* AngstWhatAngst: The ponies that were transformed into [[BalefulPolymorph baleful ponymorphs]] and were made to assist Tirek bring in TheNightThatNeverEnds sure don't seem too broken up about it at the end of ''Rescue from Midnight Castle''.
** FridgeHorror comes into place. Considering the later incarnations, maybe they've just become used to horrible things happening to them. (Or they just don't remember any of it).
* AnimationAgeGhetto: Thanks to this, people are still surprised at how dark the first special was almost thirty years after it was made.
* {{Anvilicious}}: The anti-drug message of ''Escape from Catrina'' is... unsubtle.
* ClicheStorm: As good as the original special was, it is also this. An EvilOverlord is trying to TakeOverTheWorld and only a PluckyGirl KidHero and her [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits ragtag bunch of misfit]] friends can stop him using a powerful {{Macguffin}} given to them by a absent-minded wizard.
** The same goes for the follow-up.
* CompleteMonster: [[BigBad Tirek]] is a [[VileVillainSaccharineShow surprisingly vile creature]] from a show that's supposed to be a little girl's show. A demon of a centaur, Tirek was the ruler of the Midnight Castle, and planned to send Dream Valley into a state of eternal chaos. To do so, he used a sack containing magical spells in it to essentially torture and transform young ponies into his hideous, winged dragons which he could then use to pull his Chariot of Darkness. He's also amazingly violent. This is shown whenever his henchman Scorpan [[YouHaveFailedMe failed him]]. He would threaten to have Spike's [[OffWithHisHead head cut off]] if he ever screwed up again, which makes it even more disturbing in that Spike was a child, and therefore it meant that he [[WouldHurtAChild had no limits to who he had to hurt in order to get his way]].
* ContestedSequel: To a lot of fans either everything that came after these two specials, or just anything after ''Rescue at Midnight Castle'', period.
* CreepyAwesome: Tirek is personified NightmareFuel, and became an EnsembleDarkhorse because of it.
* EarWorm: a good chunk of the songs are very catching and will stay with you long, long after you've watched these. In particular the opening themes.
** ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4TedkQP_hM Shoo be doo shoo shoo be doo!]]''
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Firefly. Spunky tomboy with guts and attitude? Check. Inspired Rainbow Dash? Check. Being voiced by Sandy Duncan also doesn't hurt.
** The Moochick: this character is fondly remembered by many fans of the series as one of its finer points. Being voiced by Tony Randall probably helped.
** Applejack, too, considering she was only in "Midnight Castle" but later got a song and a few generations later became one of the main characters of ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Friendship is Magic]]''.[[note]]Of course, this was in part due to legal reasons. Applejack is apparently the only pony from G1 that Hasbro kept the trademark for.[[/note]]
** Tirek is also surprisingly popular with the ''Friendship Is Magic'' fans. [[spoiler:The creators eventually brought him back in said series.]]
** Medley, Bow-Tie, Glory, Twilight[[note]]Who later became a pegasus pony for some reason[[/note], Moondancer, and Ember[[note]]Implied, but not outright stated to be a baby pony.[[/note]] all have garnered their place amongst fandom.
** And of course Habbit, the Moochick's long-suffering rabbit assistant.
* EvilIsCool: Tirek.
* FanPreferredCouple: [[TomboyAndGirlyGirl Firefly and Medley]] have been gaining a bit of support in more recent times.
* FirstInstallmentWins: ''Most'' of G1 fans consider ''Midnight Castle'' (and sometimes ''Catrina'') to be high point of the cartoons that were made at the time. With its slick animation, [[VileVillainSaccharineShow menacing and competent villain]] Tirek, AntiVillain Scorpan, and awesome climax...it's not difficult to see why.
* GannonBanned: Some fans will insist that it's Rescue ''at'' Midnight Castle not Rescue ''from'' Midnight Castle, since it was given this name in it's later incarnation as a regular series episode. However, this is an aversion as it was originally called simply "My Little Pony" when it was first aired in 1984.
* GirlShowGhetto: Uh-huh.
* GirlsNeedRoleModels: The likely reason for Megan's existence. She's quick, spirited, and despite her own fears happens to be TheChosenOne who saves the day from EvilOverlord Tirek.
* HePannedItNowHeSucks: Expect anyone who dislikes ''Midnight Castle'' to get this treatment, even if they did have a well thought-out reason why.
* HypeBacklash: A lot of fans hype these two specials up a lot as proof that not all of the G1 cartoons were terrible. Expect this to happen from time to time.
* MemeticMutation: The Seaponies and their "Shoo-be-doo, Shoo-Shoo-be-do!"
* MoralEventHorizon: Tirek crosses it in his whole pans. He even coined the trope TheNightThatNeverEnds.
