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My Apologies...

It's been pointed out to me that one of my recent responses came across as harsh, as if I was trying to blame the fandom for the lack of sales on the DVDs. If so, I apologize. I didn't feel like I was blaming the fandom. I'm sorry if it came off that way. And I'm not saying I think Disney shouldn't have promoted the first two releases more. Of course, I think they should have. But I also can't lie and say they dropped a ball they NEVER intended to carry. I convinced Disney that there was a substantial built in audience for the DVDs. Perhaps I was wrong. I'm not trying to blame the fandom so much as get them to think in terms of more productive solutions. Just sitting around and blaming Disney isn't productive.

But again, if I came across as blaming the fandom, I truly apologize. That was never my intent.

gdw


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GARGOYLES COMIC UPDATE

Hey gang,

In an attempt to get back on a bi-monthly schedule, we've invited a few talented fill-in artists to take on a few issues of the comic.

Clan-Building #3 "Invitation Only" is being penciled by regular series penciler David Hedgecock, with colors by our new regular colorist Dustin Evans.

Clan-Building #4 "Masque" is being penciled by guest artist Nir Paniry. Colorist hasn't been decided yet.

Clan-Building #5 "Bash" is being penciled by fan favorite Karine Charlebois and colored by fan favorite Stephanie Lostimolo.

Clan-Building #6 "Reunion" is being penciled by Gordon Purcell. Colorist hasn't been decided yet.

Clan-Building #7 "The Rock" will be pencilled by David and colored by Dustin. I just finished scripting it, and I'm about to start work on #8.

ALL COVERS are by Greg Guler with colors by Steph.

Clan-Building is currently scheduled to last 12 issues total.

It's all very exciting. I've seen pencils and colors from #3 and pencils and inks of #4 and rough pages of #5. All looking very sweet.


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BUFFYVERSE - The final Top 40

BUFFYVERSE STATS

TOP 40 CHARACTER LIST:

Once AGAIN, I'm wasting my semi-valuable time (and hopefully yours) to bring you the FINAL update in my attempt to catalogue the most significant characters in the BUFFYVERSE. Previous CUMULATIVE updates covered the first, second and third years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After that, the task became more complicated as Buffy's fourth season aired simultaneously (day and date, literally) with the first season of Angel. So the Year Four update included Buffy S4 & Angel S1. Year Five added in Buffy S5 & Angel S2. Year Six, Buffy S6 & Angel S3. Year Seven brought in Buffy's final season S7 & Angel S4. And now, at last, the final season of Angel, S5, which is also (unfortunately) the final season of the televised Buffyverse.

As you may recall, I've tried to inform this subjective task with an objective formula. Still, I won't deny that subjectives have played a role. It's hard not to take extra notice of a character, whom you know is going to be important later. And numerical ties were broken based entirely on subjective criteria.

The idea behind a cumulative tally is to mimic the original experience of following the Buffyverse. It's a horse race. Some of the winners and losers are decidedly predictable. Others are a bit surprising - surprising enough that it's become absolutely clear that my system is flawed. I've since dreamed up a new system, but it's too late to implement it. Someday, LONG after I've finished this first survey (but ONLY if I prove truly insane), I might just start over and see what the results are with OBJECTIVE SYSTEM 2.0. But for now - assuming you haven't nodded off - you're stuck with System One.

I have a list of ALL the characters that have appeared in both series up to this point. It's so long (including everything from leads to ridiculously minor characters) that I haven't even bothered to count how many there are. But my list of MOST significant tops out at 273 characters.

But I think listing the top 40 is both pleasantly traditional… and plenty. Or largely. I just want to note a few characters introduced (or revisited) in this set of episodes, who will never make the top 40, but whom I believe are memorable enough to merit honorable mention.

Starting with…

[SPOILERS]

#272, 273 - Zach & Trish. The wife and son that Lindsey (and later Gunn) lived with while under a spell in a Wolfram & Hart prison Hell Dimension.

#261 - Blue Fairy. She only appeared in Angel's hallucination, but, hey, Blue Fairy makes Spike a real boy. Gotta love it.

#258 - The Immortal. Buffy's new (never truly seen) boyfriend in Rome. Gotta say, I HATE THE GUY easily as much as Angel and Spike do. That's impressive for a guy I never met.

#222 - Initiative Founder - In the WWII episode, the Initiative is ret-conned in… nicely.

#221 - Hamburger Loa. The fast food mascot CGI statue that Wesley consulted in a previous season that totally steered him the wrong way about Angel and the baby Connor makes a last flashback appearance here, which raises his significance enough to make the list. BUT… he represents a flaw, I think. The Loa seems to have lied to Wes in hindsight. WHY? Was he working for Jasmine?

#220 - Ilona Costa-Bianchi. Head of the Roman branch of W&H.

#214 - Matthias Bavane, the Reaper. The ghost haunting W&H, keeping it evil.

#210 - Rutherford Sirk. Wesley's last season introductory guide to W&H. This year he took Wesley's place for an episode (while Wesley was recovering from NOT killing his father) - but Sirk was secretly working for Lindsey.

#207 - Lawson - The only vampire that Angel ever sired AFTER he got his soul back. The guy had a bit of soul, and it tormented him. A neat idea.

#188 - Lawyer #1. Recurring comic relief Wolfram&Hart lawyer.

#178 - Leader of the Fell Brethren. Funny, evil demon cult leader and member of the Circle of the Black Thorn (was that the name?), who really was gaga over this baby he had purchased.

#173 - The Wrath. The demon/executioner that ripped Lindsey and later Gunn's heart out daily.

#161 - Numero Cinco. Retired luchador, bitter ex-hero and mailboy.

#160 - The Roger Wyndom-Price Robot. Wesley's dad, only not. Not sure why they didn't just make it Wes' dad.

#159 - Izzirial, or Izzy for short. Clichéd looking devil and member of the Circle. Also played racket ball with Angel.

#154 - Peepee Demon. Demon servant that Angel poisoned to kill Archduke Sebasis (because Sebasis fed off the servant's blood).

#138 - Senator Helen Brucker. Demon posing as a Senator with Vampire campaign workers. Member of the Circle. Just wish it had been someone (ANYONE) we had met before on Buffy or Angel.

#130 - Drogen the Keeper. The Batttlebrand. Angel's mystically honest buddy and sacrifical lamb. The friend he kills to get into the Circle.

#97 - Archduke Sebasis. Another nasty member of the Circle. The shame of Angel's ending with little warning for the creative staff - and the only real disappointment for me (beyond the fact that I'd be Whedon TV free without the series) - was that the Circle was made up of villains who were either largely unestablished or shoe-horned in at the last minute. Sebasis at least spanned the season, but I do wish they had culled the eleven (combined) years of Buffy and Angel to find more significant and memorable baddies to be part of the Circle. Of course, all the BIG BADS were dead, and most of the little bads too. But what about, say, D'Hoffryn? Hell, I'd have settled for Dracula even.

#95 - Nina Ashe. Angel's werewolf girlfriend. I liked her. I liked the idea that Angel could love someone without being in love. Take comfort. Sex without that perfect happy Angelus-inducing perfect moment.

#94 - Dr. Sparrow. The guy who made Gunn a lawyer… and kept him a lawyer (and Gilbert & Sullivan expert) at the expense of Fred's life.

#89- Cyvus Vale. Played by the always amazing Dennis Christopher, he was a wizard, who gave Connor his rebooted new life. Also a member of the Circle, who kills Wes before being killed by Illyria.

#57- Marcus Hamilton. After Eve betrays everyone (including W&H) to help Lindsey, Hamilton takes over as the new liason to the Senior Partners. Get's busted by Angel in the end.

#45- Eve. I was almost rooting for Eve to make the Top 40. She was a really fun character. The liason to the Senior Partners for Angel. Lindsey's main squeeze. She even slept with Angel and shrugged it off.

And before we start, a fond Top 40 farewell to Graham Miller (now at 42). Well, not really. I'm glad he fell out of the 40. It's shocking to me he lasted as long as he did.

AND NOW THE TOP 40
Abbreviations for previous rankings…
Y1 - Buffy Season 1.
Y2 - Buffy Season 2.
Y3 - Buffy Season 3.
Y4 - Buffy Season 4/Angel Season 1.
Y5 - Buffy Season 5/Angel Season 2.
Y6 - Buffy Season 6/Angel Season 3.
Y7 - Buffy Season 7/Angel Season 4
NR - Not Ranked that year.

#40 - Glory. Y7: 39. Y6: 34. Y5: 30. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Year Five's big bad drops one more ranking but holds on to the Top 40, something that neither Adam nor the Master managed. (And Jasmine never cracked the Top 40.) It feels like Big Bads deserve to be here. But again, a system skewed toward screen time is gonna favor supporting characters over villains. But I'm still glad Glory hangs on.

#39 - Kennedy. Y7: 38. Y6: NR. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Kennedy, potential Slayer, eventual Co-Slayer and Willow's new main squeeze - or I should say squeezer - only drops one ranking. Of course, Kennedy is no Tara, but I think that was the point.

#38 - Maggie Walsh. Y7: 37. Y6: 31. Y5: 27. Y4: 18. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Maggie Walsh? Adam doesn't make it, but his creator Maggie hangs on, though she's dropped 1 last slot.

#37 - Illyria. Y7: NR. Y6: NR. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Illyria (named after a PLACE in TWELFTH NIGHT) enters the countdown at #37 with a bullet in less than half a season. Fred's transformation into what I thought for a second was going to be yet another Big Bad created from the Regular Cast, wound up being one of the most brilliant and affecting moment in eight years of watching the Buffyverse. WOW!!

#36 - Mayor Richard Wilkins III. Y7: 36. Y6: 33. Y5: 29. Y4: 19. Y3: 14. Y2: 40. Y1: NR. The Mayor maintains at 36. Gotta love the Mayor.

#35 - Ben. Y7: 35. Y6: 30. Y5: 26. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Glory's alter ego holds his position. Again, like Maggie being ahead of Adam, there's really something wrong with Ben being ahead of Glory. My system was too much about screen time, not actual character significance or OOMPH.

#34 - Jenny Calendar. Y7: 34. Y6: 29. Y5: 25. Y4: 17. Y3: 13. Y2: 11. Y1: 15. Jenny also holds position. (Not a lot of movement possible in the Top 40 in a final season. Not enough episodes for a new character to pass some of the old faithful.) Says something about Jenny's original significance that a non-regular like her is holding on for so long. And of course she was pretty much the first character we ever saw as the First, way back in Y3.

#33 - The First. Y7: 32. Y6: 143. Y5: 120. Y4: 85. Y3: 52. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. The original evil drops one ranking. I was never satisfied with the First, especially in the Season Finale, but I can't deny that he/she/it belongs in the Top 40.

#32 - Warren Meers. Y7: 31. Y6: 36. Y5: 82. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Warren, the most evil of the nerves, also falls one ranking.

#31 - Kate Lockley. Y7: 30. Y6: 27. Y5: 22. Y4: 23. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Angel's cop friend is gone and largely forgotten now… She falls one more ranking.

#30 - Daniel Holtz. Y7: 28. Y6: 25. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Captain Holtz, Angel's Century spanning arch-nemesis falls 2 rankings. His influence still very much felt.

#29 - Francis Doyle. Y7: 27. Y6: 23. Y5: 20. Y4: 15. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Doyle falls two ranks. He has an important video-taped cameo in Cordelia's final episode. Something pulled right from Season One. It was lovely.

#28 - Principal Robin Wood. Y7: 26. Y6: NR. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Robin Wood, son of Slayer and Spike-victim, Nikki Wood, falls two rankings. This is a character that I would have LOVED to have seen a spin-off built around. D.B. Woodside is great; Wood has no super-powers, just training. And I would like to know who Robin's dad was and what happened to him. And the fact that a Slayer could survive long enough to have a kid… Loved this idea.

#27 - Lindsey McDonald. Y7: 29. Y6: 26. Y5: 21. Y4: 29. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lindsey makes an impressive comeback, jumping up two rankings. (Never completely understood why he STILL hates Angel so much.) Has a non-good death, which was very cool.

#26 - Jonathan Levinson. Y7: 25. Y6: 24. Y5: 33. Y4: 24. Y3: 17. Y2: 19. Y1: NR. Jonathan, another dead geek - but a beloved one - drops one ranking.

#25 - Principal Snyder. Y7: 23. Y6: 21. Y5: 18. Y4: 12. Y3: 9. Y2: 10. Y1: 12. Snyder falls two more rank, but holds on. Clichés, even fun ones, rule.

#24 - Andrew Wells. Y7: 24. Y6: 37. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Andrew, back with a couple of memorable Scooby Gang-Representing appearances, holds on to the #24 slot.

#23 - Darla. Y7: 21. Y6: 18. Y5: 19. Y4: 28. Y3: 23. Y2: 23. Y1: 11. Darla loses two rankings w/only a brief flashback appearance in this season. Love Darla.

#22 - Drusilla. Y7: 22. Y6: 19. Y5: 16. Y4: 16. Y3: 11. Y2: 8. Dru has a couple nice flashbacks and once again leapfrogs over Darla simply by maintaining her #22 ranking,.

#21 - Lilah Morgan. Y7: 20. Y6: 22. Y5: 31. Y4: 31. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Geez, you're dead for a year, and you drop out of the Top 20. Lilah falls one position.

#20 - Harmony Kendall. Y7: 33. Y6: 28. Y5: 23. Y4: 25. Y3: 20. Y2: 26. Y1: 18. Harmony, who becomes a regular (finally) halfway through the season, jumps up ELEVEN ranks to crack the Top 20 for the first time since Season Three of Buffy. Always nice to see a character who stayed in the hunt for ALL eight years of the Buffyverse.

#19 - Faith. Y7: 19. Y6: 20. Y5: 17. Y4: 13. Y3: 10. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Faith maintains her position.

#18 - Connor. Y7: 18. Y6: 41. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. So does Connor, who is SO much more fun to hang with this season in two great appearances.

#17 - Riley Finn. Y7: 17. Y6: 15. Y5: 12. Y4: 11. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley maintains.

#16 - Tara Maclay. Y7: 16. Y6: 13. Y5: 15. Y4: 20. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Tara maintains.

#15 - Joyce Summers. Y7: 14. Y6: 14. Y5: 11. Y4: 9. Y3: 8. Y2: 7. Y1: 7. Joyce falls one ranking to her lowest slot ever.

#14 - Daniel "Oz" Osbourne. Y7: 13. Y6: 12. Y5: 9. Y4: 7. Y3: 7. Y2: 12. Y1: NR. Oz falls one more ranking to his lowest point yet.

#13 - Lorne. Y7: 15. Y6: 17. Y5: 24. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lorne jumps another couple rankings in a brutal season for his character… probably the guy (next to Fred, who dies and becomes someone else) who goes through the biggest emotional change from the start of the season to the end.

#12 - Winifred "Fred" Burkle. Y7: 12. Y6: 16. Y5: 50. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Fred holds her position, despite dying. In fact, if she hadn't died and ceded most (but not all) of her screen time to Illyria, she might have past Dawn.

#11 - Dawn Summers. Y7: 11. Y6: 11. Y5: 14. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Dawn plateaus at 11. Just had too much padding to fall, despite zero screen time. Again, Fred's death protected her too.

#10 - Anya Kristina Emanuella Jenkins. Y7: 9. Y6: 9. Y5: 10. Y4: 14. Y3: 22. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Anya drops a slot but stays in the Top 10.

#9 - Charles Gunn. Y7: 10. Y6: 10. Y5: 13. Y4: 37. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. A powerful season arc pulls Gunn up a rung to 9, a personal best.

#8 - Wesley Wyndam-Price. Y7: 8. Y6: 8. Y5: 8. Y4: 10. Y3: 15. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Wesley plateaus at #8. I know it must seem like everyone would plateau this high up, and from this point on they are…

#7 - Spike. Y7: 7. Y6: 7. Y5: 7. Y4: 8. Y3: 12. Y2: 9. Y1: NR. Spike doesn't quite have the juice to pass Giles.

#6 - Rupert Giles. Y7: 6. Y6: 5. Y5: 3. Y4: 3. Y3: 2. Y2: 2. Y1: 2. Giles maintains.

#5 - Willow Rosenberg. Y7: 5. Y6: 5. Y5: 6. Y4: 6. Y3: 4. Y2: 4. Y1: 4. Willow holds her Top 5 slot, but finishes behind both Cordelia and Xander, which surprises me. As she was a Big Bad. And as she really should be equal with Xander, it demonstrates another significant flaw in the system. But at least she's in the Top Five.

#4 - Cordelia Chase. Y7: 4. Y6: 4. Y5: 5. Y4: 4. Y3: 5. Y2: 5. Y1: 5. Cordy maintains. She has one of the best exit episodes EVER though. Frankly, Angel's last season is FULL of great exits.

#3 - Xander Harris. Y7: 3. Y6: 2. Y5: 2. Y4: 2. Y3: 3. Y2: 3. Y1: 3. Xander stays in the Top 3, which is right where he started eight years earlier. Making him - with the exception of the two series' leads, the MOST important character in the Buffyverse.

