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[More rambles on individual episodes. As usual, I encourage you to post your responses here.]
Part two of our trio tryptich. Brooklyn looks pretty cool in this one. I have to admit, I didn't realize what a break-out star Brooklyn was back then. I mean I liked him, but I didn't yet realize how much he would really capture a huge chunk of fandom's imagination. (Of course, back then the show hadn't aired yet, so there wasn't any fandom.) But seeing this episode in hindsight, you can sure see how cool this guy was. Good-looking with the hair and the muscles and everything. Even the snout adds to the look.
And he's so sympathetic too. Yes, he gets "turned" by Demona. But he immediately realizes that what she's doing is wrong. He admits his mistake and tries to correct it. He's such a good guy. Later, of course, I'd recognize the star power and attempt to give him his own series: TIMEDANCER.
Back then, of course, I had really modeled the ensemble nature of the show on HILL STREET BLUES. Goliath was my Frank Furillo. Everyone would get their own stories, but Goliath carried the weight. So, although the tryptich was designed to deepen the characters of the trio, you can see that each episode also prominently features Goliath. THRILL: Lex & Goliath. TEMPTATION: Brooklyn & Goliath. DEADLY FORCE: Broadway & Goliath. (And later, LONG WAY TO MORNING: Hudson & Goliath.) Don't get me wrong, I don't regret this at all. I think those are all great stories, and without Goliath they would not have worked as written. But I think the design of them betrays a bit of insecurity. We weren't sure if the other characters could carry their own episodes alone. The nice thing about the tryptich (and LONG WAY) was that it proved to us what a strong ensemble of characters we had built.
Lex has some real attitude here: "You rode a horse once, does that mean you could build one from scratch."
The motorcycle is interesting. It was one of three toy driven elements we consciously put into the show. (The others were in "Her Brother's Keeper" and "Eye of the Storm".) It was a rare moment of Kenner and Disney being in semi-synch. And the toy actually looks like the motorcycle. But of course, what the hell were we going to do with a motorcycle? How could we make that an on-going element in the show. Sure Batman has a batmobile, but the garg-cycle just sounds silly. So we put it in, but Michael, Brynne, Frank and I are so subversive that we blow the thing up before the end of Act One. Kenner never said anything. I'm not sure if they ever saw the episode. (But we weren't being very good partners.) But what goes around comes around. I'll tell the flip side of this when I ramble on Keeper and Storm.
S&P required that Brooklyn wear a helmet when riding. That was fine with me, but I wanted to make an effort to make it organic. Brooklyn puts it on because it's "All part of the look." Helmets make it cooler. Thus helmets are cool. Thus kids will wear their helmets. Aren't we sneaky?
Also, Brooklyn loses yet another pair of sunglasses.
Morgan's back. But he litters. That always bugged me. Talk about setting a bad example.
And is that Margot Yale's actress sister on the television sitcom saying, "Who do you think you are... Elvis?" [Add laugh track here.]
"Kindred Spirits" - Brooklyn quotes Lex from Thrill and attempts to make the same kind of connection with the bikers that Lex attempted with the Pack. With similar results. Later, Demona refers to Lex's little adventure with the Pack. This was the moment when Michael Reaves and I decided to attempt to treat the series as episodic but sequential. The order of the episodes would matter. Yes, you should be able to enjoy any individual story... but viewing is enhanced when you see the shows in order. This was not an obvious decision. Most shows REQUIRE that episodes are airable in ANY ORDER. We had that requirement too, up to a point. But we wanted to add something more. To play with continuity. With evolving lives. This wasn't an issue in the pilot five parter. Of course, that had to air in order. And then there was Thrill. Just the first one we made after Awakening. That aired next. But we didn't think about it. But here, we had to decide. So we opted for an episodic but sequential series. (My favorite kind.) We referred to previous conversations. (Elisa's still pestering Goliath about the Xanatos-ticking clock.) And we laid pipe for future episodes, by having Demona rip a few spells out of the Grimorum. (At the time, I didn't even know what those spells were for. But I knew she had them. I knew we'd use them.) We had Demona admit she had lied about how she had survived to the present. Etc. Anyway, all this continuity would later bite us on the ass a bit. (I'll talk more about this when we get to "ENTER MACBETH", which forced us to slightly change our M.O. for season two.) But again, I have no regrets; I think it's one of the things that makes the show special.
Meanwhile, how did Demona know about the Pack & Lex? Although the pact with Xanatos clearly hasn't been broken yet (not till CITY OF STONE, obviously), she also doesn't exactly have free run of the castle. She has Brooklyn steal the book. Of course, she wants Brooklyn complicit. And it's hard to sneak around the castle, when the Gargoyles (at least think that they) are the proprieters. I just always wondered whether Demona might not have been following Lex & Goliath around throughout that entire Pack battle. Or whether, Xanatos just phoned her and told her. Obviously, the former is much more interesting.
Another great looking episode that we didn't fully appreciate at the time. Lots of great little touches. I love when Demona casts her spell, and then closes the Grimorum with one last flash of magic. So cool. And, as I said, Brooklyn really looks great throughout.
But there are a couple things...
The bikers approach Brooklyn. They get very close, and he's not in shadow. But they don't notice he's a "monster" until he takes off his helmet. What?! The snout didn't give it away?! That scene continues to drive me nuts. I just hate how it was staged.
And when Elisa's lecturing Goliath she is wagging her index finger in his face. That's annoying enough. But worse, the finger seems to get longer (like Pinocchio's nose) the more she wags (or nags). It's sorta mesmerizing. In that scene, I can't see anything else.
I love how Marina Sirtis' voice bristles when Brooklyn mentions Elisa to Demona. Demona/Marina forces herself to say that the Detective may be "The exception [to human evil] that proves the rule." It seems sincere, but I really hear the hatred underneath.
Elisa tries to talk Goliath into leaving again. This time, she's got an idea where he can go. (So although that seems to be a repeat of their conversation from THRILL, we actually advanced that plot too. Weren't we smart?)
[And yes, I realize that all these rambles sound incredibly arrogant and immodest. I'm sitting here praising me and my team's own work. But what can I tell you? I do really like it. And I figure you guys might still be interested in my -- totally biased -- observations.]
Anyway, I love how what Elisa's saying to a very close-minded Goliath plays right into what Brooklyn heard from Demona. Brooklyn tries to argue Elisa's point. Putting Elisa and Demona, ironically, on the same side. Kudos to Brynne and Michael. It's a great little scene. Of course it ends with Brooklyn and Goliath turning to stone mid-argument. Just like Lex & Goliath did in the previous episode. Frank came to me and warned me not to do that again. Twice in two episodes was enough. At least for a while.
I also love Goliath's lines about "half-truths that [Demona] has thoroughly embraced."
Goliath just loves saying "Joy-Ride". It seems so pleasant.
Lex's double take reactions to finding out the motorcycle was blown up.
Elisa's "Thanks, I think." reaction to Brooklyn saying that he knew that she at least was a worthwhile member of the human race. Brooklyn still isn't quite free of prejudice. A work in progress.
The DEAD BODY. I held my breath on that one. We've got a chalk outline. And a corpse in a body bag. I was sure S&P would balk. But Adrienne was great. She saw that it was important to the story. And since we didn't dwell on it or explain it, she figured little kids wouldn't get it and/or be traumatized. As you can see we had a great working relationship with S&P. I mean, a DEAD BODY! It still shocks me.
Did Demona pay that family to perform their little scene for Brooklyn? I didn't think so at the time. But now I'm suspicious.
