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i just watched "MIA" last night. i wrote down some notes:
- first off, the English gargoyles. for years i didn't like them, i mean physically. they seemed so different from the other gargs around the world and they looked like birds, lions and horses. that really irked me, but i've gotten over it. i started to think of different reasons they look like they do, and Greg had some theories as well, so i'm ok wth it now, and frankly, they are now my favorite gargoyle race to draw. i find them really neat. i did notice that they are the only gargs we've seen whose eyes seem to be tinted when NOT glowing. Leo and Griff's eyes were tinted tannish-gold and Una's were more light blue. interesting.
- it made me sad for years that there were only three gargoyles in the English Clan. i remember thinking to myself that they were another clan that was dying out, just like the Manhattan Clan. much to my surprise and excitement, i discovered the fandom online and soon discovered a whole Clan was never seen on the show! and they are one of the more populated Clans at that! very cool.
- it always amazes me how good a likeness of Griff and Goliath those statues are... guess Leo, Una and the pilots had excellant memories.
- when the English thugs surround Elisa i think how rascist they must be against her. kinda feel sorry for them... esspecially when the gargs kick their @$$! i LOVE Angela's line, "Surely we were sent her for something more important than this..." she gets that from her mother i think,
- i remember thinking that it was weird that Angela instantly recognized Leo and Una as gargoyles. esspecially because they were robed and she had recently been tricked by Raven. plus Leo and Una look so different than most gargoyles. maybe she smelled them or something. or maybe she was somehow familiar with the idea of what English gargs looked like.
- i like how comfortable Leo and Una are around humans. so used to them. its certaintly new to not see humans running away in fear of gargs.
- good touch when Goliath transports into the 1940 sky and falls cuz he was standing up. kinda like having the rug pulle dout from under you.
- i instantly love Griff when he saves Goliath from a propellor blade and says, "You know old boy, that could've been a bit nasty!" love his accent, hes great, i love Griff!
- when Griff honors Leo and Una for "minding the store" i think about how Hudson and Bronx are always left behind and how that is honorable too.
- when Goliath and Griff take on the pilots its great animation, it reminds me of the Trio taking on the Pack's helicopter. i like these sky battles, i guess.
- every time i see Goliath's wing get shot, i cringe. "OW!" thats gotta hurt, i mean theres a hole in his wing!
- destiny really had it out for Griff, one thing after another tried to kill him. i remember i was a little afraid that Goliath would be unable to prevent his death and hjave to go back to tell Leo and Una how Griff had died. fortunatly, Goliath was smart enough to get out of the warzone and back to the 90s.
- and back in the 90s theres a reunion, but a weird and awkward one. talk about your love triangles. Una is stuck between the gargoyle she loved in her youth and has been missing for so many years and the gargoyle who has been her companion for all those years! it doesn't help that Griff and Leo are such good friends either. its an ugly situation, i think and i totally understand why Griff would want to stay with King Arthur, but thats a story for another day...
Glad you came around to liking the London clan. Maybe we can explore them more in the future...
I'm heading down to San Diego tomorrow for a brief sojourn at ComicCon. Specifically, I'll be participating (at least I'll be sitting there) at a Slave Labor Graphics Panel at 4pm on Saturday, 7-16-05. Stop by and say hello.
I know that you get this alot but what are you doing these days. I know that great shows like family guy and futurama (I know that you get a kick out of these shows) have done wonders for the revival of the series. Any chance that the cartoon network will pick up Gargoyles. BTW I'm a medical student and that your show reaches out to so many people from all walks of life
Cartoon Network is owned by TimeWarner. Gargoyles is owned by Disney. You can do the math.
Did Hakon die before or after Macbeth was born?
i was wondering, from your experience, how do the higher ups at Disney view the Gargoyles property? do they see it as something they could use someday or something they just want to sit on? do they feel it was a series that stood above most of their other animated series' or do they believe its just another old cartoon they made in the 90's?
similiarly, how do they view the fans of Gargoyles? do they even know we exist in the numbers we do? do they care about what we want for Gargoyles? do you think they even bother listening?
i don't know if you'll be able to answer these questions since i doubt you have the honest opinions of Disney higher ups, but i was curious.