#2 - Angel. Y7: 2. Y6: 3. Y5: 4. Y4: 5. Y3: 6. Y2: 6. Y1: 6. Angel maintains. Buffy just was too far ahead for him to catch up, which is probably how it should be. Still, a fantastic last season for Angel.

#1 - Buffy Anne Summers. Y7: 1. Y6: 1. Y5: 1. Y4: 1. Y3: 1. Y2: 1. Y1: 1. Duh. It ain't called the Buffyverse for nothin'.


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Flip Books...

Our good friend Dennis Woodyard, one of the producer-directors on the second season of GARGOYLES, has a website I'd like to plug...

http://dragonflyent.blogspot.com/

Check out his cool flip books!


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FYI

Appropos of nothing, I thought you'd like to know that my current draft of the "Gargoyles Universe Timeline" is 272 pages long and runs from 9386 B.C.E. to March 22nd, 2198. (And I know about some stuff that happens both before and after that range, but not with precision as to the dates.)

272 pages!


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everything is connected...

So is Paris Geller (of GILMORE GIRLS) related to Monica and Ross Geller (of FRIENDS)? And if so, would she also be related to Rachel Green the mother of Ross' child? And is Rachel Green related to the late Mark Green (of E.R.)? I mean, it can't just be a coincidence that Mark's eldest daughter was also named Rachel Green, can it?


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Hyppolyta

It's not like I have copious amounts of free time. I really, really don't. But I do seem to have a near endless desire to procrastinate. So I wrote this. It's the START of something... stylized. Might someday use it in the comic or something. I dunno.

Anyway, it's called "Hyppolyta".

This was why she loved him. (She could use that word now, with herself at least, even if she had never said it aloud, had never said it to him -- let alone to friends and family or anyone else.) Not for the world-saving and the other heroics. That was why she admired him to no end. But she didn't love him for being a comic book character. She loved him, ironically, for being human.

It all started yesterday evening. After sundown. She had stopped by to see him before her shift began. He had wanted to go with her, to watch over her from above. But she didn't need protection nearly as much as he did right now. In fact, she didn't need protection period. He had growled at her in frustration, and she had more or less growled back.

She was in a bad mood all night, which didn't escape the notice of her partner. He took her sullen silence in stride, but as their shift ended he said, "Talk this out before your next tour. I don't need to suffer through another guy's silent treatment."

So she drove back to the skyscraper. Used her pass-key for the private elevator. She stomped up the steep stone circular steps and found him there. Staring out into what remained of the night.

She was ready to do battle. But he was quiet and reserved. He simply wanted to tell her a story…

He had been new to command, new to giving orders. The elders understood this and let him learn, let him make his mistakes, offering guidance privately. And his younger charges were impressed enough by his size and strength and office to follow him blindly. Then there was his… his newly named Second-in-Command. She had wanted this for him (and in hindsight probably for herself). So in those early days, she offered unconditional support to his authority.

But his peers… his brothers, his sisters…

He described one of these sisters, one of his many sisters. Tall, strong. Light brown skin, bald head and two sets of brow ridges that ran from just above her eyes to just behind her pointed ears. A warrior. She had never been one to listen much, even before he had been promoted. Now the situation had grown intolerable. If he said glide left, she'd glide right on her burnt-red wings, seemingly just to spite him. They had exchanged few words, just a growl here and there. Most of the actual heat was between this sister and his Second.

He could hear them fighting, almost every night.

"Where does this contempt stem from? You have never fought with him like this before."

"Before, he was simply my brother."

"Now, he is your leader."

"He has no more training than I do. He's never proven himself a more able warrior. Granted he's strong. But I'm not even sure he's that bright."

"He has discipline. Something you lack. And a vision for taking care of us all. Human and Gargoyle alike."

"Do you wish to share that vision with the rest of us?"

As he climbed the stairs, he knew it was time to fight his own battles. "Come with me," he said to his sister. "I will share it."

His voice startled them both. It was the one gift he knew he had at his command. His voice demanded respect, even if the words that came out of his mouth did not.

But she recovered quickly, and he saw the heat flash across her face. That spur-jerk reaction to defy him. But it passed. He had issued a challenge of a sort, and she was no coward.

She crossed before him to the battlements, her wings flaring off from her shoulders and right into his face. "I will come."

He bit down on his frustration and extended his own wings. She extended a wing-arm in mock courtesy, deigning to allow him to lead the way. He launched himself off the castle and heard her do the same. She didn't stay behind him for long, pulling abreast with a skeptical glance, waiting, he supposed, for her leader 'to share'.

He didn't speak. There was nothing he could say. They were the same age, nearly to the minute. She was a fine strong warrior. Fierce in battle. She was not unintelligent. And truth be told, he was no more convinced than she was that he had been the right choice to lead the Clan.

None of that was really the point.

He had been chosen. He trusted his predecessor, if not himself. And he would lead. He would find a way. Even with this sister...

To be continued... maybe... someday....


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A Memphis Reminder...

A Memphis Reminder...

This weekend I'll be at Con-Sequential in Memphis, TN.

I'm participating in panels on Gargoyles, writing comics and cartoons, strong female characters and self-promotion. I'm also doing two signings, and I'll have a table manned by staffers from the Gathering 2007.

For more info on Con-Sequential check out:

http://www.Con-Sequential.com/

Hope to see a few of you there, and if you make it please stop by and say hello!


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R.I.P. Edward Albert

R.I.P. Edward Albert.

Edward did a voice for us on a couple of episodes on Max Steel. I won't pretend I knew him well, but he was a good and talented guy on those two occasions. The son of Green Acres Eddie Albert, Edward was a talented actor and activist. He'll be missed.


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I'm POD-CASTING...

Believe it or not...

I'm pod-casting at http://www.catchdacraze.com/

Tried to listen to it myself, but couldn't make it work. But theoretically one of you might be able to manage it.

Can't hurt to try, right...


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Conventions in October

October Conventions:

Hey gang,

I've been invited to attend two more conventions (my eighth and ninth of the year >whew<) in October.

The first is "CON-Sequential" in Memphis, TN, October 14-15th.

http://www.Con-Sequential.com/

The second is the "Mo-Kan Comics CONspiracy" in Kansas City, MO,
October 28-29th.

http://mo-kancomicsconspiracy.com/

If you're in the neighborhood of either or both, please stop by and say hello.

Greg


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BUFFYVERSE STATS - Year Seven

BUFFYVERSE STATS

TOP 40 CHARACTER LIST:

Once AGAIN, I'm wasting my semi-valuable time (and hopefully yours) to bring you the latest update in my attempt to catalogue the most significant characters in the BUFFYVERSE. Previous CUMULATIVE updates covered the first, second and third years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After that, the task became more complicated as Buffy's fourth season aired simultaneously (day and date, literally) with the first season of Angel. So the Year Four update included Buffy S4 & Angel S1. Year Five covered Buffy S5 & Angel S2. Year Six, Buffy S6 & Angel S3. And now, Year Seven, which covers Buffy S7 & Angel S4.

As you may recall, I've tried to inform this subjective task with an objective formula. I tried, as much as possible, not to allow my knowledge of future events to influence the current standings. Still, I won't deny that subjectives have played a role. It's hard not to take extra notice of a character, whom you know is going to be important later. And ties were broken based entirely on subjective criteria.

The idea behind a cumulative tally is to mimic the original experience of following the Buffyverse. It's a horse race. Some of the winners and losers are decidedly predictable. Others are a bit surprising - surprising enough that it's become absolutely clear that my system is flawed. I've since dreamed up a new system, but it's too late to implement it. Someday, LONG after I've finished this first survey (but ONLY if I prove truly insane), I might just start over and see what the results are with OBJECTIVE SYSTEM 2.0. But for now - assuming you haven't nodded off - you're stuck with System One.

I have a list of ALL the characters that have appeared in both series up to this point. It's so long (including everything from leads to ridiculously minor characters) that I haven't even bothered to count how many there are. But my list of MOST significant currently tops out at 245 characters. (There will be one more update after this one, covering Year Eight, i.e. Angel Season Five, and maybe at the end of this silly game I'll do a countdown of all 245+ significant characters.)

But for now, I think listing the top 40 is both pleasantly traditional… and plenty. Or largely. I just want to note a few characters introduced (or revisited) in this set of episodes, who haven't yet or never will make the top 40, but whom I believe are memorable enough to merit honorable mention.

Starting with…

[SPOILERS]

#235 - Knox. Scientist at Wolfram & Hart, intro'd here. The only one of the W&H Tour Guides in the Angel Season Finale that has a major role to play in Season Five.

#234 - John Stoler. The first poor bastard to see the real Jasmine.

#228, 229, 242, 243, 244, 245 - Girl at Bat, Trailer Girl, Japanese Girl, School Girl, Indian Girl, Potential with Power #2. This was of course the season that introduced all the potential slayers. Those that survived actually become Slayers at the end of the season, as did a number of girls out and about in the world. The most memorable of the latter is the little girl playing softball and perhaps the Trailer Park girl, who will not be beaten anymore.

#226 - Bruiser. Lorne's "prison guard" in Las Vegas. Makes the list only because they kept the character around across two episodes.

#212 - Delivery Guy. Wesley's arms-supplier and "Q" in a couple episodes. [That's a James Bond reference, not a Star Trek reference for the geek-confused.]

#205 - Guardian. The woman in a crypt, who had been waiting centuries to explain the Scythe to Buffy - and still largely failed to do so - cuz Caleb killed her while she was busy being cagey. The anti-Watcher, I guess. Seemed like a former Slayer to me, and the notion that a Slayer MIGHT live a long life - and break the rules, might have been both interesting and helped explain how Buffy came up with her multi-Slayer solution, but…

#200 - Young Woman. The woman that Spike bit, killed and sired across two episodes, while he had a chip and thus theoretically shouldn't have been able to harm anyone.

#190, 237, 238 - Connor's Dad, Mom and Kid Sister. After Connor acquires his new revised life (ala Dawn) we briefly meet his new family. The parents at least, return in Angel Season Five.

#181 - Virgin. The innocent girl that Conner and Cordelia murder (over Darla's dead body, so to speak) to bring Jasmine into the world.

#172 - Spike's Mother Anne - Spike turns out to be a mama's boy. He loves his mother. Sires her and then has to stake her - cuz she's just too darn upsetting.

#158 - Rachel. Rachel appeared at a party in a previous season, but they brought her back to force Anya into confronting her redemoning. I give them credit for using an existing character instead of creating a new one. I wish they had done this more. Though perhaps I'm the kind of guy, who overdoes it. I know I'm almost making a point of overdoing it in the Gargoyles comic. It's just more for me that way.

#156 - Lissa. Latest in a line of Demon's that Xander dates.

#115 - Wu Pang. The Monk who removed Angel's soul to bring forth Angelus.

#110 -The Ubervamp. Mr. Tough-to-Kill had an army of fellow Ubervamps in the Hellmouth who turned out to be much less difficult to slay.

#105 - Cassie Newton - A high school student, who predicted her own death - and later had a memorable turn as the First, who tried to trick Willow into suicide (when actress Amber Benson proved unavailable to reprise Tara as the First).

#78 - Gwen Raiden. An actual X-Men-esque mutant with electrical powers in the Buffyverse. I thought she was being set up as a potential love interest for Angel, but she wound up being a brief love interest for Gunn, before vanishing forever - or going on to co-star in Pitch Black II.

#53 - Caleb. The First's big bad misogynist faux-priest, better known as Mal Reynolds in Firefly/Serenity. He was great at REALLY making you hate his guts.

#49 - The Beast. Pre-Jasmine's right-hand creature. A real tough monkey to kill, with some nice moments too. But what was the purpose of most everything he did? Why was he or any of his actions necessary to Jasmine's birth?

#44, 52, 63, 75, 85, 138, 140, 145, 165, 174, 178, 236 - Amanda, Rona, Molly, Vi, Chloe, Shannon, Caridad, Injured Girl, Eve, Annabelle, Colleen. A list of all but one of the potential Slayers. Amanda was the nerdy Slayer from Sunnydale high. She had ten appearances and died in the Hellmouth - the one "meaningful" slayer death in that battle. Rona had eight appearances. She was the one who was supposed to be keeping things real, I think. Molly was one of the three original potentials. Caleb killed her. She had been around long enough that we were supposed to feel something there, but her death was overwhelmed by the loss of Xander's eye in the same battle. Cho An was the potential who spoke no English. Largely used for comic relief. Vi had six appearances. She was kinda goofy, but really took to becoming a Slayer at the end. I liked her. Chloe, who had three appearances, is the potential that committed suicide. She also got a scene as the First. (And she went on to play a second banana in Lizzy Maguire on the Disney Channel.) Shannon, in the first of her three appearances, is used to introduce us to Caleb. Caridad also had a trio of appearances, but is most noteworthy for being one of Xander's fantasy dream girls. The Injured Girl appeared twice and was indeed injured. Eve is noteworthy because we never met the REAL Eve. She was already dead and replaced by the First before we ever laid eyes on her. (In fact, she's the only identity the First took on in this season, where we hadn't yet met the person who the First was impersonating or personifying or whatever.) Annabelle is the commonsense Brit potential - one of the first three that we meet -- who panics and is the first potential to die in Sunnydale. Colleen is noteworthy mostly for going on to star in some prime time soap I don't watch and for being another of Xander's fantasy dream girls.

#41 - Jasmine, a.k.a. the Beast-Master a.k.a. Cordelia Chase. The big bad of Angel Season Four. While possessing Cordelia, I'm not really sure if all her various and ultra-complicated manipulations track. But she sure was fun once Gina Torres of Firefly took over the role. Oh, and one other point of interest. Peter Renaday did the voice for the Beast-Master in Angelus' head. Peter voiced a few minor roles in the five-part Gargoyles pilot ("Awakening") and was - briefly - the voice of David Xanatos. He replaced Jonathan Frakes, and then was in turn replaced BY Jonathan Frakes.

And before we start, a fond Top 40 farewell to the Master (now at #45), the Groosalugg (#47), Gavin Park (#42) and Forrest Gates (#43).

AND NOW THE TOP 40
Abbreviations for previous rankings…
Y1 - Buffy Season 1.
Y2 - Buffy Season 2.
Y3 - Buffy Season 3.
Y4 - Buffy Season 4/Angel Season 1.
Y5 - Buffy Season 5/Angel Season 2.
Y6 - Buffy Season 6/Angel Season 3.
NR - Not Ranked that year.

#40 - Graham Miller. Y6: 32. Y5: 28. Y4: 22. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley Finn's second best friend falls eight rankings. And yet it's amazing he's still in the Top 40 at all. Graham, in fact, does a great job - right off the bat - at demonstrating the flaws in this original scoring system. He had a ton of screen time in Season Four of Buffy, and then came back more than once in Season Five. And despite no appearances, since, he's totally coasting on that old screen time (which was clearly too big a piece of the original formula) as opposed to true significance.

#39 - Glory. Y6: 34. Y5: 30. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Year Five's big bad drops 5 more rankings. I'm bummed that some of the season-long Big Bads like Adam and the Master aren't staying in (or in Jasmine's case even cracking) the Top 40. It feels like Big Bads deserve to be here. But again, a system skewed toward screen time is gonna favor supporting characters over villains. But I'm still glad Glory is hanging on.

#38 - Kennedy. Y6: NR. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Kennedy, potential Slayer, eventual Co-Slayer and Willow's new main squeeze - or I should say squeezer - enters the countdown at 38 with a bullet. Of course, Kennedy is no Tara, but I think that was the point. So I certainly don't begrudge her knocking Groo, Gavin or Forrest out. (But I miss the Master.)

#37 - Maggie Walsh. Y6: 31. Y5: 27. Y4: 18. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. And Maggie Walsh? Maggie? Really? Adam doesn't make it, but his creator Maggie does, though she's dropped 6 slots in the ratings.

#36 - Mayor Richard Wilkins III. Y6: 33. Y5: 29. Y4: 19. Y3: 14. Y2: 40. Y1: NR. The Mayor loses only 3 rankings, thanks to some appearances by the First in Mayor guise, which gave him partial points. (Figuring out scoring for the First in its various glamours was really hard.) Gotta love the Mayor.

#35 - Ben. Y6: 30. Y5: 26. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Glory's alter ego drops five places. Again, like Maggie being ahead of Adam, there's really something wrong with Ben being ahead of Glory. It's about screen time, not actual character significance or OOMPH.

#34 - Jenny Calendar. Y6: 29. Y5: 25. Y4: 17. Y3: 13. Y2: 11. Y1: 15. Jenny also falls five rankings. Says something about Jenny's original significance that a non-regular like her is holding on for so long. And of course she was pretty much the first character we ever saw as the First, way back in Y3.

#33 - Harmony Kendall. Y6: 28. Y5: 23. Y4: 25. Y3: 20. Y2: 26. Y1: 18. Harmony also falls five rankings this year to her lowest point yet, thanks to two consecutive years without an appearance. Of course, Harm is poised for a resurgence in the last season of Angel.

