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My thoughts on "Monsters":
I agree with you on the animation issue (although I never noticed the parallels with "Heritage" prior to your mentioning of them), but I will admit that I thought the episode a rather fun one (if not one of the greats). Part of it, I suppose, is my fondness for British settings. (In fact, I visited Loch Ness with my parents briefly as a boy, back when we lived in Britain; didn't see anything unusual in its waters, though).
I did find it appropriate that the gargoyles would encounter the Loch Ness Monster at some point. After all, the gargoyles are Scottish "monsters" - and who's the most famous monster in all of Scotland? Made the same amount of sense as Macbeth getting in earlier, and for a similar reason.
Alas for Brendan and Margot! They run into the gargoyles even while they're on vacation! (Come to think of it, Margot also pops up briefly in Paris in "Sanctuary").
Got to agree with you over Sevarius's over-the-top performance; always a lot of fun to hear.
Count me as another one of the people who mistook Nessie for Big Daddy's daughter (partly because of the Goliath-Angela parallel).
I definitely recalled Matt's answering machine scene: either the guy doesn't clear out his phone very often, or he gets a lot of calls. At least Goliath and Elisa finally get a message home via Renard in the very next episode.
Sevarius's speculations over the Loch Ness clan (more accurate than he thought, after all) certainly become even more interesting in the aftermath of the Clans Contest (and like you, I can't help but wonder now where the local gargoyles were during this episode). We also definitely find out that Angela is Goliath's daughter (although I doubt that that surprised anybody in the audience).
I wonder if that ruined castle over Sevarius's headquarters was based on the real-life Castle Urquhart, at Loch Ness. (Probably is).
And, as you pointed out, that marked the end of the Xanatos Goon Squad, except for Bruno (and I don't recall ever seeing him again, either, after this episode); although I'll admit that I never realized that they were dead at the time. If I had, no doubt it would have impacted me much the way that the destruction of the Grimorum Arcanorum did in "Avalon" - the startlement at seeing another familiar element that had been in the series from the beginning suddenly gone. (Was the blonde female member among the casualties? She was the only member besides Bruno that really came out as much of an individual, to me).
At any rate, thanks for the latest ramble, Greg.
The castle is definitely based on Urquhart. (That's assuming that it flat out isn't Urquhart.)
I have more plans for Bruno.
Almost every gargoyle clan we've meet in the show or that you've us about protects something. The Guatemalan clan protects the rain forest. The Loch Ness clan protects the Loch Ness Monster, the Manhattan, London and Ishimura clan naturally protects New York City, London and Ishimura respectively. And the Avalon clan protects Avalon while the Labyrinth clan presently protect the homeless of New York.
1. So what does the New Olympus clan protect? Mount Thanatos? The whole of New Olympus? Or have they abandoned their duty much like the London clan when they lost Griff(since you did say they were isolationists)?
2.What does the Pukhan and Xanadu clans protect?
3.What exactly do New Camelot and New Wyvern clans protect?
4.What abou the Queen Florence Island Clan(after they've been freed from their stasis)?
5.What about the Notre Dame Clan?
1. I think they have become too insular. It's something I would have made an issue of, given the chance.
2. Pukhan Clan is more interested in protecting their concept of justice. Xanadu Clan protects the endangered Gargoyle Beast species.
3. New Wyvern is very traditionalist. So they protect Wyvern and it's surroundings. By contrast, New Camelot is very internationalist.
4 & 5. Haven't gotten that far in my thinking yet, but at the least they'll protect the Island and Paris, respectively.
how far is Wyvern, Scotland from Loch Ness, Scotland?
more like ten miles? twenty miles? fifty miles? or more?
I can't answer this question easily. For starters, Wyvern is a fictional location on the West Coast of Scotland. So where exactly are we measuring from? Secondly, Loch Ness is about thirty miles long. So where exactly are we measuring to? And are we measuring as the crow flies or along practical routes that a car or horseman might have to take?
Nevertheless, I'll give it a shot. As long as you understand I'm not being held to this. In particular, I've done no research to back up this stab at Wyvern's location.
