|My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic|
|Created by||Lauren Faust|
|Based on||My Little Pony|
by Bonnie Zacherle
|Developed by||Lauren Faust|
|Theme music composer||Daniel Ingram|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||221 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Original network||Discovery Family[d] (United States)|
Treehouse TV (Canada)
|Original release||October 10, 2010 –|
October 12, 2019
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an animated children's television series based on the fourth incarnation of Hasbro's My Little Pony franchise. The series follows a studious unicorn (later an alicorn) pony named Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) and her friends, Applejack (Ashleigh Ball), Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain), Fluttershy (Andrea Libman), Rainbow Dash (Ball), Pinkie Pie (Libman), and her dragon assistant Spike (Cathy Weseluck). They travel on adventures and help others around Equestria, solving problems with their friendships.
Animated in Flash, the series aired on Discovery Family (formerly The Hub) from October 10, 2010, to October 12, 2019. Hasbro selected animator Lauren Faust as creative director and executive producer. Faust created deeper characters and adventurous settings, seeking a show resembling how she had played with her toys and incorporating fantasy elements. However, due to hectic production schedules and a lack of creative control, she left the series during its second season.
Friendship Is Magic became one of the highest-rated productions in The Hub's history. Despite its target demographic of young girls, the series attracted an unexpectedly large following of older viewers, mainly adult men, who call themselves "bronies". The series gave Hasbro new merchandising opportunities. A spin-off franchise (My Little Pony: Equestria Girls) was launched in 2013, and ran alongside the series for six years. A feature-length film adaptation based on the television series, My Little Pony: The Movie, was released in October 2017 in the United States. My Little Pony: Pony Life, a spin-off comedy series, premiered on Discovery Family in November 2020.
In the kingdom of Equestria, its three species of ponies—earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns—live harmoniously. Twilight Sparkle, a studious unicorn, travels to Ponyville to learn about friendship at the urging of Equestria's ruler (and her mentor) Princess Celestia. Twilight and Spike, her dragon assistant, become close friends with five other ponies: Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie. The ponies discover that they represent different facets of friendship, with magical artifacts known as Elements of Harmony. They have adventures and help others in and around Equestria, solving problems in their friendships.
Main article: List of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic characters
Hasbro has produced several incarnations of the My Little Pony franchise, often called "generations" by the toy line's collectors. With many brands, including My Little Pony, the company uses a multi-generational plan. The Transformers film (2007) inspired Hasbro, since it helped to increase sales of the Transformers toy line; the company wanted to retool the My Little Pony franchise to appeal to the young-girl demographic. According to Margaret Loesch, CEO of The Hub, revisiting properties which had been successful was an important decision; it was somewhat influenced by the network's programming executives, several of whom were fans of the shows. According to Hasbro senior vice president Linda Steiner, the company "intended to have the show appeal to a larger demographic"; the network was trying to create shows that parents and children would watch together. Central themes Hasbro sought for the show included friendship and cooperation, determined from market research in how girls played with toys.
Animator and writer Lauren Faust approached Hasbro to develop "Galaxy Girls", her girls'-toy property, into an animated series. Faust, who had worked on Cartoon Network's The Powerpuff Girls (1998–2005) and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (2004–2009), had unsuccessfully pitched animation aimed at girls for years. When Faust approached Lisa Licht of Hasbro Studios, Licht was uninterested but showed Faust the My Little Pony special Princess Promenade (2006). Licht thought that Faust's style was suitable for that line, and asked her to consider "some ideas [on] where to take a new version of the franchise".
