A Station Eight Fan Web Site
Hey Greg, it's me. The Vinnie fanatic and the guy who voiced the psycho truck driver at G99. This is my first post to ya, and I'm not even asking a question! (Well, I am curious about where you got the name "Nashville", but thats a different matter, I'll ask about that in a bit.) This is in response to your rambles about the series, and you asking about our first impressions of it. Since you're covering Awakenings, I'll cover the first season, since you'll be well past that by the time you read this.
My first impression of the show came during the trailer in "Nightmare before Christmas" actually, and I was totally psyched by that. I could tell it was going to have that sort of feel "Beauty and the Beast" had. The live version, with Linda Hamilton. Mixed in with Batman and nifty looking creatures. Looked good.
My second experiance unfortunatley, was a Disney Adventures mini-comic, so I knew the characters names and that Xanatos and Demona were villains before I ever saw it, which is a real pity. Ah well.
Then came the airing of the first episode. I watched the firs... 5 minutes, mezmerized. Then, my dad told me I had a doctor's appointment, and I had to leave, without a chance to set my VCR. I argued and fought to stay, but had no choice but to leave.
The next day, a couple of kids in my art class were talking about it. I tried to join the conversation based on what I knew from the Disney Adventures comic, only to be told, "But they don't have names. You're making that up." Heh.
Then came the second episode, which I watched, enthralled. I think perhaps having Demona's shadowed hint was a bad move, but I recal watching it with a friend and going "wow" the first time I saw the gargs cape their wings. Strangely enough, that's the part I remember most clearly, them caping their wings and thinking it was cool. Wierd.
The next three episodes flew by in a blur, day after day, that was grand. I was hooked and amazed by this series, and since it came on after I came home, I didn't even need to set the VCR! Yay! All of Awakenings just sort of blurs together as one great experiance with romance, action, and lots of good things. I rather enjoyed the trio's experiances in modern day, including the kitchen and bike riding scenes. (Incidentally, circumstances CONTINUOUSLY made me miss the first episode, so I never saw it until Awakenings was released on video, so I had no idea there was cut footage at first!)
The next episode I saw was the first encounter with the Pack. I liked Lexington at that point and thought perhaps he could be my favorite character. I also enjoyed the concept of a really cheezy TV-show being liked by the gargs, but at the time, didn't like the Pack at all. This I suppose, is just because you brought in the five of them all at once, and it was a lot of new personalities to keep up with.
After that, my schedual made it so that I saw episodes out of order, and both "Temptation" and "Reawakenings" I inintially saw only the last few minutes of.
Temptation however, I loved. It locked Brooklyn into place as my favorite character, and was the first episode I taped on the second run through. The way Brooklyn reacted to Demona was great, and she was also an interesting character as well, particularly in the little hints she dropped. The first time around I totally missed the fact that the bikers had failed to notice Brook was a monster until after he took his helmet off, I just knew it was a cool bike, and a cool attitude.
Long way till Morning- It was just cool to see Hudson kick butt and Demona be totally evil and sadistic. "Fine, I'll just shoot everything in this room." Man, I miss Demona being that nasty.
I suddenly forget the name of the episode where Broadway shoots Elisa, it'll come to me as soon as I post this... The first Dracon, didn't really care for him in that episode, he was much more interesting later. All I remember clearly is, Broadway firing, seeing Elisa on the ground, and then the cut to a commercial break. I stood up, stared at the screen, and went "NO! You can't do this!" Particularly effective since Gargs was so different from every other show on the air, it was actually possible a main character could die right then and there. I was scared for Elisa's life.
Enter Macbeth- All I remember about that one the first time is "Ouch." Vrooo. "Ouch." Vrooo. "Ouch." Hee hee... That's still probably the best bits of the series. In retrospect, I was really impressed with MacBeth at the time. Cool voice, cool outfit, cool sense of honor. I *LIKED* him.
Her Brother's Keeper- Wasn't too thrilled with this one the first time. It was another Pack episode, and I still didn't really care about them. (Later viewings made it out to be a much better episode than the original impression gave.)