#32 - The First. Y6: 143. Y5: 120. Y4: 85. Y3: 52. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. The original evil hasn't shown its face since Season Three. So it jumps up a whopping 111 ladder rungs to #32. I was never satisfied with the First, especially in the Season Finale, but I can't deny that he/she/it belongs in the Top 40.

#31 - Warren Meers. Y6: 36. Y5: 82. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Warren actually jumps up 5 rankings, which is a pretty neat trick for a dead guy. Credit the First, Willow and some flashbacks for keeping him "alive" and hopping.

#30 - Kate Lockley. Y6: 27. Y5: 22. Y4: 23. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Angel's cop friend is gone and largely forgotten now… She falls three rankings.

#29 - Lindsey McDonald. Y6: 26. Y5: 21. Y4: 29. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lindsey has hit the road, and having also been absent for two seasons, falls three rankings too. But like Harmony, watch for a comeback in Angel S5 (a.k.a. Buffyverse Y8).

#28 - Daniel Holtz. Y6: 25. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Captain Holtz, Angel's Big Bad for the previous Season (or surrogate, if you're counting Connor as the finale's final big bad) falls 3 rankings. His influence still very much felt.

#27 - Francis Doyle. Y6: 23. Y5: 20. Y4: 15. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Doyle falls four ranks. I'm surprised he got not even a mention in A4, given how Cordelia's fate largely is a result of his actions. But Jasmine-as-Cordelia was a bit of a mess in the does-this-really-track department.

#26 - Principal Robin Wood. Y6: NR. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Talk about bullets. Robin Wood, son of Slayer and Spike-victim, Nikki Wood, enters the countdown at 26 with a bullet. This is a character that I would have LOVED to have seen a spin-off built around. D.B. Woodside is great; Wood has no super-powers, just training. And I would like to know who Robin's dad was and what happened to him. And the fact that a Slayer could survive long enough to have a kid… Loved this idea.

#25 - Jonathan Levinson. Y6: 24. Y5: 33. Y4: 24. Y3: 17. Y2: 19. Y1: NR. Jonathan, killed in his first appearance of the season, still manages to hang on - thanks to flashbacks and the First - to the Top 25, dropping only one ranking. Jonathan, you will be missed.

#24 - Andrew Wells. Y6: 37. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Andrew, the definite third wheel of last Season's Evil Trio, jumps 13 rankings to #37, passing both Warren and Jonathan in the process. (It helps to be the only one actually left alive, I guess.). Really comes into his own this season… and one of the few Buffy characters (beyond Spike) to actually make an appearance in Y8.

#23 - Principal Snyder. Y6: 21. Y5: 18. Y4: 12. Y3: 9. Y2: 10. Y1: 12. Snyder falls two ranks but nevertheless manages to stay ahead of Principals Wood and of course Flutie (who, in case you were curious, is now down at #69).

#22 - Drusilla. Y6: 19. Y5: 16. Y4: 16. Y3: 11. Y2: 8. Dru has a few nice flashbacks and First appearances, but still falls three rankings and out of the Top Twenty for the first time.

#21 - Darla. Y6: 18. Y5: 19. Y4: 28. Y3: 23. Y2: 23. Y1: 11. Darla also loses three rankings and again falls out of the Top Twenty, despite a great ghost scene with Connor. Love Darla.

#20 - Lilah Morgan. Y6: 22. Y5: 31. Y4: 31. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lilah climbs two more positions to finally crack the Top Twenty. Dead now, she'll peak here, but this was really a great season for her. She finally seems to be a woman IN CHARGE. A creature of depth and poignancy. Particularly after her death.

#19 - Faith. Y6: 20. Y5: 17. Y4: 13. Y3: 10. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Faith, back with a vengeance in both Angel AND Buffy, rises one ranking. But she's done too now, I think.

#18 - Connor. Y6: 41. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Connor enters the Top Twenty after jumping 23 rungs. He's a huge pill this season, but he'll be much more fun in his limited appearances next year.

#17 - Riley Finn. Y6: 15. Y5: 12. Y4: 11. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley falls two more rankings. There was an opportunity, as Buffy and Spike revisit the Initiative to have brought him back, but I think they wisely thought that would be too distracting and off-point.

#16 - Tara Maclay. Y6: 13. Y5: 15. Y4: 20. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Tara moves down three rungs. According to the extras on the DVD, they wanted her to appear again as the First, but she wasn't available. But what the heck has Amber Benson been up to since? I never see her, and she is still so missed.

#15 - Lorne. Y6: 17. Y5: 24. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lorne finally becomes a regular and jumps a couple rankings.

#14 - Joyce Summers. Y6: 14. Y5: 11. Y4: 9. Y3: 8. Y2: 7. Y1: 7. Joyce appears as the First and maintains the exact same ranking.

#13 - Daniel "Oz" Osbourne. Y6: 12. Y5: 9. Y4: 7. Y3: 7. Y2: 12. Y1: NR. Oz falls one more ranking to his lowest point yet.

#12 - Winifred "Fred" Burkle. Y6: 16. Y5: 50. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Fred climbs up 4 positions, but she's still got room to climb, I think. Can she pass Dawnie next season?

#11 - Dawn Summers. Y6: 11. Y5: 14. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Dawn plateaus at 11.

#10 - Charles Gunn. Y6: 10. Y5: 13. Y4: 37. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Gunn plateaus at 10. Can he pass Anya next season?

#9 - Anya Kristina Emanuella Jenkins. Y6: 9. Y5: 10. Y4: 14. Y3: 22. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Anya plateaus at 9, but being dead and on a cancelled series, I'm not sure if she can maintain.

#8 - Wesley Wyndam-Price. Y6: 8. Y5: 8. Y4: 10. Y3: 15. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Wesley plateaus at #8. I know it must seem like everyone's plateauing this high up, but wait for it…

#7 - Spike. Y6: 7. Y5: 7. Y4: 8. Y3: 12. Y2: 9. Y1: NR. Okay, STILL plateauing. But trust me… (And Spike's crossing over to Angel, so he may have somewhere to go still.)

#6 - Rupert Giles. Y6: 5. Y5: 3. Y4: 3. Y3: 2. Y2: 2. Y1: 2. Giles does not plateau. He falls one ranking, which this high up is quite significant.

#5 - Willow Rosenberg. Y6: 5. Y5: 6. Y4: 6. Y3: 4. Y2: 4. Y1: 4. Willow switches places with Giles, returning to the Top Five for the first time since Season 3. She'll peak here, putting her behind both Cordelia and Xander, which surprises me. As she was a Big Bad. And as she really should be equal with Xander, it demonstrates another significant flaw in the system. But at least she's in the Top Five.

#4 - Cordelia Chase. Y6: 4. Y5: 5. Y4: 4. Y3: 5. Y2: 5. Y1: 5. Back to Plateauing. Cordelia of course spends half a season as the Big Bad, but as she was pregnant in real life, she then spends the end of the season in a coma. They basically destroyed her character this season. A combination of the real life pregnancy, bad hairstyles and a coupling with Connor that's just too creepy and off-putting to even work as the actions of a villain. But she'll be back for one wonderful final appearance next season.

#3 - Xander Harris. Y6: 2. Y5: 2. Y4: 2. Y3: 3. Y2: 3. Y1: 3. Xander drops down one ranking. He's never been out of the Top Three and I think he'll PROBABLY finish here.

#2 - Angel. Y6: 3. Y5: 4. Y4: 5. Y3: 6. Y2: 6. Y1: 6. Angel moves up one ranking, finally passing Xander. And he has another season, and Buffy does not. Is it possible that by the end of Year Eight… that Angel might even pass Buffy to become the most important character in Buffy's own 'verse?

#1 - Buffy Anne Summers. Y6: 1. Y5: 1. Y4: 1. Y3: 1. Y2: 1. Y1: 1. Duh. But now that she's done… can she hold the top spot forever?


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Troubies Do Doobies

I've plugged 'em before. Now I'll let them plug themselves...

Subject: Much Adoobie Brothers EXTENDED!

Troubadour Theater Company EXTENDS

Los Angeles Times' Critics' Choice

Much Adoobie Brothers About Nothing

NOW Playing through Sunday, September 24.

Scroll down to read the rave reviews.

Miles Memorial Playhouse
August 10 - September 24
Thurs - Sat 8 pm, Sundays 4 pm
1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica CA

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
October 1, 2006 7pm

All Tickets $25

On Sale Now and Going Fast!
troubie.tix.com

CRITICS' CHOICE! "Put it all together and you have the truest hallmark of any Troubadour show...bad wigs, rock star preening and outrageous comic riffs (that) LEAVE THE AUDIENCE BREATHLESS WITH LAUGHTER!"
--Daryl Miller, LA TIMES

["All true" --Greg Weisman]

GO! "A SCREAM! Another LAUGH FILLED TRIUMPH FOR THE TROUBIES!"
--Martin Hernandez, LA WEEKLY

"HILARIOUS! DELICIOUSLY FUNNY! UNDER MATT WALKER'S FIRST RATE DIRECTION, THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE is a RAMBUNCTIOUS BUNDLE OF JOYFUL COMIC ANARCHY!"
--Terry Morgan, VARIETY

["Matt Walker is an effing genius" -- Greg Weisman]

CRITIC'S PICK! "IT'S ALL TOTALLY BITCHIN'! MATT WALKER, WHO ACCOMPANIED BY HIS USUAL PARTNER IN HILARITY, BETH KENNEDY, AND THE LOVELY LAUREN GIRA - BRINGS DOWN THE HOUSE! A PITCH-PERFECT JEN SEIFERT PARRIES BRILLIANTLY WITH ERIC ANDERSON! A BALLS-OUT ROCK 'N' ROLL BASTARDIZATION OF SHAKESPEARE! RIGHT ON!"
--Jennie Webb, BACKSTAGE WEST

CRITIC'S PICK! "WILD! HILARIOUS! THE IMPRESSIVE SMARTLY MOUNTED PRODUCTION, AND WALKER'S SHARP SAVVY DIRECTION WITH ROLLICKING PERFORMANCES JUST ASTONISHES! DON'T MISS IT!"
--Gerri Garner, AMERICAN RADIO NETWORKS

"Nobody does Doobies like the Troubies"

www.troubie.com


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Tony Jay, R.I.P.

I just read in today's paper that actor Tony Jay has passed away.

I won't pretend that I knew Tony well. We only worked together once, when he played Anubis for us in the GARGOYLES episode "Grief". But what a great guest spot, huh?

I just loved what he did as Anubis a.k.a. the Jackal-God a.k.a. Death a.k.a. the guy who refused to play favorites. And one of my favorite bits in all of Gargoyles was how we combined Tony's voice -- first with Matt Frewer's and then with Tony Shaloub's -- to create the two Avatars of Anubis. Three totally different personae, one great talented actor. As one might imagine, that could have been a frustrating day, struggling to match up Matt's work with Tony Jay's. (Tony Shaloub recorded at a different time.) But Tony Jay made it easy for us.

He'll be missed.


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CHRONOLOGY REVISED

CHRONOLOGY REVISED

In the wake of completing the script to issue #3 of the comic book, I decided to take a careful look at my Gargoyles Timeline.

I wound up doing a whole new draft of the document. (It's now 249 pages long.) I actually incorporated some corrections suggested here at ASK GREG by folks like Aris and Matt and Todd and Kathy. Aris, as a few of you may recall, pointed out an error in my math, that shifted Angela's hatching back to 1058 from 1078. So I fixed that.

Other things have changed as well. BUT NOTHING CANON HAS CHANGED, i.e. nothing has changed from the first 65 episodes of the T.V. series or the first issue of the comic (or the second or third either, frankly -- though you guys haven't seen them yet). Even "The Last" (Team Atlantis episode featuring Demona and on view at Gatherings) is still holding its own. And I didn't change anything just for the sake of changing things -- not even to surprise you despite the spoilers I've already given out.

But some things have changed. So old info currently in the Archives at Ask Greg may or may not be dead on accurate now. But I think the biggest change is that 1058 thing. So nothing too major, change-wise. Lots of new stuff added. Hopefully fun stuff.

Just thought I should let you know.


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2006 SAN DIEGO COMICCON JOURNAL

2006 SAN DIEGO COMICCON JOURNAL

Just a quick and dirty rundown of how I spent this year's record-SMASHING attendance ComicCon.

WEDNESDAY JULY 19, 2006
8:30am - Wake up at home.

10:30am - Chiropractic appointment and Physical Therapy. (Always good to get worked on before a long drive and a long weekend in an unfamiliar bed.)

11am - Massage. (I know. I live the hard life.)

12pm - Home again to pack.

12:30pm - Hit the road in the not-that-old PT Cruiser.

3:30pm - Arrived in San Diego. Drove down to the Convention Center, but even on Wednesday, parking was impossible. Wound up parking all the way up at Ash & First and walked the many, many blocks to the Con. But I like walking, so frankly that worked fine for me. Stood in the Exhibitor line to pick up badges for myself and my family. (Thanks to SLG and Dan Vado.)

4:30pm - Called my old boss Gary Krisel to tell him I was on my way. I was staying with him and his wonderful wife Jane. They live about twenty minutes north of San Diego.

6:30pm - TWO HOURS later I arrived at their house. Now that's some traffic! Gary and I went to Chilis for a Build-My-Own-Burger. Then it was back to the Krisels. Gary and I talked for a bit. Then I retreated to my room to read Faulkner's Light in August.

1:30am - Lights out.

THURSDAY JULY 20, 2006
8am - Wake up.

9am - Grabbed some fresh OJ and hit the road.

10am - Not wanting to HUNT for a parking space, I just parked at First & Ash again. Walked to the con and found my way to the SLG Booth. Discovered I was scheduled to sign for FOUR HOURS a day for four straight days. That seemed excessive at first, but in the end I found I was GRATEFUL for (a) having someplace to sit and (b) something to do. The convention was completely overwhelming to me. Better to keep busy. Ran into a few people: Perrin Klumpp (of CONvergence) and Tad Stones (of Hellboy).

11am - Started signing GARGOYLES comic books with penciller David Hedgecock. Saw a few familiar faces, including Will H., Howard Bliss and Brian Dumlao.

1pm - Dave treats me to lunch from Café Express. Just a hot dog. (I know how little this guy makes on the comic.) But it was nice to just sit and talk. I really spent some quality time this weekend with Dave and with color artist Will Terrell. Both are great guys.

1:45pm - Headed up to the Panel rooms and caught the end of Tommy Kovac's spotlight panel. He's the creative mind behind SLG's WONDERLAND comic. Dan Vado and Tommy had some funny schtick going.

2:15pm - Had my own spotlight panel moderated by Dan. Talked about my background. Introduced Dave and Stephanie Lostimolo (our cover colorist). Talked about my hopes, plans and fears for the GARGOYLES comic. Answered some questions. It was a brief panel, but a lot of fun. I saw a bunch of familiar faces including Shan & Kevin, Shara (in costume), Seth, Scott, Brian, Jerry (taking pictures of course) and Michael. Met up with Sam Bernstein who was shooting B-Roll for a project we're working on together.

3pm - Sam, Seth, Michael McAdams, Scott, Brian, Tom and I went to Horton Plaza for my SECOND lunch of the day. Had Sushi at the food court. And Ben & Jerry's.

4pm - Started my very deliberate tour of the Exhibit Floor, covering aisles 0-500.

5pm - Second signing of the day - this time with Dave and Will, who had shown up (I'm told) during my panel. First time I had met Will in person. Good guy.

7pm - Went to dinner with the CONvergence gang: Pat & Tim, Perrin & Jenni, Chris & Melissa, plus Len Wein and his wife and Bob Skir. First of course, Pat and I had to walk all dem blocks to my car. Then we drove to a restaurant called Embers. It was a fun evening. But by 10pm we had closed down the place!

10:40pm - Back to the Krisels'. Read some of the Ape Entertainment Comics that Dave had given me (that's his company), including Athena Voltaire, Teddy Scares and The Black Coat. It was all fun stuff.

2am - Lights out.

FRIDAY JULY 21, 2006
8:30am - Wake up. More OJ and then off to the con, again parking at Ash & First.

10:30am - Walked the floor from 600-1000.

11am - Signing with Dave & Will.

12:30pm - Left the signing a half-hour early to attend the Gotham Group party at Rama. Saw a ton of people - most of whom live in L.A. as I do, though we never get together here - including, Bob, Bill, Steve, Bob, Andrew, Grace, Bob, Tramm, Michael, Dean, Nicole, Duane, Michael, Megan, Ellen, Peter, Eddie, Dmitri, etc.

2:30pm - Ted Murphy of Adult Swim interviewed me on camera. Not too sure whether that's going to get used. Have the feeling I wasn't quite on my game. But it was great to meet Ted. When the interview was done, I toured 1100-2000, and was definitely on the verge of burnout. But I ran into more old friends, including Kim, Kevin, Parker and Richard & Wendy Pini. We arranged to have dinner that night.

4pm - I went to the BET Animation Panel with Reggie Hudlin, Denys Cowan and Sydney. They're in the very early stages… but this white Jewish boy would love to get on that network. Honestly.

