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- 08/01/14--17:56: Newest GSG Exclusive Induction: The Lorax
- 09/25/14--10:15: What Killed the Hub Network?
- 10/22/14--14:01: Is it Crap?: My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks
How bad can an adaptation be? Find out Here with this month's newest Game Show Garbage induction
So, as many of you are aware by now, The Hub Network, an alliance of both the toy company Habro and Discovery Communications, have come to an amicable split as of last week. Due to this, the network, born from the previous Discovery Kids, and debuted on October 10th, 2010, will be changed to the ever-so-catchy "Discovery Family Channel". Hasbro will stay with the channel, getting a 9am-3pm block every day, though they are planning an exit strategy that may see them bring their shows to Cartoon Network, or Disney. so breathe easy fellow bronies, the ponies are safe... for now.
But, what led to this channel's eventual death? For a lot of people, this wasn't completely unexpected. The company has never exactly been a ratings giant throughout its four year run, despite, again, one exception with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. But after just a mere four year run, it's quitting time already? What killed the channel, and why couldn't it ever find its footing in the kids network battle? Well, I've broken it down to five reasons. These aren't too detailed, but they are quick thoughts on why the channel never succeeded.
#1. Not enough interesting original programs
In four years on the air, it's hard to really count on both hands how many original Hub shows aired that left any form of lasting impact. There was Dan Vs., a show that was cut way too soon, Transformers Prime: one of the stronger Transformers cartoons in recent memory (Rescue Bots is so-so), R.L Stine's "The Haunting Hour" series (Which considering the network also aired Goosebumps was a great addition), Littlest Pet Shop (which is oft considered a sister show to MLP due to the studio behind it), The Aquabats Super Show, game shows like Family Game Night and The Game of Life, and then the cash cow of the network, My Little Pony. There are other shows, but in the end, they're far more forgettable, stuff like Kid President, or Parents Just Don't Understand.
Everything else was pretty much old sitcoms, or old cartoon shows. Though granted, some of those old cartoons included Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures. Both of which are still awesome, but I'd argue hold up better for older audiences than they do for modern kids, since they're both drenched in early 90's pop culture. As for the sitcoms, I'm not knocking them, but shows like Sister Sister or Blossom haven't exactly been remembered as fondly as other sitcoms like Saved By the Bell, or Full House. Also, I remember when they were advertising that they were airing Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. Ew.
The movie list was pretty sparse as well. I mean, when you're airing The Nightmare Before Christmas in May, then you've really defeated the purpose of the film entirely. That, and clearly you don't have as many movies as you should.
I think that the lack of strong original programs, and even a better variety of stronger shows on rotation were definitely one of the bigger factors in the death of the Hub.
#2. Bigger competition
Simple reason here. Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney were running the kids TV game for years before Hasbro and Discovery tried to step foot. And since these channels for the most part have always provided better variety in shows (Nickelodeon you could argue on that), many of which have become massive successes, it really never gave the Hub the time it needed to develop.
#3. The Network's Availability
Another simple reason. Not enough cable providers picked the network up. In fact, I constantly hear from fans of MLP that they don't get the Hub in their packages. This means the dream viewer base could never get to where the channel needed, and that's less their fault and more the cable providers who turned the channel down.
#4. People only watched for Ponies, and nothing else
This is more exaggerated, but it does hold a lot of truth to it. The only show that proved any form of mainstream success was Friendship is Magic. Hell, it turned out to be a bigger success than even Hasbro had expected, as it gained the admiration of a completely different demographic as planned. The Lauren Faust created reboot became a hit with kids and adults (Many being men), and even in reruns is the highest rated show on the network. As for anything else, not so much.
And that's really a problem in the grand scheme of things, and goes back to the lack of quality original content statement. Friendship is Magic turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it gained ratings and popularity, but it didn't bring people in to stay for the rest of the network's offerings. Hell, go to any facebook post by the hub that isn't about My Little Pony, and almost every post is littered about ponies. Not to mention the show's easy accessibility online makes it easier for people who even have the hub initially to just cut the middleman out altogether, which is a big shame, and makes Hasbro's copyright battles more justified.
I'm certainly not knocking the Brony community on this, but you can definitely see how these actions could lead to doing more harm than good for the people who provide the ponies they love so much.