ReAwakenings- ANother one I originally saw the last few minutes of first. However, another of the best lines in the series, "It's alive! Aliiiive! I've always wanted to say that." still cracks me up to this day.
Hmm. I've missed an episode, but for the life of me, I can't recall which one it was. It'll come to me... And I've probably rambled on enough already considering I think I'm one of the first to ramble back at you...
You forgot "The Edge". But that's o.k. Nice to hear from you. You were a great Psycho Truck Driver. Hope to see you again in Orlando.
Regarding the "caping of the wings"... That was Gary Krisel's idea, and initially I was against it because it felt too Batman to me. But at some point, I became a true convert. We sent a bunch of faxes to Japan to make sure they'd cape the wings whenever it was emotionally appropriate. That would give us opportunities to cape and uncape for various dramatic effects. Plus, hell, it looks cool.
A response to your "Awakening Part Three" ramble.
Hudson's bewildered comments on why humans seem so insistent on naming everything are among my favorite lines in "Gargoyles" (and express in particular one of the things that I most liked about the series; the way that it actually gave the gargoyles that feeling of having their own culture and outlook upon the world - I once commented on one of the Internet Gargoyles sites that the show did for gargoyles what "Watership Down" did for rabbits).
I don't think that I was all that bothered by Demona's outline (although I'm not sure that I even caught it first time around). Actually, I was probably sub-consciously expecting her to return, as I said in my "Awakening Part One" comments, given how much they explored her in the first episode. I didn't think that you'd build up a figure like that in Part One and then drop her for the rest of the series; that would be wasteful.
One thing that I definitely still enjoy about Part Three: the continuing coverage of Goliath's learning more about modern-day New York. I particularly liked his awed (and poetic) description of Xanatos's monitor screen as "like a living tapestry", comparing the streets of New York to the old Roman roads (I wonder if Goliath ever saw any Roman roads, of course, since Rome never did conquer Scotland), and asking Elisa the natural question that a 10th century person would ask about the city: why no walls to keep the invaders out?
One thing that I also noticed on later watchings of the episode in reruns and on tape: the bit where when Goliath prepares to go gliding off with Elisa and takes her in his arms, they exchange a little happy smile, then break off upon remembering that Hudson's there. I like to think of it as one of the first little hints that we get as to what's to come between them.
I agree with everything you wrote. Which makes this response pretty boring, but I don't mind if you don't.
I liked your rambling on "Awakening Part One", and look forward to the rambles on the other episodes following.
Both I and a number of other Gargoyles fans had indeed picked up on Princess Katharine's hypocrisy that you mentioned, disapproving of "beasts" (i.e. gargoyles) in the great hall, but permitting the dogs to roam about in there during the feast. I was amused to learn about how you'd planned to make that bit more pointed with the dog making off with somebody's food.
The bit where Lexington and Brooklyn were talking to Tom about not having names, and calling each other "Friend" instead, was a part that I liked as well. It was at that point that I definitely decided that I liked gargoyles.
I don't remember for certain what I thought about whether Demona was alive or dead. I suspect, however, that I may have believed her to ultimately turn up again, simply because it struck me as improbable that a character with such a big role in Episode One would be killed at the end of it and never heard from again.
I very much enjoyed the medieval scenes, which reminded me a bit of David Macaulay's animated specials for PBS about building in the ancient and medieval world (particularly the first one, "Castle"). Not to mention (as I said before) that I was delighted with the Vikings looking much more historically accurate, with not a single horned helmet in sight, being already familiar with the way that they actually did dress (I know that I should be thanking the animators on this, actually, but there isn't an "Ask Frank Paur" page up anywhere as far as I know, so this'll have to do :)
Before the episode first premiered, I'd been aware of "Gargoyles" soon to be coming out, but wasn't certain as to whether I'd like it that much or not, fearing that it would just be another mainstream super-hero series. But when it quickly began the "Scotland - 994 A.D." sequence, I decided that I was definitely going to like it. (And indeed, felt slightly disappointed when I reflected that the bulk of the series wouldn't be set in medieval Scotland, considering how much I was enjoying that part of the story - I'm something of a Middle Ages buff - and began to fantasize about "Wouldn't it be great if they did a prequel series set in 10th century Scotland before the massacre?" - which, of course, I now know that you did indeed plan on doing later on.