Corporations "listen" with dollars.
I think, clearly, the fandom spoke to them with the DVD sales. And now we're getting another DVD and... hopefully... the comic book too.
But a caution: the First Season DVD sales weren't SO great that putting the 2nd Season on DVD was a slam dunk. We did well enough, but it was clearly still a decision that they needed to make.
So if sales on the next DVD fall off at all, don't expect a third one completing Season 2.
Otherwise, Matt, you're just overthinking it. Gargoyles is old news at Disney. Most of the execs there now, weren't there when Gargoyles was originally on. If they see profit potential, they might go for it. If not, they won't.
I simply have to ask -- Did you really help make "Bionicle: Mask of Light The Movie"? This may be not be related to Gargoyles, but I'm a fan of both and I can't believe you did both . . . if you did that is.
I saw it on the credits and my brother and I were just shocked to see your name.
PS. To Mak and Matt who wrote before today, Goliath didn't have the Phoenix Gate to take his clan out of 994, he only had 'half' of it, Demona had the other half. He couldn't change the past either once he retrieved the other half (Remember 'Vows'); A reminder of 'Bushido:' "Gargoyle must not fight Gargoyle." This may not be the case in all clans, but it should hinder alot of potential conflict.
I'm not sure why you find it so hard to believe, but yes, I share story credit on "Mask of Light" with Bionicle creator Bob Thompson and with writers Alistair Swinerton (as Brit a name as I've ever heard) and my pal Henry Gilroy. I had a great time working on that project (though I wasn't on it long as a Lego executive fired me because she believed I was being disresepctful, which I wasn't) and some of my ideas do survive into the final product.
"Although I don't know if they actually used the M.I.A. acronym as far back as WWII. I associate it with Vietnam. Does anyone else know?"
The farthest back I've seen militaries use "Missing," not necessarily "M.I.A.," on casualty lists is the Crimean War. I know the U.S. used "Missing" during the Civil War. Before then, armies had "Unclassified" casualties because it was nearly impossible to tell if someone was missing as a result of a battle, was mixed up with another unit or had gotten scared and ran from the battle.
But going back to your actual question, the acronym came about during WWI (or at least that's when the U.S. began keeping track of M.I.A. figures) and was very much used in WWII. The U.S. Department of Defense Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office's mission of recovering M.I.A.'s begins with those missing from WWII.
Probably the reason why you associate the acronym with Vietnam is because the U.S. added the acronym M.I.A.P.D. - Missing in Action Presumed Dead - to its acronym-heavy lexicon either shortly before or during Vietnam, and because the government didn't want to keep reporting PD's to the media, they more readily reported those who were M.I.A. and might be found alive (of course, they might have been reporting PD's as well and just never informed the general public about the acronym's extension).
Sobering statistic time: Of the 217,000 U.S. soldiers reported M.I.A. from WWI through Vietnam, 42% remain unaccounted for; 88,000 of those still missing are from WWII-Vietnam.
Anyway, that's the best I can do with that - maybe someone else knows more. Thanks for the ramble, I hope you have more on the way.
That's a lot, and very helpful. It's good to know that the title isn't anachronisitic to the content of the episode. Thank you.
I loved the ep. Not just to see a new clan of Gargoyles, but it brings up memories of the war stories my Grandmother told me.
Every time I watch it, I can see my Grandmother running for cover from the Nazi's as a young girl. And then I can see my Grandfather shooting them down. Every time I watch "M.I.A." I think of my Grandfather very fondley.
To me, my grandfather was, and still is a good 'ole Canadian war hero.
Thanks a million, Greg!
You're welcome. And thanks to your grandfather. We all owe him a debt.
Ahhhh...a new ramble! Glad to hear your thoughts on the episodes again, Greg!
Anyway, as soon as I saw Una and Leo I kind of figured them to be gargoyles--I don't know why, exactly, but it just seemed so obvious. I love the idea of the magic shop, too--I know it's the type of shop I'd like to visit.
