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Lauren Faust drew the first concept sketches for the show in 2008. It was greenlit in 2009, which is when DHX was hired to produce the animation. Episodes take about a year to produce from start to finish. Since the show debuted 10/10/10, well…
It's a matter of all the original creatives leaving often results in a significant quality drop. We've seen this happen on The Simpsons, Spongebob, Star Trek (multiple times), Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Lab… the list goes on.
For MLP, Jayson's departure means that none of the original creative team are on the show anymore. Lauren of course left early on, and Rob Renzetti only stayed long enough to finalize S2's scripts. James Wootton left to helm LPS2012, although I have no idea what he's doing now that that's been cancelled. Even a lot of the original storyboard people are gone. On the writing side of things, with Meghan in charge of the movie and Amy getting that plum job at Disney, Larson and Polsky are now the only writers left (assuming Polsky hasn't hung it up too) who did anything for Season One. Even several of the Hasbro execs have left since FIM was greenlit six years ago.
Big Jim is still around, and he's moved up in the world quite a bit, but he's pretty much the only one left to have had any significant position in the beginning (he started as lead storyboard guy, then became animation director, then episode director, now chief director in place of Jayson).
FYI, musicians and voice actors don't really count in my estimation, since they can and often do work on multiple shows at a time, and rarely influence how the show is made. Yes Ingram, Anderson, or the VAs leaving would affect the show, but not at such a fundamental level as its longtime head director leaving.
The only way any of the voice actors would leave is if something awful happened to them… or Tara Strong decided to agitate for more money, but I doubt she'll do that. What's more likely is the CMC's VA's leaving – Maddie's college-age and Michelle and Claire will be there soon enough. Also, Claire comes from a family of actors (well, her dad) known to get into pay disputes and leave shows because of it.
I'm not really sure how to take this. For years I've felt he, more than anyone else (Lauren included), was really the glue that held the show together. With his departure, all of the original top-level crew is now gone (not counting musicians and voice talent) as have almost all the original writers – Polsky and Larson are the only ones left who wrote for S1. I assume Big Jim is now in charge, which is fine and I don't doubt he'll keep the show afloat for 26 more episodes.
I've felt for a while now that Season 6 would be the end – 143 episodes is an amazing run for a kid's cartoon. On the other hand, knowing Jayson is in charge of the movie makes me feel a lot better about that.
While I am on record as disliking Twilicorn, or rather how they handled the Ascension, it didn't ruin the show. What it did was fade Twily into the background, which is fine by me as she was getting a little insufferable as a protagonist due to her being overpowered in every respect and yet still, as someone else said, "Celestia's ass-kisser". Fortunately, Meghan and the writers seemed to realize that, and Seasons 4 and 5 have both been, for the most part, wonderful. "Twilight Time" was one of the best post-MMC episodes because it put Twilight in a position that worked for her – teacher, not leader. Similarly, the Moondancer episode was excellent because it forced Twilight to realize what I and other critics have been saying all along – she's really not a great friend.
I definitely hope Starlight Glimmer can live up to her potential. Despite getting a two-parter already, we know little about her or her motivations. By mucking around with time, what will that DO? I don't get hype, because that leads to disappointment, but I am looking forward to it.
The finale is airing right now, so I guess we'll see…
According to what's posted here, the worst-viewed episodes seem to occur in the middle of a run, not immediately after a hiatus like one would expect. Conversely, lately the ratings have been going up for reasons just as unexplained.
And yes, ratings have been falling steadily since the beginning of Season 3. MLP never broke a million, but during its original 65-episode order, it did occasionally break 700k and regularly broke 600k (only one ep. this season has done that, and only two others surpassed 500k).
However, I don't think Hasbro much cares so long as the toys are still selling. My concern – and I'm certain they're worrying about this at their LA & Rhode Island HQ's – is that by the time the movie comes out in 2017, no one will care anymore.
As I have to always tell other fans who like her: Twilight is nowhere near as smart as she thinks she is.
She's also not as smart as the writers think she is, which is her crippling narrative flaw.
The fact he nearly always gets the first comment in due to obsessively waiting for post time really sets a negative tone for these threads as a whole, which I'm sure is his purpose.
"Waaa! You like what I don't like! Waaa! If I don't like show, NO ONE gets to like show! Waaa!"