Brooklyn has a perfectly innocent line about the Cloisters being a place like the "world we came from" or something like that. Meaning of course, the medieval time that they came from. Once this aired, I immediately start seeing e-mails claiming this as evidence that Gargoyles are from another planet. This misapprehension may be one of the reasons I so quickly got involved with fandom.
Did we cheat? Elisa solves Goliath's slave-spell problem by using the spell to unhex him. I love that little bit. But Michael Reaves and I had a long back & forth discussion where we debated whether we were cheating the audience. (I seem to recall that at different times he and I both came down on both sides of the argument.) We finally decided to go for it. And again, no regrets. I do think it worked. And we sort of both promised each other that we wouldn't pull that kind of thing again. (Airwalker, I think there's a mention of this in the City of Stone memo I sent you.)
Last Friday and Saturday, the Max Steel pilot, episode #1: "Strangers" aired on the WB... twice.
Unfortunately, the rest won't be airing in order. For a change, this isn't being caused by some bizarre scheduling perversion. The truth is that episode #2 isn't ready yet. Almost. But not quite.
So instead, this coming Saturday (March 4) the WB will present episode #3: "Shadows", written by Lydia Marano.
As the writer of episode #1, I do want to point out that I do know that the Berlin Wall was torn down over a decade ago. After Max says, "I can see the Berlin Wall from here." He was supposed to listen to 'Berto and say, "Oh, right. Some other wall then." I haven't been participating in the post-production on this series, so I'm not entirely sure why the second line was cut. And normally, I wouldn't mention it. But I think it makes me look like an idiot. So I'm gonna be petty and set the record straight.
I will say that the "Developed by" credit I get on the opening titles is without a doubt the COOLEST-LOOKING credit I've ever had.
More musings on individual GARGOYLES EPISODES. As usual I welcome reactions and responses posted here based on both your original impressions from when you first saw the episode and later thoughts from repeated or recent viewings.
After the semi-epic "Awakening" multi-parter, Michael Reaves and I consciously set about creating a tryptich to develop each member of the Trio. Lex up first.
In hindsight, we probably didn't do enough Lex episodes. (I think this is Thom Adcox's favorite. He said "Leader of the Pack" at the pro-chat the other day, but the more I think about it, the more I think he was describing "Thrill".) We tried to give each member of the Trio equal coverage, but down the road, Lex might have been cheated a bit. But not here.
I love the fact that Lex is RIGHT. Sure, he's wrong about the Pack, but he was so right about taking chances on people. And I love that as stubborn as Goliath is, he's capable of admitting his mistakes, giving Lex full credit for, uh, rightness. Practically quoting back to Lex everything Lex had said to him.
You may notice that starting with this episode and running through the end of the first season, the writer's got their credit at the beginning with the title of the episode. This was a function of the Disney Afternoon. Michael Reaves rightly objected to the "gang credits" at the end of the two hour block. It had never been an issue before, because annually each new series, i.e. the one with original episodes, had always aired last with its credits immediately following. But in Gargoyles' first season, we aired on Fridays at 4pm, a half-hour before the last show. That meant that the writers' credits didn't appear until a half hour after the show ended. Gary Krisel agreed to make an exception and display writer's credits at the head of the episode for that one season. I wish I had fought to make that rule permanent. I didn't. Mea culpa.
I think Thrill is important right off because it established a few things which today we take for granted, but which I think were, at the time, fairly unusual for a cartoon series.
--Xanatos was still in prison. He hadn't just "somehow" gotten sprung between the end of Episode 5 and the beginning of 6.
--The Gargoyles won the Awakening war. And the castle still wasn't theirs to keep. At every turn, Michael and I just tried to make things play in a slow, steady logical progression. I wasn't trying to change the world in every episode. Not because I'm against world changing, but because each new situation was fascinating to explore. But we wouldn't let the world stand still either.
Early on, you can still see signs that to the creators, the audience AND the other characters, the Gargoyles themselves were still a wonderfully alien species. (And I don't mean that literally. Geez.) We tried to maintain the perspective of creatures out of their time. Goliath is stubborn, even dense and condescending toward Elisa, when she tries to convince him to leave the castle. But I think from his POV, his responses were perfectly natural. Xanatos was banished. The castle was theirs. The concept of ownership was sketchy for the Gargoyles at best, but if they did understand it, they understood it in the "Possession = Ownership" sense. The notion that Xanatos could still "own" the castle after an embarrassing defeat was completely ALIEN to Goliath.
Likewise, look at Fox's actions at the end of the episode. Can you imagine Fox in any later episode crudely taking a hostage? It seems like she checked her brain at the door. But it works for me because at that time, she (and we) didn't truly know what an angry gargoyle was capable of. Maybe Goliath would dismember her. Our boys got so borderline cuddly as the series progressed that I had to remind everyone just how dangerous they could be in HUNTER'S MOON. But Hunter's Moon wouldn't have worked back in Season One. Because in Season One, no one would have been shocked by Goliath's desire for Demonaesque vengeance. Maintaining that edge was always very important.
But if Fox wasn't acting her brightest here, I think Wolf was. That scene with Susie and Billy, where he pretends the Gargoyles were monsters sent by the evil ninjas, is about as smart a move as we ever see Wolf make. When you think about it, it's pretty darn clever. For him anyway. In later episodes, I think I got too big a kick out of making him dumb. I could justify it after UPGRADE. But if I got back, I think I'd give him a bit more of a mental edge.
And speaking of Wolf and Fox, how about that Pack? Their first appearance. The thing I was most struck by in viewing it here is how great they were cast. Clancy Brown, Laura San Giacomo, Matt Frewer, Cree Summer and Jim Cummings. Man, what a great ensemble. Hats off to casting and voice director Jamie Thomason. Time and again, he assembled great, great people for us.
There are a lot of little touches that make me smile. Jim Cummings "narration" during the appearance at Madison Square Gardens is priceless. We were consciously trying to do a professional wrestling meets (the hated) Power Rangers thing, and it amuses me to no end. There's that very anime shot of the Pack standing absolutely still (a held cell) while spotlights pass over them. It's very cool.
I even like that we got the notion of the Daily Tattler into the episode. That was something I wanted to expand on more. The Gargoyles never made any real attempt to keep themselves very hidden. Oh sure, they weren't holding New Olympian style press conferences, but they didn't sweat it if they were spotted. But we figured that the more of an urban myth they became, the less the majority of the population would believe in them. And once stories about Gargoyles started regularly appearing in the Tattler, people would be sure the whole thing was faked. I'm not sure we mentioned the Tattler again until Hunter's Moon, which is too bad. Though it does show how consciously Michael and I were echoing first season concerns and contrasts in that final mini-series.
Fox and Lex. Their relationship is established in that one moment when she strokes him under his chin. Even I didn't know that down the road they'd become flat-out allies thanks to Alex. Hell, back then I didn't know Alex was on the way. Didn't even know that Fox and David were an item. The characters were just beginning to teach me who they were and what they wanted.
Action-wise this thing is taut. The Pack just keeps coming and coming. The Gargs never have a chance to catch their breath. And, then, suddenly, they do. And the tables turn fiercely. And the Point of View, as well. We are ALWAYS on the side of the hunted. When it's Goliath and Lex, we get very little of the Pack. Just snatches of them attacking. The gargs struggling to stay alive. But up on that roof, we abruptly switch POV. Suddenly, we're following the Pack. Even, dare I say, sympathising with them. Not that we want them to win. But we begin to identify with them as they battle these strange creatures. I love that.