5pm - Back to the SLG Booth for another two hours of signing with Dave & Will.

7pm - Crispin Freeman and I hiked to my car, and then we met Richard, Wendy and Izzy for dinner at Todai.

10pm - Back at the Krisels'. Beth and the kids were already there, having driven down that afternoon from L.A.

1am - Lights out.

SATURDAY JULY 22, 2006
8am - Wake up.

9:30am - Depart with Benny for the Con. This time we parked near the Baseball Stadium and for Benny's sake we took a pedi-cab to the con.

10:30am - Stopped by the Animation Writers Caucus panel for a bit. But Benny was bored. So we went back to the floor and toured 2000-2500. None of my family had ever been to ComicCon before. It was - shall we say - eye opening.

11am - Back to SLG for our morning signing. Will had bugged out to hit the beach, so it was me, Dave and BENNY, who would have happily signed anything you put in front of him. He was actually a pretty good sport. Eventually, Erin and Beth showed up. Benny and Beth went exploring, and Erin sat with Dave and I for awhile.

1pm - Grabbed some Pizza from Café Express, but there was literally NOWHERE to sit. Wound up sitting single-file on a staircase. After lunch we toured 2500-3000. And then Beth had had enough. She left with the kids to go swimming at the Krisels' (where Benny got stung by a bee - which is one of his major nightmares, but it wound up not being too bad). After they left, I toured 3000-4500. Then I ran into Dave Schwartz, his wife Nanci and their daughter Kara (who I'm fairly certain was named after Supergirl). I was glad to get off the floor and we went to see Frank Miller's panel on THE SPIRIT movie that he plans to write and direct after he's done with SIN CITY II.

4pm - Caught the end of the TV Guide Panel, mostly cause I wanted to sit down and relax and wait for the NEXT panel in that room.

4:30pm - Veronica Mars panel with the creator and a whole bunch of the cast. I'm a HUGE VM fan. Love the show. (Oh, speaking of being a fanboy, I also stopped by Phil Foglio's booth/table. Wanted to introduce myself, but chickened out - and only bought his stuff. Wound up sending him a letter and a copy of GARGOYLES after I got back to L.A. We've since had a really nice e-mail exchange. Guess I was silly to be such a chicken.)

5pm - Back to SLG for more signings with Dave. Since at that point, we didn't know Will had gone to the beach, we were starting to worry about him.

7pm - Went to THE BATMAN panel. Wanted to know what THEY were giving away about the episodes I had written, so that I'd know what was fair game for me to talk about. I think there really taking some interesting chances with their fourth season, and I'm very proud of the episode "Artifacts" that I wrote for them. Also, I can now say that Brendan Routh (SUPERMAN) is appearing in another of my episodes: "The Everywhere Man". But he's NOT playing Superman.

7:30pm - Went to the Animation Writers Caucus party at a nearby hotel. Talked with Kevin, Kevin, Nicole, Jymn and others. (Yeah, I'm name dropping, but I'm only giving first names mostly, so you can try and make a game out of who's who.)

9pm - Dean, Brian, Andy, Erika, Andrew, Ian, Nicole and I headed out to attend the Jetix Party at a way-too-hip-for-me bar named Thin.

9:30pm - We arrived at Thin. But by this time, I had a headache, so I said hi to Jermaine and Tracy and then took off.

11:15pm - Returned to the Krisels'. Beth and the kids and the Krisels were already asleep.

2am - Went to bed.

3am - Fell asleep.

SUNDAY JULY 23, 2006
8am - Wake up.

8:30am - OJ and Rye toast. Said goodbye to the Krisels and my family. (The latter were going to swim some more and then head home.)

10:30am - Parked on the street up near Ash & First. Hit the floor to finish off the 4600-5300.

11am - Signing with Dave & Will.

1pm - Had Thai food with Joey Cavalieri of DC Comics. Pitched a few ideas to him. One of 'em may go. We'll see. But mostly Joey and I caught up. It'd been something like twenty years since we last saw each other.

3pm - Our last signing. All through the con, I think we had a nice steady flow of people coming up to buy books and get signatures and sketches. Felt good.

5pm - Departed the con.

8pm - Made it as far as Irvine and stopped off at Nicole's house for dinner.

10pm - Finally made it home. That's it!


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"Hunter's Moon" Memo #4B

And here is the rest of the 4th Hunter's Moon Memo...

Michael, the above represents my ideal Part Two. I think it paces down nicely from Part One, (and you'll note that the changes it requires to Part One are negligible). The Elisa/Jason relationship is allowed to build in a more natural, slower and step-by-step manner. Then it ends as planned, topping anything we've ever done before by blowing up the clocktower. I have two (probably obvious) concerns. One minor, one not so. The minor concern is that the middle is pretty talky for a stand alone episode. Not much we can do about that and still have all three parts play as one piece. So I vote to make each talk-scene as tight as possible, playing up the tension in the middle and otherwise not to sweat this minor concern. The major concern is that it's probably too long for one twenty-two minute episode. If I was being honest, it feels to me like we've got four acts worth of material instead of three. Call me about this either way. If you feel you can fit it in then go for it. If not, here's plan B:

PART ONE CHANGES:
Beat #12 would have to end with the following:
It's only after injuring Angela that the Hunters seem to realize that Angela is not the "demon" they've been hunting. Not that they're remorseful -- just surprised that Demona is NOT the last surviving member of her evil race -- as they had always been taught. Hunter/Robyn says this revelation explains the reports of numerous sightings of gargoyles in the Manhattan area, which is what brought them to town in the first place. Hunter/Jason is furious that the "demons" escaped and determined to hunt them down and exterminate them all. Hunter/Jon questions whether this is the correct course. They know the "demon" is evil. But these other gargoyles might not be. Hunter/Jason quickly and semi-violently reprimands his compatriot. As far as he's concerned the only good gargoyle is a dead gargoyle. And the only consolation from tonight's fiasco is that he's pretty sure he nailed one of them.

And at the beginning of beat13:
The trio and Bronx are already there when Hudson, Goliath and Angela make it back to the clock tower. They are horrified to see Angela's condition.

PART TWO CHANGES:
ACT ONE
Beat 14:
Should end on the Hunter's tirade about wiping every last gargoyle off the face of the earth -- not on Demona gliding away.

Beat 15:
Cut.

Beat 16:
Cut.

Beats 17:
Basically picks up where the revised beat 13 left off, with the trio already there and Angela dying. This beat is combined with beat 18 to form one uninterrupted beat. No act breaks.

Beat 18:
This beat is combined with beat 17 to form one uninterrupted beat. No Act Break. Also, just before the gargoyles turn to stone, Elisa would promise to find out everything she can.

Beat 19:
(Stay with me, 'cause this is complicated.) If there's room for beats 20 and 24 to stay as two separate beats, then beat 19 can stay the same. If not beat 19 can be cut here to show up later at beat 23A.

Beat 20:
If there's room for beats 20 and 24 to stay as two separate beats, then beat 20 can stay the same. If not beat 20 can be cut here and combined with beat 24.

Beat 21:
No change.

Beat 22:
Mostly stays the same, but at the end of the beat, we'd need to show the container of D/I-7 and the Borgia Tablet at Nightstone.

Beat 23:
No change.

Beat 23A:
Only necessary if you are combining beats 20 and 24. This is the former Beat 19. Elisa comes down stairs to find Matt (who would now just be coming on-shift as opposed to off). Matt's talking to reporter Jon. Elisa runs out alone. Jason follows her.

Beat 24:
No change, unless you need to combine it with beat 20 to save more space. If so, it combines as follows....
Outside by Elisa's car, Jason catches up to her. He can tell she's upset: "You didn't rush us out of there just so you wouldn't have to answer questions about gargoyles." Of course not, she replies. Gargoyles? Are you kidding? How silly. She's about to get in her car, but he puts a hand on her arm and stops her gently, but firmly: "Then what is it?" She hesitates, then tells him that a dear friend was violently attacked recently. She came very close to dying. He asks if they know who did it? No, not yet, and she feels so... so... He knows what she means before she can say it: "You feels frustrated. Helpless. You wants to nail the guy who hurt your friend." That's it, she says. That's it exactly. How did he know? Because he's been there. He's still there. She looks at him. He asks how her friend is doing now. Elisa says something like no news is good news, I'm sure she's all right. Jason: "And what about you? Are you all right?" She says sure, don't worry about me. I'm a rock. Feeling awkward, he turns to go. She hesitates, then surprises herself by asking if he's free for dinner. He considers it. Actually, there was something he was supposed to do, but...sure. He'd love to.

Beat 25:
After Goliath witnesses the kiss, we fade to black and end the act.

ACT TWO
Beat 25A:
Picks up where we left off and finishes out the former Beat 25.

Beat 26:
Instead of the blimp, Goliath finds and heads for the Hunter's High-Tech airship.

Beat 27:
Goliath, Lex and Brooklyn breaks into the airship. No immediate sign of a trap, but they soon runs into Demona inside the airship on a similar errand to erradicate the Hunters. This beat is combined with beat 28 to form one uninterrupted beat. No Act Break.

Beat 28:
This beat is combined with beat 27 to form one uninterrupted beat. No Act Break in between them. Demona is surprised to see Goliath, who physically attacks her demanding to know her connection to the Hunters. She tries to explain that she is their prey. But he doesn't listen. At least he doesn't listen until all four gargoyles are captured by Hunter/Jon and Hunter/Robyn. Act Break.

ACT THREE
Beat 28A:
The Hunters are waiting for their leader to show up. They imprison the gargoyles, (and Hunter/Robyn has the opportunity to plant a homing device on Goliath, though we don't know that she's done this yet). They leave them alone in their cells, giving Demona a chance to explain that the Hunters are gargoyle-haters who first appeared in the 11th century. They destroyed the last clan of gargoyles in Scotland. Only Demona escaped, and the Hunters have been hounding her ever since. Goliath tells Demona that the Hunters nearly killed their daughter Angela. Demona burns with cold fury. As much as she hates Goliath, Demona refuses to let the Hunters slay even one more gargoyle. She offers to help them escape. Goliath doesn't want escape, he wants vengeance. Finally, Goliath is sounding like a true gargoyle to Demona. Unfortunately, he's also sounding like an idiot. Vengeance will come, she promises that. But now they've lost the element of surprise on the Hunter's home turf. They must escape. And somehow, by working together, they do, seemingly taking out Hunter/Robyn and Hunter/Jon in the process.

Beat 28B:
Safely outside the airship, Demona is pleased. Perhaps she and Goliath are not so far apart. Perhaps not, Goliath agrees grimly. Demona veers away. Brooklyn cannot believe that Goliath is just letting her go. But Goliath: "She was not our enemy tonight." Oh, yeah?! What about the D/I-7? We'll worry about that later. Let's go home. They veer off for home. Time cut.

Beat 29:
Time has passed. Hunter/Jason has arrived on the airship and has clearly just been filled in on the night's events: "You LET them escape?!!" (We are beginning to see distinctions between the Hunters' personalities. Hunter/Jason is the fiery, passionate leader. Hunter/Robyn is coldly efficient. Hunter/Jon has some major doubts and is definitely not into this as much as the other two.) Hunter/Jason is furious that H/Jon and H/Robyn let the gargoyles escape -- particularly the "demon". That was the best chance yet to destroy them. Hunter/Jon still isn't sure that they're doing the right thing. They heard the gargoyle's in-cell discussion. The only reason they're attacking us is because we hurt the big one's daughter last night. H/Jon even suspects that the "demon" and the other gargoyles were at odds until our opposition united them. If we hadn't attacked them, they might have even been our allies against the "demon". Hunter/Jason can't believe his ears. He turns to Hunter/Robyn. He knew their brother had some weird ideas, but what's the story with her. She calmly points to images of Brooklyn and Lex on a monitor screen. These are new gargoyles. Different from the ones they faced last night. There's no telling how many more there might be. They had to allow these gargoyles to escape so that they could follow them back to their lair, otherwise we could waste our whole lives tracking them down. Hunter/Jason: So what? It was good enough for our father. H/Jason doesn't care how long it takes to exterminate this evil race of monsters. Hunter/Robyn comments wryly that she'd rather get it over with tonight, if H/Jason doesn't mind. H/Jason calms down a bit. So what's the plan?

Beat 30:
This changes completely. Goliath, Lex and Brooklyn arrive at the clock tower. Everyone else is already there. Goliath tells the others that the Hunters have been dealt a major blow. Brooklyn and Lex exchange concerned glances.

Beat 31:
Inside the airship, the trio of Hunters have locked onto Goliath's homing signal. Hunter/Jason is a bit concerned that they didn't plant a homing device on Demona. But Hunter/Robyn believes that the demon would never have let her touch her without noticing the plant. Besides Hunter/Robyn is confident she knows where to find the "demon". They track Goliath's signal to the clock tower. They know it's above the precinct house and may even be impressed that the gargoyles were clever enough to hide in such plain sight. H/Jason prepares to go in. H/Robyn stops him and begins to activate weapon systems instead. There could be a clan of thirty or forty gargoyles in there. H/Jon doubts if there's more than six. He can't believe what she's preparing to do. There's a building full of people in there. She's confident she can target the tower with some precision. A squeamish H/Jon fumfers, but suggests they wait a couple hours until sunrise. The gargoyles will be stone and can easily be destroy then . But H/Robyn shakes her head. We cannot count on that. She puts a picture of Demona on a monitor screen, side-by-side with a picture of Dominique. She then uses a sophisticated computer program to demonstrate that Demona/Dominique are one and the same person. Dominique has never been seen after dark, and since no one's ever spotted a gargoyle in broad daylight, H/Robyn correctly surmises that the "demon" transforms into Dominique every morning at sunrise. H/Jason wants to know how this is possible? H/Robyn shrugs. How is it possible that the demon has lived as long as she has? The obvious answer is sorcery, and if Demona/Dominique has shared this sorcery with the other gargoyles, then they could easily sneak out of the precinct house in the morning disguised as humans, and we'd never find them. H/Jon is still against the still unstated plan. Both turn to H/Jason for his final decision. Do it, he says. But let's make sure that none of them escape. It ends tonight.

Beat 32:
No change.

Beat 33:
No change.

Beat 34:
Lex notices the homing device stuck to Goliath's skin. Quick cut.

Beat 35:
No change.

Beat 36:
No change.


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Hunter's Moon Memo #4A

In anticipation of my ramble on "Hunter's Moon, Part Two", here is the first half of Memo #4 from back in the day...

"But wait!" you're asking, "What happened to Memo #3?!" Well, I have it -- on paper. But not on my computer for some reason, and I don't have either a scanner or the time to type it up afresh. So you'll have to settle for jumping ahead to Memo #4. This is my beat sheet breakdown on the first two parts of Hunter's Moon.

The whole memo was too long for one post, it seems, so I'll be posting the second half shortly.

WEISMAN 7-16-95

Notes on "Hunter's Moon" Outline...
Please note that any changes to the Beat Sheet for Part One will be in bold type.

BEAT SHEET
PART ONE
ACT ONE
1. PROLOGUE - SCOTLAND, 994 -- HUNTER'S MOON
We open with YOUNG GILLECOMGAIN confronting DEMONA (in either new footage or re-use from "City of Stone, Part One"). Very mysterioso at first. Then we realize that Demona is simply scavenging for food in Gille's barn. He surprises her and winds up scarred for life. She leaves.
Continue the scene. Hearing Gille's screams, GILLECOMGAIN'S FATHER comes rushing into the barn after Demona has left. He is largely unsympathetic, even a bit of a jerk toward his son. He sees the scratch marks and tells his son to suck it up, basically. It sounds to him like his son was attacked by a gargoyle looking for food. But Gille insists it was a "demon". And swears that she will pay along with her entire evil race.

MANHATTAN, 1996. - NIGHT ONE
2. A blonde woman (SALLI ROBERTSON actually ELISA MAZA in disguise) is alone on a subway platform. A real seedy place. Very scary. Suddenly a THUG appears out of the shadows. Invades her personal space. She tries to move cautiously away, but a SECOND THUG cuts her off. And then a THIRD, a FOURTH, a FIFTH. They don't attack her, but they do seem to be taking some real sadistic pleasure in intimidating the hell out of her. All are wearing long trenchcoats, which might or might not conceal weapons.
The subway finally comes. She gets onto a car which is sparsely populated by an OLD LADY, BRENDAN & MARGOT, a burly WORKER, etc. And we think she's safe, but at the last second the thugs also enter the car. The subway exits the station.
As the train races through dark tunnels, the thugs pull out Xanatos/Dracon particle beam weapons and demand all valuables. (Major overkill on the part of the thugs.) Maybe the burly worker gets brave, and although Salli tries to stop him, he gets hurt (but not shot) for his pains.
The train exits the tunnel onto elevated tracks. And to make a long explanation short, this is where the gargoyles (GOLIATH, BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON, BROADWAY and ANGELA) get involved. The fast-moving el-train should add to the challenge of stopping five heavily-armed thugs. At a crucial moment, Salli/Elisa should slam Thug #1, who had a bead on Goliath. She pulls off the blonde wig, revealing herself, saying that she doesn't like anyone messing with her best friend in the world. Everyone is saved. Though as usual, the passengers are more afraid of the gargoyles than the thugs. The gargoyles leave the moving train just before the next stop, promising to touch base with Elisa later. The train pulls in. MATT BLUESTONE, MORGAN and other COPS are waiting, (they've been trying to catch this gang of thugs for weeks). Matt (who knows about the gargoyles) sees the unconcious thugs, and says something like, "Had a little help, did we?" "No more than usual," she replies with a smile. Or something like that.

