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Greg "Xanatos" Bishansky writes...

Ahh man. Todd pointed out the Demona/Lady Macbeth connection before I did.

Since I'd rather not repeat everything he said, I'll just say that "Long Way to Morning" was a great episode.

Oh by the way, I'm glad the Archmage did return. I like evil sorcerors, even if some are cliched. And David Warner is one of my favorite voice-actors. He was great as Ras al'Ghul in Batman, and Alpha in MiB. Thanks for bringing him back to "Gargoyles". It's just too bad that we didn't get "Dark Ages".

Greg responds...

Ditto to everything you said.

Response recorded on June 30, 2000

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Lexy writes...

Heeeeeeeeeeeeello again!

Hey, I thought I _asked_ this one already..but well I just looked over a bunch of Q's..and well I guess mabye I didnt. Well, sorry if this is a double post ok?

I was thinking about 101 dalmations a few days ago. You probably havent thought about this in perticular..but for Nash's voice were you just planning on using Jeff?

If so would it have sounded like Lucky's voice?

Thanks!! SORRY again if I spammed you!

Greg responds...

I haven't seen much of the tv 101 Dalmations. So the Lucky I know had a slight British accent. But we might very well have used Jeff for Nash. Maybe.

Response recorded on June 30, 2000

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Duncan Devlin writes...

First off, great show, always worth saying. I would like to thank for Oberon, who led to a five page description that got me an A for seventh grade English, Titania, whose description got me and A for eighth grade English, and Macbeth, a text whose knowledge got me an A in ninth grade English (although these grades did not come from spelling.)

On my seventh or eight watchings of "Ill Met by Moonlight" and "The Gathering", my rather large screensavers, I noticed a few things and came up with some stuff.

1) Anubis appeared to be one of the people in line at the Gathering, this seems a little odd. Who takes care while he is away?

2) Who, if anybody, is the dube with the hat that kisses Oberon's hand before the Banshee gets dropped?

3) Oberon refers to himself as "we" in some cases and "I" and other cases, what is up with that?

(I did not see these in the archives, if any are there, sorry)

Thanks

Greg responds...

1. Takes care of what? Away from where?

2. That "dube" is Nought.

3. Artistic license. I generally liked for him to use the royal we. But occasionally having him say "we" was very confusing, because it gave the impression he was talking about the group at hand. So occasionally, we cheated and used "I". Fortunately, Terrance Mann, who voiced Oberon could make the lowliest I still sound like the royal we. Which is probably why you didn't notice it until your seventh viewing.

Response recorded on June 29, 2000

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Chapter XV: "Metamorphosis"

STORY EDITOR: Michael Reaves
WRITERS: Brynne Chandler Reaves & Lydia Marano

The first appearance of Anton Sevarius and the MUTATES: Maggie the Cat, Fang and Claw. Derek had appeared before, but this was TALON's "first appearance" as well.

In our original development, the Talon character was called CATSCAN. He wasn't Elisa's brother. In fact, he was sorta Sevarius. That is, he was the scientist who created the mutagenic formula. At first he works for Xavier (Xanatos), but later -- when he realizes that Xavier was responsible for the "accident" that turned him into Catscan -- he tries to hunt Xanatos down, forcing Goliath to actually protect Xanatos in order to save Catscan's soul. This version of Catscan was basically the inspiration of my good friend Fred Schaefer, who was a Disney Development Associate at the time. Part of the team. Oh, and Catscan was a solo act, there were no other Mutates. And he didn't have wings either. He fired some kind of radiation bolt from his eyes.

Later, we began to prep Derek for the Catscan/Talon role. I don't remember if we knew Derek's fate way back in "Deadly Force", when he was introduced, but we definitely knew by "Her Brother's Keeper". One of the reasons we made him a pilot was to give him some flight background to justify how quickly we needed him to learn to fly. This was emphasized HERE by putting him in a glider.

Anton Sevarius became a separate character obviously. Michael Reaves, I believe, came up with his name. At first, I didn't like it. I thought it was too cartoony. Now I think it suits him.

Rereading my memo, it seems I was thinking of Brent Spiner to play Sevarius. I hadn't remembered that. Of course, no one else could be Sevarius except Tim Curry. And Brent was a perfect Puck for us too. So all's well that ends well. (But can you imagine if somehow the rolls had been switched?) Tim has some great lines here: "...Or has that changed?" is one of my favorites. He's so hungry.

