Anyone else notice how BW is the only series, since the first one that Ash's main traveling companion are people he never met before? Maybe this is why everyone's interactions sucked so much? What makes it so different to the original series, is that Misty was harsh on Ash, while Brock was way more lax and calm about things (that don't involve girls). This gave us a good contrast of people. BW on the other hand, had two VERY abrasive companions, one of which won't stop saying Ash is a kid and the other is very passionate about pretty much anything. Orange Islands and Johto had Misty Johto, Hoenn, Kanto BF and Sinnoh had Brock Kalos had Alexa (temporarily) and Serena The only time Ash got to be with someone he had traveled with before was Dawn, but by then most of the damage had already been done. To me, Iris and Cilan are more joke characters than anything else, as Iris had all of her Pokémon disobey her at one point and Cilan was just there to obsess over things, with no real depth to his character. It even got to the point where their "rivals" disappeared off the face of Unova! It's not just these two who got the shaft, as BW had much less emphasis on character development and battles overall than any other series. Most of the time evolution was used to "mask" the lack of development, as we can see with Unfezant, Boldore and Leavanny. The rest of Ash's Unova Pokémon either got much more spotlight with no to little development (Snivy and Oshawott), very rarely shows up (Palpitoad) or actually had an actual character arc (Pignite, Scraggy and Krookodile). What went wrong? Well, since it was made to be more like the original series than a proper continuation, Ash's competence went down and even had two game Gym Leaders as companions. However, dumbing down Ash for the sake of "the good old days" didn't really go too well, as the series was still classed as canon to the rest of the series, instead of having a mini reboot. Another Issue is Ash went back to capturing random Pokémon, which didn't really fare too well to begin with, as we rarely ever see Kingler or Muk. All in all, I think this series was doomed to failure, as there are several things going against it, like Ash losing to a first-time trainer, a very rushed league and overall very bad pacing.