At any rate, thanks for the ramble again.
You're welcome. And thanks for responding in such detail.
In an ideal world I'd have definitely used the massacre to "kill off" characters that you got to know well, to make the tragedy more personal. But there was no room to include even Othello.
When you say that the "friend" conversation was the point where you decided you liked gargoyles, do you mean the series or the species?
I'm really glad I found your website! I'm more or less a newcomer--I watched the series when it first aired and loved it. Now I watch it on Toon Disney every night. However, tonight they air the final two episodes of TGC (which, I agree with you, should be ignored). But I'm hoping that they start the series again from the beginning. I don't think they aired each and every one of the eps...I discovered them late while channel surfing (glad I did)!
Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I feel your ideas in your "Ramblings" post on Jan. 24, 2000 regarding "re-awakening" the show are great! I guarantee if you pull it off, I'm there! How long do I have to wait? :*) Wanna see it before I get TOO old to get lost in fantasy anymore (that will never happen, especially since I'm an incurable romantic [fanatic??]). *sigh* I guess I can always read my Tolkien and Piers Anthony until you can get around to it... ;)
BTW, I love your dry sense of humor, too! A Gargoyle (Gargess in my case?) after my own heart.
Thanks for everything...
One little correction first. This isn't my web-site. The site is owned by Gorebash, who graciously puts up with all the extra work involved in maintaining ASK GREG. Let's hear it for Gore.
And, you're welcome. Thanks for the kind words, Lynne.
By the way, in my opinion, the word "Gargoyle" conotes no sex. There's no need to feminize it to Gargess or whatever in order to talk about a female of the species.
Hey, Greg! I just wanted to say, thanks for putting up with all of our rantings, ravings and questions! I think it is so cool that you take a bit of your personal time to actually respond to all of these (sometimes really DUMB) questions. I also wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your answers. Your wit and humor really have no bounds. :-) You know, I am actually quite shocked that you answer some of the questions from the "Raging Hormone" group of teens and pre-teens about Gargoyle nudity, virginity, sex, and reproduction! Sheesh! It cracks me up! I have read some of the fan fic stories, and I have to say, their fantasies of seducing Goliath and baring their children...well, we won't go into that! Anyway, like I said before, THANKS, for everything. :-)
Actually, I don't feel like I get that many sex et al questions. Probably, just as well. Though people who attended the 98 Gathering got an earful from me.
1.I was wondering about the Scottish Gargoyle's religion if there was one.
2. And in Scotland the Gargoyles are a very communal species focused on the good of the clan and do not individualize anyone (i.e. by not having names or parents). Yet almost immediately when the gargoyles arrive in NY they accept names, and then continue to break with their communal tradition by acknowledging Angela as Goliath's daughter and so on. Is this a practical adaptation that would occur when the Gargoyles encounter the US where individualism is treasured, or was it part of the philosophy of the show?(or maybe just necessary for the audience to identify them)
All right, first off as Diane Maza pointed out, Angela is Goliath's daughter, by any definition.
So some of your assumptions are semi-faulty. But yes, some human customs are addictive and the gargoyles adapted. It wasn't a philosophy of the show, so much as it seemed real to us. As for the name thing, well, yes, we wanted the audience to be able to identify them, but we could have given them all biblical names back in 994 Scotland. We chose not to. And I like how we handled it. It doesn't have much to do with U.S. individualism. But I think we did want to contrast modern Manhattan with ancient community and clan.
As for Garg religion. Well check the Gargoyles Customs archive for more information. They didn't have a religion per se, but they had a set of traditions and belief in an pantheistic yet monotheistic guiding force.
Watched this with the family half an hour ago...
More random observations...
RE: Our supporting cast...