Faust was initially hired by Hasbro to create a pitch bible for the show, enabling her to get additional help with ideas. She was "extremely skeptical" about taking the job, because she thought that shows based on girls' toys were dull. Although My Little Pony was one of her favorite childhood toys, Faust was disappointed by the television shows; the characters "just had endless tea parties, giggled over nothing and defeated villains by either sharing with them or crying". With the chance to work on My Little Pony, she hoped to prove that "cartoons for girls don't have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness" like the original series. Faust incorporated many elements contradicting stereotypes of girls – diverse personalities, the message that friends can differ and remain friends, and the idea that girls should not be limited by what others say – into the design of the characters and the series. Elements of the characters' personalities and the show's settings were based on her childhood imagination of the ponies' adventures, inspired by shows such as Transformers (1984–1987) and G.I. Joe (1983–1986) which her brothers watched. According to Faust, she was making Friendship Is Magic "for [herself] as an eight-year-old". Faust wanted the characters to be relatable, using "icons of girliness" (such as a waif or a bookworm) to broaden their appeal to a young female audience.
Using her childhood as a guide, she imagined the three types of ponies—unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies—with different cultures and living in different places. Faust pictured the unicorns in the mountains, the pegasi in the clouds, and the earth ponies on the ground. She envisioned them as realistic horses who ate hay, lived in barns, pulled carts, wore saddles, and picked up objects with their mouths.
Faust said that Hasbro's positive response to non-traditional elements inspired her as she gave the company more ideas for the show. Although she pitched a balance of adventure and relationship stories, she de-emphasized adventures and focused on exchanges between characters for pragmatic reasons. The show incorporated creatures intended to frighten children, such as dragons and hydras, but emphasized friendships among the characters which were leavened with humor. When the series was approved, Faust had developed three full scripts.
Faust drew concept sketches, several of which appeared on her fyre-fly DeviantArt page. They included ideas about how she envisioned the original series' ponies – Applejack, the cowgirl; Firefly, the "badass"; the bubbly, enthusiastic Surprise; Posey, the kind, shy pony who loved other animals; and Sparkler, the fashion artist – which inspired this series' main cast. Hasbro approved the show with Faust as executive producer, and asked her to complete the pitch bible. She hired Martin Ansolabehere and Paul Rudish, with whom she had worked on other animated shows. Faust credited Rudish with inspiring Nightmare Moon, a villain who appears in the premiere episode "Friendship Is Magic", and the pegasus ponies' control of the weather; she then imagined the ponies as stewards of their world who made weather happen, flowers grow, and animals thrive. She also consulted her husband Craig McCracken, creator of The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. In six weeks, Faust sketched over 40 pages of "the universe that had existed in her 8-year-old mind".
The visual collaboration brought a unique style to Friendship Is Magic. Pennsylvania Dutch design, steampunk fantasy art, European fairy tales, and Bavarian folk art influenced the original pony world. Designing the settings, Faust sent photos to artist Dave Dunnet. Ponyville was based on German cottages, with a fairy-tale quality and equine elements such as horseshoe-shaped archways, hay bales, and troughs. Canterlot was based on castles and cathedrals, giving it a European feel; its location on a mountain and its purple-and-gold palette conveyed royalty and aspiration. Fantasy inspired elements of the series which were modified to suit its setting, story, and target audience. After seeing the initial version of the pitch bible, Hasbro requested more character designs and hired Dunnet and Lynne Naylor to refine the background and characters.
After the pitch bible was completed, Hasbro and Faust evaluated animation studios. Studio B Productions (renamed DHX Media on September 8, 2010) worked on Macromedia Flash-based animations and shows featuring animals. Faust felt that the studio would be a good fit, and agreed that Jayson Thiessen should direct. Faust, Thiessen, and James Wootton (who later became a director) presented a two-minute pitch to Hasbro, which approved the production. Faust estimated the time between being asked to develop the show and its approval at about one year. The foundation of the series took roughly two years.
Faust's initial writing staff at Hasbro Studios included several with whom she had worked on other shows and were approved by Hasbro, such as Amy Keating Rogers, Cindy Morrow, Meghan McCarthy, Chris Savino, Charlotte Fullerton, M.A. Larson, and Dave Polsky. McCarthy accepted Faust's invitation due to her dedication. Composer William Anderson presented a blind audition to Hasbro for Friendship Is Magic; the company admired his incidental music, and selected him.