** Catrina almost crosses this when she attempts to kill a Bushwoolie and Baby Moondancer. Rep saves the former, and regarding the latter, he stops her and makes her change her ways just in time.
* NightmareRetardant: As horrifying as Tirek can be, his sheer [[EvilIsHammy hamminess]] occasionally makes him outright goofy.
* NightmareFuel: Tirek, everything from his voice[[note]]Thanks to the Victor Caroli, AKA the [[Series/TheTransformers Transformers]] narrator.[[/note]] to what to turning ponies into a dragons, even leaving one out and forcing her to watch.
* SacredCow: ''Midnight Castle'' is this to G1 fans without doubt. ''Catrina'' to a lesser extent.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: To a lot of [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic FiM]] fans. Though these specials were pretty edgy for MyLittlePony, the current incarnation has incorporated aspects of these specials, particularly [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute Nightmare Moon,]] leaving some G4 fans unimpressed.
* {{Shipping}}: Pairings like Firefly and Medley, Bowtie and Applejack, [[CrackPairing Megan and Scorpan]], Twilight and Moondancer, and of course Catrina and Rep have popped up in the rare fanfic.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: Though the delivery of the Anti-Drug [[AnAesop aesop]] of ''Catrina'' was [[{{Anvilicious}} heavy-handed]] and [[FantasticAesop fantastic]], one can still appreciate it, since [[DrugsAreBad drugs really are bad]] for both the mind and body.
* SoOkayItsAverage: Tends to be the lowest opinion of these specials.
** SoCoolItsAwesome: Tends to be the highest opinion of these specials.
* TastesLikeDiabetes: Well ''duh''.
** Played with, actually. We mustn't forget about our CompleteMonster of a bad guy who gets ''[[FamilyUnfriendlyDeath torn to pieces]]'' at the end.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter: In ''Midnight Castle'', both Tirek and Scorpan.
** The former was a ''very'' EvilOverlord with intentions of ushering an [[TheNightThatNeverEnds age of eternal darkness]] and thus rule Ponyland and possibly Earth for eternity. To do it, he put the local enchanted creatures through [[PainfulTransformation painful transformations]] and constantly [[KickTheDog kicks]] his right hand goat-man, Scorpan around without relent and with threats of [[OffWithHisHead decapitating]] his only friend Spike. Scorpan himself was formerly a prince who had previously been enslaved by a previous conquest by this guy. He only got one half-hour to show his stuff, and he spent most of that time sitting on a throne.
** As for Scorpan, while the special itself did make great use of him as a rare MyLittlePony AntiVillain / AntiHero ('''Type II''') who unwillingly serves his evil master inspite of his own good nature. He ultimately undergoes a HeelFaceTurn once Tirek has [[TheDogBitesBack kicked him a few too many times]]. After this, he is never seen again and he never undergoes anymore CharacterDevelopment.
*** Once he actually undergoes the HeelFaceTurn, he accomplishes precisely bugger-all.
** Most of the ponies, really. Firefly, despite all her WolverinePublicity during G1, never appeared again in the cartoons. She would have made a perfectly fine protagonist for [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTheMovie the movie]] and [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyAndFriends series]], however Hasbro wanted to [[MerchandiseDriven promote the newer toys]].
*** Firefly's an especially bizarre case because she ''kept being sold.'' However, every time she got re-relased, they'd just re-run or re-release the one special she was in too (hence its many names.) She was sold like she was the Optimus Prime of the franchise even ''beyond'' the show era, to the point of being on shelves alongside ''MyLittlePonyTales,'' or even ''[[NoExportForYou instead of]]'' MLPT, nearly a decade after her debut. You'd think the flagship character of the toyline would be the main character of ''both'' series, but no - it didn't even get her a ''second'' guest appearance.
* ToughActToFollow: If you start watching the G1 cartoons starting with these, depending on how you view these specials, or even the franchise as a whole, you may or may not be less than impressed with anything that followed after.
* TrueArtIsAngsty: Tends to be considered by some fans among the best things put out by the My Little Pony franchise because of its darkness.
* ViewerGenderConfusion: Applejack is still a girl in ''Midnight Castle'', but the gravelly voice can make it hard to tell.
* WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids: A mild example, but some who flipped onto the station to watch this couldn't have have expected to '''''BEHOLD THE POWER OF DARKNESS'''''.
* WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs: To some viewers, the Sea Pony dance number exemplifies this.
* TheWoobie: Scorpan, Spike, and Ember in the first special.
** Rep, Sundance, and Baby Moondancer in the second.
* WhatTheHellCastingAgency: PaulWilliams as Catrina's henchman.