3. We catch up with the gargoyles in flight, who are pretty proud of themselves. Even Goliath. They've gotten this protection thing down. Stopping evil stone cold, etc. They glide in for a landing at the clock tower. HUDSON and BRONX welcome them back. Hudson fusses a bit as Brooklyn has a very minor injury from the subway encounter. But Brooklyn considers it a badge of honor, and besides the stone hibernation will heal him. Life is sweet. The sun rises and they all turn to stone. (Play this up for the video audience -- it's still one of our coolest trademarks.)

4. Downstairs in the precinct house a bit later, CAPTAIN CHAVEZ informs Elisa that she's being reassigned to the dayshift to show a new detective the ropes. Both Elisa and Matt protest. Why break up a good team? (Elisa's simultaneously thinking of Matt and her nighttime-only forays with Goliath and the gargoyles.) Chavez tells her it's temporary and in any case it wasn't a request. The new detective enters. It's JASON CONOVER. He's a big, rugged guy. Sort of a human Goliath. Elisa and Jason size each other up. And though neither would say it yet, they like what they see. At any rate, Matt notices that Elisa has suddenly stopped protesting the reassignment.

5. Dayshift with Elisa and Jason. She's showing him the city in her Fairlane. She asks him about himself. But he's subtly evasive and keeps turning the conversation back toward her. In particular asking what it's like to be a cop in the Big Apple. He's heard some weird stuff about alligators in the sewers and other urban myths. She smiles. She could tell him stories.

Suddenly, there's an explosion at a nearby XANATOS ENTERPRISES chemical storage warehouse on the East River. They call it in, head over, and it looks like they've caught two MASKED THIEVES who each have their hands full carrying containers of stolen chemicals marked D/I-7. They order the thieves to put down the containers, which they do. But the thieves had BACK-UP, and now it's Jason and Elisa who appear to be surrounded and in big trouble. It looks bad, and there ain't gonna be any gargoyle rescue at high noon.

ACT TWO
6. Jason doesn't hesitate. He shoots one of the chemical containers. It blows up and in the resulting chaos, the thieves grab the remaining container and take off in an unmarked panel truck. Elisa and Jason pursue in her car. Cool car chase. He's as impressed with her driving as she is with his shooting. All done fearlessly while under fire from the bad guys. Point is, they make a good team. Anyway, the good guys eventually capture all the bad guys (except THIEF #1, who escapes) and confiscate the D/I-7 without knowing what the theft was all about.

7. NIGHTSTONE UNLIMITED. It's twilight. Company president DOMINIQUE DESTINE is interviewing for a new personal assistant. The candidate is one ROBYN CORREY, who immediately impresses Dominique with her Owen-like efficiency and smarts. A man enters who we may or may not recognize as Thief #1. He's about to start blabbing in front of Robyn, but Dominique tells him to shut up and wait. Dominique turns to Correy and tells her she has the job. Correy is prepared to start right this minute if necessary. She's not afraid of long hours and happy to work nights with the boss if that's required. Dominique smiles. Correy may indeed work nights, but Dominique never does. She needs her beauty sleep. Robyn can start first thing in the morning. Correy exits and Dominique and the thief open a secret panel into a high-tech command center. The thief lets Dominique know that they didn't get the D/I-7. She's furious and comes close to doing something really nasty to him. But through a large (one-way) bay window she sees that the sun is about to set. She tells him he's lucky to work for such a kind employer and kicks him out. Well, if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. The sun sets and Dominique transforms into DEMONA.

ACT THREE
8. At the clock tower, Elisa arrives just as the sun sets on our gargoyles. They EXPLODE out of their stone shell. A sight that still impresses her no matter how many times she sees it. (Again, play up this series trademark for the video audience. Also make a point of showing that Brooklyn's minor injury is healed.) Elisa fills the gargoyles in on the attempted chemical theft. She speaks highly of Jason, and when Goliath notes that she seems highly impressed with her new partner, she stumbles all over herself to say that he's just o.k. Even she doesn't yet know why she got so flustered. But it doesn't escape Goliath's notice or Hudson's or Angela's. Elisa's just finished working a double shift and has to head home for some sleep, but she's afraid that whoever was behind the theft might try again tonight. Either at the same East River warehouse or at another one on the upper westside where computer records show Xanatos also keeps D/I-7. The gargoyles agree to split up and stake out both locations. But Goliath is suspicious. If Xanatos is involved.... Elisa knows exactly what he means. She wanted to question Xanatos herself, but (because Elisa is admittedly irrational in her hatred of Xanatos) Chavez said no and sent Matt instead.

NIGHT TWO
9. At the Eyrie Building, Matt is almost done questioning XANATOS about the theft. Xanatos is clearly more interested in playing with his baby son ALEXANDER, than in answering Matt's questions. He has no idea why anyone would want to steal this particular chemical. D/I-7 is a potent concentrated disinfectant, newly invented by Xanatos Enterprises, but hardly worth stealing unless you have a very big and very dirty house that needs cleaning. Matt's sure Xanatos is hiding something, but leaves when OWEN enters with Xanatos' next appointment: newspaper reporter JON CARTER. Xanatos hands Alexander over to Owen and tours his castle with Carter. (Note: Owen still has a stone fist. He can either keep it in his pocket or not. I don't care, but don't forget about it.) Carter asks Xanatos about the castle and the gargoyles that were part of the itemized price. Xanatos says something about them not suiting his aesthetic tastes and having them destroyed. Carter questions whether Xanatos would really destroy such ancient works of art. Xanatos: "If you brought them in front of me now, I'd pulverize them to dust right here." Carter asks about the gargoyle urban myths that have everyone in New York claiming that their best friend's uncle's dentist has seen real live gargoyles. Xanatos comments that he thought the only paper interested in that kind of "scoop" was The Daily Tattler. Somewhere in here, before he leaves, Jon drops his pencil and picks it up.
After the reporter's exit, Xanatos and Owen watch a replay of Jon Carter's little pencil drop which was picked up by hidden camera. They see that he picked up a sliver of stone -- most probably a left-over piece of exfoliated gargoyle stone. Xanatos takes his baby from Owen and says something like: "This Mr. Carter could cause a bit of trouble for our old friend Goliath." At this point it's ambiguous whether Xanatos is pleased about this or not.

10. Goliath, Hudson and Angela are staked out across from the East River Xanatos warehouse that the thieves hit earlier that day. A high-tech flying vehicle arrives on the scene and three figures leap out of it (two male and one female). Each wears a black mask with three stylized red slash marks painted diagonally across it. The masks completely obscures their faces, but we'll soon learn that these are the three HUNTERS (HUNTER/JASON, HUNTER/ROBYN and HUNTER/JON). The gargoyles assume that these are the thieves and attack, Angela impetuously taking the lead. The Hunters (whose voices are electronically filtered by their masks so that we don't immediately recognize them) are strangely not surprised to see the female gargoyle Angela (who they at first mistake for Demona) but are very surprised to see Goliath and Hudson. They thought there was only one "demon" left alive. No matter. They'll destroy them all. The battle is joined.

11. Cut to the second warehouse on the westside, where Brooklyn leads Broadway, Lex and Bronx on a second stakeout. Demona breaks in to steal the D/I-7, leaving tell-tale claw marks at the break in point. She wasn't expecting to see the gargoyles, but she's not unprepared for a fight. It's quite a battle, but Demona manages to get away with one container of D/I-7. (I'll leave the details to you, Michael.)

12. Back to first East River warehouse. A furious battle between Hunters and "prey". Hunters seem completely prepared to fight gargoyles specifically. Angela is very badly injured, and Goliath and Hudson are barely able to escape with her. It's only after injuring Angela that the Hunters seem to realize that Angela is not the "demon" they've been hunting. Not that they're remorseful -- just surprised that Demona is NOT the last surviving member of her evil race -- as they had always been taught. Hunter/Jason is furious that the "demons" escaped and determined to hunt them down and exterminate them all.

13. Hudson, Goliath and Angela make it back to the clock tower. Angela's in a bad way. If she can make it to dawn, she'll be healed by the transformation to stone. But dawn is hours away. It doesn't look good. We've NEVER seen Goliath so angry. (Which doesn't mean he's over the top. It can be internalized to the point of near-combustibility, but we need to know how deep the fury goes.) Hudson tries to calm him down. But Goliath swears that he will hunt down these Hunters. And he will KILL them.
END PART ONE

PART TWO
ACT ONE
14. PROLOGUE - FLORENCE, 1496 A.D. - HUNTER'S MOON
Demona steals an already ancient MYSTIC TABLET from the home of the BORGIAS, only to be pursued by a RENAISSANCE-ERA HUNTER, hunting the last of the "demons". He wears a version of the stylized Hunter's mask, wields an impressive cross-bow and other weapons and chases after Demona in a flying machine designed by LEONARDO DA VINCI. We have a cool action sequence, but Demona ultimately cripples the Hunter's "vehicle" and escapes with the Borgia tablet. The Hunter shouts after her that the battle isn't over. His family has hunted her across generations for 500 years. If he fails, then his son will take up the hunt. And his son's son. It may take another five hundred years, but the Hunt won't end until the last of the gargoyles is wiped off the face of the earth. We watch as Demona glides off in the distance and RIPPLE DISSOLVE TO:

MANHATTAN, 1996. - NIGHT TWO (CONTINUED)
15. Demona carrying the container of D/I-7 glides in for a landing at her Gramercy Park Mansion. She enters her study and places the chemical container next to the Borgia tablet. It's taken her 500 years but her plan to destroy the hated humans is finally coming to fruition. Now she must prepare for the coming day. "Dominique" has much to do before the Hunter's Moon.

16. We're at what appears to be the gutted shell of a condemned tenement building in the South Bronx. The Hunters' high-tech vehicle flies in and we realize that what appeared to be urban decay on the outside is actually an elaborate camouflage for the high-tech Hunter's Lair. The Hunters disembark (but do not remove their masks). We begin to see distinctions in their personalities. Hunter/Jason is the fiery, passionate leader. Hunter/Robyn is coldly efficient. Hunter/Jon is definitely not into this as much as the other two. Hunter/Robyn immediately checks their computers. Police radio calls indicate that while they were at Xanatos' East River warehouse, D/I-7 was stolen from Xanatos' upper westside warehouse. Probably by the "demon" herself. Hunter/Jason is frustrated that they missed a perfect chance to destroy the "demon". But all of them are still stunned at tonight's discovery that Demona is NOT the last surviving member of her evil race -- as they had always been taught. Hunter/Robyn says this revelation explains the reports of numerous sightings of gargoyles in the Manhattan area, which is what brought them to town in the first place. Hunter/Jason is determined to hunt down every last one, but Hunter/Jon questions whether this is the correct course. They know the "demon" is evil. But these other gargoyles might not be. Hunter/Jason quickly and semi-violently reprimands his compatriot. As far as he's concerned the only good gargoyle is a dead gargoyle. And the only consolation from tonight's fiasco is that he's pretty sure he nailed one of them.

17. At the clock tower, the trio come in for a landing with Bronx. Before they're through the clockface door they're already calling inside about how Demona got away with the D/I-7. But they shut up fast when they see the grim situation inside. Angela's bandaged up, but she's having trouble breathing, and it's very touch and go. Goliath tells her to hold on. Sunrise will come soon and heal her. But Angela's not going to make it until then. She suddenly goes into cardiac arrest. She has stopped breathing, and her heart has stopped beating.

ACT TWO
18. Suddenly Elisa is there, pushing past the other gargoyles to perform CPR on Angela, saving her life. It's pre-dawn now, just enough time to fill Elisa in on the Hunters and Demona. Just enough time for Goliath to reiterate his vow of vengeance against the Hunters. And then everyone turns to stone in a tableau around Angela. A disturbed Elisa is left alone to head downstairs.

19. Down in the precinct house, reporter Jon Carter is questioning Matt Bluestone (who's just coming off shift) about gargoyle sightings. (Including maybe witness reports of gargoyles helping to bust up the subway bandits the night before and/or breaking into a Xanatos warehouse last night.) Matt tells the reporter he doesn't believe in gargoyles -- but U.F.O.'s on the other hand, now Matt has plenty of theories about them. (Did you know the statues on Easter Island were modeled after space aliens?) Elisa sees her new partner Detective Jason Conover watching with some amusement as Matt makes a fool of the reporter. She grabs Jason and marches him out the door. She's in no mood to sit for an interview right now, and besides, they have a crime scene to investigate.

20. As Elisa drives across town in her Fairlane, Jason can tell she's upset: "You didn't rush us out of there just so you wouldn't have to answer questions about gargoyles." Of course not, she replies. Gargoyles? Are you kidding? How silly. They pull over in front of Xanatos' westside warehouse. She's about to get out of the car, but he puts a hand on her arm and stops her gently, but firmly: "Then what is it?" She hesitates, then tells him that a dear friend was violently attacked recently. She came very close to dying. He asks if they know who did it? No, not yet, and she feels so... so... He knows what she means before she can say it: "You feels frustrated. Helpless. You wants to nail the guy who hurt your friend." That's it, she says. That's it exactly. How did he know? Because he's been there. He's still there. She looks at him. Then they get out of the car and go inside.

21. Inside the westside warehouse crime scene, Owen is taking inventory of what was stolen. Elisa sends Jason to check the point of entry, so that she can speak to Owen alone. She's hostile. She suspects Xanatos of being in cahoots with Demona. Owen attempts to assure her that Xanatos has had no contact with Demona, and that in fact Xanatos still feels he owes Goliath a debt of gratitude for helping save his son Alexander. If there's any way that either Owen or Mr. Xanatos could be of assistance... No, thanks. She's had enough of Xanatos' help to last a lifetime. (Now, ironically, Owen is telling the truth. But he should relate it all in such a superior Owenesque manner, and Elisa should respond to it with such incredible suspicion and contempt that Elisa and our audience will be quite convinced that Xanatos is -- as usual -- up to no good. And for his part, Owen doesn't care if Elisa feels that way.)

Jason calls Elisa over. He's found a set of Demona's clawmarks at the point of illegal entry and asks Elisa what she makes of them. Elisa plays dumb. Jason comments that they look like claw marks. But what could be strong enough to leave clawmarks in solid stone?

22. Nightstone Unlimited, bio-labs. Dominique introduces her assistant Robyn Correy to Nightstone chief scientist DOCTOR ANTON SEVARIUS. He's demonstrating a new CARRIER VIRUS. Extremely contagious, very-fast acting, but harmless. (It'd be great if we could demonstrate this in some visual way that doesn't totally tip our hand.) Dominique tells her assistant that the virus can be molecularly bonded with curative medicines and thus be used to counteract epidemics. Robyn points out that it could just as easily be bonded with a disease and cause the epidemic in the first place. There's an uncomfortable moment of silence, but Robyn does not seem upset by the prospect she's outlined. "Either way," she continues, "A most profitable endeavor." Sevarius and Dominique exchange a glance, and Dominique smiles at her new assistant: "I think you're going to fit in just fine."

23. Sunset at the clocktower and the gargoyles EXPLODE from stone. Everyone's first concern is for Angela. She's all healed. Maybe just a bit tired still. Goliath is still determined to get vengeance on the Hunters. The other gargoyles agree, including Angela. Goliath is concerned for her, but she doesn't want any kid glove treatment. She's the one that they hurt. She wants her chance for revenge too. At the moment, this is logic that makes sense to Goliath. They split up in groups of two (Broadway & Angela, Lex & Brooklyn, Hudson & Bronx) to search for the Hunters. (And yes, Goliath is conspicuously without a partner.) Goliath gives strict orders not to engage them in battle. Find them and come back to report. All the gargoyles leave. And a few seconds later, Elisa comes up the stairs to find the tower empty.

NIGHT THREE
24. Outside by Elisa's car, Jason catches up to her. He asks if there's any word on her friend. Elisa says something like no news is good news, I'm sure she's all right. Jason: "And what about you? Are you all right?" She says sure, don't worry about me. I'm a rock. Feeling awkward, he turns to go. She hesitates, then surprises herself by asking if he's free for dinner. He considers it. Actually, there was something he was supposed to do, but...sure. He'd love to.