After the first season's finale aired, Faust announced that she had stepped down as executive producer to become consulting producer. Her involvement in the second season consisted primarily of story concepts and scripts, and she left after that season. In an interview with New York magazine, Faust said that her reasons for leaving were a combination of hectic production schedules and a lack of creative control. McCracken said that Faust's departure was due to its being a toy company-driven show, and there was "still some frustration" with being unable to bring some of her ideas to the screen.
Initially scheduled to work on its fifth season, McCarthy gave up most of her work on the series to write My Little Pony: The Movie (2017). After Thiessen also left to work on the film, Jim Miller became supervising director; Denny Lu, who had led the animation, replaced Miller as director. During season six, layout supervisor Tim Stuby was also appointed as a director to assist Miller and Lu.
Writing began with the premise and "getting a nugget of a story to build upon" at Hasbro. Faust and Rob Renzetti conceived broad plots for each episode, and held a brainstorming session with each episode's writer to flesh out scenes and dialogue. They worked with the writer to finalize the script and provide basic storyboard instructions. Hasbro was involved throughout the process, laying down concepts for incorporation into the show. Examples included Celestia as a princess instead of a queen; a fashion-focused pony; and toy sets in the story, such as Rarity's boutique. Hasbro sometimes asked for a setting, allowing Faust and her team to create its visual style and basing a toy set (such as the Ponyville schoolhouse) on it. As Faust adhered to the educational and informational standards which Hasbro required of the show, she found creating situations more difficult; having a character call another an "egghead" was "treading a very delicate line", and a character's cheating was "worrisome to some". When DHX Media went into the design phase of an episode, scripts were finalized. Each episode generally included a moral or life lesson, chosen to "cross a broad spectrum of personal experiences" and not just aimed at children. Because intellectual-property issues had caused Hasbro to lose some rights to the original pony names, the show included a mix of original characters from the toy line and new characters developed for the show.
Hasbro and Faust planned for episodes to be 11 minutes long before the series was approved, and Faust observed the limit in "The Ticket Master" (her first full-length script). Faust preferred 22-minute episodes, however, and Hasbro eventually agreed. Scripts were written around the episode runtime, and Miller said that most editing removed supplementary dialogue and action. Initial production stages were tight, requiring a schedule twice as fast as Faust had previously experienced. Communication between the Los Angeles writing offices and the animation studio in Vancouver was frequently remote. The two teams sometimes held "writer's summits" to propose ideas for characters and situations, at which the animation team provided suggestions on visuals, body language, and characterization. Larson said that his writing often used "ridiculous shorthand" for conciseness, and he referred to other works.
The series' background music and songs were composed by William Kevin Anderson and Daniel Ingram, respectively. The production team identified parts of each episode where they wanted music cues, allowing Anderson to provide the music. The score was composed after each episode's initial animation, and was reviewed by Hasbro. Ingram worked with Anderson's compositions to create songs which meshed with the background music and fleshed out the show's fantasy setting. Ingram's songs usually began with a piano and a basic melody. The creative team received the song and provided input; background voices and instrumentation were then layered before the lead singer's vocals. Writers sometimes suggested lyrics and overall musical themes, including two songs written by Amy Keating Rogers. Music composition substantially preceded the broadcast of an episode; songs for the series' third season, which began airing in November 2012, were composed in 2011. Ingram thought the songs from previous My Little Pony shows were "a little bit dated", and decided to bring more-modern work to the Friendship Is Magic series. Changes included songs with more emotional depth than those typical of children's animation, which could also be enjoyed outside the episode. Ingram said that his songs had become "bigger and more epic, more Broadway and more cinematic over time", and Hasbro endorsed the effort to try "something groundbreaking for daytime television". "Putting it Together" from the musical Sunday in the Park with George inspired "The Art of the Dress" in the first-season episode "Suited for Success", and "At The Gala" from the first-season finale was based on Into the Woods. A musical number in "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" paid homage to "Ya Got Trouble" from The Music Man.