While I'm talking about the London clan (or at least, the three that we've met), I just want to talk about their designs. Not just their physical designs mind you--their clothes and such as well. I'll admit, I didn't know much about "heraldic animals" at the time I saw this, so I didn't quite pick up that layer of it. I still liked it, though--helped make them unique, even from Raven's illusion clan. The feathered wings were also quite beautiful. Their tails, though, don't look like they would be as strong as those in the other clans we have seen. Griff's and Leo's maybe, but I doubt Una would be able to wrap her tail around someone's gun and jerk it from their grasp. Their attire is similarly unique, with them wearing quasi-medieval armor and dresses (I especially like Una's dress; very elegant). Griff's is different, yet still evocative of armor, which IMO makes him seem more "modern" than his cohorts. Leo and Una's cloaks are nice, and color-coded as well--green for Leo, violet for Una. Other small things: Leo's eyes seem to have a yellowish tint while Una's have a blue one, Leo's mane is tied back in a pony tail (never noticed that before...). And, even after your ramble, Greg, I look at Griff and cannot see a bit of Foghorn Leghorn in him.
Okay, long digression. Anyway, seeing Leo and Una's coldness to the plight of the man from the street made me feel a little cold to them myself. Leo seems to be a bit more aware than Una is though. By that I mean, he's the one who looks out the window and says "There goes the neighborhood." This sort of thing leads me to believe that Leo's final "revelation" in ACT 3 is something that he's been pondering over for quite some time. Sure, he still doesn't do anything, but I can't help feeling there's something there.
The weary travelers arrive in London, and spot the memorial. I instantly recognized Goliath's statue and became intrigued, as for Griff's...I think I had some vague recollection of his portrait, but I didn't really dwell on it.
Elisa apologizes to the cabby for the "American money." It's a little touch, but I really like it.
Then the thugs show up. I think I've finally figured out the actors who did the voices of the three who talked:
Neil Dickson--Red Mohawk.
Gregg Berger--Big Guy with Torn Green Shirt.
(I could be wrong, though...)
Anyway, the gargs show up and make short work of them (I especially love Angela's disdain over her foe). Leo and Una arrive on the scene, and Goliath (and this audience member) start to become confused. Elisa, noticing the growing crowd, suggests that everyone go inside the shop.
When it comes up that Goliath met the London clan in 1940, I remembered the "Previously on..." segment with Goliath saying he's going to make sure nobody uses the Gate again, and kind of figured out what would happen.
Maybe I really am cold, but I don't feel much sympathy towards Leo and Una at this point. Even in hindsight, I still feel cold. They don't even bother to listen to Goliath's story--I would have thought the mention of "being frozen in stone hibernation" would have at least piqued their curiosity in some way. Instead, they just feel like doling out punishment--even if it means shackling up an innocent third party in the dungeon for no other reason than their association with Goliath. I never noticed the parallel between Una and Demona before you mentioned it, Greg, but I definitely see it.
I didn't think Goliath's "inner monologue" was terribly awkward. I mean, Matt Bluestone, a supporting character, got pretty much a whole episode to do it. Who are we to begrudge the series lead just one line.
I like Griff's reaction to Goliath's "You saved my life--it was suppossed to work the other way around." I also like Goliath's tentative "Pleased to meet you" when he "first" meets Leo and Una.
Back on the London Clan designs again--I really liked how the artists aged them (or "youthened" them as the case may be). Lines on the face, the grey in Leo's hair. Also the voice actors did a good job (I especially liked Sarah Douglas).
I never heard the name of Douglas Bader before this episode. And even then I didn't know he was a real person (nor how exceptional he was) until I read about it in one of your responses to something. I'm glad you got the chance to meet someone like that (hell, you got to go to DISNEYLAND with someone like that--that's got to be an honor). Even in this ep, he was the one who stood out, and (knowing who he is now) it makes his dogfight with "the Skull" all the cooler.
Funny you should mention using the Goliath/Una/Leo/Griff scene in your voice seminars, Greg--I remember reading that scene in the one you held at the Gathering 2001. I was Goliath, as I recall (very hard trying to follow in Kieth David's footsteps), and Crispan Freeman was Griff. What a fun time!
I like how Goliath doesn't say a definite "Yes, let's fight" or "No, stay here" but just states a simple truth. He's trying to stay out of trouble, of course, but it also just seems, to me, like the most intelligent and even-handed thing to say. And in the next 55 years, Leo and Una apparantly twisted the whole darn thing around in their heads....
