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Based on the toyline, My Little Pony, created by Hasbro. Created in The Eighties, this pair of Merchandise-Driven half-hour TV specials came with the wide success of the toyline. The first was aired in 1984 and another in 1985.
My Little Pony: Rescue from Midnight Castle/Firefly's Adventure
Evil Overlord Tirac requires four ponies to use as demons to pull his chariot to bring in The Night That Never Ends in order to Take Over the World. He sends his henchman Scorpan to carry out the task. The special actually begins with the ponies enjoying themselves in Dream Valley until Scorpan and his subordinates attack. Two ponies are captured in the attack. In light of the first aassault by Scorpan and his army of stratodon riders, the rest of the ponies panic and hide in Dream Castle, pulling up the drawbridge. They fear that anyone can be next. Firefly goes off for help and decides to ask it of the very first human she happens to come across: Megan, a cowgirl who lives at a ranch at the other end of the rainbow. From there, Firefly basically kidnaps Megan to go back to Ponyland with her despite the girl being about ten years old and without a single means of helping them. ...Yeah, Firefly's plan needed a little more thought.
Just as Firefly and Megan arrive at Dream Castle, Scorpan returns for another assault, having only attained two on the first run, and proceeds to grab the other two while at it. Thus, Megan and a party of ponies set out to stop Tirac, but first they stop by the Mushrump to meet with the Moochic, a strange gnome wizard with a terrible memory and a mushroom motif, to ask how to defeat Tirac. He gives Megan a locket called "The Rainbow of Light" and they are on their way. Once at Midnight Castle, they break in and confront the evil overlord, himself, and the Rainbows of Light and Dark clash in a surprisingly epic finale in which Tirac is torn and ripped into shreds by the former.
Originally untitled, this special was known as Rescue from Midnight Castle in repeats and Firefly's Adventure on VHS. However, the VHS copies were only available for rent by Blockbuster.
My Little Pony: Escape from Catrina
The Little Ponies prepare for a "Welcome Back" party for their human friend, Megan. Strangely, absolutely none of the original ponies from the first special appear in this follow-up, so it's to anyone's guess why they're welcoming her back. Meanwhile, little furballs called Bushwoolies are the slaves of a drug-addicted Catgirl named Catrina and are watched over by a shape-shifting lizard-man named Rep. When they escape, she tries to make the Little Ponies her new slaves to keep her drug brewing machine working nonstop.
She and her companion manage only to grab one, Baby Moondancer, and they are pursued back into their lair by the other ponies and Megan. There, she gives them the choice: serve her or Baby Moondancer takes a dip in the witch weed potion, which would be presumably fatal. It's around this point that Rep has had enough of Catrina's increasingly violent tendencies and strongarms her into breaking the habit.
The two specials contain examples of:
- Absent-Minded Professor: The Moochic, in spades. In fact, he has an entire song dedicated to this.
- Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male: Completely averted. Throughout Escape from Catrina, Rep is pushed around, belittled, and even struck by Catrina. The special does not treat this like it's okay.
- Action Girl: in Midnight Castle, there are three of them: Megan, Firefly, and Bowtie.
- In Escape from Catrina, we have Megan and, to a certain extent, Sundance.
- An Aesop: In Catrina: drugs are bad.
- Another Dimension: Not outright stated, but it is heavily implied that rainbows are passage ways between our mundane Earth and the ponies' Ponyland. Plus, had Megan lived in the same reality as the ponies, that Firefly could speak and fly would not have come as a surprise to her.
- Anti-Villain: Scorpan in the first TV special, Rep in the second.
- By the end, he's become an Anti-Hero (Type II).
- Artifact of Doom: Tirac's Rainbow of Darkness. Normally is contained into a pouch, where it throbs like a heart and shines with an eerie, creepy glow. Also, Catrina's Witchweed potion, from which she is completely addicted to.
- Badass Adorable: "Danger is my life!" says Firefly, who later kicks a dragon in the face.
- Bowtie also counts. She frees herself from being picked up by the dragons by kicking her way free and she's the best jumper of the land walking ponies.