25. Elisa and Jason arrive at her apartment. Elisa didn't feel up to facing a crowded restaurant. Besides, she has one of the best stocked refrigerators in the county. (With a friend like Broadway, it's safer.) She brings him a soda in the living room, spills it, etc. They kiss. A soul kiss, as Joe Jackson would say. (And that's when we see Goliath, watching the whole thing from Elisa's rooftop terrace window. He's just standing there like he's been hit in the head by a brick and expects another brick to come along any time now.) Elisa pulls away from Jason. What's wrong, he wants to know? Well, we're partners for one thing. He doesn't buy that excuse. That's a temporary assignment. In a week, she'll be back on the night shift with Bluestone. She doesn't respond. Jason asks if there is someone else? She says yes, but then after a long, long pause, she changes her answer to no. (And for Goliath, that would be brick #2. He glides away.) Jason is really sympathetic. He realizes he's been rushing things. He also realizes that he hadn't known how lonely he had been until he met Elisa. But he knows she's vulnerable now because of her "injured friend". He doesn't want to take advantage. He leaves Elisa alone -- and more confused than ever.

26. Goliath is gliding through the sky, and as he comes around a building, he can't help but spot a big black blimp with three huge red claw marks painted across it. (Note: this is not the Hunters' Hi-tech airship. This is a blimp, Gothic in design, but slow-moving and relatively low-tech.) Goliath's not the only one to spot it. Lex and Brooklyn glide up along side him. Brooklyn assumes that Goliath is going to want to go back to the clocktower for the others, as planned. But Goliath's in no mood to be patient. He glides toward the large undercarriage cabin; Brook and Lex follow.

27. Goliath glides alongside an outer cabin door, digs his talons into it and rips it off. (It plummets down and lands on VINNIE, the guy who once hit Goliath with a banana cream pie. Vinnie gets a concussion. Spends a few years in physical therapy and then begins to hunt Goliath with a hot fudge sundae. No, just kidding.) The three gargoyles enter the cabin. As soon as they do, a laser grid activates, covering the doorless entrance with pinpoint beams. No one's in the cabin, and all three realize it's some kind of a trap. An explosive one, as Lex points out. The laser grid is hooked up to a whole lot of plastique. If the light from any of the laser beams on the grid is interrupted, the blimp blows to kingdom come. They cannot exit. (Make it clear that the rest of the hull and even "windshield" is beyond their ability to pierce.) Brooklyn: It's a flying roach motel, and we're the roaches. "Very astute," says Demona, who glides up alongside the open door.

ACT THREE
28. Goliath demands to know Demona's connection to the Hunters. "I'm their prey," she says. We all are. She explains that the Hunters are gargoyle-haters who first appeared in the 11th century. They destroyed the last clan of gargoyles in Scotland. Only Demona escaped, and the Hunters have been hounding her ever since. Goliath tells Demona that the Hunters nearly killed their daughter Angela. Demona burns with cold fury. As much as she hates Goliath, Demona refuses to let the Hunters slay even one more gargoyle. She offers to help. Lex is tearing down control panels. The blimp's clearly being operated by remote control. He can't figure out why the Hunters haven't blown them up already. Brooklyn suggests that maybe they don't want to blow the blimp up while it's still flying over a city full of people, which may also explain why the blimp is already heading slow but steady toward the river. Lex needs more time. Demona buys it for him. She glides up to the blimp's rudder and physically forces it to turn back toward the city. Inside, Lex is recrossing wires, etc. Very tense. One wrong choice and that's all she wrote. Finally, he's got it licked. Now he controls the explosives and the blimp. Goliath wants to know if he can figure out where the remote signal was coming from. Lex can't name the location, but he can send the blimp there. Make it so, says Goliath.

29. In their faux-tenement H.Q., Hunter/Jason enters the control room, apologizing for being late. Hunter/Jon and Hunter/Robyn are already there, studying monitor screens that show various angles on the blimp and the gargoyles. Hunter/Jason sees Demona on a monitor. It's the "demon". Blow the blimp up now; Demona's gliding too close to escape the explosion. Hunter/Jon says it's too late. They've lost control of the blimp. Then why did you wait? Because the blimp was still over the city! So what?! Hunter/Jason is furious that Hunter/Jon missed their best chance yet. He turns to Hunter/Robyn. He knew their brother was a softie, but what's the story with her. She calmly points to Brooklyn and Lex on another monitor screen. These are new gargoyles. Different from the ones they faced last night. There's no telling how many more there might be. They have to allow these gargoyles to escape so that they can follow them back to their lair, otherwise we could waste our whole lives tracking them down. Hunter/Jason: So what? It was good enough for our father. He doesn't care how long it takes to exterminate them. Hunter/Robyn comments wryly that she'd rather get it over with tonight, if H/Jason doesn't mind. H/Jason calms down a bit. What's the plan? First, she says calmly, we let them blow us to smithereens.

30. The blimp is closing in on the Hunter's Lair. On Goliath's orders, but with some reluctance and uncertainty, Lex has everything ready. All four gargoyles flee and watch from a nearby rooftop as the blimp smashes into the Bronx tenement H.Q. and BLOWS UP REAL GOOD. It's Hindenburg time. Nothing could survive that inferno. Demona is pleased. For once, Goliath is acting like a true gargoyle. Perhaps she and Goliath are not so far apart. Perhaps not, Goliath agrees grimly. She departs. Brooklyn cannot believe that Goliath is just letting her go. But Goliath: "She was not our enemy tonight." Oh, yeah?! What about the D/I-7? We'll worry about that later. Let's go home. They depart. And after they're gone, the Hunters' Airship, rises out of the flaming wreckage like a dark phoenix.

31. Inside the airship, the trio of Hunters have locked onto the three gargoyles. Hunter/Jason is a bit concerned about letting Demona get away, but Hunter/Robyn assures him that she knows where to find the "demon". None of them much care that the H.Q. was sacrificed. It'll be worth it, if they can destroy the gargoyles. From a distance, they track Goliath, Lex and Brooklyn to the clock tower. They know it's above the precinct house and may even be impressed that the gargoyles were clever enough to hide in such plain sight. H/Jason prepares to go in. H/Robyn stops him and begins to activate weapon systems instead. There could be a clan of thirty or forty gargoyles in there. H/Jon doubts if there's more than six. He can't believe what she's preparing to do. There's a building full of people in there. She's confident she can target the tower with some precision. A squeamish H/Jon fumfers, but suggests they wait a couple hours until sunrise. The gargoyles will be stone and can easily be destroy then . But H/Robyn shakes her head. We cannot count on that. She puts a picture of Demona on a monitor screen, side-by-side with a picture of Dominique. She then uses a sophisticated computer program to demonstrate that Demona/Dominique are one and the same person. Dominique has never been seen after dark, and since no one's ever spotted a gargoyle in broad daylight, H/Robyn correctly surmises that the "demon" transforms into Dominique every morning at sunrise. H/Jason wants to know how this is possible? H/Robyn shrugs. How is it possible that the demon has lived as long as she has? The obvious answer is sorcery, and if Demona/Dominique has shared this sorcery with the other gargoyles, then they could easily sneak out of the precinct house in the morning disguised as humans, and we'd never find them. H/Jon is still against the still unstated plan. Both turn to H/Jason for his final decision. Well, he says, they blew up our home. The least we can do is blow up theirs. But let's make sure that none of the gargoyles escape. It ends tonight.

32. Hunter/Jon and Hunter/Jason exit the ship on sky-sleds, and swing around to guard the clock tower from the air in order to make sure no gargoyles escape what's coming. Below him, Elisa's Fairlane pulls up in front and Elisa goes inside. Hunter/Jason spots her, whispers "no, not now" and after some hesitation, takes his sled down and right toward the front door of the precinct. Hunter/Jon spots him going down and calls out, "You fool, what are you doing?!!"

33. Hunter/Jason smashes through the precinct's front door on his airsled. As cops and perps dodge out of the way, he makes a bee-line for a stunned and surprised Elisa.

34. Up in the tower, Goliath has just finished describing tonight's events to the rest of the gargoyles. They have nothing more to fear from the Hunters.

35. And onboard the airship, Hunter/Robyn presses a button.

36. A missile is launched from the airship, it targets the clocktower, blowing it to hell and gone.
END PART TWO


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San Diego ComicCon 2006

Hey gang,

I'll be heading down to San Diego tomorrow for ComicCon. I have a panel in Room 9 on Thursday, July 20th at 2:15pm. And I'll be signing Gargoyles comic books (or whatever else people dump in front of me) at least twice a day with David Hedgecock at the SLG Booth. Please stop by and say hello!

And whether or not you personally are going to ComicCon, please help SPREAD THE WORD! There's a lot going on down there, and I don't want to be at that panel all by my lonesome. Help us let the people attending know about the panel, the Gargoyles Comic Book and SLG. (I'll also have fliers and reg forms for G2007.)

Thanks!


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Chapter  LXIII : "Hunter's Moon, Part One"

Time to ramble...

Chapter  LXIII : "Hunter's Moon, Part One"
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Writer: Michael Reaves
Director: Dennis Woodyard

The title, I believe, was Michael's.

PREVIOUSLY
It's always a bit of a question what to include on the first "Previously" of a multi-parter. Here -- knowing that we'd be opening the movie with a Gillecomgain flashback -- we chose to establish the idea of the never-ending Hunter by using Duncan & Canmore. We followed that with the bit about Xanatos' debt to Goliath, which I think was me playing fair with the audience for Part Three. Because I spend the rest of David's brief appearances in Hunter's Moon trying desperately to make him seem like a threat -- or at least like someone unsympathetic. Finally, we have Demona's "death" from the Reckoning.

GILLECOMGAIN
We decided -- particularly when Hunter's Moon became a three-parter instead of a Direct-to-Video -- to open every episode with a flashback, starting with the oldest of flashbacks and working our way forward.

We begin by reprising Gillecomgain's scarring at Demona's talons, but I didn't simply want it to play like an elongated "Previously..." so we added new material. We meet Gill's dad, a real prize... that just might help explain why Gill grew up to be such a jerk. But we see that not everyone in medieval society thought of gargoyles as mystic creatures. Dad sees Demona (without actually having seen her) as just one of the risks of doing business.

SUBWAY
Okay, try to remember. When you FIRST saw this episode, did you know that the blonde was Elisa? This is a trick we did before on "Turf"? The idea being that characters in animation generally look enough alike that a clothing and hair color change is usually enough to indicate that similar modeled characters are two different persons. (Look at Krusty and Homer.) Even with the same voice, we often had our regulars play bits. (Of course with our show, sometimes those bits became regulars too.)

Then we have a rogue's gallery of Manhattan regulars aboard that subway. I spot Brendan & Margot, of course. But also Sarah (Billy & Susan's mom), the construction worker and Art & Lois. And of course our trio of gang-bangers. Later, we have Morgan. And later still, in the park, we see the Jogger too. Partially, it's simply fun to use familiar faces throughout. But we were also very consciously trying to parallel and bookend Hunter's Moon with events from Awakening in particular and other early episodes.

There's some fun stuff in this sequence. The gargoyles really attempt to scare the gangsters straight by hanging them OUTSIDE the subway train. And as usual, the victims are more frightened of the Gargs than of the robbers...

Brooklyn: "We stil got a little P.R. problem." (All quotations approximate.)

(Still. Honestly. SPREAD THE WORD!!!)

I didn't like how when the crowd exited the subway how they all spoke ONE AT A TIME! That was supposed to play as more general overlapping walla. Oh, well.

Matt's response is a neat little wink. Now that he knows about the Gargs and is there friend, which provides us with some nice balance... and helps set up the status quo.

Elisa: [I had some help from a few] "concerned citizens with wings."

And that was the idea behind this opening sequence. To establish the status quo. Life in Manhattan is far from perfect. I mean guys with particle beam weapons are mugging people on the subway. But Elisa, Matt and the Gargoyles seem to have things in hand. Brooklyn is even injured, but it's all pretty minor. The sun'll fix that. It's "the concrete cure-all". Yep, the gargoyles are there, "stopping evil stone cold" (one of the taglines from our commercials reprised here). Heck, Broadway's even got an appetite joke in here, a bit we haven't really played with him since season one.

Life is good.

CHANGE HAPPENS
So immediately, after this nearly bucolic bit of action and complacency, we muck things up. Chavez temporarily puts Elisa on dayshift with a new partner. Elisa protests that the Captain is "breaking up a good team [her and Matt]. Better than you know [her and Goliath]." But that's not the scary bit. The scary bit is that Elisa stops protesting when she gets a gander at her new partner Jason Conover. Holy Gargoyles, Batman! She's smitten. Matt sees it right away and smiles. And if I might jump ahead quickly, Goliath sees it too -- but he's not smiling. He comments innocently enough that Elisa seems impressed with her new partner. And Elisa fumfers out a response, backtracking and full of guilt. Because she knows that on some level that she's attracted to Jason. And she knows that on some level that means she's cheating (or at least contemplating cheating) on Goliath. At least emotionally, since technically, she and Goliath are not in a relationship. Goliath wasn't bothered by her praise of Jason's shooting. But the moment she goes all girly and denially (can that be a word briefly?), he groks the truth. It's her flustered response that makes him jealous.

JASON CONOVER
But let's backtrack to Jason himself. There's a note somewhere that we wanted Jason to be as much like a human Goliath as possible. I don't know if that comes across at all. But he is heroic and he does have a deep voice. My daughter Erin hated him immediately, as she vaguely recalls him kissing Elisa later. [It's been years and years since she's seen Hunter's Moon.] She knows -- or thinks she knows -- that Jason is a bad guy. I am curious. In his first scenes with Elisa, did EVERYONE know or guess Jason was a villain? Or does that matter less on a show like ours, where the villains are complex and interesting? Were you trying to guess even or just going along for the ride?

Jason is evasive. But I like some of the exchanges that he shares with Elisa.

Elisa: "More than a job. A way of life." is a nice line. Plus references to Sondheim ("Sunday in the Park with dirtbags"), Bonnie & Clyde are fun. (Then later Xanatos gives us a Mr. Rogers ref too: "Can you say harrassment. I knew that you could.") I love how diverse our reference set on this series always was.

During the car chase, Benny kept demanding that the cops "Shoot a tire out. That's all you have to do." I was prepared to say it's not that easy, but since of course that's exactly what Jason did, I held my tongue.

THE NIGHTSTONE TEAM
And we intro another new castmember. Robyn, who comes across as another of our efficient assistant types. Like a female Owen. Her interactions with Dominique are quite fun. All (non-sexual) double entendre. And I love how smooth Dominique is with Robyn, while being vicious to the incoming burglar. (Is this one of the burglars from "The Mirror"?)

And what is D/I-7. Did you believe Xanatos when he said it was only a potent disinfectant? Benny wondered if Demona wanted the D/I-7 to clean herself.

And how about that Destine to Demona transformation? Good one, huh? More anime than usual, I think. It really did seem to hurt. I've been asked whether Demona usually allows her clothing to be destroyed. I think not. My guess is she usually has time to unsuit up before sundown, but the burglar's arrival through off her timing.

ICONS
We did make an effort in this episode -- since we were originally planning it as a direct to video -- to put all the iconic elements of our series in here, before messing with it all. That included having a great turn to stone sequence earlier and a great wake up from stone sequence now. We didn't do it every episode, because we didn't want it to lose its specialness or become stock footage-esque. But once in a while, you need to go for broke on it.

Elisa: "I never get tired of that." Me neither, sister.

WVRN
And now, Jon Carter of Mars. No, wait. Jon Carter of WVRN. I consciously wanted to create identities for ALL three Canmore siblings in the real world. I wanted them to have stuff to do. Roles to play. But I also wanted to both play fair and create some confusion by intro'ing some new characters.

HALF-MOON
It's rare in a gargoyles ep that you see the moon in anything other than her full glory. We cheated here too, as she goes from half to full Hunter's Moon in the course of very few nights. But at least, we tried. Moon subtlety is not our series strong suit.

That night, Hudson, Goliath and Angela return to the scene of the crime. Hudson knows from t.v. that thieves always go there. (TV being the basis of his modern world education.) Angela points out that he's told her (having learned the lesson with the Pack) that TV is also not always to be trusted. But this time he seems right. Or not. It's not the thieves who return, but the Hunters looking for the thieves.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn's leading the Trio & Bronx at the other site. He's a good leader -- except when D's involved. Then his brains melt at the sight of her. "So much for the element of surprise."

That bit where Demona turns up the juice on her weapon to shoot THROUGH the cars is cool. But then we cheat. Brooklyn rips a car door off and uses it as a shield. But we've JUST established that Demona's weapon can now shoot through that. Oh, well. Another screw up. Not the first. Not the last.

Of course, the night is a debacle. Broadway and Bronx receive minor injuries. There's tons of property damage. And Demona escapes with her prize. Brooklyn asks: "Who wants to explain this to Goliath?" The visual joke that follows, where both Lex and BW point at Brook, passes so quickly, I'm not sure if you guys caught it.

SHOCK & AWE
Of course, the night was even worse for Golaith's team as Angela ends the episode on death's door. (Did any of you worry that we might actually kill her off?)

The Hunter tells us that the only good gargoyle is a dead gargoyle. Echoing the prejudice of a thousand generations past. And he may be about to get his wish. But at what price? For he's awakened Goliath's inner vengeance demon here.

We wanted the SHOCKING last line to come from Goliath: "I will hunt them down. And I will KILL them."