FYI - That's Jonathan Frakes voicing Fang's one-liner in this episode. We couldn't afford to hire a separate actor for one line. So Jonathan stepped in. Of course, later Fang was taken over by Jim Belushi. But I don't think anyone noticed.

Gotta love the Snidely Whiplash reference.

As I mentioned in my last Ramble on "Leader", Xanatos' plans were getting more and more sophisticated. Here we had two humdingers in a row. The one in "Leader" is just a lot of fun. This one is cruel. Throughout the story, we (I think) tend to believe in Xanatos' mea culpa and his outrage regarding the Mutates ("They'll crucify you. And if they don't, I WILL!!"). Why? Because he's so darn likable we want to think well of him. (Who was fooled? I'd like to know.) Also his story rings true. When he tells Sevarius, "I've been in prison before." We know he has. We believe he could take it again. It's that touch of truth amid the lies that makes him so sharp.

And Owen was complicit. On one level, that shouldn't be surprising, yet there's something of the Mr. Spock about Owen. As faithful as you know he is, you don't actually expect him to lie.

And frankly, the plan is SO complex. I hope it's believable when all is said and done. We made a real effort to make sure that it could have worked, that if it hadn't gone EXACTLY as depicted it would feel like there would have been alternative scenarios that would have generated the same result. Of course the master-stroke is Sevarius' death. Our S&P executive raised an eyebrow over that, as she finished reading Act Two. Fortunately, she was the type who finished the script before knee-jerking us with an objection. We got away with depicting a violent death on-screen -- because it was fake. (But who was fooled?)

We tried to play fair with a number of clues throughout. We used Xanatos' own security team as the "hired mercenaries" that Sevarius was using. Only Xanatos checks Sevarius' pulse. When Matt and Elisa are later investigating the scene, there's no body and NO CHALK OUTLINE either. They have no idea that anyone even theoretically was supposed to have DIED there. And Sevarius is SO OVER THE TOP. That should have been a stylistic clue. It was way fun to do -- and it took great acting on Tim's part to act that badly and still make it play.

For once the script came in a tad short. So the board artist added the bit where the gargoyles break out of stone and we see the debris rain down on the people below. Pigeons fly off into the night. (Just a little touch of realism.) Very nice.

I was never too fond of Elisa's Zen Master joke. Still, in the comic book story I wrote before the Marvel comic book was cancelled, I created a Zen Master character. (Just compulsive I guess.)

My original plan for Gen-U-Tech was to abreviate its name as G.U.T.S. As in the company that twists yours up. (The full name is Genetic Undiscovered Technical Systems.) Instead it became Gen-U-Tech, which is probably better. But I can't remember who made the change. The script has plenty of GUTS references in the descriptions. But it may have escaped my notice that it has none in the dialogue. And the logos designed all read Gen-U-Tech, not guts. I wonder if Frank & Michael were slyly protecting me from a mis-step?

I like the conflict between Brooklyn & Broadway here. All the interplay with the trio is very well handled, I think. Were people really rooting for Brooklyn & Maggie to wind up together?

Not our best animated episode. Both the modeling and the animation leave a bit to be desired. Derek's ears look mid-transformation long before he's hit with that dart. Makes me cringe, but I guess if the audience isn't expecting him to get changed, they don't notice the subtle pointyness to the ears, until after the contents of the dart are revealed. But on a second viewing...?

Maggie Reed: "I'm from Ohio." As if that should explain EVERYTHING. I love that line.

"Morgan Reed", by the way, was one of our may early names for what eventually became Elisa Chavez, Elisa Bluestone and finally Elisa Maza. (I never waste anything.)

Observations from my daughter Erin:

1. "I like the click of their boots." [Erin complimenting the foley during the recapture of Maggie in the alley.]

2. "His hands ARE tied!" [My clever Erin catching the irony. Elisa says "My hands are tied." Brooklyn responds, "Well mine aren't." But then he turns to stone, prompting Erin's observation.]

3. "Hudson and Bronx always stay home." [Erin commenting on our proclivity for leaving Hudson & Bronx behind at the castle or clock tower when Goliath and the Trio go off. It is kind of a rip.]

Another great series of endings and false endings.

Xanatos tells Owen to bring him the "best geneticist on the planet."

The gargs arrive and fight the Mutates. Elisa arrives. Xanatos asks her to "stop this senseless violence". [Ahh, what a lovely bastard he is.]

Maggie makes the accurate observation that Brooklyn wants her to stay a monster. And yet despite that incite, she clearly still believes that both she and Brooklyn ARE monsters. She's as bound up in appearances as he is.