It's hard to believe, but when Frank Paur and I first saw the animation on this episode we were crushed. I look at it now and think its gorgeous. But we were so spoiled by the Awakening animation, we thought this was a debacle. Later we'd get some truly mediocre animation and learn to appreciate the good stuff more. But back then... we were idiots.
Those tv lines were my idea. I love television. I mean I really, really love it. And I hate when people attack it. I think on a percentile basis, there's more good work being done in television than any other medium. Doesn't mean there isn't a lot of crap being done. But that's true in everything. But still it's fun to poke fun. To bite the hand that's feeding you every once in awhile. One of the trio says: "The Pack is just like us. They fight evil. And they do it on television." (I just saw the episode half an hour ago, and I can't be sure who said it. That's pathetic.) Of course, whoever said that didn't mean to say that the Gargoyles were also on television. That was an afterthought. But it's a bit of an in-joke for us and our audience, because the Gargoyles are just like the Pack. I just like to think they had a better show.
But my favorite is Hudson's line: "Maybe we shouldn't believe everything we see on the television..." A lesson we all should live by.
And finally, "Thrill" contained the first of what would soon be a Gargoyles Trademark. The Xanatos Tag. Our favorite manipulator snatching partial victory from seemingly overwhelming defeat. Again, something vaguely revolutionary for a cartoon. You gotta love the guy.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
I have just completed the last of the 1999 ASK GREG backlog. <Woooh!>
I'll start on January, 2000 very soon. And hopefully, we'll soon get to a point where I'm answering questions within a week or so of when they're being asked.
Get a real dialogue going...
Elizabeth Izzo wrote:
> Hey Greg,
> I was just wondering what you think I should do. I
> came to a part in my report where I was mentioning the
> cancelation of gargs and the attempt at TGC. I wrote
> up some stuff, but I felt that this was a touchy
> topic. I wanted to write it truthfully, and I know
> that meny ppl like to chalk it up to, "they trashed
> our show and then did a bad re-make". I know that a
> lot of things happened, ppl left, new ppl came in,
> mistakes were made here and there, and some things
> just couldnt be helped, ratings this and that. So I
> wanted to know how you think I should say this. The
> first part would be something like, "Sadly Gargs got
> cancelled for..(fill in various reasons) or should I
> just say It was canceled and leave it at that? To
> me..that seems to breif. Like I should explain what
> happened to the best of my ability. How do you think I
> should explain it?
> The other part would be something like, "and then soon
> after TGC arrived but.." Should I say that ABC just
> didnt have the same ppl, funding? Gargoyles just was
> lucky in that it had a bunch of wonderful ppl with a
> lot of the same ideas and TGC just didnt have that?
> Should I mention that you would have stayed but didnt
> like how they 'demoted' you? *shrugs* this to me is
> just..a touchy subject. I want to write it as
> truthfully as I can. I know I KNOW this is in Ask
> Greg!! I just wanted to know the best way (you think)
> to explain this.
Saying GARGOYLES was cancelled and then GOLIATH CHRONICLES came after isn't accurate. GOLIATH CHRONICLES was made as the third season of GARGOYLES. It was just going to be on ABC instead of in syndication. Like how the show JAG switched from NBC to CBS (or was it the other way around?). We didn't even know they were changing the title until way into the process.
So you should start by saying that changes took place between the second and third season. (Changes also took place between the first and second season and during all seasons, but obviously there was a real sea change after season two.) Then enumerate in as much detail as you please. Obviously, you should try to be as accurate as possible. Try to check your facts. And keep in mind that largely, I'm not giving you facts, but rather my take on things. If you're being honest, you should try to interview other people and get their takes. At the very least, you should attribute information provided by me TO ME, so that your reader (i.e. your teacher) knows that YOU understand that this is one man's perspective.
Seth asked for more words from Benny. He's napping, but my five year old daughter Erin wanted a chance to communicate directly with all of you. Here she is...
"My best friend likes the gargoyles. In fact, I like them too. My name is Erin Weisman."
That's all she had to say right now. Maybe more later.
More tidbits and observations...
The first appearance of the Steel Clan. It's a silly little thing, but at the time I was ridiculously pleased by the name "The Steel Clan". It just seemed so right. Cool sounding, tough. And yet original and appropriate to the series. It was one of those early moments that made me feel like I was really tapping into the Gargoyles Universe.
Also the first appearance of the Eyrie Building Lobby Security Guard. The one that Oberon will later do his Obi-wan number on. I never forget a minor character.
One reason some of the editing is different between the video version and the tv episodic version has to do with when the two separate products were due. (I'm not referring to the TV movie version that's been appearing recently. I have no idea who edited that one. Or when. Or why.) As I've mentioned before, the video version was not originally created for video. It was created for our world premiere on two big screens at the movie theater multiplex on Pleasure Island at Walt Disneyworld. That premiere was in September of 1994. But the series premiere was almost a full month later. While I was supervising the editing of the movie version, Frank was (relatively speaking) taking his time on the five episodes. In my editing bay, we didn't have the luxury of waiting for all the retakes to come back before we had to complete OUR edit and lock picture for sound design. In fact, sometimes we were editing to pencil test animation. That's animated pencils without background paintings or ink or paint. It can sometimes be very hard to read at all. But we had to make decisions based not soley on "ART" but also on what we likely thought we'd get back in time to get the two prints made for the Florida premiere. Sometimes we cut little pieces that wound up turning out fine and making it into the episode.
Generally, I think the animation in this episode is just stunning. A few examples.
--Hudson lifting Bronx off that train.
--The whole scene with Xanatos, Demona and Owen standing beside the Steel Clan robots while they are covered with sheets. Some incredible shadow work. And the character stuff is so sweet.
--Some gorgeous battle stuff with those robots.
--The castle tower blowing up, crashing and falling apart.
This and more can still take my breath away.
I love all the Demona-Goliath-Elisa triangle stuff. It's all spelled out in the confrontation when Goliath wants to go keep his appointment with Elisa, and Demona's trying to stop him. If Demona hadn't been so bloodthirsty aboard FORTRESS-1, would Goliath have even remembered his appointment with Elisa? Or would he be off cuddling with his long-lost love?
Anyway, that whole conversation is just full of delicious irony -- all working against Demona. Goliath says, "I cannot make war on an entire world," completely unaware that that's exactly what Demona wants to do. He says, "Doesn't Xanatos prove that some humans can be trusted?" But of course, Demona knows that Xanatos absolutely cannot be trusted. Every statement Goliath makes pushes Demona toward further extremism. And he isn't even trying. Finally, after Demona reminds him of the Wyvern betrayal and Massacre, he says that the ones responsible for that "have been dead for 1000 years." Now putting aside that the Captain and Hakon aren't quite as dead-dead as Goliath thinks, this has got to push Demona over the edge. Deep down she knows her own responsibility. Again Goliath is wrong, because the traitor is standing right in front of him. My hats off to Michael Reaves. What a great scene! "So be it." she says. Goliath won't know it until VOWS. But they are DONE. Right there.
Cultural Differences 101: Elisa is trying to convince Goliath not to trust Xanatos. I don't remember the exact line, but she says something with the word "three" in it. (Maybe refering to the three disks or the three Cyberbiotics installations...?) Anyway, to indicate three she holds up her index finger, her middle finger and ... her thumb. It still looks totally goofy to me. I don't know anyone who wouldn't use their ring finger with the other two, using the thumb to hold the pinky down. Does anyone know if in Japan the thumb is preferred?
