I know why this show has the fanbase it has: it's a refreshing escape from the TV of today.
First off, I like this show very much. I like the characters (although I would not consider them the ever-changing characters that some claim exist, they do have a decent amount of Hidden Depths
and backstory) the art (Flash done right) and the fact that the writing is well-crafted and creative, especially by kids show standards (even in the times when it does seem cliche, the comedy and development is good enough so one can forgive it).
But, I found myself questioning why I like this show so much. Then it hit me: it's just so well written, and does not go into one particular direction like other shows. In fact, it goes back to other kids shows of the early 90s.
The other most popular shows in America targeted to the 18-34 age group are all dark, and the shows aimed to children (sans the cartoons on Disney Channel) try to be grotesque, loud, or disturbing, like they need to get your total attention for every second.
FIM is not loud and annoying (like most of Nick's cartoons), gross and sadistic (recent Spongebob episodes), or cynical (shows like Family Guy
, which are targeted to the same age group which forms FIM's Brony fanbase). Instead, it provides a happy show that still focuses on satirical humor, conflict, and adventure. The show harkens back to a simpler time in TV, when cartoons were just fun to watch, and not gross/annoying. (It is dark, yet the show never goes overboard or is cynical in it's darkness.)
I ultimately think that people should watch the show, at least once. I think that to get a proper feel of the adventure aspects, I think that one should start with the two-parter pilot, then go to "Dragonshy" to see the character development and comedy that the show provides.