Of course, we'd NEVER get away with saying that in today's environment. And it was even a BIG discussion back then. Kudos again to Adrienne Bello for understanding why just this once, it was SO important.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Hunter's Moon memo #2

In anticipation of my Ramble on "Hunter's Moon, Part One," here's the second relavent memo I have. One thing to keep in mind is that I don't have everything from those days. And I certainly don't have electronic copies of everything. So the record I'll present in this and following posts is WAY less than complete. This is just stuff off my computer that I sent to Michael Reaves, but doesn't reflect all the hard work that HE put into things.

Anyway, note the date. This memo was produced in March of 95, months after the one from my previous post. At this time we still thought it was going to be a direct-to-video movie.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

WEISMAN 3-8-95

Notes on "Hunter's Moon" Outline...
Michael, in the interest of getting these notes to you sooner rather than later (and yes, I realize that to a great extent that boat has already sailed) I'm just going to give you a number of broad notes to think about and incorporate into a second draft that may wind up being fairly different from your first draft. I'll toss in a few specifics along the way as they occur to me. Feel free to call me to discuss any aspect of these notes, after you've absorbed all this.

(Incidentally, I noticed that there were a few departures from our final approved premise that seemed to reflect earlier drafts of the premise. I just want to make sure we're working off the same document. Unfortunately, the final premise isn't dated, nor is the draft number listed, so there's no quick way of checking.)

GENERAL STUFF
GOLIATH vs. the HUNTERS
The story seems to be too much about the Hunters (and Elisa) and not enough about our lead GOLIATH. I know this is a particular concern of Gary Krisel's. We need to emphasize that this is Goliath's story, first and foremost. It's about his struggle with feelings of vengeance and how he overcomes those feelings.

We can help drive the story towards Goliath by keeping the Hunters more mysterious for more of the story. If we don't know who they are or why they hate gargoyles until much further along, then Goliath becomes more important.

THE LOVE TRIANGLE
This is another way to keep Goliath's emotions at the forefront of the story. We should really make more of this. Elisa is falling for this new guy Jason. Instead of treating it like she's an unattached female who now has a shot at a new romance, she should feel conflicted, because she's deeply in love with Goliath!! She might sublimate those feelings at times. Even deny them to herself. Because after all, she realizes that her relationship with Goliath is doomed to be platonic. She knows that a future or a family or anything normal is an impossible dream with Goliath, but that doesn't mean that her feelings for him aren't just as real. What does it mean to her when someone else starts to press those buttons? Does Jason remind her of Goliath in some ways? The quiet brooding intensity? The poetic heart? The tragic background that he doesn't like to talk about? His feelings about the importance of family? Or keeping his word? His sense of mission? Jason is in fact a human, but twisted version of Goliath. That realization may sneak up on her, or she may notice it immediately, but she should certainly be conflicted about her feelings for him.

And what of Goliath? Certainly, he'd be "happy" for her. But how does he really feel? Jealous? Frustrated? Lonely? Does his frustration over "losing" Elisa help to fuel his anger and thoughts of vengeance against the Hunters? Then when he thinks she's dead he goes berserk.

And if Jason discovers that Elisa has feelings for Goliath, what's his first response? Revulsion?

Even the other gargoyles would recognize it's a touchy subject. They're not blind to Goliath and Elisa's feelings for each other. Hudson in particular must see how Elisa has replaced Demona in Goliath's heart.

And the fourth side of the triangle: Demona? It's a minor point in this story and God knows we've done it to death in the series, but we shouldn't ignore the dynamics of Goliath and Demona's past relationship. Demona would love the revelation that Elisa's dating a Hunter. It would prove everything she ever believed about Elisa.

I honestly don't know how on the head we should be with it, but obviously, we shouldn't slide over this triangle. It's classic stuff.

DEMONA AND THE VIRUS
If Goliath is the heart of this drama, Demona is definitely the engine. And in general, I think we need more Demona driving this story. We don't have to spell out her plan right away, but we need to involve her more. She was largely absent in this draft and the story felt like it rambled a bit without her. Let's make her evil plot the throughline for the whole story. It should build slowly but steadily. Everything else can sattelite around that.

One problem we have with Demona is that there are two facts of her existence that we are stuck with but which can't be explained by gargoyle-business-as-usual. One is her immortality, which is central to the concept of her opponents the Hunters, and the second is the fact that she turns into a human during the day. We don't want to get into the whole City of Stone/Corsican Bros./Macbeth thing to explain her immortality, nor do we want to have to explain Puck/the Children of Oberon/Titania's Mirror to explain her transformations. And fortunately we don't have to. All we need to do is use the one word "Sorcery" to explain it all.

But "Sorcery" doesn't play a part in the story we have here, so even that one word explanation sticks out for me like a sore thumb, unless we use sorcery as part of her plan with the Virus. I'm reminded of the poison that the Archmage used on Prince Malcolm in "Long Way To Morning", which was "made virulent by a magical spell". I think we can use something along those lines here. If Demona's plan could combine modern science with ancient sorcery it could accomplish a number of goals. For one thing, it introduces sorcery as an element in this world, letting us skate past Demona's transformations and immortality smoothly in a line of dialogue. Secondly, it gives her a long-term plan. Something she could have been working on throughout the centuries as she dodges the Hunters.

For example, I think we should add a flashback in 15th century Florence, where Demona steels some magic spell or talisman and is pursued by a 15th century Hunter armed with da Vinci inspired technology (very high-tech for the time). It could give some scope to the whole project.

Then if we want, for the 1980 Paris Notre Dame scene it's not simply a fight between Demona and Jon Canmore, but Demona is there for a purpose, she's gathering the second ingredient she needs.

Thus by 1996, modern technology has finally caught up with black magic. Demona (in her human identity as Dominique Destin) has her own company, Brimstone Inc. (which she owns with Thailog, though we definitely don't need or want to bring him up here). She can be developing the virus herself. With every intention of using it on an unsuspecting humanity in combination with the magic she stole in the earlier flashbacks. Maybe she needs to wait for the Hunter's Moon to cast her viral spell.

By the way, Demona's threat to release the virus at the end is hardly empty just because Goliath knows she plans to do it anyway. What's to stop her from doing it right there and then? (This raises another question. Would the virus affect Gargoyles? If it did, would Demona care? Would it affect her? Is that why she needs to use magic with it so that she can control who it does or does not kill?)

BARN SCENE
I really think we need to open the whole video with the 994 flashback to Gillecomgain and Demona's initial confrontation in the Scottish barn. We should even exagerate the scene to emphasize the petty way the feud between Hunters and Gargoyles began. Demona doesn't even remember the incident, it was so insignificant. And the Hunters, I believe, should have no idea about the reason the feud began. We tip the audience off at the head. Demona was stealing dried fruit from a barn. A peasant boy tries to catch a thief. Demona lashes out and the boy is scarred for life. The pettiness is a comment on the fruitlessness of revenge and vendetta. Later, when Elisa asks Jason how it all got started, Jason will explain about the Hunter tradition and his father. (We get this Paris flashback out of his conversation with her. Not out of his conversation with his siblings which saves on them having to relate things to each other that all three already know. This also keeps the Hunters more mysterious, for longer.) But the Paris tragedy doesn't begin to answer Elisa's real question. She wants to know how the whole feud got started in the first place. And when Jason realizes that he cannot answer that question, it may be the slow beginning of his realization that life as a Hunter is not the right way to go. The irony will be that even though NONE of our players know how it all got started, the audience does. And it was an incredibly petty conflict to begin such a tragic course.

Another advantage to putting it at the head is that it introduces the idea of Demona. In the current version, Demona never even gets mentioned until she first appears as a human in scene 15.

GOLIATH AND THE HUNTERS
Goliath has no prior knowledge of the Hunters at all. Only Demona does. Remeber, Goliath never saw Macbeth in the Hunter's mask. By the time he arrived at the Macbeth/Demona fight at the end of "City of Stone Part IV", Macbeth had already removed the mask. So we don't need to mention Macbeth in this story at all. In fact we can treat the whole concept of the Hunter as if it is a brand new story element. By using the Gillecomgain barn scene and the Canmore last name, we've given the connection to viewers who've seen City of Stone. They can figure out for themselves how these new hunters fit our episodic mythology. But we don't have to go into that here.

And new viewers won't need any more complicated backstory than what we've presented in our three flashbacks. The barn scene acts as the catalyst for the feud. The Florence scene demonstrates that a Hunter has been hunting Demona throughout the ages. The Paris scene sets up the specific motivation for our three new Hunters. Anything else that regular viewers know about the origins of the hunters and/or Macbeth's use of the mask is just gravy for them, but would be distracting here.

AN OUTRAGEOUS REQUEST
Would you mind terribly if we named Jason's siblings Robyn and Jon and gave the name Charles to their father? This is silly, I know, but by coincidence you chose the names Robin for the sister and Jon for the father. My younger sister is named Robyn and my younger brother is named Jon. If we put a "Y" in Robin's name and we trade the Father and brother's names, then it would be a great kick for my siblings to have sibling Hunters named after them. I realize that seems to identify me with Jason. But think of it this way. You get to horribly paralyze me at the end.

SPEAKING OF JASON, ROBYN AND JON
We need to give Robin/Robyn and Jon/Chas some more screen time to add to the mystery and ultimately to get to know them better. We obviously won't reveal this right away, but when the three Canmore siblings arrive in NYC, each is given a mission. Jason is supposed to infiltrate the precinct where police reports on "gargoyles" have been filed and find out all he can there. (Please keep in mind however, that neither Elisa or Matt are going to admit that they believe the gargoyles exist. They're going to poo-poo it as tabloid stuff. They aren't going to say that gargoyles show up whenever there is trouble.)

I'd suggest that instead of Human Demona infiltrating Gen-U-Tech to get the Virus, we can have Robyn/Robin infiltrate Brimstone Inc. to try and get a bead on Demona and/or what she's up to.

And we need to find something for Jon/Chas to do as well.

Also we probably shouldn't reveal to Elisa early on that Jason has a brother and a sister. That absolutely gives away Jason's identity long before we're ready to be that definitive.

FINAL CONFLICT
We've compressed too much into this final battle. In the premise this was two separate sequences and I think it works much better that way. Jason and Elisa should fall to their deaths before the climactic battle. Goliath must believe that Elisa is dead. (This again heightens his emotional conflict. Makes him more the main character.) Robin/Robyn and Chas/Jon must also believe that Jason is dead. The audience must believe it too, for a while at least. We have some downtime where everyone mourns and swears further vengeance.

In between, after we've mourned the dead but before the final confrontation we might want to reveal the truth. Show Jason and Elisa at the hospital or something. Give us that last revealing Paris flashback. Plant the seeds of doubt. Get him in a wheelchair. Though he's in no condition to go anywhere, he leaves with Elisa pursuing. But is Jason leaving to kill the gargoyles or to reconcile with them?

We might also choose to divide this Elisa/Jason scene in half. Put part of it as a verbal confrontation that comes after Elisa figures out that Jason is the Hunter but before the action sequence where they physically "fall to their deaths". Elisa's asked Jason's some tough questions but he's not prepared to turn over a new leaf yet. Then he goes and gets paralyzed and he's blown his chance to "walk away" clean.

If we do that, we might be able to skip the Hospital scene entirely and thus Jason and Elisa's arrival at the climactic battle in the next paragraph can be a real surprise. (I know, I know, so many options....)

Anyway, in the climactic battle, largely because of Elisa and Jason's "deaths" things have escalated between Gargoyles and Hunters just in time for Demona's final push. At just the right moment, paralyzed Jason and Elisa show up. And Jason has finally learned his lesson. That's enough to calm down Goliath, the gargoyles and Robyn/Robin... but Demona and Chas/Jon are way too far gone. (This also helps explain how Chas/Jon could get so far gone. He had time to freak out about Jason's death. Jason's paralysis doesn't serve to calm him down.) All this at the final crisis point. Chas/Jon and Demona should maybe even "die" here. (An escapable death, but a good one.) We don't want to underestimate the cost of vendettas. Or we can send them both off still swearing vengeance on the other's respective race.

EPILOGUE
I don't know if we should send Jason and Robyn/Robin off at the end. Feels too tidy to me. Maybe events have put distance between Jason and Elisa. Maybe events have brought Goliath and Elisa closer. Or maybe there's still a chance for Jason and Elisa now that the secrets are out. Which leaves Goliath alone. Whichever way we choose to go, I think we should keep Jason around. His need to adjust to his chair and/or try to help/find the AWOL/"Dead" Chas/Jon are not mutually exclusive with him still being a factor in Elisa and the gargoyles' lives.

Also, do we want the gargoyles to plan on moving back to a rebuilt clock tower? Or do we want that era to have past?

A FEW MORE SPECIFICS...
ANGELA
I think you better include her. She'll have been a regular for months by the time this thing comes out.

BRONX
We keep leaving him out. I think we've discovered in the World Tour that he can be useful both in battle and in storytelling. I'm NOT saying we need to drag every gargoyle around in every scene (in fact we should probably find excuses to split them off into teams so that we are dealing with fewer at a time), but we shouldn't artificially disinclude Bronx either.

ELISA ON THE DAYSHIFT
There were some logistical problems caused by Elisa having to be on nightshift with Jason, and in the same night having to interact with the gargoyles. Same with Jason having to play Hunter on the same night he was working with Elisa. If Chavez insists on a temporary reassignment for Elisa, it might actually help us if that reassignment was to the day shift. I'm not mandating this, but it might make it easier.

VARIOUS CRIMES
The mugging is o.k. Since it's purpose is to show status quo. I am a bit concerned about the location and the complete lack of threat that these teams of Muggers provide. Perhaps we should set it somewhere with more gargoyle-access, someplace that doesn't force this woman to first escape on her own. And maybe we should give the muggers (or street gang) the Xanatos/Dracon Particle Beam Weapons to up the stakes a little.

But the other crimes began to feel too random and meandering. I think we should find a way to tie them into our story more directly. Maybe involve them in Demona's plans.

THE CLOCK TOWER
Blowing it up was Gary Krisel's idea, and I'd like to do it. But we've got a logic problem. Jason knows that it's the precinct house. And he knows that most gargoyles turn to stone during the day. If they can track them this easily, and know that they haven't left the tower, why not wait til they turn to stone rather than blow up the police station. If Robyn/Robin is in charge at that moment it might help. Or if they've discovered by this time that Demona doesn't turn to stone at night, they might feel they have no choice. (It's that incredible tracking ability that makes believing the decision tough. Maybe that's what we should get rid of.)

MATT'S FBI BUDDY
Rather not involve him, since for our regular audience he's compromised as a member of the Illuminati.

TRAVIS MARSHALL
Do we want him to get a "good shot" of Demona on video? Maybe, if we really want to blow things wide open. GARGOYLES -- FACT NOT LEGEND! Film at eleven! I don't know if we have room to deal with the ramifications in this story, but it does fit Gary Krisel's mandate to "shake things up." It appeals to me.

SEALAND AMUSEMENT PARK
Just a little nervous about making the climactic battle take place here, given the end location of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

AND FINALLY, DEADLINES...
We're really under the gun here. The time I set aside to work on the outline was long past by the time it got turned in. Which means, obviously, that these notes are coming to you VERY LATE. (Sorry about that, I just got bogged down.) So we need another draft fast. I'm hoping that after the second draft, I'll be able to give you just a few cosmetic changes for a polish. And then we'll take that polished draft to Gary Krisel for his notes. And he always has notes. If we're lucky, he'll send us to script with those notes and we won't get too far behind. If we're not lucky, we may be going through a couple outline drafts with him. (And I'll emphasize that I believe it will have a lot more to do with luck than with any skill or talent or lack thereof on our part. Which is not to say he won't have good notes. His notes are generally right on the mark. It's just sometimes he trusts us to execute them. Sometimes he doesn't. And it'll just be luck (good or bad) as to whether we get him on a trustful day or not.)

In any case the first draft script is due before the end of this month on March 22nd. The final draft isn't due until mid-May, but we don't want to eat up April because we'll have to go through the same process on the script as we are on the outline. Only there'll be even more scrutiny because the script is the blue-print, not the plan for the blue-print.

So basically, I'm just urging you to make up for the time that both of us lost on the project. Obviously, you can only do your best, but I felt obligated to point out how far behind we already are.


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Hunter's Moon Document #1

In anticipation of my Ramble on "Hunter's Moon, Part One," here's the first relavent memo I have. One thing to keep in mind is that I don't have everything from those days. And I certainly don't have electronic copies of everything. So the record I'll present in this and following posts is WAY less than complete. This is just stuff off my computer that I sent to Michael Reaves, but doesn't reflect all the hard work that HE put into things.

Anyway, note the date. This memo was produced in July of 94 (TWELVE YEARS AGO, YIKES!) before the series had even premiered. At the time we thought it was going to be a direct-to-video movie. My boss, Gary Krisel, had rejected CITY OF STONE as a direct to Video because he felt it focused too much on the villains and not enough on the heroes, i.e. Goliath and the Gargoyles. (He was fine with us doing City of Stone as episodes though, so we knew we'd be building off THAT.)