- Badass Normal: Megan, who begins the series by fending off a dragon empty-handed and finishes the first special by killing Tirac.
- Cats Are Mean: Played with Catrina on the second TV special. The trope is inverted before she became addicted to Witchweed Potion, and is played straight during this phase. She subverts it again after she finally kicks the habit.
- Covers Always Lie: The US cover for Escape from Catrina has absolutely nothing to do with the actual special. For some reason it features a castle never in the special, several pegasi, Mr Moochic, and an adult, winged, Spike being ridden by some random kid. There's a Swedish cover for the first special which is equally as confusing - having the same adult Spike on it being ridden by an oddly dressed Megan and ponies not featured in the special.
- Chekhov's Skill: Firefly attempts her "double inside-loop" early on in "Rescue at Midnight Castle", but fails and crashes into Applejack. She attempts it again to save Megan and later during the final battle to help defeat Tirac.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Scorpan. He looks like the typical image of Satan, but he couldn't be less like the original angel of darkness if he tried.
- Darker and Edgier: Inverted. The first TV special began as dark and grim enough, the second TV special and the following TV series became softer and lighter. Something not surprising, given how the first special included ponies set on fire, plus considerable violence and the Big Bad was brutally killed at the end .
- Distressed Damsel: In Midnight Castle, we have five of them, including Applejack. Actually, especially Applejack, who almost drowns, later is kidnaped by Tirac's henchmen and finally is set on fire and reborn as a monster after she takes a direct hit of the Rainbow of Darkness.
- Baby Moondancer in Escape from Catrina.
- The Dog Bites Back: Scorpan and Spike against Tirac in the first special, Rep against Catrina in the second.
- Drugs Are Bad: The subtle-as-a-brick Aesop of the second TV special.
- Eighties Hair: Even though they're horses, several Ponies in the pilot have hair in this style.
- Emerging From the Shadows: Tirac
- Empathic Environment: At the very beginning, it's sunny and pleasant out, but the instant Scorpan and the other riders show up, it becomes cloudy, windy, and omninous immediately. It's also permanently overcast over Midnight Castle, but that's possibly justified, since it's master controls of the power of darkness.
- Even Mooks Have Loved Ones: Tirac really shouldn't have threatened Scorpan with decapitating Spike, since this is what finally made Scorpan rebel against him.
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending: The first TV special.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Megan's Rainbow of Light tears Tirac apart, almost destroys Midnight Castle (with the good guys still on it) and finally drags Tirac to the sky, where he is killed on a giant explosion.
- Fantastic Aesop: Also from Catrina. Remember kids, stay off drugs, or else you'll become a lightning spamming giant that tries to enslave pastel-colored hairballs and ponies! After a while, even your long time shapeshifting Lizard Folk enabler will grow tired of you, turn into a bull, and knock you into a pit of the stuff to drown in your own habit!
- Five-Man Band:
- Fungus Humongous: The Mushromp
- Genius Ditz: The Moochic. He always knows exactly what the ponies need to do to fix whatever apocalypse they're in the middle of now, but he has a terrible memory and a tendency to misplace very important items and tools.
- Girlish Pigtails: Bowtie.
- G-Rated Drug: Witchweed potion. It turns Catrina, who used to be a much nicer Petting Zoo Person, into a huge demonic giant that shoots lightning out of her eyes. (Certainly, this is a well-documented side-effect of real narcotics...)
- God Save Us From the Queen: Catrina, after her addiction to Witchweed potion drove her insane. After she kicks the habit, she inverts this trope.
- Good Hurts Evil: It only took a few seconds of struggle for Megan's ridiculously tiny Rainbow of Light to absorb Tirac's Rainbow of Darkness and brutally kill him.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Completely averted as far as those lizardman creatures that serve Tirac are concerned. That they're actually good at their job makes Megan and the ponies' victory more impressive.
- Heel Face Turn: Scorpan and Catrina.