Leo expresses some doubt even at this point, asking if Griff thinks less of him and Una for not going out to fight. I like the arm clasp, too.
By this point I had definitely realized that Una and Griff were an item this far back. I also kind of guessed that during the interrum (sp?) she and Leo got together.
The Battle of Britain. I had never made the connection between the wee lad running with his sister, and the old cab driver in the present. Makes the scene even cooler now, though.
Nor, I must shamefacedly admit, did I single out the skull-and-crossbones plane ("the Skull" as I have already called him) as unique. I feel like an idiot now though--it just seems so obvious. Heck, even after the pilot's gone the PLANE continues to be a threat; the last thing Goliath and Griff have to escape. It's an old trick--you have a lot of similar enemies (planes, in this case) you give one a distinguishing (sp?) mark to set it apart and mark it as the "alpha enemy" (kind of like Stripe in "Gremlins.")
Speaking of gremlins, I kind of like the connection with the gargoyles (come to think of it, I always saw Lexington as being gremlin-like--greenish-brown with a prediliction for tinkering and all that). I also like that Bader notices them, and instead of being frightened, actually becomes a sort of ally.
The "no-dying" rule...I have to admit I get kind of sick of that sometimes. Several other animated shows I've seen (western animated) actually managed to have planes explode and no parachutes shoot out. Heck, at least they should have had "the Skull" be stuck in his plane. (And maybe I'm sadistic, but I would have liked a shot of his screaming face just before his plane crashed....)
Goliath's wound. Ouch. I still say that every time I see him get hit. He still manages to pull off some great ariel manuevers on that injured wing, though.
And talk about a tough time getting home. First they're nearly shot out of the sky by friendly fire, then a building nearly falls on them, then a truck nearly hits them (and rudely interrupts Goliath while he's speaking).
And finally Goliath realizes what we the audience already knew--that time is immutable--and to avoid the final danger ("the Skull's" plane) Goliath sends both he and Griff back to the future (pun intended). Pretty much what I expected would ultimately happen.
Leo and Una look in on their captives in the basement (the fact that Elisa and the rest are in chains lessened my respect for them another notch), and after Elisa figures out what Goliath's plan is, both of the London gargoyles pause. Una recovers and continues to rant and rail against Goliath, while Leo closes his eyes and realizes the truth. I love Leo's speech here. And how he admits that while protecting their home may have been "the right thing to do" it's still their own guilt they've been feeling. I find this scene even more fascinating with the revelation that Una is the leader of the London clan. A leader is a person, too, with all the foibles (even Goliath shows that from time to time).
Goliath and Griff show up and Griff experiences major culture shock. I love the punk playing the gameboy--he just walks right by these two huge, winged monsters and doesn't even notice. In fact, Griff is the one who nearly faints (into the path of an approaching car). I just love Goliath's "Let's not start that again." Keith David just delivers it so well.
The reunions commence. I already started warming up to Leo and Una after the cellar, but now it really is great to see the joy on their faces. Griff is also joyful, but it's easy to sense a bit of awkwardness as well.
Goliath tries to explain the time loop, and Elisa does the "smile, nod" thing and asks for the explanation just one more time. "And take it slow."
The thugs pester the "foreigner" again--it wasn't until now that I realized they were racists as well--and then find themselves reaquainted with the fact that there are people out there even more different from them. Leo and Una kick two of them away (and Una has HOOVES--triple OUCH!), and stand proudly...in front of a crowd of humans. I thought that was rather interesting. I especially like the shopkeeper (the guy in the apron). He has his arms folded almost as if in pride.
Well, there's my ramble (and a long one, too). Can't wait for your next one (though I may have to--but I'll do so gladly).
I still use that Leo/Una/Griff/Goliath scene, because it illustrates the point of "intention/motivation" so well.
Wow! A new ramble! This is the best Columbus Day present that I've ever had! (Actually, it's the only Columbus Day that I've ever had, but it was still a very pleasant surprise).
I really liked "M.I.A." and still do. A major reason is that it was set in London and I'm a Anglophile (particularly since I spent a lot of my boyhood in England, from between the time that I was 9 to the time that I was almost 13). Plus it was a time travel episode involving a bit of English history (the Battle of Britain), and on top of all that, I really liked Griff. I found him a great character.