Talon names himself. It's kinda odd. But I think it works.

Elisa declares war on Xanatos. And for a split-second it registers on his face. Something has actually given him pause.

And then Owen brings in the best geneticist. I still wonder if it's immediately clear that this "new guy" IS Sevarius. He looks SO different. And Tim wasn't using the hoky accent anymore. Was anyone else confused, even momentarily? But anyway, it's another stunner Xanatos Tag. Did your eyes bug out? Or did you know by this time?

And finally, back to the Tower. Brooklyn is in a funk. But Elisa...

This entire episode is obviously a direct sequel to "Brother's Keeper". Right down to the end. In the end of that one, Elisa can do nothing but stare sadly out at the snow. But we're past that now. Now she cries. Xanatos doesn't wind up with the Mutates, though he correctly predicts there eventual return, but this is his clearest victory yet. The Mutates blame the gargs. Talon still believes X is his best chance at a cure. And he has an emotional and physical weapon against Elisa and the gargs. I was proud of us for ending a "cartoon" on such a relatively down note. Can't always have happy endings. How many people were surprised we ended it that way?

That's it. Comments welcome...


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LSZ writes...

What do the real voices of all the voice actors of Gargoyles sound like?

Greg responds...

Themselves.

(What are you looking for here? An audio file?)

Response recorded on June 26, 2000

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Chapter XIV: "Leader of the Pack"

I've already dealt with the changes between the first and second seasons of GARGOYLES. (See a previous ramble on that subject.) And hopefully you've all read the serialized postings of the memo I wrote to Michael Reaves in July of 94. Note the date. I was writing that memo to Michael a good three months before the first season of the series would actually premiere. Meaning, Michael, myself, all of us, were just guessing.

Now, finally, I have the time to sit down and ramble about my recent re-viewing of "Leader"...

STORY EDITOR: Michael Reaves.
WRITER: Steven Perry.

Some things were coming to fruition in this episode. A CY.O.T.I. robot had been part of the original development of the show and the Pack. Six characters seemed like a bit much, but the main reason we left CY.O.T.I. out of "Thrill of the Hunt" was because of the way we wound up intro-ing the Pack, that is as a group of T.V. super-heroes. Giving them a realistic robot in that context didn't seem to fit. By the time we got around to introducing the show's version of the Coyote robot (note the NORMAL spelling) much had changed in how we conceived the thing. And yet many of the original elements were still present, if altered. The orignal CY.O.T.I. (CYber-Operational Technical Individual -- or something like that) was a hovering robotic head. But not a Xanatos head. It was a dog-faced head. The head could attach to multiple different robotic bodies, as well as lock into various vehicles as a kind-of autoMATED pilot. One of the robotic bodies was four-legged, dog-shaped. Another was bipedal. But in either case there was never any question that the robot was a robot.

But by the time, we got to "Leader" we had learned so much more about our characters, that our whole conception of CY.O.T.I. changed into the Coyote you know. Part of the change came right out of how sophisticated Xanatos himself was. David constantly made Michael and I jump through hoops to come up with trickier and trickier plots. Plots that would allow the Gargoyles to generally triumph, and yet allow Xanatos to snatch some real victory out of seeming total defeat in what had become our trademark Xanatos Tag sequences. The one in "Leader" is one of the best, which brings up another thing that came to fruition in this episode. When we first created the Pack, I had NO IDEA that Fox and Xanatos were an item. That was a complete discovery, a revelation that came to us during the making of "Her Brother's Keeper": akin to, "Ohmigod, Fox is in love with David!!!" I don't know if it shocked you guys, but it sure came as a surprise to me, their so-called creator. Another instance when I think of myself less as a writer, and more as simply the guy who was tapping into what was really going on in the GARGOYLES UNIVERSE. When did you guys figure it out? During "Brother's Keeper"? During "Leader"? Or not until the end of "Leader" when it was objectively revealed? (Obviously, any of you who saw later episodes first are disqualified from voting on this one.)

Anyway, since we knew they were destined for each other, and we had this semi-top secret plan for them to marry and extremely top-secret plan for them to procreate, we knew we had to get Fox out of jail. And not break her out. But have her out more-or-less scott free. So that would be Xanatos' plan. All the subterfuge would lead to that. Having the robot pose as Xanatos in armor, allowed us for the kind of multiple surprise onion-peeling kind of story that I just live for. Plus it would leave us with a more wieldy five-man Pack again. Fox would graduate. Coyote would take her place.