Who knew that Brendan & Margot would wind up being so important? Credit Marina Sirtis, for making Margot so gloriously bitchy.
And then there's Vinnie's first appearance on that motorcycle. Of course, no one knew Vinnie existed back then, which is thoroughly appropriate to his character.
And credit Keith David with breathing real life into Morgan the cop. Morgan didn't even have a name then. He was just a place holder, someone for Elisa to respond to. But Keith made me interested in him.
Little things still bug me. Xanatos' floating ponytail in the scene where he and Elisa first meet.
In the Kitchen, the Freezer door was supposed to have one of those easy to open latches on the inside. The irony being that Broadway could easily extricate himself, if he just knew how to operate the latch (or even what it was). Something a kid could do, assuming the kid was born in the 20th century. But BW has to bust down the door.
In the original script and the recording of that script, it's Brooklyn who says "So many wonders..." and it's Broadway who says "Goliath said not to let anybody see us." But in those early days, lots of people in L.A. and in Tokyo kept confusing their names (and Bronx's) so the animation came back as you see it. And it was easier to re-record the voices then to reanimate. (Or am I getting all this totally backwards? I just saw the show again half an hour ago, and already, I'm confused.)
(CAVEAT: In all these little things, I'll probably be pointing out animation errors here and there. But please understand, I think most of the animation we got, particularly from Walt Disney TV Animation - Japan, was brilliant. I think those guys did a great job and don't get enough credit. But anecdotes generally come out of when things go wrong, not when they go right, so it may seem like I'm talking about mistakes more often than not. Sorry, in advance to Roy Sato or anyone else who might take offense.)
When Elisa is first being checked out by the Trio, there was a scene in the original animation where Brooklyn seems inordinantly interested in her behind. We had to call a retake, cuz the guy was practically drooling. I wonder if that's where I got the idea that Brooklyn would fall for anyone in a skirt (or with a tail).
Also, after Goliath saves Elisa from falling off the building we have a point of view shot from her. It begins at Goliath's feet and pans up to his face, as she takes him in. In the original animation, the pan started at his head and panned down. That seemed less effective, so we had our editors reverse the pan, without calling for a retake.
At the end of Act Two, the door slides open revealing Demona in silhouette, clearly plotting something with Xanatos. That always really bugged me. I didn't want to give away that she was alive in this episode. I didn't want to know who Xanatos was talking to. How did you guys react to this? Did that spill everything? Did any of you not know that Demona was alive? Did any of you, by this point, not know that she and Xanatos were the bad guys?
Elisa says something like "This is where Dracula shows up." when she's walking through the corridors of the castle. If you take that literally (and you might as well), then you gotta figure that someday, Dracula will be roaming that very hallway.
Elisa loses the first in her series of guns, when Goliath crushes it near the end of Act One.
Goliath tells a joke: "And please, don't fall off the building this time." Goliath tells a joke. Can you believe it? It wasn't bad either. We should have let him tell jokes more often.
Elisa's surprise that Goliath can talk is indicative of what I thought a 20th (or 21st) century initial response to the gargs would be. That's why Goliath Chronicles' trial episode bugged me so much. I don't think humans would take for granted sentience. And I think most humans, those less open than Elisa, wouldn't even buy talking as enough evidence that the gargs weren't just beasts. (Cf. Margot Yale.)
Goliath is a pretty begruding hero. That's somewhat unique for cartoons. Elisa asks if there are more gargs, and Goliath responds: "Barely." He cuts her very little slack. But already you can see their relationship developing. I still think Hudson's expression after Goliath sweeps Elisa up into his arms is just priceless.