When Demona's destroying FORTRESS-1, Goliath is standing around stunned. She tries to get him to leave, but he refuses. Finally, she pulls him out. What was supposed to happen was that the tilting ship was supposed to dump him out the hatch at the same time Demona was pulling. So that he was more unwilling to abandon the crew of the ship. But it never animated with the tilt going the right way.
In our original development we planned on making a lot bigger deal of all the various Xanatos Enterprises sub-divisions. You got a taste of that with PackMedia Studios and Gen-U-Tech (a.k.a. Gen-U-Tech Systems or G.U.T.S.). But we were also going to make a bigger deal of his robotics division, which was going to be called the Scarab Corporation. (Thus the scarab design that appears on the transmitter.) But Xanatos wound up being even more hands-on then I anticipated. Less Lex Luthor. More his own glorious self. So Scarab never got much of a spotlight because Xanatos handled those kinds of adventures himself and/or the robots handled things themselves (cf. Coyote in Leader of the Pack). For those of you who have been to one of the Gatherings and seen the original Gargoyles Pitch, you might recall a giant chrome cockroach climbing up the side of a building to attack Goliath. That was going to be a Scarab Corp. creation.
Isn't Xanatos just too cool:
"Let's let them play out there little drama, shall we?" He's so amused. He can't resist watching the confrontation. And for once I don't feel like it's cause he's a villain stupidly giving the hero time to turn the tables. He's sincerely entertained by the show.
"Without me you'd still be gathering moss." Nuff said.
There's another great little dialogue editing moment. Real subtle. When Demona says: "The plan was perfect." Goliath whispers "Plan?" She says something else and then he completes his thought "What Plan?" That little overlap wasn't scripted. It was another product of me having the luxury to really nurse those dialogue edits on those early scripts.
There is good and evil in all of us. Human and Gargoyle alike. Hey, Lexy, there's another major theme of the series. No one group has a monopoly on either attribute.
One thing that never quite worked for me, was the reveal of Demona's name. She makes such a big deal of it. But the name (at this point in the series) just doesn't have enough resonance for me yet. Later, sure. "Demona". We all sit up and take notice. But there. "Demona". Yeah, so? Did that moment play for you guys?
Goliath is about to toss Xanatos off the building. Elisa begs him not to. That'll make you just like Demona she says. Then Hudson pipes in and says, "She's right, lad. Is that what you want?" I intentionally instructed our voice director Jamie Thomason to direct Ed Asner to read that line with ambiguity. Hudson DOESN'T care whether Goliath tosses David or not. He simply wants Goliath to make an informed choice.
And yeah, yeah, David & Goliath. Perfect opposites.
Elisa: "Maybe, we'll catch a Giants' game."
Were any of you surprised when a Giant Oberon attacked the castle?
As usual, I encourage responses posted here, on either your original feelings when seeing the episode for the first time and/or newer more recent observations from repeat or recent viewings.
I have some good news to report.
As many of you know, a man has been suing Disney claiming he created Gargoyles and that we (myself and my bosses) stole it from him. It was infuriating. He claimed that another man he employed as an agent had shown the idea to one of us at Toy Fair in 1992. His own agent denies this, but the plaintiff believes his own agent is lying. When it was pointed out that we first began developing GARGOYLES in 1991, he turned around and claimed he had created his version in the late eighties and simply hadn't copywritten it until '91 or '92.
Needless to say, his claims are without any merit. My great fear was that Disney would regard it as a nuisance suit and pay him off with something, just to get rid of him, thus seemingly giving his claim some merit.
All this was tremendously frustrating and insulting to me personally. I realize that being on Disney's side hardly made me the underdog, but I felt something very medieval about this guy besmirching my honor, and attempting to take claim of something I was very proud of.
I had been deposed ages ago, and had heard nothing until today.
Today, I received a fax copy of U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein's Order and Opinion regarding the suit. On Valentine's Day, he granted Disney's motion for a summary judgment dismissing the complaint "with prejudice." He basically found that the plaintiff had never offered even a smidgen of proof that we had ever had any access to his ideas or designs.
I'd like to thank Alec Lipkind, Disney's council for his hard work in settling this case.
It may be petty on my part, but I do feel vindicated.
I don't normally approve of letting people take "cuts". Or of breaking rules I've set myself, like the one about separate topics requiring separate posts.
But Lexy is writing a paper on GARGOYLES for her HONOR'S ENGLISH CLASS, and she needed some questions answered. I'm a big fan or Honor's English classes, so I couldn't resist. But I figured you all might be interested in the answers as well. So with Lexy's permission, I'm answering them here.
Thanks SO much for helping me with my paper. I hope
to do you,and the rest of the fandom,proud:) Here are
some questions I whipped up for an interview. But If
you have anything you think would be helpful to add or
to subtract from them, please feel free to do so.
1) What do you think are some reasons ppl find
mythological creatures, such as gargoyles, intriguing
GREG'S RESPONSE: I think people like to let their imaginations run. And why limit those imaginations to what we know exists. If a concept has its own internal logic, something real in its emotions and relationships for an audience to grab a solid hold too, then there's little limit to how far-fetched the fantasy can get.
2) What started your personal fascination with
GREG'S RESPONSE: A high school trip to Europe and hearing the tidbit that Gargoyles were placed on castles and cathedrals to scare away evil spirits. The notion that monsters were used against evil was very intriguing. And this was years before we developed the series.
3) Name some of your favorite books or stories you
enjoyed when growing up.
GREG'S RESPONSE: Wow. Um. How far back to you want to go? GO, DOG, GO was an early favorite. Later, I liked the Hobbit. I liked reading about myths of all kinds. I had the D'Aulaire's GREEK MYTHS and NORSE GODS & GIANTS books and I reread those over and over. I also was always a big fan of detective fiction. I liked Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Later, Conan Doyle, some Christie, but my favorites were Hammett, Chandler and ROSS MacDonald. I loved the LEW ARCHER novels. I liked Heinlein in Science Fiction. "Requiem" is a heartbreakingly beautiful little story. I liked Mary Stewart and especially Mary Renault. I read a lot. I liked a lot of diverse stuff. I could go on for hours.
4) Did anything in particular inspire you to create
GREG'S RESPONSE: I've spoken to this before. Gummi Bears was an inspiration, as was Hill Street Blues (my all-time favorite tv show). My on-going fascination with stone gargoyles. And the pragmatic need to be constantly feeding the Dragon that was the Disney Afternoon.
5) Do you believe that gargoyles and other statuary
such as grotesques are rooted in evil traditions? Or
are they there for the common good through harsh
GREG'S RESPONSE: Neither. I think they are symbolic (or rather emblematic) of something primitive and primal. They scare away evil. Not all monsters are against us. We need our dreams and nightmares.
6) (circa) When did you start work on the television
GREG'S RESPONSE: 1991.
7) When and why (circa) were you (and others) forced
to cancel 'Gargoyles'?
GREG'S RESPONSE: The question is phrased in such a way that it's difficult to answer directly. We never planned to do more than 65 episodes. That was a standard run for any show. Now in huge success, a show (like DuckTales for example) made additional episodes, and I won't deny I had hopes that we would to. But the answer came back no. Our ratings were strong. But we were a consistent second place to Power Rangers. So we weren't cancelled. But new episodes would not be made. Then ABC and Disney merged, and ABC wanted some Gargoyles. All my bosses at Disney had left and the new management wanted their own people on the show. So they made me an offer to continue that was designed to make me say no. In hindsight, I should have said yes anyway, but that's spilt milk. I left and they made additional episodes for ABC under the Goliath Chronicles banner. The ratings were not good. Neither, in my opinion, were the episodes. So it wasn't renewed.