One tricky thing was electronically futzing Jonathan Frakes' voice when Coyote was wearing his helmet. We wanted to alter it enough so that no one would know it was "Xanatos" until after he took off the helmet. But we didn't want to alter it SO much that you couldn't register Jonathan's standardly and casually wonderful acting AS Xanatos inside the armor. I think we succeeded. (Credit for that goes to the guys at Advantage Audio, who mixed the show. Real unsung heroes.)

We also gave Jamie Thomason, our voice director, and Jonathan the key note that would differentiate the true Xanatos from Coyote. And that was Coyote's fairly primitive desire for vengeance. If I do say so myself, I thought this was a terrific clue, a great moment of fair play, planted in the story. I wanted people to be a little surprised that Xanatos would care about vengeance. But I also figured most would buy into it, because we're all so trained to think of villains in a certain way. But then when Xanatos calls revenge a "sucker's game" at the end, the audience would feel "Oh, of course. That's OUR Xanatos. The other guy was just a cheap imitation." Who was fooled? Who wasn't? I'm curious to know.

When Coyote first took off his helmet at the end of Act One, my three year old son Ben yelled out "Xanatos!" He was truly and wonderfully surprised at that moment. It was fun.

Random observation: Wolf's not doing real push-ups. Not fully extending, either up or down.

Another thing we did do for the NEW SEASON start up was feature the gargs EXPLODING out of stone. Another of our series' trademarks that we wanted to be sure to get into the first episode of the new season.

Coyote clearly has a "quip chip" installed. He's got some great very Xanatosian lines. "Exact change". "Wanna see what I can do with both hands." Etc.

In fact lots of characters have great cutting lines in this one. Owen is wonderfully officious, even a tad smarmy in this one. You can almost see Puck smiling through, and this is before I knew Owen was Puck. But his, "Shouldn't you... be there." is just great.

Or Brooklyn's line: "Yeah, why should we stay up here... where it's safe." Great.

And Hyena: "I love a man who brings me weapons..." and "A robot?! Even better." Classic. And that was another discovery. Hyena would have the hots for Coyote. It wouldn't necessarily be reciprocated, but the mere fact that he was a robot wouldn't bug her. (I'm guessing she's used to using technology to satisfy her desires.) On some level, I think this was us (and Hyena) just being perverse for the sake of perverseness. But I also think it created an interesting parallel to Goliath and Elisa's relationship, if that doesn't sound to preposterous.

______

Another random observation: Hyena mentions Santa Claus. :) Ho ho ho.

______

CHARACTER CONTINUITY:
I think there was a semi-conscious desire to give every character something that new and returning viewers could use to hang their hats on, so-to-speak.

Lex is still so angry at the Pack for events in "Thrill of the Hunt" that he's literally HOPPING mad. Actually, that bit of hopping bugged me. Made Lex look silly and young at a point when I was hoping to present him as truly dangerous. Oh, well...

Brooklyn still feels the same way about Demona. And he's self-aware enough to know it. Though not mature enough to get passed it. (That'll come -- sometime in 2158.)

Broadway still hates guns and smashes them at every opportunity. (Lex obviously doesn't share his rookery-brother's opinion. Lex looks real tough holding that launcher. And I think it's a fairly shocking moment when that hole gets blown in Coyote's torso, and Lex is revealed -- through the hole, no less -- as the shooter. Even though we know by this time that Coyote is a robot, I still think it's one of the most violent images that ever appeared in our show. And it's all about context and attitude. You get the sense that Lex might just do the exact same thing to any of the human members of the Pack too.)

Hudson is still the observant guy who deduces events from what remains behind. "There's been a struggle here..." is right in keeping with his tracking skills and the way he examined that tampered-with bow back in "Awakening, Part Two".

Bronx is still a good judge of character. And he hates robots with fearful abandon. We decided he could literally smell when something isn't human. If it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, we naturally assume that it's a duck. But for Bronx it better smell like a duck or he's going to rip its face off, eh? That was another great shocking moment, I think. There's a little bit of WESTWORLD homage going on. Or FEMBOT homage, depending on how old you are. (I'm old enough to remember both.) It's pretty cool. And I love Coyote's head rocketing off at the end. It's so cool and sick. I fell in love with that head, and decided to use it in all future Coyote's -- one way or another.

Nietzche, Sartre, Kafka. That exchange was pure Perry-Reaves. And people tell me _I_ write to old for the demographic. Geez.

I love that moment when the phone rings at PackMedia Studios. (Also have I mentioned I love the name PackMedia. It's so perfect.) Anyway, Broadway's tentative response, before picking it up. And Owen knowing someone WOULD just pick up. It kills me.