In that same scene, Hudson gets named for the river. I love that scene, as I loved the scene where Tom, Brook and Lex are talking about names. Of course, the desire not to name most of the gargoyles until we got to NYC '94, was mostly pragmatic. It allowed us to use those fun, cool NY names for most of the characters. But once we came up with the rationale for it, and once I managed to explain it to everyone, I really fell in love with the concept. Hudson's lament, here, that humans don't think something is real until they've put there stamp on it, is, to me at least, so damn true. And Elisa's response is so feeble and circular. "Things need names." Pathetic. But I'm no different. <SIGH> I'm such a human. But I aspire to gargoylosity. Anyway, after Hudson points to the river, and Elisa basically tricks him into taking that name, she used to have a line, as I may have mentioned before, where she said (under her breath) "Good thing we weren't facing Queens" -- implication being that Hudson nearly ended up being called Queen, I guess. It was always funny, but S&P didn't care for it, and I couldn't really defend it. So out it went. We tried another version, where she just says, "Good thing we weren't facing East." But it didn't play. So out it went too.
The thing that struck me most, however, was the almost thorough lack of action in this episode. After all that Viking stuff in Part One, and Vikings and a full act of commandos in Part Two, Part Three is a mood and character piece. Sure Elisa falls off a building, but that was a problem easily solved. Until the commandos' Central Park attack in the last seconds of Act Three, nothing else happens that could genuinely qualify as action. That was mostly a result of what was once a four-parter being turned into a five-parter. The reason we made that change is because Michael Reaves wrote a brillaint four-part script. It was amazing. But it was WAY too long. I was faced with either having to make drastic cuts (as I would later have to do in Avalon and Hunter's Moon) or expand it. Fortunately, Gary Krisel and Bruce Cranston saw the wisdom of expansion. For one thing, it would save us money. But also, it made sense because we could run the five parts across a whole week of the Disney Afternoon like a mini-series special event. It wouldn't require us to re-program one day of that first week. So we were all agreed, the four parter would become a five parter.
But that meant adding act breaks, and redividing everything. The episode that most benefited was Part One. In the orignal version, Part One covered all of what is currently part one, plus the first act of what's currently part two, i.e. ALL the Scotland stuff. The episode ended with Goliath's "suicide". A great ending, but we would have obviously had to cut a TON out of the flashback. This way we were able to expand into part two and preserve almost all of the story.
So Part Three winds up being nearly action-free. And by the way, I love that. I still think the episode works great, and it proved to me that the charcters themselves could really hold the audience's attention. (I'm such a proud papa. Unashamedly so. It must be pretty obnoxious.) I wish we had always had the luxury to be so... well, luxurious. To expand and play character. But generally a half-hour format makes it tough. I'm very sick of writing half hours, actually. But the powers that be in Animation believe that kids can't or won't sit through an hour long show.
As usual, I welcome posts here responding to this episode. Both your original reaction to seeing it for the first time, and your current reaction if you've seen it again recently.
1. How long ago did Gargoyles started helping humans? Did
it started before 900 A.D? If so why aren't there pictures/paintings of Gargoyles on anicent human artifacts or whatever(ex. cave paintings, egyptian art)?
Who says there aren't?
Another question about the gargoyles. Technically, their protecting New York might be considered vigilantism; after all, they're not recognized agents of the law, even if they serve as secret and unofficial partners of a sort to a police detective. Had you ever intended to do anything with the vigilante issue where the gargoyles' patrols were concerned?
In the gargoyles bible for the first season you had made mention of the existence of a 'very wise man' who first made an alliance with gargoyles building his castle of a gargoyle rookery and who ushered in the golden age of gargoyle-human relations...
Is this still how you picture it happening? The existence of a specific 'very wise man' was intriguing to me - is he just a generic figure, or someone whose name we would recognize? (I have my own idea on the subject ofcourse but I refrain from suggesting it in case it's considered a story-idea)
I was being generic in the bible on purpose to simplify things. Honestly, I don't think I ever really thought there was just one person who did that. The world was too big a place and there wasn't any internet back then to facilitate communication. So that "wise man" was a place holder in my mind for a number of intelligent humans and gargoyles who made multiple alliances over multiple centuries in multiple places.
One such alliance of "wise men" was the alliance formed between Hudson and Malcolm, which was brokered by Robbie.
Another alliance was that formed between Xanatos and Demona, brokered by Owen, with a little help from Brooklyn, Mary and Finella behind the scenes.