Peeks: Littlest Pet Shop 2018

LPS Title Card

Last June, Hasbro canceled its’ Hub/Discovery Family Littlest Pet Shop animated series after 4 seasons, due to low toy sales. At the time, Hasbro stated that they may be rebooting the franchise some time in the future.

Apparently, the future is now.

Littlest_Pet_Shop_(2018_TV_series)_logo

Yes.

In the intervening time since LPS 2012’s cancellation, Hasbro has since acquired Boulder Media, an Irish animation studio formerly owned by Cartoon Network. The new Littlest Pet Shop series is slated to arrive in the form of YouTube shorts which will start airing in fall 2017, with the full-blown series making its’ debut in 2018.

According to sources, the plot will revolve around “a world made by pets for pets where a portal opens up and the pets can go do things”.

Whaaaat

Hmm, that sounds kind of familiar…

Sliders

Just wish I could place it.

Character-wise, the series will focus on a sextet of main characters, referred to in the press as The Pet Six.

No Just No

Yeah, let’s stop that before it starts.

Littlest Pet Shop 2018

  • Roxie McTerrier (Brown Dog)
  • Jade Catkin (Black Cat)
  • Quincy Goatee (Yellow Goat)
  • Trip Hamston (Hamsta) (Red Hamster)
  • Bev Gilturtle (Blue Turtle with Purple shell)
  • Edie von Keet (Yellow-Green Parakeet)

Names with no pets attached (listed as recurring characters)

  • Mister Yut
  • Savannah Cheetaby
  • Wlsteria Perslla

OK, early impressions. So much to unpack here. Congrats, Hasbro. One of the main things that dogged the 2012 Littlest Pet Shop series was how it was unable to escape the shadow of its’ big sister series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, so what do you do with the new series? Make it even more like MLP: Friendship is Magic!

picard-facepalm

Of course, it may turn out to be something different and unique, but on paper this “world made for pets by pets” thing basically sounds like Equestria with other species.

Also, I can’t be the only one who finds it weird that this is a Littlest Pet Shop series and there’s no actual shop? I mean, it’s in the title, fer cryin’ out loud. Plus, I’m assuming that since these pets go into this portal to have their adventures, their owners are perpetually off-camera. That’s unfortunate, I think; they seem to be doing the very thing I hoped they wouldn’t do: exclude the human element from the show. I think that should’ve been kept, since the presence of humans was one thing that helped distinguish LPS from its’ big sister MLP.

Blythe Baxter

Plus, I admit, I’m gonna miss Blythe.

Which brings me to my final observation: I get that this is a reboot and Hasbro wanted to start fresh with a clean slate, and it’s likely I just haven’t completely exorcised the ghosts of series past, but I’m sorry that the producers didn’t bring back any of the previous show’s characters. No Sunil, Zoe, Vinnie, Pepper, Russel, Minka, Sugar Sprinkles or Buttercream is going to take some getting used to, as they were all decent characters.

Penny_ling

They could have at least brought back Penny Ling. I loved Penny Ling.

Now since this new show is being produced by a different studio, it’s possible that they couldn’t use any of the 2012 characters, but my big concern is that this new show idea smacks too much of MLP: FiM. I think Hasbro was a little too quick to turn its’ collective back on the 2012 show. The Blythe Baxter LPS wasn’t perfect, it had problems, but I didn’t think it was beyond repair. That concept just needed to be tweaked a little, not completely overhauled.

Here’s what I/we would’ve done (Jason already covered some of this in his LPS Final Season Retrospective, so I’ll to keep it brief):