8) What did the television show 'Gargoyles'mean to you
as it's creator?
GREG'S RESPONSE: It was and continues to be the highlight of my professional career. Nothing I've done, before or since, let me bring my vision so intact to the screen. It was very collaborative, not every idea was mine, but I still feel like that was the one show that achieved what I hoped it would achieved. I'm ridiculously proud of it, beyond all reason, really.
9) What was the central theme or message of the show ?
GREG'S RESPONSE: There wasn't just one. Among the messages was the obvious DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER moral. Plus plenty about the preciousness of life and hope. Themes of redemption are very important to me. Guilt, fear, love, trust, loyalty. You name it, at some point we through it in. Often episode titles were designed to remind both audience and writer of what the major theme in that story was.
10) How many Gatherings have you attended?
GREG'S RESPONSE: All three. Two in NYC. One in Dallas. And I hope to continue to go as long as you folks want me.
11) What is your opinion of the Gatherings?
GREG'S RESPONSE: It is always one of the true highlights of my year. How could it not be? I'm basically treated like royalty for 72 straight hours. Since that doesn't happen to a guy like me much in real life, it's pretty damn cool.
12) What do you hope ppl who watch 'Gargoyles'will
come away with?
GREG'S RESPONSE: First and foremost, I hope they were entertained. Not a little, but a lot, and on multiple levels. I hope we got the adrenaline going. I hope we touched their hearts. I hope we gave them something to think about. I hope we educated them a bit, or more likely gave them reason to want to be educated about, say SHAKESPEARE or Scottish History or King Arthur or Native American customs or whatever. I'm greedy. I want all of this.
13) What did you like most about the show 'Gargoyles'?
GREG'S RESPONSE: I'm not objective enough to answer this one.
14) What did you like most about working on the show
GREG'S RESPONSE: Honestly, the autonomy. The freedom. I also had some incredibly talented collaborators and when we were in gear, we really hummed. But for sheer fun, it's hard to beat those voice recording sessions. That was the part of the job that generally was the least like work. It's where all the potentials of the show come to life and few of the problems are revealed. Just fun.
15) Why incorporate so many classic dramas and other
time honored themes within 'Gargoyles'?
GREG'S RESPONSE: Purely for my own amusement. And with the hope that some people will either also be amused or will come to be amused as they discover these things. Plus it made my job easier. The story of Macbeth is so good, that adapting it practically wrote itself.
Thanks so much for all your help:)!
GREG'S RESPONSE: You are welcome. Let me know if I can be of any more help.
More random observations...
Jogger's first appearance.
Cyberbiotics first true appearance.
Bruno (aka the Commando Leader) gets a bit of character development. I remember when voice director Jamie Thomason asked Jeff Bennett to do that voice. Jeff asked what Jamie wanted and Jamie said something like: "Do a George C. Scott/Patton thing." I don't know if that's what I'm hearing, but I like the end result.
We see Vinnie for the second time. Of course, we still didn't know that was Vinnie yet. His nose is HUGE. He must have had a little work done between this show and Metamorphosis. (Not the smartest way to spend money when you're out of work.) One of my favorite bits in "Vendettas" is the reveal of how exactly Vinnie was knocked out by Goliath aboard the airship. In Awakening IV, Goliath lifts Vinnie out of the shot. We hear a loud <SMACK> and Vinnie falls unconscious. The implication being that G knocked him out. But in Vendettas, Cary and I showed what was previously off-screen. You see that the <SMACK> came from G hitting his fist against the wall. Vinnie wasn't knocked out. He fainted.
Elisa looks damn good with her jacket off. I wish we had had more opportunities for costume changes with her. They always work so well.
I always thought that the tranq the Commandos used on Goliath in parts III and IV was pretty unreliable. It seems to knock him down. Then he's up again. Then he's staggering. All very story convenient. You could look at it as a flaw in the episodes. Or you could justify it by saying that they had never had the opportunity to test the stuff on Gargoyles before. It had strange effects.
Owen has one line in the whole episode: A very effective clearing of his throat. You gotta love a character who can be so memorable with so little.
The Commandos seem to be pretty bad shots, until you realize in episode V that killing Goliath isn't really what they're after. In my head, they were told NOT to kill him if they could effectively put a scare into him. Elisa was probably much more expendable. Bruno's discretion.
This seemed like the first episode to use the "CLAW WIPES"... but I'm not sure. A Wipe is one means of moving from one scene to another. Other methods are straight CUTS or DISSOLVES, etc. But Japan started doing these very dramatic CLAW WIPES, where a Gargoyle hand seems to be tearing the old scene away with his or her claws. It wasn't called for in early scripts, but after we had seen it a few times, we started to call it out.
Elisa puts the transmitter on a dog she calls Rover, a dog that's scrounging through garbage in the park. In the very next scene, Hudson is watching TV and a dog that could easily have been Rover as a pup is seen starring in a dogfood commercial. How the mighty have fallen.
There's a few great moments with the trio in this show. Maybe not the obvious ones. I love their exchange of dialogue to Hudson when they come back from their night on the town. We had the opportunity to really edit the dialogue with multiple overlaps and rhythms before it went to Japan. The scene really snaps. In later episodes, we wouldn't always have that luxury.
The scenelet where they fly away from the castle on their way to the Cyberbiotics Tower is also very cool. A combination of animation, editing and sound, that really gives SNAP to their departure. I love it.
Of course, the naming scene is great. Names are so addictive.
And I still like the character development in our love triangle here. Goliath doesn't trust Elisa even yet. Hasn't told her about his daytime vulnerability. And he might not have, if he hadn't been caught outside. But her loyalty and steadfastness really impresses him. I feel the connection very strongly. And I think she does too, when she asks if she can see him again later tonight. It's not just curiosity about a new life-form.
And Demona. I love that wing hug when she and Goliath are reunited. But you have to wonder about that reunion from her point of view. Yes, she's scheming here. But she must be thrilled to see him and the other gargs awake and alive. THRILLED. All those years of lonliness and now her true love is awake. But she never hesitates to prioritize her scheming. All those years of bitterness have stunted her emotions even more.
Finally, lots of people keep telling me that Elisa says "Damn" in the boathouse in at least one version of this thing. But it's not true. We never even recorded her saying Damn. Why would I? No way it would get by S&P, so why bother. Didn't even occur to me. She does grunt right before she says "Empty". And I suppose that grunt might sound a bit like the word "Damn." I mean, I don't think so, but it's the only explanation for this myth that I can come up with.
Well, I would first like to say how much I loved the show and wished it was still on. Anyhow, my question is a rather simple one. What was the doctor's name who Xanatos hired to make clones of Goliath? I think it is Dr. Gregarious or some thing like that and my friend disagrees. So, who is right?
Dr. Anton Sevarius.
And Lg00b1, I'm glad you loved the show. But you couldn't have checked the archives too hard before you posted this question. (I mean this is a question that could easily have been answered by 99% of the fandom in any comment or chat room.)
Now, I don't mind answering it. It doesn't take very long. But assuming your still around to read this, you waited three months to get an answer you could have gotten in three minutes. And if you've already got it. Then you did waste everyone's time.
I really don't mean to or want to pick on you personally. You just have the bad luck to be a perfect example...
People, please, if you want me to answer questions, it would really speed everything up if you at least checked the archive of the topic your question is about first.
End of tirade.