Voice casting and production was handled by Voicebox Productions, with Terry Klassen the series' voice director. Faust, Thiessen, and others participated in selecting voice actors, with Hasbro giving final approval. Tara Strong was cast as Twilight Sparkle after Faust, who had worked with her on The Powerpuff Girls, asked her to help pitch the show by voicing Twilight, Pinkie Pie and "Applejack [or] Rainbow Dash". After Faust heard Strong as Twilight, she knew she wanted her for the role. When Cathy Weseluck auditioned for Spike, she envisioned him as a baby with a high voice. The director later told her to "boy him up a bit", "chang[ing] everything".
The series was recorded in Vancouver. Voice work was done after writing and before animation, with the animators providing direction. According to Andrea Libman (the voices of Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie), this approach enabled the actors to play the characters without limitations; Libman said that she was allowed be as exaggerated as she wanted without the animators stopping her. The actors received songs before recording, and practiced them at home. The songs were recorded with the dialogue.
Completed scripts were sent to Studio B for pre-production and animation with Macromedia Flash Professional 8. Thiessen's production team was allowed to select key personnel, subject to Hasbro approval; one of those selected was art director Ridd Sorensen. The Studio B team storyboarded the provided scripts, incorporating direction and creating scenes which the writers believed were impossible to animaten. The DHX Media team went through the storyboard and design process, recorded dialogue, and created a storyboard animatic from the voice recordings. The animators then prepared key-character poses, layout, background art, and other major elements. These versions were sent back to the production team in Los Angeles for review by Hasbro with suggestions from the writers. Hasbro also received rough black-and-white drawings, colored and finalized character and prop designs, and animatics and a rough cut. Thiessen credited much of the technical expertise to Wooton, who created Flash programs to optimize the placement and posing of the pony characters and other elements; this simplified the work needed from other animators. The ponies' manes and tails are generally fixed shapes, animated by bending and stretching them in curves; this gave them movement without the need to animate individual hairs.
According to Timothy Packford of DHX Media, storyboarding action scenes was difficult because the stories' important points might be lost; storyboarding and intent needed to be clear. Episodes with large amounts of dialogue could "sort of slog and grind because there's so much talking". A crucial point was to keep the shots interesting, with a good flow of one into another, and action sequences tended to have more cuts than dialogue. The storyboard artists and animators also added unscripted background characters to populate the world. According to McCarthy, many fandom acknowledgements, pop-culture references or other Easter eggs were added by the studio. Filipino animation studio Top Draw also worked on the animations.
Each of the main characters had distinctive expressions and mannerisms, and shared general ones. According to the DHX Media team, they "avoid[ed] certain expressions if it [went] outside [the ponies'] personality". The creative team interpreted each character's personality as mannerisms, facial expressions, props, and home environment; Twilight's purple color signified royalty and mystical awareness, and her hard, angular edges personified her as tidy. Other examples include Rainbow Dash's rainbow hair, representing her ability to cause a Sonic Rainboom;[e] Fluttershy's hair, indicating her bounciness, gentleness, and optimism; Applejack's cutie mark,[f] symbolizing her simplicity; Pinkie Pie's shape (similar to a bubble, balloon, or cloud), reflecting her cheerfulness and buoyancy; and Spike's design, embodying his difference from the ponies.
The director and supervising director managed half of the episodes each, working together on two-part episodes, and the supervising director oversaw all episodes. Faust estimated the time to complete one episode at one year. The team simultaneously worked on various stages of all 26 first-season episodes; when the second season was approved, that number rose temporarily to 32. Episodes were originally aired about one month after completion, with the timeframe becoming six to eight weeks by the sixth season. According to Thiessen, they had pushed to start work on the second season as soon as the first was completed to prevent staff turnover.