I'm taking out my map and I'm measuring (roughly) the distance as the Gargoyle glides between the Point of Ardnamurchan (at the western end of a western Scotish Peninsula) and Castle Urquhart (which I believe is the model for the fictional castle where Sevarius set up his operation) on Loch Ness.
I come up with approximately 83 miles.
1. you've said that if Dark Ages is made the Wyvern Clan may have contact with the Loch Ness Clan and other clans (i'm guessing the Irish and English Clans are possible as well). my question is, does Goliath know that there was once a clan in Loch Ness (though he doesn't realize there still is)? do you think Hudson knows that there was once a gargoyle clan at Loch Ness?
2. you've said that the New Olympus was formed from gargoyle clans throughout the Mediterranean World. we can assume that gargoyles from Egypt and Greece colonized New Olympus in part, but what other clans have descendants in the New Olympus Clan?
3. care to reveal anywhere else in the world where there was at one time a gargoyle clan?
thanx alot Greg!
1. It's a possibility, certainly.
2. I haven't done all the research necessary to answer this question, but Rome and Persia come to mind.
3. Everywhere or nearly.
How many gargoyle clans were there when the show was ended?
Do any of the other Avalon gargoyles join Angelia in the real world?
1. In 1996, the following clans were extant (although some were far from healthy in numbers):
2. Eventually, others would visit. But I don't immediately see anyone else taking up permanent residence outside Avalon.
Dear Mr. Weisman I find your posts on gargoyle physiology and culture very fascinating. Having recently read some of your earlier answers to the newly identified Loch Ness Clan a question came to my mind as to how this clan raised and cared for its offspring. It is widely known that gargoyles in the other clans in the gargoyles universe lay eggs is this also true of the Lochness Clan and if so do they put their eggs into caves until hatching as the Wyvern Clan did in generations past?
Time to ramble...
I think this episode had a fun story written and edited by Cary Bates. And I know it had a great moody storyboard directed by Frank Paur. But it suffered from two major problems...
1. Repetitive elements. We had multiple story editors working on multiple episodes. I was overseeing all of them, but sometimes things did get away from me. "Monsters" has a number of elements in common with "Heritage" which had only just preceeded it in the line up. It makes "Monsters" seem a bit more tired than it really is, through no fault of Cary's. For example, we open with a Sea Monster. One of our female cast members is lost and nearly drowned. Goliath searches frantically. Etc. Even my five-year-old son Benny was convinced, "We just saw this one." It just felt very been there done that. My fault.
2. Very weak animation -- some of the weakest of the series -- removed much of the mystery and mood from the boards that Frank directed. I know we called tons of retakes on this ep, but there was a limit. Secrets were given away too early. What's a monster submarine and what's a monster is too easily discernable at the start. We were hoping for more silhouette's in that murky Loch. Throw in some really atrocious character moments (like when Angela wakes up in chains) and you've got an ep that's unimpressive at best.
And yet, there's much in this show that I really like.
It takes an important step toward evolving Angela's relationship with Goliath. Though G's not aware of it, Sevarius reveals to Angela that she is his biological daughter. Having grown up around her adoptive *HUMAN* parents, that notion of biological imperative must have seeped in. She already KNEW that Goliath was one of her ROOKERY parents. But this revelation ignites her curiousity and need. I find it interesting anyway. My eight-year-old daughter Erin was likewise fascinated with this aspect. She was anxious for Angela to tell Goliath about her discovery. Of course, Goliath knows in a 'shrug' sense. It's visually obvious to him. It just isn't programmed to be significant for him.
And if that weren't enough to make the ep worthwhile, we also get another wonderful over-the-top performance from Tim Curry as Dr. Anton Sevarius. He has a TON of great lines in this (all quotations approximate)...
"If it gets any more sacharine in there, I'll have to shove a finger down my throat."
"It must be awful to wake up in chains first thing in the morning."
"Thank heaven for little girls... and DNA markers."
"He's your very own flesh and stone."
"Enough to make my mind boggle..."