We've got that "Nothing in Queue" glitch again. (I just alerted Gore.) I had planned on answering a bunch of new questions, not just a few, and I would never have cleared the Latest Response Page, had I known.
But I'm sure we'll be up and running soon.
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.
Watched the episode again last night.
My two year old son is fascinated with Tom. And misses him in the second act after he's gone. Misses him in other episodes too. Kinda puts the lie to the strongly held belief I've always had that contrary to Network Executive Dogma, kids don't need animated shows to be about kids. Of course, my son is just two. My five year old has no problem with their being no "little girl" in the show.
Goliath says "What sorcery is this?" for the first time. We wound up using it over and over in the series, til it became something of an in-joke. But the truth is, we could never come up with a better line that said the same thing.
Goliath's "suicide" at the end of Act One, is still one of the most startling things I've ever seen in a cartoon. That was Gary Krisel's idea (my boss Bruce Cranston's boss). And I've always admired him for it. It's also the reminder I use to keep me humble when I'm listening to notes from the higher ups. Michael Reaves and I were just going to have the Magus offer to cast his spell on Goliath as something of a consolation prize. "Best I can do" kinda thing.
Love that Chernabog moment where Goliath says "I've been denied everything, even my revenge!" Man, Keith David is great.
The way it's edited you'd never know the problem the last fight in the Viking's camp caused me vis-a-vis Broadway. As you may recall from Part One, during the Viking's initial attack, Broadway stopped for a snack, and then opportunistically used the turkey leg to bonk a Viking. A nice little comedic beat. Well, in Part Two, we wanted to contrast that by having Broadway land in front of the roasting spit by the fire -- so that the audience again thinks he's just thinking about his stomach. But that after the massacre, the much more serious Broadway immediatlely starts using it as a weapon. That's pretty much what you see. But that's not what we received in Animation. What we got was a virtual replay of the scene from Part One. Broadway lands with a big grin and starts to eat. Then he gets attacked and uses the spit as a weapon. It took judicious editing to keep Broadway from feeling too one-dimensional. And even then as the series progressed, we started to downplay Broadway's appetite (another good Gary Krisel suggestion). We brought it up again in Hunter's Moon, Part Three to show how far the character had come. Yeah, great kitchen, but an even better library. That kind of thing.
We had a similar problem with Hudson's sword. We were supposed to make a big deal of him using it for the first time in the battle at the Viking camp. But some of the animation in both Parts One and Part Two showed him using the sword and/or having it by his side before that. That's what retakes are for, I guess.
Xanatos' first appearance... I'm really curious to know how many people, seeing this for the first time knew that Xanatos was the bad guy. I thought it was a little too obvious myself. There's a look he gives Goliath when he's taking the gargs' questions in the Great Hall that I thought absolutely tipped his hand to the audience. But we did try to create a guy who looked like he should be the hero of the show. Handsome athletic Bruce Wayne type up against scary monsters. And Jonathan Frakes is terrific.
(There was a while when Gary Krisel thought maybe we should have Xanatos -- or another rich guy, a pre-Renard if you will -- actually be the gargoyles modern benefactor. I'm glad that's one bit of advice I didn't take from Gary.)
We also get the first look at Owen. Jeff Bennett. Man. What a great cast we had. Wasn't Owen just fascinating from moment one? I didn't know he was Puck way back then, but I sure did know there was a story behind him.
Love that moment when they all Shatter out of stone near the top of Act Two. The sky spinning behind Goliath. The rotating camera for the others. Bronx leaning into the foreground. Still gives me a little thrill. Don't disappoint me Xanatos said. Well, it worked for me.
The first time we got the animation back on that sequence, their stone skins didn't really EXPLODE off them. In fact the first version of the footage had no stone at all. Those of you who have been to the GATHERING have seen that footage. We really had to push to make that concept of them exploding to life every night play visually.
There's an intentional this-ain't-Batman moment during the fight with the Commandos. Goliath gets tossed off the building. He's falling and he grabs for a flagpole, just like Batman would. But Goliath is so heavy, he rips the flagpole right off the building, and he has to use his claws to save himself. Back in those days, everyone was terrified that GARGOYLES was going to be perceived as a BATMAN rip-off. I actually had to write up a memo for the Marketing Department, listing all the significant ways the shows were different. This flagpole bit was our (me, Frank, Michael's) conscious reaction to the constant comparisons.
There's a moment during the fight where Goliath is facing a Commando, and from off-stage Xanatos rescues Goliath by firing his laser at the wall and dumping the masonry on the commando. But that scene gave us nightmares, because it looked like the laser beam was coming from Goliath's eyes. Like he was Cyclops of the X-Men. This made us nervous, because the concept was so new, we were afraid that the audience would think that maybe Gargoyles have all sorts of "cool" super-powers like that.
One line got cut from Part One that would have helped a bit in understanding Lex's character. In Part One, during the initial battle with the Vikings, we had Lex investigating a catapult, fascinated with how it works. That little scenelet got cut from the script for time. But I still miss it.
Anyway, please feel free to post your own responses here on the episode. Both how you felt when you first saw it, and what strikes you now looking at it again.
Apropos of nothing, I've been thinking some more about Theseus. So you guys are the victims of this off-topic Ramble.
I really like the guy.
Here's a kid with a tough upbringing. He's a bastard, and a royal one to boot. That's always hard. Then he pulls his father's sword from UNDER the stone (sound familiar?) and sets off on a quest. Lots of adventure, dealing with bandits and rogue kings. Gets to Athens. And immediately has to deal with an assassination attempt perpetrated by his step-mother (the always interesting Medea). Then he promptly volunteers for hazardous duty and goes to Crete where he's a big hero (at least from the Athenian point of view -- obviously the Cretans and the Minotaur wouldn't agree.)
On the way home, he does abandon Ariadne, but I still think he had no choice because the lady had caught Dyonisus' eye.
He then screws up and is indirectly responsible for his father's suicide. Mary Renault tries to explain this in THE KING MUST DIE. Everyone can decide for themselves whether her explanation is convincing.
Anyway, I'm coming to what I think is the key to his character. The transition point that changed his life, largely for the worse -- ultimately.
He fell in love. With Antiope, Queen of the Amazons. (Hyppolyta's younger sister.) I think this was a great love. A love of equals, in battle, in governance, in life, in bed, etc. This was the love of his life.
And then she dies. It all might have turned out differently if she had lived. I think they were a good influence on each other. But she died in battle, saving his life. And nothing would ever be the same.
After that, he makes one bad decision after another. (Though he does manage to set up the first semi-constitutional monarchy, which is something of an achievement, even if his motivation was selfish -- he didn't want to be tied down to dealing with day-to-day governance.) But basically, he just can't deal. His marriage to Phaedra is clearly a political alliance. And that's a disaster, resulting in her vengeful suicide and the death of Hyppolytus, his son by Antiope. The fact that Theseus is largely to blame for Hyppolytus' death (as he was for his father Aegeus') I think drives him past caring about much of anything.
Now he's just looking for something to kill the pain. He kidnaps Helen, not cause he wants her but because she's a prize. He becomes buddy to that idiot Perithoos. He abandons Athens and winds up stuck in Hades for seven years. And finally, he's killed by a king who was trying (in a very old west fashion) to build his rep by being the man who killed Theseus. It's not a great Arthurian way to go, of course.
But it feels honest to me.
I'm not trying to excuse all of Theseus' mistakes (some of them were fairly horrendous). But I do think there's an explanation.