Female friendship is a central theme of the series. Faust said that its deeper message is that friendship means being oneself and accepting others. According to Ethan Lewis of Den of Geek, the show often "takes on very morally complicated situations [...] that don't seem to have easy answers as opposed to very cut and dried children's messages". Lewis added that the series taught lessons about friendship which some adults would be unable to comprehend. The A.V. Club's Emily St. James compared Friendship Is Magic to "an owner's manual to being a kind person". St. James said that making friends could be difficult for children; the series broke it down to its most basic aspects, demonstrating the importance of a few friendly gestures. Den of Geek writer Alana Joli Abott cited the celebration of differences, faith, and inclusion as prominent themes.
Megan Crouse described the series for Den of Geek as "'serious' fantasy", drawing comparisons to The Lord of the Rings and The Sword in the Stone. According to Crouse, Friendship Is Magic's consistency and system of magic made it work well as a fantasy story. The Cut's Lisa Miller said that the series could be compared to almost any children's fairy tale or fantasy story. Faust said that mythology and the fantasy genre influenced all of Friendship Is Magic.
Several writers have called the show's setting a matriarchy. In the OpenEdition.org journal Transatlantica, Isabelle Licari-Guillaume wrote that the series counters sexist portrayals which are common in media for children. Lewis considered the characters some of television's "best representations" of females, neither stereotypically feminine nor masculine. In the analysis Orienting Feminism, Kevin Fletcher wrote: "Friendship is Magic exhibits a feminist sensibility rather than an individualistic post-feminist one." Fletcher added that by focusing on the value of community, the series abstains from post-feminism. A study by Christian Valiente and Xeno Rasmusson which sampled 13 episodes found that the series has characters in circumstances which dispute gender stereotypes; females often play primary, active roles in positions of authority. Valiente and Rasmusson said that although some male characters have abilities and authority, the series focuses on females often shown in positions of strength and leadership while maintaining traditional feminine traits. According to Valiente and Rasmusson, gender is "[no]thing more than an aesthetic story element" in Friendship Is Magic.
Main article: List of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episodes
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||26||October 10, 2010||May 6, 2011||The Hub/Hub Network|
|2||26||September 17, 2011||April 21, 2012|
|3||13||November 10, 2012||February 16, 2013|
|4||26||November 23, 2013||May 10, 2014|
|5||26||April 4, 2015||November 28, 2015||Discovery Family|
|6||26||March 26, 2016||October 22, 2016|
|7||26||April 15, 2017||October 28, 2017|
|Film||October 6, 2017||—|
|8||26||March 24, 2018||October 13, 2018||Discovery Family|
|Holiday Special||October 27, 2018|
|9||26||April 6, 2019||October 12, 2019|
|Special||June 29, 2019|
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which is targeted at girls aged 4–7, was one of several animated shows which aired on The Hub (a retooling of Discovery Kids owned by Discovery Communications). The network was rebranded Discovery Family on October 13, 2014. Each episode is about 22 minutes long.
Friendship Is Magic premiered on October 10, 2010. In March 2011, less than two months before the season finale aired, the series was renewed for a second season which aired from September 17, 2011, to April 21, 2012. A month before the second season ended, the series was renewed for a third season which premiered on November 10, 2012, and ended on February 16, 2013. One month later, The Hub renewed the show for a fourth season to air during the 2013–2014 television season. On May 7, 2014, the series was renewed for a fifth season. On August 4–8, 2014, The Hub aired "My Little Pony Mega Mare-a-thon": a 50-hour marathon of every episode from the first four seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and specials from the toy line's third generation. The fifth season premiered on April 4, 2015, and ended on November 28, 2015. A month before the prior season's airing, Discovery Family renewed the series for a sixth season which was broadcast from March 26 to October 22, 2016. In October 2016, the show was renewed for a seventh season which aired from April 15 to October 28, 2017. An eighth season was broadcast from March 24 to October 6, 2018. Discovery Family announced the ninth and final season on March 8, 2019, which premiered on April 6 of that year. Before its finale, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic — A Decade of Pony (a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the series) was aired on October 11, 2019. The 90-minute finale was broadcast the following day.