  1. I would’ve done away with the 22-minute episode format. This show didn’t need to do single 20-minute stories just because MLP did it that way, plus many of the LPS plots seemed padded out anyway. I would have gone with 2 or 3 shorts per show.
  2. Kept the show in “our world”, albeit an exaggerated cartoon version thereof. The ‘real world’ setting was another that helped distinguish LPS from MLP.
  3. Kept the shop, kept Blythe and some of the human characters, only I would’ve broken the communication barrier and have the show go full-on Looney Tunes or Bloom County and have the animals be able to directly communicate with the humans and vice-versa. Yeah, that would render the whole “Blythe is special because she can talk to animals” premise null and void, but to be honest I was never a huge fan of that shtick in the first place.
  4. Give Blythe (or a new main human character who distinctly resembled her) 2 parents from the get-go, both of whom would still be alive and happily married. I personally hate the Dead/Missing Mother trope with the fury of 1000 suns.
  5. GET RID OF THOSE #@$%^&*! BISKIT TWINS. I’m not gonna mince words here, they were hands-down one of the things I hated most about the 2012 show. While I’m usually a fan of twin characters and rich characters, I found those 2 unbearable and their characters made no flipping sense. They had no reason whatsoever to antagonize Blythe other than they were the designated bad guys of the show and so they had to bad guy stuff, and since they not only outnumbered Blythe but were also far better off materially than her, they always just came off like bullies picking on her, and I hated how the writers always had Blythe simper and try to make nice with and sometimes even try to kowtow and suck up to those little creepos only for them to routinely piss on her head. I would’ve done one of 2 things with the Biskits: either change them to latter-day Bulk & Skull-esque characters, good-natured goofs as opposed to flat-out baddies, or merge the Biskits and the Baxters into one family unit, say have a benevolent rich family who owns the shop and the daughter of this family is a Blythe type character, or a pair of twin Blythe types, either 2 sisters or 1 sister and 1 brother (why not? I’m sure some boys buy LPS toys too–you do, some of you guys. Admit it).

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this new show will be good. I have my reservations, but maybe I’ll be proven wrong. This series could rock, though I’m not thoroughly convinced yet.

Fry_Looking_Squint

We’ll just have to see.

Why Vinnie Terrio is Awesome!

Vinnie Terrio

  1. He’s a gecko, but he doesn’t shill insurance.
  2. He’s the shortest LPS pet, but he’s got a reflex strut.
  3. His sail-fin is shaped into a Travolta-styled coif.
  4. He’s the only LPS pet who’s not a mammal. He knows the struggle of being a minority.
  5. He’s just a dancin’ fool.
  6. He’s voiced by Kyle Rideout, who not only has a cool name, but does an amazingly hilarious voice!
  7. He finds it quite easy being green.
  8. He’s not that bright, but his swagger makes up for it.
  9. He’s often in pursuit of fly honeys, OK, just flies.
  10. He can lose his tail and grow it back. Modular.
  11. He’s best friends with Sunil Nevla the mongoose. Together they form a Dynamic Duo of funny!
  12. He’s named after Denny Terrio, the host of the disco dance competition show Dance Fever. (Look it up.)
  13. He’s bringing scaly back.
  14. He once performed on a TV dance show in a trench coat while balancing a teenage girl on his back. Hey, you try doing that!

Cartoon Country: Littlest Pet Shop Final Season Retrospective

 

Littlest_Pet_Shop_title_sequence_screenshot

Bye, Blythe.

Today, Hasbro’s animated series Littlest Pet Shop (which airs on the Discovery Family channel) aired it’s last new episode of the season, and in case you haven’t heard, it’s also the last episode of the series. Yes, it’s true; Littlest Pet Shop is canceled. Roger Eschbacher, one of the series’ writers, confirms that there won’t be a 5th season of LPS, and that the decision to pull the plug on the show had to do with toy sales, not ratings. So it wasn’t low ratings, ’twas toy sales that killed the beast.

So in view of this news, I thought that I’d offer my thoughts on LPS and in particular, it’s 4th (and last) season. There’s no need for me to go over the series as a whole, since Damon has written a couple of articles on LPS already, which can be viewed here and here.

To start, I’m going to list my choices for the best and worst episodes of the series. NOTE: I’m not listing these episodes in any particular order, so I won’t be numbering them. That said, let’s go, man, go!

The BEST Episodes:

  • Gailbreak!
  • Penny For Your Laughs
  • Russel Up Some Fun
  • Dumb Dumbwaiter
  • Lights, camera, Mongoose!
  • Sweet (Truck) Ride
  • What Meme Worry?
  • A Day at the Museum

The WORST Episodes:

  • Helicopter Dad
  • The Nest Hat Craze!
  • Two Pets For Two Pests
  • Feud For Thought

Now, some of the highlights from Season 4:

  • No major story arcs or game changing moments for the pets. They’re just there to be cute and funny, which they were.
  • The Bisktit Twins (Whittany & Brittany) became somewhat more human and tolerable this season. They were no longer Blythe’s sworn enemies for no reason, but instead were just mildly annoying. Speaking of…
  • This season, we learn that Whittany & Brittany do indeed have a mother, one Eliza Biskit ( a caricature of Eliza Doolittle, the character played by Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady). Morever, it was implied that Eliza had been around all along and we (the audience) simply had never seen her before. I liked how LPS’ writers turned Eliza’s being off screen as a joke. (“Mom? where have you been the last 3 seasons?”)
  • Youngmee wants a pet of her own this season, and she gets one, a female dog. Not much else happens after that. That plot doesn’t really go anywhere.
  • Mrs. Twombly purchases a piece of land in Downtown City and names it Littlest Pet Street.
  • And finally, we at last learn more about Blythe’s missing mother. We learn that her nickname is/was Betty and that she could also communicate with animals. Blythe receives her mother’s diary from a tortoise named Speedy in the season opener, and this dairy is seen and referred to throughout the season. In the last episode, Blythe finally reveals to her father Roger her ability to communicate with animals, and then he himself reveals to her that he knew about Blythe’s ability all along, and that he also knew that his wife Betty had this ability.

FINAL VERDICT…

meh1

That was an OK twist, but not as good as what I had hoped. Yeah, Blythe finally tells her dad about how she can communicate with animals (about dang time, I say!). She already revealed her secret to her friend Youngmee in season 3, and you have to wonder why Blythe would tell the girl that she’s known for a year or 2 before she told the person who, you know, raised her? As a season finale, “Littlest Pet Street” was OK, not great, but passable. However, as a series finale, this was weak sauce because nothing was concluded. To me, the series should have ended with Blythe finding out that her mom was still alive somewhere and then reuniting with her and/or the Baxters moving away from Downtown City. Damon and I thought that LPS would conclude with Blythe being reunited with her absent mother. We thought that Blythe was going to discover her mother on the desert island and that it would be revealed that Betty wasn’t dead after all, but was just living on the island doing the Dr. Doolittle thing. That may not have made a lot of sense, but it would been a cooler twist than the one that we actually got.

Dennis Miller

“Now, I don’t want to get off on a rant here…”

…but I have to say that one thing this show knows how to do is tease it’s audience. LPS’ writers would frequently dangle something in front of it’s audiences’ face like a carrot at the end of your nose, and then pull it away at the last second saying “Just kidding!” I can’t believe that after all those tidbits about Blythe’s mom Betty that were dropped throughout the 4th season the writers still chose not to give Betty a face in the series finale. If Blythe wasn’t going to be reunited with her mother, we could at least gotten to see what Betty looked like via a picture, or a flashback. Give us something, for cryin’ out loud!

Rant over.

Littlest Pet Shop wasn’t a great show, but it was entertaining and fun. LPS’ biggest problem was that it was never able to get out of the shadow of the Hasbro show that preceded it, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Fans were constantly comparing LPS to MLP: FiM, so it was never able to find it’s own voice or establish it’s own identity. I did like how Blythe sported a different hairstyle and outfit in every episode, and I’m glad that she was the only character on the show who did this. If everyone did it, then it would be nothing special. Plus, it would be too much of a hassle for the writers to come up with a new outfit each episode for every single character in the main cast. While I enjoyed LPS, I’m not sorry that the series is ending. Four seasons is a good run. It’s more than many animated series get, and it’s my personal unpopular opinion that NO scripted series should ever go beyond 3 or at the most 4 seasons. I’d rather LPS end while it’s still pretty good than just keep going and going year after year until it becomes a zombie that refuses to stay dead, like some other animated series, but I’m not mentioning any names.

SimpsonsFamily1

You know who you are.

Hasbro has mentioned that it’s already planning to reboot the Little Pet Shop franchise, and if that happens, a new animated series is likely to follow. We’d like to offer a few suggestions for the new LPS series (if there is one):

  1. It should follow the shorts format. Hasbro, every episode of LPS doesn’t need to be a full 22 minute episode. This show doesn’t need to utilize the half hour story format just because it’s big sister, MLP does. Honestly, many of the LPS seemed padded, so instead we think that each half hour of LPS should consist of two 10 minute shorts or possibly three 7 minute shorts per show.
  2. If Blythe Baxter (or a similar sort of character) is in the LPS reboot series, just have her start out with 2 happily married parents from the get-go. No more of that absent mother BS. I don’t want to go through this crap again.

Overall, I’m giving the series finale of Littlest Pet Shop a 2.5 out of 5. the finale was OK, but it could have been a lot better. I would have preferred that LPS went out with a bang rather than a whimper, but perhaps the rebooted series will be a tad more electric.

So long, Littlest Pet Shop. It’s too bad that there’s officially one less reason tune in to Discovery Family now. There’s nothing left to say except…Hit it, boys!