I found your vision of Macbeth and Shakespeare visiting the Mystic shop together a delightful one (even if you don't see it as having literally happened in the Gargoyles Universe). I considered it appropriate that the London gargs be shopkeepers, on account of Napoleon's famous description of the British as "a nation of shopkeepers" (which you even alluded to in your ramble). (Of course, I've sometimes wondered if Napoleon might have reconsidered his dismissal of the British after those setbacks that he received from Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington.) And they show themselves to be further "anglicized" by even having tea! (I liked the little touch of Una apologizing for the absence of sugar on account of rationing.)
I've sometimes wondered what the London public's response was to the gargoyles' memorial statue; since they didn't know then that gargoyles were real, it must have seemed to the bulk of them like - say, raising a World War One monument to the Angels of Mons.
I also thought that the racist thugs in this episode were almost the English equivalent to the street thugs in "Awakening Part Three", "Avalon Part One", and "Hunter's Moon Part One". Rather appropriate that they'd be racists, as a parallel to the Nazis in the 1940 sequence (and definitely fitting in with Griff's comment of "The more things change, the more they stay the same.")
I hadn't even realized the similarity between Demona and Una before you mentioned it.
One thing that amused me about the episode was Leo and Una's response towards Goliath's using the Phoenix Gate - just a mild stare. (Maybe it's not so surprising, given that if you work in a magic shop, you start getting used to things.)
I liked your description of Griff, and was amused by your description of him as a "Robin Hood of the 1940's". It strikes me as particularly appropriate in light of his later on team-up with King Arthur; after all, Arthur and Robin Hood are the two leading "legendary heroes" of Britain. While a literal team-up between them in the Gargoyles Universe doesn't strike me as probable (I assume that Robin Hood is long since dead by the present-day portion of the series), Griff can serve as an equivalent to him. (Of course, T. H. White did manage to pull off a literal team-up between Arthur and Robin Hood in "The Sword in the Stone".)
I hadn't known about Douglas Bader before I saw "M.I.A." (I recall that it was Stormy who first informed me about Bader being a real historical figure when I joined the Gargoyles fandom at Station 8, back in late 1996 and early 1997). I really liked him in the episode, especially his being another human who could see gargoyles for what they really are (my favorite moments involving him being his saying "They're real, and they're on our side!" and he and Griff giving each other the thumbs-up after he shoots down the Nazi pilot). And I enjoyed "Reach for the Sky" (it even brought back memories of my boyhood in England, even though they were from the late 70's), after you recommended it in early 2001.
Goliath's line "human problems become gargoyle problems" is a favorite of mine; indeed, a close inspection of the series (as I've said before) shows how true it was. For one thing, we've seen how all those struggles for the succession to the Scottish throne between 971 and 1057 impacted the gargoyles in Scotland (the alliance between Prince Malcolm and Hudson, the flight of the eggs to Avalon after Constantine's usurpation, the rise of the Hunters, Macbeth and Demona's short-lived alliance). And it still goes on in the modern world, where Castaway's vengeful war on the clan arose from a human problem (he shot his brother and couldn't take the responsibility for it, so he goes after the gargs instead to take it out on them).
Another favorite bit of mine; Goliath tells Una that he won't let anything happen to Griff "this time", and Una puzzles over the "this time" part.
Since (as I mentioned in my comments on "Avalon Part Two") I've been working on a fantasy novel for some time now (begun even before "Gargoyles" came out) which uses the same rules for time travel as "Gargoyles" did (that you can't change the past because your travels there are already part of it), which were there even before "Gargoyles" came out as well, I had no difficulty following the time loop. (One reason why I'm grateful for having come up with those rules for time travel independently before the series aired - it made the Phoenix Gate episodes easier to follow!)
Your comment at the end about Leo remembering "what his business is supposed to be" reminded me of the scene in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" where Scrooge tells Marley's ghost "But you were always a good man of business, Jacob", and Marley replies "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"
At any rate, it's great to have a new ramble again. Let's hope that there's more in the weeks to come.
Well, I've slacked off again recently, but I think we made it through Future Tense.
Great ramble back, btw.