Main article: List of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic home video releases
With several other Hasbro properties, Friendship Is Magic was added to Netflix on April 1, 2012, in the United States. In 2015, the series and several other shows based on Hasbro properties were planned to be dropped from the streaming service. However, Hasbro and Netflix later decided to keep the shows on the latter. Friendship Is Magic was intended to be removed in August 2018; a few seasons were dropped before they were brought back. The series is set to be removed from Netflix on January 31, 2022. In 2011, Celebration at Canterlot (a two-episode DVD) was available at Target stores with toys from the franchise.
Shout! Factory has the DVD rights for the series in Region 1. Twenty-three five-episode DVDs and three six-episode DVDs have been released. The series' first seven seasons have been released in DVD box sets. United Kingdom-based Clear Vision has the publishing rights in Region 2 (which includes most of Western Europe and the Middle East), but the company entered administration in December 2013. Madman Entertainment has the Region 4 DVD and digital-download rights.
Friendship Is Magic has been praised for its animation style, stories, characterization, and exploration of feminism. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 100 percent of 10 critics gave the show's first season a positive review, with an average score of 8/10. According to the website's critical consensus, "Smart and sweet, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic's [sic] proves that children's entertainment can be fun for adults, too."
Critics responded positively to the series' characters, messages, and morals. A review by Emily Ashby on Common Sense Media, an organization focusing on the parenting aspect of children's media, emphasized the show's themes of loyalty, friendliness, friendship, tolerance, and respect. Den of Geek's Anna Dobbie appreciated the ponies' different personalities (which she believed worked well to achieve stability) and the series' focus on self-discovery and acceptance; According to Screen Rant writer Carly Olsen, the show develops both its major and minor characters well. Jamie Spain similarly applauded the show's elements of growth, learning, and social skills on BuzzFeed, which she considered uncommon in children's television. The characters, messages, and morals have been called "super cool", relatable, "absolutely genuine", inspiring, positive, and enjoyable. Kathleen Richter of Ms., however, disagreed with the praise; she wrote that Friendship Is Magic promoted sexism, racism, and heteronormativity, saying that Rainbow Dash's character encouraged the stereotype that "all feminists are angry, tomboyish lesbians" and criticizing other aspects. Faust responded to these claims, stating that although Rainbow Dash is a tomboy, her sexual orientation is never identified; Richter's assumption that tomboys become lesbians is "extremely unfair to both straight and lesbian tomboys".
The series' visual designs and references have also been praised. St. James found the show "blessed with great looking characters and brightly colored backgrounds", and IndieWire's Liza Shannon Miller and Hanh Hguyen and Entertainment Weekly's Hillary Busis credited its style and homages as contributing factors to the show's position as a pop-culture phenomenon. Lewis agreed, highlighting the series' "vintage" style and "geek references". For Wired, Matt Morgan wrote that the Easter eggs deepened the viewing experience. Ashby and Amid Amidi (writing for Cartoon Brew) expressed concerns with the show's embedded marketing. Ashby warned parents to be wary of the effect Friendship Is Magic could have on their children's wants; Amidi believed that assigning a talent like Faust to a toy-centered show was part of a trend focusing on profitable animation genres (such as toy tie-ins) to deal with a fragmented viewing audience, "an admission of defeat for the entire movement [of creator-driven animation]", and a "white flag-waving moment for the TV animation industry".