 

Nerdvana: More Favorite Cutie Marks

Back in June, Damon (Silverstar) posted a Nerdvana segment in which he discussed his favorite Pony Tribes ‘N’ Cutie Marks. Inspired by this, I’ve decided to list some additional Cutie Marks that I prefer. I don’t have anything to add about the tribes, so I won’t be discussing those. Also, these choices won’t be listed in any particular order, so I won’t be numbering them.

And before anyone asks, no, I won’t be reviewing the recent My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode “Crusaders of the Lost Mark”. As good as the episode was, I won’t be writing a review of it because a) as was stated a few times before, this isn’t a review site, and b) literally everyone on the internet and their Uncle Gus has reviewed that episode by now, so there’s no reason for me to. That said, let the nerd talk begin!

APPLEJACK

Applejack

Applejack's Cutie Mark

Applejack doesn’t get the attention that characters like Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash or Pinkie Pie get, but we here at Twinsanity like to root for underdogs. AJ has a laid back down home quality to her that I find to be quite appealing. Applejack’s Cutie Mark is likewise lacking in bells and whistles. Yeah, it’s just 3 apples, but sometimes a design can be brilliant in it’s simplicity.

Incidentally, we’re also fans of the Apple Family and Sweet Apple Acres, so I may be doing a separate piece on just them somewhere down the line…

Roy-Clark-and-Buck-Owens-and-the-cast-of-HEE-HAW

“I’m a-pickin’…”

“…And I’m a-grinnin’!” 

AUNT AND UNCLE ORANGE

Aunt_Orange_ID_S1E23

Uncle_Orange_ID_S1E23

the_oranges___cutie_marks_by_rildraw-d49gkgl

On the subject of Applejack, I’m going to give honorable mention to AJ’s Aunt and Uncle Orange, a pair of city-wise sophisticates from the big city of Manehattan. because I like the gag of the rural Apple family having sophisticated city cousins who are all named after oranges.

"I GET IT!"

“I GET IT!”

"There's only one thing that's better than having money, and that's having more money!"

“There’s only one thing that’s better than having money, and that’s having more money!”

MOON DANCER

Moon Dancer

Moon_Dancer_cutie_mark_crop_S5E12

Moon Dancer is an update of a G2 pony with the same name. Again, I like this Cutie Mark. The moon and 3 stars (or sparkles, depending on your point of view) with the 2 different shades of purple look good against that color. But just a piece of advice, Moon Dancer, get yourself a pair of glasses without tape on them. That’s not stylish.

TWILIGHT VELVET

Twilight_Velvet_id_S1E23

Twilight_velvet_cutie_mark_by_badangel2012-d5z91o9

Another update of a G1 pony who in this incarnation is Twilight Sparkle’s mother. I’m digging the combination of white and purple on the mane and tail. Again, her Cutie Mark is a pretty basic one: just 3 stars, but but sometimes simple wins out.

SWEETIE DROPS, aka BON-BON

Sweetie_Drops_ID_S5E9

full

Sweetie Drops is the official name for this character that Hasbro has given her, while Bon-Bon is the name that was given to her by the MLP fans before her official name was revealed. Personally, I prefer Bon-Bon, myself. Anyway, Bon-Bon is usually seen with her “best friend” Lyra (yeah, they’re “good friends”. Let’s go with that), but her’s is the design that I like more. In addition to that bitchin’ blue and pink mane, her Cutie mark is 3 candies. I do like the cavity indicing sweet stuff.

MEDLEY

Medley

180px-MedleySymbol

The only G1 pony to make this list. While green wouldn’t be my first choice of color, I do like the Cutie mark design of musical notes.

THE CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS

From left to right, Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo

From left to right, Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo

Crusaders'_cutie_marks_side-by-side_shot_S5E18

I saved these 3 for last because as anyone who’s been following the show knows, the CMCs have only recently joined the ranks of Ponies with Cutie Marks. Notice how all of their Cutie Marks have the same design, only with different identifying symbols on them. I like how the symbols of each are actually personalized to the characters. I especially like Scootaloo’s wing/lightning bolt combo. I’m only a casual fan of the show, but the “Crusaders of the Lost Mark” episode was epic win. Congratulations, Crusaders! You’ve still got to go to bed at 9, but until then, party like rock stars! This note’s for you:

The Hub: What Could Have Been

Well, folks, we’re approaching the final week of The Hub network being called The Hub. Next Monday (October 13) will mark the beginning of The Hub’s rebrand as Discovery Family.

