on the Hasbro Studios Shorts channel, which is a little more of a PMV. The one embedded here, though, is the original, courtesy of the My Little Pony Official channel. As the traditional closing song for BUCK, it also provides me with some particularly special memories of my own.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Text Review Roundup: "28 Pranks Later"

Rainbow Dash clings to Cheerilee's blackboard
Rainbow has clearly been taking dimension-hopping lessons from Pinkie
Time for another summary of what non-video reviewers thought of the latest episode. As ever, I don't claim this to be a comprehensive survey of such people, but hopefully there are at least enough to be of interest. As always, click on the reviewer's name to read their review for yourself. There's a newcomer to TRR this week in the shape of Michaelsety. Do let me know if there are any other text-based reviewers you'd like me to feature here!

There was quite a mixed reception to this episode, with Rainbow's characterisation coming in for particular criticism. Here we go:

ArthurCrane – generally positive ("I (mostly) actually like this")

Articles of Destroyer – mixed (rated 6/10)

BatBrony Reviews – mildly positive ("just an OK episode")

Derpy News – mildly positive (graded B)

Michaelsety – very positive (graded A)

Louder Yay – mixed (rated 3/5; "it isn't really a S6 episode")

Super Recaps – negative ("had the potential to be something much more")

The Super Mario Brony Blog – extremely negative (rated 0/5; "how not to write an episode")

Thrond Media Pony Corner – mixed ("by no means terrible, although it'd possibly be less frustrating if it were")

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 120: Spotlight on Whom the Princesses Would Destroy

These Olympics have been fantastic so far, and not only because my own country is doing better than expected. (Sheesh, that men's keirin final, though. Don't do that to me, Jason Kenny!) But back to ponyfic now. I wouldn't normally post two Spotlight PRs in the space of three weeks, but I've ended up having more to say about this story than I was expecting for a piece of under 20,000 words. Here we go:

Whom the Princesses Would Destroy by GhostOfHeraclitus
OCs and Celestia
Comedy/Slice of Life; 20k words; Oct 2012; Teen
Behind the scenes of a perfectly normal visit to Canterlot lies chaos. Also, custard.
Now here's something different, and it was probably even more different when it appeared four years ago. This is a story about the Equestrian Civil Service – and if you're thinking Yes, Minister then you're not far off. (If you're not, go and educate yourself!) Its protagonist, Dotted Line, is a fun character, though most of the others are well thought out too. Don't expect a slavish Yes, Minister clone, though; it's more imaginative than that. Later on, in fact, it's more reminiscent of early-mid series Discworld stories. The fic's main flaw is a persistent tense error: the present is repeatedly used where the past (or occasionally the conditional) is called for. Since English is (I think) GoH's third language, it's understandable, but it's still annoying. Recommended, though, since it's good fun and doesn't overstay its welcome. ★★★★

After the break, a few more detailed – and spoilery – thoughts.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A bit of role reversal

Normally I review other people's stories, but this is about other people reviewing my stories. I hope you'll indulge me in a post that has no significance at all beyond me being pleased about it. I've had two very nice reviews of my ponyfic in the last couple of weeks:

First, Chris reviewed the very silly Shining Armor's Amour's Armour, a fic that is much more a piece of silliness than an actual good story but which has unaccountably become one of my most popular pieces. As he quite rightly says, it's not a fic there's any point in reading if you don't like contrived puns – but who doesn't? It's also well timed, since the story was inspired by a passing comment from Cerulean Voice, a long-standing author who has made the entirely understandable decision to retire from ponyfic and give priority to that strange thing we call Real Life.

PaulAsaran reviewed another of my stories, It Doesn't Matter Now. This is a fic that I do think is a good story – it's also by some way my most read fic – and I'm very pleased by the comments Paul gave about it. I think he makes a fair point about its brevity, but then that's what I do. I'm sure someone could have made it into a wonderful longer fic, but I was never that someone. So as with Chris's review, albeit from a rather different perspective, I'm very happy with that.

(That's enough self-promotion – Ed.)