Friendship Is Magic was included on a number of best-of lists. TV Guide (top sixty), IndieWire (forty-fifth), and Rotten Tomatoes (sixty-fourth) listed it as one of the top animated series of all time, and readers of Television Without Pity voted it the best animated show on television. IndieWire ranked it the twentieth-best animated series of the 21st century. Other rankings are Time Out's list of best kids' shows (twenty-fourth) and Paste's list of best Netflix children's shows (eighth).
Friendship Is Magic premiered with an average viewership of 1.4 million per month, increasing to 4 million per month by the end of its first season (the highest-rated Hasbro show at the time). Advertising Age reported that the series' audience doubled between its first and second seasons. According to Vox, its peak years were 2012 to 2014. In March 2013, The Hub reported that the series had triple- and quadruple-digit-percent year-to-year growth. In September of that year, it was the second most-watched show on The Hub for girls ages 2–11 and women ages 18–49. A month later, Friendship Is Magic was one of the most co-viewed television series and the best-performing show on The Hub (with Littlest Pet Shop). In the first quarter of 2014, the show had an American viewership of over 12 million. Ratings began to decline after that year.
|2012||Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Original Song – Children's and Animation||Daniel Ingram (for "Becoming Popular (The Pony Everypony Should Know)")||Nominated|
|Daniel Ingram (for "Find a Pet Song")||Nominated|
|2012||Leo Awards||Best Animation Program or Series||Sarah Wall, Chris Bartleman, Blair Peters, and Kirsten Newlands||Nominated|
|Best Direction in an Animation Program or Series||Jayson Thiessen and James Wootton (for "Party of One")||Nominated|
|Best Overall Sound in an Animation Program or Series||Marcel Duperreault, Todd Araki, Jason Fredrickson, and Adam McGhie (for "Read It and Weep)||Nominated|
|2013||Leo Awards||Best Musical Score in an Animation Program or Series||Daniel Ingram and Steffan Andrews (for "Magical Mystery Cure")||Won|
|Best Overall Sound in an Animation Program or Series||Marcel Duperreault, Todd Araki, Jason Frederickson, and Adam McGhie (for "Sleepless in Ponyville")||Nominated|
|2014||Leo Awards||Best Musical Score in an Animation Program or Series||Daniel Ingram and Steffan Andrews (for "Pinkie Pride")||Nominated|
|Best Overall Sound in an Animation Program or Series||Marcel Duperreault, Todd Araki, Jason Frederickson, and Adam McGhie (for "Power Ponies")||Won|
|2016||Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Original Song||Daniel Ingram and Amy Keating Rogers (for "The Magic Inside")||Nominated|
|2016||Hugo Awards||Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form||"The Cutie Map" (directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller; written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy)||Nominated|
|2016||Leo Awards||Best Musical Score in an Animation Program or Series||Daniel Ingram (for "Crusaders of the Lost Mark")||Won|
|Best Sound in an Animation Program or Series||Marcel Duperreault, Todd Araki, Jason Fredrickson, Kirk Furniss, Adam McGhie, Christine Church, and Roger Monk (for "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?")||Won|
|Best Performance in an Animation Program or Series||Ashleigh Ball (for "Tanks for the Memories")||Nominated|
|2016||Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role – Young Actor (12–21)||Graham Verchere||Won|
|2017||Leo Awards||Best Musical Score in an Animation Program or Series||Daniel Ingram (for "A Hearth's Warming Tail")||Nominated|
|Best Sound in an Animation Program or Series||Todd Araki, Christine Church, Marcel Duperreault, Jason Frederickson, Adam McGhie, and Roger Monk (for "28 Pranks Later")||Won|
|2017||UBCP/ACTRA Awards||Best Voice||Andrea Libman (for "Rock Solid Friendship" as Pinkie Pie)||Nominated|
|Best Voice||Nicole Oliver (for "A Royal Problem" as Princess Celestia / Daybreaker)||Nominated|
|Best Voice||Vincent Tong (for "Hard to Say Anything" as Feather Bangs)||Nominated|
|2018||Leo Awards||Best Sound in an Animation Program or Series||Marcel Duperreault, Todd Araki, Jason Frederickson, Adam McGhie, Christine Church, Kirk Furniss, and Roger Monk (for "Shadow Play – Part 2")||Nominated|