Disc Fam logo

Hasbro will still be in control of the channel from 5 AM to 5 PM, but the rest of the hours will be programmed by Discovery. Yesterday, I came across one of the promos for Discovery Family. Take a look:

That’s it? Just a bunch of educational science, nature and animal documentaries?? Color me underwhelmed. So let’s examine this, shall we? Going by the above promo, Discovery Family’s lineup will have no animated shows (except for the established Hasbro properties such My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Transformers Rescue Bots), no scripted shows and no movies. It’s almost as though Discovery wants this channel to fail. DiscFam is probably going to be an even bigger bomb than the XFL. Yeah, The Hub’s airing old sitcom reruns in prime time was a phenomenally stupid programming decision, but does Discovery honestly believe that they can gain a substantial following by running a bunch of educational documentaries and reality programs in their place? What kind of network that wants to attract kids doesn’t have any cartoons on it’s lineup? That’s just dumb! And yes, I know that live action shows are cheaper to produce than animated shows, but even if DiscFam brought back some of their old Discovery Kids shows in reruns, that would be better than having no cartoons on the lineup at all. After I first saw this promo, my initial thought for the future of Discovery Family was this:

I predict that this new schedule is going to go over like a lead balloon covered with fat people. Even the DiscFam logo looks dull, generic and uninspired. Admittedly, I kind of like the tagline “Let’s Go!”, but it’s wasted on this snooze fest of a lineup. It makes me wish that Hasbro had partnered with some other company to launch it’s family oriented family cable channel and Discovery wasn’t involved at all. This leads me to ponder what things may have been like had Hasbro hitched it’s wagon to another company besides Discovery. Here are a few choices. Before I start, I’m going to say that the Big 3 (Disney, Warner Brothers and Viacom) are already off of the table, since they already have active family oriented cable channels, so we don’t have to imagine what their family channels would be like. That said, to borrow DiscFam’s tagline, Let’s go!

HASBRO AND DREAMWORKS

Dreamworks wouldn’t want to do this, and they have no reason to do it, but imagine if Hasbro and DreamWorks had partnered up and launched a family oriented cable channel. Not only would said channel be able to air all of the movies from the Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda franchises as well as How To Train Your Dragon, but they’d also be able to air the DreamWorks series such as Monsters VS Aliens, Penguins of Madagascar, Dragons: Riders/Defenders of Berk, Kung-Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and the upcoming animated series based on The Croods. Also Dreamworks currently owns the Classic Media library, which  includes the UPA TV catalogue, Harvey Entertainment, Big Idea Productions, Filmation and the license rights to Gumby, Voltron and the Jay Ward productions. This means that this hypothetical channel could also air reruns of Rocky & Bullwinkle and Felix the Cat, as well as any new adaptations of said projects.  Add to that My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic, Transformers and Littlest Pet Shop, and it sounds like a winner to me.

ADDENDUM: As it happens, a Hasbro/Dreamworks partnership almost happened, but Dreamworks’ president Jeffry Katzenberg wanted too much money and power, so Hasbro backed out of the deal. And the Greek chorus moans “More’s the pity.”

HASBRO AND 20TH CENTURY FOX

I know that FOX wouldn’t be interested in doing this, since their last attempt at a family friendly cable channel (Fox Family) didn’t end well and they already have a couple of cable channels under their belt, but it would be pretty cool if FOX had a showcase for their Fox Kids library of shows, as well as any new series that the studio would want to produce. Furthermore, there wouldn’t be the issue of what the channel would air at night after the kids have gone to bed, since this channel could air the FOX prime time shows and/or some of the FX or FXX programs. Plus, FOX owns The Simpsons lock, stock and barrel, so there wouldn’t be any issues if they wanted to air reruns of that on this channel.

HASBRO AND NBC/UNIVERSAL

I think that Hasbro and Universal would get along pretty well. Partnered with Universal, this hypothetical channel could air the likes of Woody Woodpecker and some of Universal Studios movies. Plus, Universal owns Qubo and Sprout. ‘ Nuff said.

HASBRO AND COOKIE JAR

Under this partnership, we would have a channel that had access to all of the Hasbro properties as well of all of the shows on Cookie Jar TV and KEWLopolis.

Honestly, any of these partnerships sounds better than what we’re getting. Now, it’s possible that Discovery may surprise us all by pulling something really special out of their collective sleeves, but I’m not counting on that. After seeing that Discovery Family promo and reading what Discovery’s master plan for the channel is, I have only this to say to all of them.