And if you look at Antiope as the fulcrum of his life. With the Teeter-Totter heading uphill until he met her, holding steady while they were together, but swinging sharply down after her death, I think it ranks up there as one of the great tragedies. And yet still very human.
My kids and I have started watching the 66 chapters of Gargoyles from start to finish, so I thought I'd give a shot at rambling on each episode as we view them.
So starting at the beginning...
In the original script, there was a bit that came right after Princess Katharine reprimands the Captain for inviting the Gargoyles into the Great Hall. She says something to the effect of: "To allow beasts in the dining hall..." Right then, we were supposed to cut to a shot of one of those hounds that you can see milling about in the initial establing shot. The hound was supposed to grab a chunk of meat off of one of the nobles' plates. This would further establish Katharine's hypocracy, but also embarrass her further, lending believability to the things she says and does thereafter. I recall that the scenelet got animated, but not well. Frank refused to include it in the final cut. He may have been right, given what we had to work with. But I still miss the moment I envisioned in my head.
Katharine and the Magus are so nasty in this episode. Boy, did they go through some changes.
I'm also struck by just how much the Trio grew from this first appearance. They're kinda medieval ninja turtles here. But they show potential. I still love their exchange with Tom as he tries to get names out of them and they are baffled as to why names would be important.
I do wish we could have seen more Gargoyles flying around. (It really would have been nice to catch a glimpse of the Coldtrio, but frankly, they hadn't been designed yet. We knew they were coming, but we didn't have time to design them before they were necessary.) But it would have been great to see more beasts, more females. More young and old. But I guess we did all right.
The cliffhangers are interesting too. In both, the threat is the Gargoyles themselves. Princess Katharine says something nasty about gargoyles, just as Goliath enters the Hall. He growls, clearly having heard her statement. And we go to commercial... I could never have gotten away with that by even episode 2. But this early on, we didn't know the gargs well enough to know how they'd react. Clearly they had our sympathy. But would Goliath go berserk? Obviously, not. But that was the tension in that beat. Same thing happens between Acts II & III. The threat seems to be from Brooklyn, Lex and Bronx. Of course, they're bluffing. Annoyed with the humans, they are simply trying to put a scare into them. But the audience doesn't know that yet, so I can get away with the second cliffhanger being a Garg threat as well. Of course, by the end of the episode, we know just how noble they are. And that's a great cliffhanger I think. Goliath roaring to the heavens filled with grief over the death of his "Angel of the Night". 'SCool. (But how many of you really thought she was dead?)
There are also moments that are fairly mundane to us now. Elisa pulling up in her car. Goliath first breaking out of stone. Demona stepping out of the shadows. I'd be curious how all those moments made you guys feel the very first time you saw them, particularly those of you for whom this was in fact the first episode you ever saw.
I invite you to post your comments here on Awakening, Part One.
I got through all the October questions in one day. I'll leave them up for about a week and move on to November soon.
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who entered: Shauntell, Airwalker, Derek!, Aris Katsaris, Jon and Bud-Clare. I'd like to state for the record that none of you gave a "wrong" answer. But this was, of course, a contest, and I had to choose a winner. My choice is quite subjective, but the winner by a hair is Airwalker with the following entry:
"ALONE: The Demona Contest Answer"
Demona consciously chose the word ALONE for a password because in her perspective she is alone. Only she seems to see that humanity is a threat and that what she is doing has to be done. Her birth clan remains blind to that fact. Only she alone can see it.
Subconsciously Demona chose ALONE as a password because inside Demona lurks Angel, the sane innocent she once was. Angel is alone, trapped inside a villain, unable to stop being alone until Demona can accept a millennia of guilt, forgive herself, and allow Angel to be free once more.
A close runner-up was Derek! who gave another very interesting answer:
ALONE: The Demona Contest
A city of humans had been turned to stone and their only hope was about to be eliminated. And Demona had done it alone. She alone had survived while others didn't and she alone had eluded the Hunters for centuries. But why would the word ALONE suddenly enter her mind?
Subconsciously, the word had been with her since she kissed Goliath on the forehead in 994 AD. She covered up her pain with the mask of a mightly warrior. She made a mistake 1000 years ago and couldn't deal with the consequences, which caused her to forever be alone.
These are both great entries. I particularly liked Derek!'s first paragraph and Airwalker's second. Which is not to say I didn't like the reverse.
Anyway, Airwalker, I'm not at my office right now, so I haven't yet chosen the prize, but I will contact you via e-mail early next week and arrange its delivery to you. As stated, it will be worthless, but it should hopefully be of interest.
Congratulations and thanks for playing.
Praise the Dragon,
I finally got through all the September posts.
That means the next entry you see will be a Ramble that declares a winner to "ALONE: THE DEMONA CONTEST ANSWER".
Sometime next week.
Then, I'm taking on October.
I feel like a came down to hard on Alaxk, and I didn't mean to. Again, I have no trouble with people not liking aspects of the show (or the entire show for that matter). And I think this (ASK GREG) is a legitimate forum to express those opinions. I welcome, even encourage criticism. I'm happy to respond.
The only thing that sorta bugged me about Alaxk's approach was that he didn't state his opinions as his own. He put them in the form of questions meant to imply that by now I must realize what a mistake I had made. Since I don't feel that way, it procluded any clear discussion of ideas. It felt a bit precious to me, and I'll admit, it bugged me a bit.
But that's not to say that Alaxk isn't 100% entitled to his opinions about the World Tour -- or anything. And those opinions are perfectly legitimate. Next time just state them.
Sure we're called "ASK GREG" but this isn't JEOPARDY, and your posts don't HAVE to be in the form of a question.
This hasn't been a great batch of answers so far. I suppose I might be in a mood, but the questions haven't been too helpful. I'll try to do better later in the week.
Hi. I just have 2 questions and a opinion. I have been following your master plan for quite some time trying to picture it in my head. And please don't take this as an insult or anything, but it keeps getting more and more outragous to me. Alot of my friends also watch the show and we all agree that the most unpleasing parts to watch have always been the parts with gods and things that although were indeed very creative, didn't quite fit in with the original storyline. Now to me at least, the fun of Gargoyles was seeing how this noble race of beings dealt with everyday life and modern villians. I loved the steel clan, I loved the Evil Xanatos, Demona, Macbeth, and the hunters. But when I saw OBERON attacking Castle Wyvern in New York, that was too much. After Avalon, you started to fade off the real-life aspect of the show which made it interesting for alot of people. The same thing happened to the First generation Transformers show, and soon after it ended. Timedancer is a gret idea, however if it was made into a spinoff, I doubt it would have lasted long. I have heard you talk about all these other Gods and Legends you planned on adding to the series, Just once I would like to hear about maybe a rival clan somewhere else in the world or something that has a sliver of a chance of being realistic instead of magical people who are only now showing up in the world. Anyway, that is my opinion and I hope your not insulted because I would never intend that. Now on to my questions:
1. Did you ever have a death scene planned for Hudson?
2. Did you ever have a death scene planned for Goliath?
Thanks for your time.
I'm not insulted. But I don't agree. I think the show always strived for a balance between the fantastic and (for lack of a better term) the "ultra-mundane". And though you and your friends may form a pocket consensus that we failed to achieve that balance, I'd guess that the majority of fandom disagrees with you. And even you mention Macbeth as one of the elements you liked. But everything about him, from his origin to motivation to his abilities is right from the side of the fence you say you don't care for.
I won't deny that Oberon-as-King-Kong attacking the Eyrie Building is outrageous. I wanted it outrageous. But I also think we built to it in such a way that the majority of the audience bought into it.