#5. The channel took too long to progress
And the biggest issue I have, one that ties in to a lot of this is that the Hub never evolved. From 2010 to 2014 it has always felt like the same channel, never truly evolving or changing its game as time went on. And for any network, especially in the 2010s, that's not particularly wise. This isn't the eighties, an era where the kids network concept was still fresh, and where channels like even Nickelodeon wouldn't truly evolve with stronger original content until the early nineties, things now have to remain fresh and interesting to keep up in an always changing cable industry. And for the Hub, whose biggest change in four years was a logo update, it was too little too late. And it seemed like people realized that too soon, as original CEO Margaret Loesch jumped off the sinking ship, and it pretty much felt like the end was in sight.
And that's where we are now. Come October 13th, the four year run of the Hub Network will come to a close. And in the end, it will be a shame. So, here's to you Hub Network. You may have been around for a short amount of time, but it was a fun run.
When I started writing for Game Show Garbage earlier this year, the first induction I did was My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. Reason mainly being that it felt like a particularly piss poor spinoff movie intended to try to get a new IP in the doll market being dominated by Monster High. Its plot was stupid and at times nonsensical, suffered from too many quickly resolved conflicts, had the blandest character in series history with Flash Sentry, and suffered from way too much "Twilight Sparkle fixes everyhing".
So, when in February of this year it was announced that the sequel "Rainbow Rocks" would be coming out, I was cautiously optimistic. Why? Because I know for all the flaws with the first film, most could be attributed to DHX being given this new IP to work with and with very little time to build new ideas for it. Also, being the first movie, it had to suffer from introducing and building this new human horse world.
When the film was released a month ago, i managed to see it the best way I knew how... by means of a camera rip from the Cinema release. And was my optimism rewarded?
In almost every way.
The plot to Rainbow Rocks sees it being not too long after the events of the first movie. Sunset Shimmer, the villain of the previous film, is now trying to be a good person, despite nobody but the main five giving her a chance. But their attempts at goodness are interrupted by three girls known as the Dazzlings, who seem to have musical powers that bring out the negativity in others. Their goal is to execute a battle of the bands to feast on the negativity of everyone, including our heroes. With everyone under their spell but our heroes, Sunset Shimmer sends a message to Twilight Sparkle in Equestria, who may be the only one who can find a way to put a stop to the plans of the evil sirens. But with their band the Rainbooms having a hard time getting along, can they put a stop to the Dazzings, and will it be Twilight who saves the day this time?
So, what makes this film work where the other one didn't? At a glance, the concept of a battle of the bands story is no more original than the first's fall formal story. But it does work as the backdrop to the plot. The main story within really focuses more on Sunset Shimmer, who does actually feel remorse for her past actions. You do see her wanting to change the preconceptions that everyone has about her, and without spoiling much, most of the story does hinge on her actions more than even franchise protagonist Twilight.
The mane six all get entertaining moments in this episode. They play off each other great, and feel a lot more like the pony versions you know so well. And even that feeling of "Twilight and five strangers" feels like it's gone as well. You get them at all their best traits. Rarity being fashion obsessed, Pinkie Pie being random, Applejack being the voice of reason, Rainbow Dash being arrogant, and Fluttershy... well, I think you get the point there.
The Dazzlings also make for fun villains, albeit a bit too stereotypical. You get Adagio the leader, Aria the angry one, and Sonata, the dimwitted one that everyone loves. Reminds me a lot of the Misfits from Jem. The film also features tons of humanized cameos from many of the show's most beloved side characters and background ponies, and one certain "great and powerful" one plays a bigger role in this as well.
The animation also feels like a step up from the last film. Character designs feel like they've greatly improved with the year or work since the first, and some of the effects really stand out for a cartoon animated in flash. It feels like there was far more effort put in not just the designs, but the music as well. Being a movie about a battle of the bands, there's tons of new songs, many of which feel as on par with the show, and have far more variety than the same sounding ones in the original Equestria Girls. And some of them are far more catchy as well.
And how about Flash Sentry? Surely he's gotten more interesting right?
Nah, he still sucks.
But he's barely in the film, so he's hardly a detriment to it.
So, in the end, is Rainbow Rocks crap? Not at all. It has a few flaws in parts, but everything else involved is a top notch animated film. It's definitely a sign of DHX wanting to make something of this spinoff, while also keeping the original series going strong into its fifth season (as well as a now planned MLP movie in 2017). There is a third EQG movie planned for next year, so it should be interesting to see where we go from here. But for now, this is definitely a vast improvement. from where we started
My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rock will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on October 28th.