|Best Voice Performance in an Animation Program or Series||Vincent Tong (for "Hard to Say Anything")||Nominated|
|2018||UBCP/ACTRA Awards||Best Voice||Vincent Tong (for "Marks and Recreation" as Rumble)||Nominated|
|2019||Humanitas Prize||Children's Teleplay||Brian Hohlfeld (for "Surf and/or Turf")||Nominated|
|2019||Leo Awards||Best Voice Performance in an Animation Program or Series||Ashleigh Ball (for "Non-Compete Clause")||Nominated|
|2019||UBCP/ACTRA Awards||Best Voice||Sunni Westbrook (for "Frenemies")||Nominated|
|2020||UBCP/ACTRA Awards||Best Voice Performance||Sunni Westbrook (for "The Ending of the End – Part 1" as Cozy Glow)||Nominated|
|2020||Leo Awards||Best Voice Performance in an Animation Program or Series||Sunni Westbrook (for "Frenemies")||Nominated|
Main article: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom
Despite Hasbro's target demographic of young girls and their parents, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic became a cultural and Internet phenomenon with male fans between the ages of 13 and 35. The Internet response has been traced to cartoon and animation fans on 4chan responding to Amidi's essay on the show and current animation trends. As a result of the 4chan discussion, interest in the show spread throughout the Internet and inspired a fan base, creative works, fan sites, and conventions. Male fans adopted the name "brony" (a portmanteau of "bro" and "pony") to describe themselves. The term "pegasister" (a portmanteau of "pegasus" and "sister") was later adopted to refer to older female fans of the show. The older fan base surprised Hasbro and staff members involved with the series, who appreciated the fandom by adding acknowledgements to fans in the show and toys. Bronies were a meme early in the series, but their Internet popularity gradually faded as the show continued.
Friendship Is Magic is associated with the 2010 relaunch of the My Little Pony toy line of figurines and play sets. Due in part to older fans, Hasbro saw My Little Pony as a "lifestyle" brand with over 200 licenses in 15 categories of products which included clothing, housewares, and digital media. The brand grossed over US$650 million in retail sales in 2013, and US$1 billion in 2014 and 2016.
The series gave Hasbro several opportunities for spin-offs and other works. The company released games such as My Little Pony: Twilight Sparkle, Teacher for a Day, a video game by Gameloft, and a collectible card game. In 2012, IDW Publishing began releasing monthly My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic comics; the series ended in September 2021. The comics were replaced by My Little Pony: Generations the following month. A crossover comic of Friendship Is Magic and Transformers was released in 2020 and 2021. Hasbro observed from the brony fandom that some fan-produced art was a humanized version of the show's characters, and was inspired to develop the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls spin-off series of movies and shorts which ran with Friendship Is Magic for six years. My Little Pony: The Movie was released on October 6, 2017, in the United States. Hasbro and Discovery Family announced a subsequent animated series, My Little Pony: Pony Life. The series, based on the same characters (with most of the voice actors returning), has a new animation style and depicts more stories about mundane experiences.
Main article: My Little Pony: A New Generation
After the show's finale aired, Hasbro began working on a fifth generation which began with the feature film My Little Pony: A New Generation. Like Friendship Is Magic, it is set in Equestria because the production team wanted to further explore the fourth generation's lore and world-building. The fifth generation is set in after the events of the fourth, focusing on different ponies and unexplored parts of Equestria; this gave Hasbro the opportunity to include Easter eggs of the previous generations. The film was released on Netflix in September 2021 to positive reviews; it will be followed by a television series which will be released on the streaming service in 2022.
The My Little Pony brand drives over $1.2 billion in retail sales