As for the World Tour, that was an intentional attempt to broaden the scope of the series. And yes, that included the fantasy/fantastical. But it also included science fiction elements like Nokkar & Matrix. And I feel the Ishimura Clan was about as realistically presented as the series' concept allowed. And certainly the Guatemalan and London clan stories had a little bit of magic thrown in, but the clans themselves were presented realistically.
But maybe the problem is with that word "realistically". Goliath et al are very real to me, but I don't confuse that with the real world. The whole concept is/was literally "fantastic" from moment one. I feel we maintained that fantasy. You feel we exceeded it. You're absolutely entitled to your opinion. And I respect that. But ultimately, I was creating the series that _I_ wanted to see. I have to go with my gut on this.
But what do the rest of you think?
Finally, regarding the Master Plan, keep in mind that what I've revealed of it tends to broad strokes or answers to the out there questions that fans have asked. That doesn't mean the series would be devoid of that more realistic ultra-mundane story and adventure that always was a mainstay of what we did.
As for your questions, I'm afraid they're on a differnt topic from the rest of this and so must be posted separately.
Stopped by the comment room and saw some of your comments on Theseus.
I have a slightly different take on the guy. I do think he's heavily flawed, but I think (or like to think) that some of the stories about him reflect bias. He's still more of a hero to me than a villain. (By the way, have you read the Mary Renault books THE KING MUST DIE and THE BULL FROM THE SEA. I'd recommend them.)
For example, in the Persephone story, I've always gone with the version that Theseus swore an oath of loyalty to Perithoos. Perithoos then insisted on going to Hades to take Persephone. Theseus is then stuck. He either has to break his oath to his friend or go to hell, so to speak. He tries to talk Perithoos out of this fool's gambit, but the guy won't listen. (And I wonder if Perithoos hadn't pissed off Eros and gotten shafted.) So Theseus goes. And is severly punished. Thus Athens is abandoned by him for years, and they don't forgive him. Thus you get some bias...
As for his history with women...
Ariadne - I always read that Theseus was FORCED to abandon her by Dionysus, who had taken a shine to the lady. (And this fits with Renault's more realistic interpretation too.)
ANTIOPE - I always thought that Theseus only ever really fell in love once. With Antiope the Amazon. (Sister to Hyppolyta, though Renault and others often confuse her with Hyppolyta herself. It may be that Hyppolyta was more of a title than a name. When Herakles' Hypolyta was killed, her sister Antiope ascended to the throne and took the name/title Hypolyta. That might explain the confusion.) When Antiope died, I think it killed something inside him.
I don't want to whitewash the guy, and maybe my problem is that too many of my early exposures to the character did just that. I do think he's a Bastard. With all that that implies. But I like to think there's more good in him than evil.
I could go on -- and some day I probably will -- but that should do for now.
One thing (one of many things) I admire about Joss Whedon's tv version of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and his ANGEL is his fearlessness as a creator. His willingness to let things evolve, change.
Characters find out the truth about other characters. They fall in and out of love. Things aren't drawn out forever and ever. He's unafraid to GO for it.
And frankly, I think that's one of the things I'm proudest of about GARGOYLES.
Not everyone loved the World Tour, but how many of you ever thought we'd have the guts to do it. To take our two leads and send them away from their "franchise" location not just for an episode or two but for what amounted to a season's worth of episodes?
And, honestly, how many of you thought -- even at the very end of "Hunter's Moon, Part Two" -- that we'd REALLY blow up the clock tower? Did you anticipate that the Gargs would wind up back at the castle with Xanatos or was that a surprise? For that matter, in season one, how many of you would have thought we'd have moved them out of the castle in the first place? "Enter Macbeth" represented a defeat of sort for our heroes. Did you see that coming?
(NOTE: These are not rhetorical questions. I'd really like to know the answers, so don't hesitate to let me know with a post here.)
Anyway, if these things were shocking, I think it's because they were somewhat brave. A risk. But not a risk for the sake of risk, but a risk in the name of being true to the characters. We made the various franchise shifts because nothing else made sense. I think it paid off for us, at the very least in loyalty from all of you. What do you think?
My DC Comics editor finally sent me a few copies of that Justice League comic with the Captain Atom/Gargoyles story. I had forgotten just how many Gargoyle in-jokes I put in that story. There's much more there for a Gargoyle fan then for a Captain Atom fan. Though I think the scenes of Cap kissing Bette (and the mention of Las Vegas) would make a couple people (Simon Del Monte, Melissa Page, for example) a bit nostalgic. I think the story turned out pretty well. Anyway, I'm happy. My editor made a couple small changes. He removed the two references to the year the story took place (1991). And he changed the title. It was called something like: "An Exercise in Self-Indulgence". Now it's called "The Flashback of Notre Dame". Both are accurate, but his is much more clever.
Lately, I've been giving away a lot of ASK GREG tidbits for some reason. Not sure why. I'm just in the mood, I guess. But it suddenly occured to me to register this caveat.
There's canon and there's canon.
As far as I'm concerned the only true canon is the 66 episodes of the series running from "Awakening, Part One" through "The Journey". As many of you know, I don't like to consider the other twelve episodes of Goliath Chronicles to be canon, let alone whatever other stories got published by Marvel or Disney Adventures Digest or whatever.
But to be honest, even some of my ASK GREG answers cannot truly be considered canon. They're closer. But I won't be held to them in any absolute sense. Part of the wonder of producing the first two seasons of Gargoyles involved things discovered along the way. I won't etch things in stone (pun intended) just for the sake of making these ramblings and off-the-cuff answers sacrosanct. If I got the chance to produce the show (or one of its spin-offs) again, I'd ABSOLUTELY incorporate much of what's here. But I'd be a fool not to hold everything up to a microscope and decide with consideration what would and wouldn't be best for the new series.
Having said that, I've been giving some particular thought to G2158 recently, studying timelines for example. And I've changed a few things in my head. Nothing major. But certain things have changed that would in turn effect things in TimeDancer and present-day Gargoyles. Maybe even New Olympians and Pendragon. (So far nothing that would alter Bad Guys or Dark Ages.)
The good news is that none of these changes effect our three current contests. (Wouldn't that be an ASK GREG disaster?)
And all this thought has gotten me thinking about how I might handle a couple of thorny problems in any revival of the original series, specifically the time gap between 1996 and whenever the new show hit the air, and/or the existence of those 12 non-canon Chronicle episodes.
And frankly, I think the internet is the answer.
Goliath Chronicles exists. I can't change that. But I think I can ignore it. For example, if I wanted to do my version of the trial of Goliath -- the one where the question before the court is his very sentience -- couldn't I just do it?
New fans wouldn't know about the Chronicles trial and thus wouldn't be upset about it. Old fans could check here and find out why it was being ignored.
That only leaves a small percentage of people, who, for example, see the Chronicles episode on Toon Disney and wonder about it, but don't have the resources or whatever to find a site like this and learn the rationale. Would they be very put off? Is that too selfish an approach for me to take?
Likewise, the time gap. What if in the fist season, I did that Halloween story I've mentioned before. I wouldn't mention what year it was. For a new audience, they'd just assume that the story took place in say, October 2002. No harm done. But I could post here and tell people it took place in 1996. Then, by the end of the first season, I could have the series caught up to 2002, but still have gotten to do the stories that would have depended (continuity-wise) on proximity to the events in Hunter's Moon and The Journey.
What about that?
I'm very interested in all of your opinions on these notions. Please post them here.
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