As most of you know I favor one word titles. But "Leader of the Pack" WAS in fact one of mine. It was just irresistible.

The fight between the Gargs and the Pack aboard the oil tanker was very well-choreographed in script. But this was an instance where, in my opinion, our board artists lost the forest for the trees. The fight in storyboard went off on some wonderful tangents -- that wound up creating problems for those interested in keeping track of our combatants. Who was where and when just became a mess. We basically were able to fix those problems in film editing. But that's accomplished by keeping the fight well-paced. In the script, I actually think it's well-choreographed. In particular, Broadway freeing Lex, Brook and Bronx made a bit more sense in the script.

Coyote's perception-warping weapon is very cool. We probably didn't use it enough. Mainly because it was too effective. Too hard to stop.

I wanted the gargs to have to swim back to shore from the sinking tanker. But no one else agreed with me.

The head of Fox's parole board is voiced by Jim Cummings (aka Dingo, Darkwing Duck, Bonkers, etc.), doing his best Orson Wells imitation. Which is damned good by the way. Jim Cummings and Jeff Bennett in the same show. Man, were we blessed or what?

And coming full circle, we have our great Xanatos Tag. The villains kiss passionately. You don't see that too often in cartoons, I think. I love Xanatos' great line "That was merely the icing, you're the cake." And also his "true love is so much harder to come by." But here's my question for you guys. At the time, did you really think Xanatos was truly in love with Fox, or did you think he was merely being glib? I knew by that time, but even David didn't. Wasn't until "Eye of the Beholder" that HE realized how deep his feelings were for Fox.

So, comments?


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IRC Goliath writes...

This subject is very off topic, so I apologize in advance. In fact, it's not a question for Greg but for his good friend who worked on Nazca. Last night I was watching Malcom in the Middle and I saw a quick shot of Thom's character from Nazca in the opening sequence. I was just wondering how that came about.

Greg responds...

Rick Simone who is a very good friend of Thom Adcox, did the voice of Dan in Nazca. (He also did the voice of Tatsuya in the episode of 3x3 Eyes that will premiere at the Gathering this August. Tatsuya, Monkey and Hide are the best buddies of Yakumo, our hero. Rick plays Tatsuya. Thom is Monkey. And I voice Hide.) Anyway, Rick also produced opening title sequences for a number of different prime time series, including Malcolm. That's the connection.

Response recorded on June 23, 2000

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Michael Norton writes...

Greg,

In a recent response you said "It was one of the reasons that I made Oberon & Titania's skin Blue and Green. I didn't want to imply that white "godlings" ruled the others."

I think that is very cool. But did you consider making the human guises that Oberon and Titania chose more ethnically ambiguous instead of "white"?

Greg responds...

Not with Titania, since she was Fox's mother.

With Oberon, I could have. Probably should have. Didn't. The decisions were months apart, and I guess I lost track.

I did try to make the human Goliath in "The Mirror" appear with more ethnically African. I'm not sure if that was clear, since his hair looked more European (to match Goliath's hair). But I did this to increase the connection between human Goliath and Elisa. And between human Goliath and Keith David.

And that might be why Oberon wound up Caucasian. Not a great excuse. But subconsciously, we may all have been influence by the fact that Terrance Mann, the voice of Oberon was/is Caucasian.

Response recorded on June 23, 2000

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CORRECTION

CORRECTION:

I'll be at ANIME EXPO on SATURDAY, JULY 1ST! At 1pm. Talking about 3x3 Eyes, among other things. Sorry for any confusion.


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Anime Expo

Attention anime lovers...

I will be at Anime Expo on Saturday, July 2nd in Anaheim, California. I'll be on the New Generation Pictures panel at 1pm, where I'll largely be discussing 3X3 EYES. Other topics of discussion include NAZCA and NURSE NANAKO. (I'm not involved with the last one at all, so I hope I got the title right.) Stop by and say hi.

3X3 is a really fun series that I just finished voice directing into English. It stars Christian "Max Steel" Campbell and Brigitte "Angela" Bako, and features many former GARGOYLES actors including Goliath, Thailog, Morgan, Broadway, Hollywood, Lexington, Brentwood, Obsidiana, Coyote Trickster, Natsilane, Hudson, Jack Danforth and Burbank. It's the story of a three-eyed three hundred year old demon girl with multiple personality disorder and the teen-age zombie bodyguard who loves her.

Hope to see you there.



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