- Hellish Horse: The ponies captured and transformed by Tirac
- Hey, It's That Voice!: In Rescue from Midnight Castle, danger is Firefly's life! Also, Felix Unger has a little piece of rainbow.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: The Moochic's long-suffering rabbit, Habit, definitely counts.
- Firefly and Bowtie for Megan.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Quite a number of them in the first special, including future main character, Spike.
- Interspecies Romance: On the second TV special, we have Catrina (a catwoman) who's boyfriend is a shape-shifting lizard-man named Rep.
- Jumped At the Call: Megan goes from discovering a talking winged pony in her well to flying off to Ponyland in about three minutes.
- Lady Land: A staple of the series besides Tales and My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. G3 has no male Ponies actually.
- Last Second Chance: Catrina is offered this, and she actually accepts it to reform herself.
- Lizard Folk: Rep.
- Missing Episode: There was actually another TV Special in the works between Midnight Castle and Escape from Catrina, which would have focused on the Rainbow Haired ponies. Alas, only one trailer for it was ever released, and the special has otherwise never seen the light of day.
- Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Scorpan. That fact that he looks like Satan may have something to do with it.
- Morality Pet: Spike is this for Scorpan on the first TV special, Rep tries to be this for Catrina in the second.
- The Night That Never Ends: Tirac's ultimate goal in the first TV special is The Trope Namer.
- Noble Demon: Scorpan was like a father for Spike and tried to spare as much people as he could from falling into Tirac's hands. Subverted in that he is really an enchanted human prince and the rightful lord of the lands seized by Tirac.
- No Ontological Inertia: After Tirac is killed, his entire kingdom reverts to a pleasant countryside, and everyone he transformed goes back to normal.
- Off with His Head: Tirac threatens Scorpan with making heads roll- Spike's head if he fails at bringing him the final pony before midnight. This was the last drop for Scorpan, who allies with the ponies and turns against Tirac.
- Opening Credits Cast Party: In Midnight Castle, the special opens with the ponies partying like its 1899. Then... things get worse.
- Power Source: Catrina's power depends of having a constant supply of Witchweed potion. When she is about to run out of it, she completely snaps, which kickstarts the TV special.
- Punch Clock Villain: On the second TV special we have Rep, who's a pretty decent guy. He's just (initially) too much of a sap to stand up to the power-crazed Catrina.
- Recycled Premise: The plot of the second special is near identical to the first: Big Bad wants to kidnap ponies to serve their purposes and they have to be stopped. Oh, and Tirac and Catrina both have Anti-Villain employees.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Firefly plays Red Oni to everyone else in the special, but especially Medley and Twilight.
- Secret Underground Passage: Megan and the ponies use one to get into Midnight Castle.
- Shout-Out: The panther statues in Catrina's lair in the second special look almost exactly like Ravage on Transformers Generation 1.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Is the villain in the first special named Tirac or Tirek? Not even This Very Wiki can agree on it.
- The later edition (and subsequent 2-part syndication version) of "Escape from Catrina" misspells Catrina's name in the title.
- Tagalong Kid: Averted with Megan. The ponies are tagging along with her.
- Played straight with Ember and Spike, though.
- Team Mom: Medley. She is without the soft spoken voice of reason in the group.
- Tempting Fate: The last two lines of the Rescue From Castle Midnight intro theme are "No sign of trouble in sight/May all your days be bright". Not thirty seconds later, giant dragons appear and wreck havoc on Dream Valley.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Firefly and Medley, respectively.
- Vile Villain Saccharine Show: And how!
- Voluntary Shapeshifter: Rep, again.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the first special, an unnamed white pony with a multi-color mane, who is accompanied by a cat, was never named or made into a toy.
- Winged Unicorn: In Escape from Catrina, a Blooper causes pegasus Baby Surprise to have a horn for a couple of shots during the song "Let's Not Take A Nap".
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Catrina's Witchweed potion gives her immense magical powers at the cost of her morality & sanity.
- X Meets Y: Rescue from Midnight Castle could be aptly renamed My Little Pony meets Dungeons and Dragons. Heck, it even had dungeons and dragons!