But there were other problems too. In my mind and Cary's Big Daddy and Nessie were mates (with little ones revealed at the end). But because of the name "Big Daddy" and because we were intentionally using the L.N.Monsters to parallel and comment on Goliath and Angela's father-daughter relationship, many people thought that Big Daddy was Nessie's dad. I'm not sure it matters too much. But (unintentional) confusion can't help.
Elisa knows they haven't arrived in Manhattan because it's too quiet and because the water's too clean. Of course, Loch Ness is famous for having MURKY, MURKY water. Not that the water is "dirty" exactly, the way New York Harbor is. But it's hard to figure Elisa would think of the Loch as clean either. And I knew that. Don't know how that got by me.
But Elisa does have some fun lines here and there:
"I'm not really the adventuring type."
"It's a show... Themeparks do this five times a day."
(Yes, we weren't above giving a gentle knock to the parent company.)
(Of course, when Elisa said that last bit, Erin said, "I don't think so." Benny noticed the submarine was metal and thought it was a robot. It took him a while to get the notion that it was a ship or sub.)
LITTLE CONTINUITY TOUCHES
Elisa leaves a message on Matt's machine. But the tape is full. This was done for two reasons. Or three...
1. We felt that Elisa would and should attempt to contact someone.
2. We wanted to prolong the agony (at least in the audience's minds) as to what happened to our travelers from the point of view of those left behind.
3. We were in the middle of a tier, and couldn't guarantee (as we saw with "Kingdom" that the episode would air in order. We didn't want Elisa to successfully contact anyone, because it might screw up continuity.
Nice to see Brendan & Margot taking a little vacation on the Loch, huh?
Angela says to Nessie: "I bet you've never been this close to a real live gargoyle either." But of course Angela's wrong. One of the reasons that Nessie gets so friendly so fast with Angela is BECAUSE she recognizes her as a gargoyle and knows that gargoyles are friendly to the Monsters of the Loch.
Of course, this begs the question as to what the Loch Ness clan was doing throughout this little adventure. I don't have a grea answer -- YET -- but for now, I'm just going to fall back on the notion that they were aware that Nessie was missing, but didn't know the cause. (It is a big murky loch, after all.) And yes, I know that's a feeble explanation, but it will have to do until I figure out a better one.
The title "Monsters" is another one of my thematic one word titles. Angela hits the nail on the head when she calls Sevarius the only monster around here. It's central to the series theme. But again, maybe too obvious, contributing to the weakness of the episode.
We had some trouble with the animation of the scene where Bruno confronts Goliath and Elisa right after they escape the dungeon. It forced us to reuse Jeff Bennett's "All right." line twice in a row.
Speaking of Jeff, my wife Beth thought Bruno sounded very Jack Nicolson. I pointed out that when Bruno was created, way back in "Awakening" we asked Jeff to make him a young George C. Scott. Beth couldn't hear that at all.
Benny used to love Bruno. Not only does Bruno barely register with him now. He doesn't remember ever liking the character. Erin asked him if he remembered the Xanatos Goon Squad. He didn't respond.
Another weakness... Angela just holds her breath forever down there at the end.
And when Goliath does get there, her chains pop off too easily, begging the question why she couldn't free herself.
I know I keep talking about the ep's flaws. But like all the 66 chapters, I really am more fond of it than critical. I do love seeing Goliath launched as a living torpedo, for example. There are a bunch of little things that I like.
And heck, we killed off four more characters. Sevarius and Bruno survived. But I think we have to assume that the other four members of the Goon Squad are gone for good.
But it wasn't one of our best efforts, I'll have to admit.
Sorry 'bout that...
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?
Were you ever going to explore the other legends involved with Loch Ness?
Eventually, and with enough time, money and episodes, we'd have covered EVERYTHING. That was the goal, anyway.
How do the Loch Ness and Pukhan gargoyles absorb sunlight when they live in caves?
Perhaps they absorb thermal energy. Perhaps they don't sleep in the caves. Perhaps I should stop answering questions tonight, cuz I'm clearly in a bad mood.
Why does the Loch Ness clan protect the Loch Ness monster?