Greg Weisman 7-25-94

NOTES ON HUNTER STORY

Open in @1980.

Father and his three teen-age children: Boy, girl, boy.

He's after "The demon" that his ancestors have been hunting for a thousand years.

His own grandfather died fighting the demon.

His own father spent his whole life searching for the demon.

Now he's found her: Demona.

Oldest son is very gung-ho.
Middle Daughter is more neutral.
Youngest son doesn't like the idea.

Father puts on Hunter's mask and battles Demona. He gets Killed.

All three children now swear vengeance. Oldest son is still the leader.

In present, these three hunters still pursue Demona.

When they stumble upon Goliath and Co. they make no distinction between good and bad gargoyles.

One (or more) of gargoyles is very badly injured. (Though healed during daytime hibernation.)

Goliath swears revenge.

We need to involve Elisa in someway.

Oldest boy is eventually paralized from waist down by Demona.

He and his sister eventually come around to theme that the Price of Revenge is too high. Goliath also gets this message.

Demona and youngest son don't learn.

Probably want to show the original Hunter (Gillecomgain) in a brief flashback or two. Don't contradict anything that's in City of Stone, but don't reveal any details about his fate or who the second or third Hunter's were.

And that's all I've got....


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Chapter  LXII : "Possession"

Time to ramble...

[Disclaimer: I watched this episode back in January of 2006. So it's been half a year since I've seen it. At the time, I did take a few notes of things I wanted to include in the ramble. So this is what you're getting now. A somewhat abbreviated ramble, as the ep isn't as fresh in my mind as I might like. As with "The Reckoning" ramble, most of what I took down were fun dialogue lines that leapt out at me... (All quotations approximate.)]

Chapter  LXII : "Possession"
Story Editor: Cary Bates
Writer: Cary Bates
Director: Dennis Woodyard

Another one word title, i.e. another one of mine.

FAMILY XANATOS
Xanatos' appearance in this one is brief, but he's still got some great lines...
"Someday you'll thank me for that."
"Wiggle your nose or something." [A BEWITCHED reference.]
"Chin up." (This spoken to Coldstone's detached head.)

Fox has recovered nicely after her pregnancy. She looks great. Have fun, she's told.
Fox: "We always do."

As always I watched the episode with my kids. Erin liked Alex's plush teddy-gargoyle.

GOLIATH THE MAGE
Obviously, Goliath's acting a bit out of character. Did he even sound like himself? And what's with that powder he nails Bronx and Lex with? Plus another clue is that the spell he uses is a rhyming spell rather than Latin. Mortal sorcerers use ancient languages. Only the Children of Oberon use rhymes.

But the key idea is one of volunteering for "Soul Transference 101". Puck-as-Goliath needs Broadway, Angela AND Brooklyn to volunteer -- even if Brooklyn thinks his offer is rejected. Puck is of course teaching Alex-as-Hudson a lesson here. Later, Alex-in-Lex needs Othello, Desdemona and Iago to likewise volunteer. Can't do the soul transference without it.

There's a lot of body-hopping. Illusions. Transference. Possession. Spells. But I think we played pretty fair with the audience. All the clues were there. But kudos to our voice actors, who had to play all sorts of different characters within the framework of their usual voices. It seemed to me if they could keep it straight, then it would help the audience do the same.

COLDSTEEL & ... GOLDFIRE?
As you saw in the memo I posted yesterday, Coldfire's original name was Goldfire. That name and Coldsteel were both mine. Goldfire because she was gold I guess. Cary's first draft of the script kept the Goldfire name too. But at some point it occured to me that Coldfire was much, MUCH cooler.

But WHO designed those robot bodies, huh?! They're dead ringers for Desdemona and Iago. How did Xanatos manage that? There are of course a number of possible explanations. After all, Puck is in the House, right? But perhaps it's no more complicated than the fact that Xanatos saw them both with Othello back in "Vows".

Note that throughout the series, Desdemona is always more honorable than Othello. He seems more compromised in general.

I should acknowledge the debt we owe to Star Trek here. Not "Next Generation", which provided us with voice actors Dorn and Spiner and Frakes. But rather to a specific episode of the Original Series. The Broadway/Angela/Brooklyn possession dynamic was a direct homage to the Kirk/Diana Muldar/Spock dynamic of an episode who's title I'm afraid escapes me at the moment.

Gave us an excuse to give Broadway and Angela a bit of a head start relationship wise too. A kiss...

ALEX
Alex learns his lesson plan. But it was fun watching him-in-Lex dump the real Goliath and Hudson on their heads.

And I liked how Puck/Owen cannot fulfill Xanatos' wishes. But after teaching Alex how, he maneuvers things so that the son gives the father exactly what he wants.

MORE FUN LINES
"Slow but astute."
"My date is coming to."
"By the Dragon, you're me."
"It is a handsome automaton."
"Is that the choice you were leaning toward?"
"Try not to miss me too much."
"I thought you would never grow a conscience"
"I live for subterfuge."

FINALLY...
We wanted that giant pocket watch (or whatever) that Puck pulls out at the end to be a MICKEY MOUSE WATCH... but Disney would just not allow it. They were afraid it would come off as product placement in a kid's show or something. <SIGH>

Anyway, that's my ramble...

Where's yours?


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Possession Outline Notes

In preparation for my Ramble on "Posession", reprinted here is the 1995 memo I sent to Cary Bates about the outline...

Note that Coldfire's original name was actually "Goldfire". Yuck.

WEISMAN 7-4-95

Notes on Outline formerly known as "Tricksters"...
For starters we need a new title and a new number: 4319-067. "Tricksters" (4319-066) will join "Puck's Macbeth" (4319-052, I believe) in limbo until or unless we get a third season. (I haven't given up on either story.)

This is basically a Coldstone story with Puck as catylist. It's the next step in Coldstone's evolution after "Reawakening", "Legion" and "High Noon". Maybe call it "Possession" or "Possesions". Or "Cross. Double Cross." Or "Triple Cross" or some title-esque thing. I'm not sure.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. The Himalayas. Middle of a blizzard. Some mountain climbers or locals are frightened off by a fur covered monster that they mistake for the Yeti or Abominable Snowman. They run off, but suddenly the monster is attacked by Xanatos in his battle armor alongside the Steel Clan Robots, all painted in snow-camouflage white. The monster puts up a fight, and in fact seems to be one heavily-armed Yeti. But he is eventually knocked out and defeated, revealing that he is Coldstone (wearing furs). DISSOLVE TO:

2. Eyrie Building some days later. Xanatos (dressed in a tuxedo) and Owen have Coldstone back in the lab where he was first created. They have deactivated him from the neck down. (Here's a weird thought: maybe they've literally removed his head from off his body.) Coldstone/Othello can hear them, see them and talk to them, but he cannot move or activate his weapons. (But for some reason his sense of smell has been magically enhanced -- no, just kidding.) Owen and Xanatos are talking about solving the Coldstone "problem". (The solution to which seems to involve two sheeted figures, lying semi-prone on tables at the back of the lab. These figures are the "COLDSTEEL" and "GOLDFIRE" robots. More on them later.) Unfortunately for Xanatos, they have not figured out how to accomplish his mysterious goal. The main problem is that Coldstone's creation involved magic, which Xanatos has no access to. Unless, he hints, Owen were to morph into Puck and wiggle his nose or something. But Owen reminds Xanatos that he is forbidden from using his magic except to train Xanatos' son Alexander. Well, Xanatos isn't too upset. He'll figure something out, and in the meantime Coldstone isn't going anywhere. Fox (dressed in an evening gown) appears on a video-intercom. Coldstone may not be going anywhere but they are. And they're going to be late. WIPE TO:

3. Alexander's room. Xanatos and Owen join Fox and Alexander. The new parents have tickets to see Verdi's opera "OTELLO" at the MET. Fox hands the baby over to Owen, giving him babysitter instructions, and Mom and Dad leave for their first night out since Alexander was born. DISSOLVE TO:

4. Eyrie Lab. Goliath and Hudson sneak in, and prepare to reactivate Coldstone. (Note: throughout this scene and the next, Hudson does not speak. Try to make this as unnoticeable as possible.) Confusion as to how Goliath found him is secondary to Coldstone's immediate concern for Goliath and Hudson's safety. Within Coldstone's cyber-mind, the battle continues. (Maybe we dissolve into the cyperscape to get a glimpse of that battle.) Coldstone's love (Desdemona) is trapped in an eternal conflict against Coldstone and Goliath's enemy (Iago). If the evil one should triumph, Goliath would be in grave danger. But that's exactly why Goliath has come. He's been worried about his brother and has studied magical scrolls to find a solution. If Coldstone will return to the clock tower with Goliath, Goliath feels he can end the conflict. Coldstone agrees and Goliath activates him. (Or reattaches his head.) They sneak out.

5. The clocktower. Bronx, Angela and the trio are there watching t.v. or something. They are suprised when Goliath and Hudson arrive. They just left on patrol a half-hour ago. But obviously, when Coldstone steps out of the shadows, everyone's even more surprised to see him. (Maybe Angela realizes that Coldstone is Gabriel's father.) Bronx approaches Goliath and Coldstone, growling low (but who exactly he is growling at is ambiguous). Goliath quickly kneels beside Bronx and calms him. (Only the audience notices the slight sparkle of magic and the glazed way Bronx treads off into a corner and immediately goes to sleep.)

Everyone's got tons of questions, but Goliath doesn't have time for explanations. Iago must be removed from Coldstone's body. The only way to do that is to temporarily empty out all of Coldstone's personalities. Then Othello and Desdemona can be safely returned without Iago. But where will Othello and Desdemona go while this takes place? Goliath reveals they will each have to enter one of us. Angela volunteers. And Broadway does too, before Brooklyn and Lex have a chance. Lex pulls Goliath aside: where'd he learn to do magic? Goliath answers "soothingly" that he studied magic while Avalon sent them around the world. Lex's suspicions magically melt away. Suddenly, he's more impressed by Goliath's new abilities than suspicious of them.

Goliath casts the rhyming (non-latin) spell. Desdemona is transferred into Angela. Othello goes into Broadway. Iago, theoretically, is released into the ether. And the empty Coldstone falls comatose to the floor. Brooklyn seems particularly startled by these events, but he seems to recover quickly. (The reason "Brooklyn" is shocked is because he's really been possessed by Iago. No one else realizes this, and Iago's smart enough to keep his mouth shut.) Othello and Desdemona are pleased that the spell worked. Lex asks if Broadway and Angela are still in there own bodies. Yes, but they will remain dormant until Othello and Des are transferred back into Coldstone. They are ready for that transfer now, but Goliath is tired from his magical exertion. He needs to go off and rest. He asks "Hudson" to go with him, Hudson nods and they depart.

6. We follow Goliath and Hudson. They lands on top of a nearby building (or some cooler location). Goliath morphs into Puck and then transforms Hudson into baby Alex. (That's who it was the whole time. The real Goliath and Hudson ARE out on patrol.) Puck announces that Alex's first magic lesson has officially begun. Welcome to SOUL TRANSFERENCE 101.

ACT TWO
7. Cut to Clock Tower. Without thinking about it, Othello/Broadway and Desdemona/Angela are holding hands as they wait for "Goliath's" return. Iago/Brooklyn notices this and approaches them. He suggests that while Goliath is off recovering, they can take their new bodies out for a spin. Lex (still hazy from Puck/Goliath's magical tampering) isn't sure about this, but "Brooklyn" thinks it will be all right. Soon Othello and Des will be reconfined back in the cyber-prison of the Coldstone body. They might as well enjoy this last chance at flesh-and-blood freedom. Besides, what's the harm? Oth/Bway and Des/Ang have to admit they wouldn't mind feeling the wind against their faces one last time. They take off for one last flight. As Iago/Brooklyn moves to follow them, Lex stops him. Neither notice that behind them, a flash of magic (Puck) enters the prone body of Coldstone. Lex feels they should wait for Goliath. So "Brooklyn" instructs Lex to stay behind and do just that. "Brooklyn" will follow the "love-birds" -- to make sure they stay out of trouble. He leaves. Lex watches him go. And suddenly, behind Lex, Coldstone looms threateningly.

8. We follow Des/Ang and Oth/Bway on a romantic flight through the city. It's glorious. Othello and Des are almost literally drunk with the sensation of being alive again in Broadway and Angela's bodies. They land on the Chrysler building (or wherever). Oth/Bway marvels at the simplest pleasures. The touch of Des/Ang's flesh and blood hand. The softness of her hair. Until now he had not realized how Coldstone's cyborg sensors and reanimated stone skin has dulled his senses. Des/Ang also appreciates the reality of true sensation over the electric illusion of life on the cyberscape. Brooklyn steps out of the shadows. And like a devil in their ears, subtly reemphasizes to them that the prospect of returning to Coldstone is a fairly grim notion. Too bad, he sympathizes, that there's no way they could keep the bodies they're in. Oth/Bway and Des/Ang exchange a guilty look. But the wheels are turning.

9. Back at the clock tower, the real Goliath and Hudson return home. Coldstone is there, very glad to see them. (No immediate sign of Lex or Bronx.) Goliath is glad to see his brother but both gargoyles are naturally cautious. They can't be sure which personality is in control. Almost on cue, Bronx comes treading out of the darkness, and behaves in a friendly manner toward Coldstone. That's good enough for Goliath and Hudson: Bronx has a sixth sense about this kind of stuff. If he trusts Coldstone, then the right personality must be in control. (What neither Goliath or Hudson notice is that when Bronx's "work" is done, he trudges blankly back into the shadows and plops down to sleep next to a bound and gagged Lexington. Bronx is still under Puck's spell.) "Coldstone" tells the gargoyles that Xanatos is plotting against them again. He's created new monsters that must be destroyed before they can be used against them. Goliath expresses disappointment but not surprise. Xanatos had called a truce between them, saying that he owed Goliath and the clan for helping to save Alexander. Obviously, Xanatos' version of debt is a little different than Goliath's. Golaith, Hudson and "Coldstone" depart for the Eyrie Building.

10. Oth/Bway, Des/Ang and "Brooklyn" return to the clock tower and find Lex tied up tight with steel cables. What happened? Coldstone jumped him. Obviously, Goliath's spell didn't succeed in forcing Iago out of the Coldstone body. He's got control and he's tricked Goliath and Hudson into launching an attack against Xanatos, destroying their truce. At first, "Brooklyn" protests that this is impossible. But when everyone turns to ask him why, he fumfers and covers quickly. Whatever has happened, Brooklyn says, the choice is clear. They have to destroy the Coldstone body. It's the only way to protect the world from Iago's evil. Lex is horrified -- moral qualms aside -- what would happen to Othello and Desdemona? What would happen to Broadway and Angela? Oth/Bway speaks up. Brooklyn is right. They have a chance to destroy Iago once and for all. Nothing else matters. Oth/Bway, Des/Ang and "Brooklyn" take off after Coldstone. Lex follows reluctantly.

11. Eyrie lab. "Coldstone" leads Goliath and Hudson. He pulls the sheets off the two covered figures to reveal two new robots: COLDSTEEL and GOLDFIRE. (Coldsteel is made of blue steel and modeled after Iago -- very powerful and dangerous, a fitting opponent for Coldstone. Goldfire is gold in appearance and modeled after Desdemona -- beautiful in a cold, art decco fashion, she is a fitting companion for Coldstone. Both have the usual built-in weapons. Plus Goldfire has built-in flame-throwers.) The resemblence to Coldstone's lover and foe are not lost on Goliath, and while he and Hudson question the situation, they do not notice "Coldstone" picking up a remote control devise and hooking it directly into his cyborg body. He uses the device to activate the two automatons and then uses them to take down Goliath and Hudson. (There's no other action in this act, so make this a big battle sequence ending in the defeat of our two heroes.)

ACT THREE
12. Oth/Bway, Des/Ang, Iago/Brook and a very confused Lex are about to come in for a landing at the seemingly quiet castle. Oth/Bway suggests splitting up to look for their enemy. Brooklyn agrees. Othello and Des can check the Great Hall, Lex and Brook will check the lab. As Oth/Bway and Des/Ang head off in one direction, we follow Lex and Brooklyn to the lab.

13. No one is in the lab, but there are clear signs of a struggle. Lex is pretty upset. He feels like he's coming out of a haze. A whole bunch of stuff makes no sense. Why wouldn't Goliath mention he had studied magic before now? Why were he and Hudson surprised to see Coldstone when they returned to the clocktower? And how can they even think about destroying Coldstone's body while Othello and Desdemona are still possessing Bway and Angela? Brooklyn thinks he has an answer. He slams Lex hard.

14. Othello/Bway and Des/Angela search the Great Hall. Des/Ang questions what they are going to do. Oth/Bway tries to make it sound like they have no choice. Iago must be destroyed, and the only way to do that is to destroy Coldstone. But, she protests, if they destroy Coldstone, they'll be trapped in Bway and Angela's bodies forever. Would that be so bad? he asks. After all they've been through, don't they deserve a real flesh and blood existence again? Des/Ang isn't saying yes. But she isn't saying no either.

15. Back in the lab with Lex and "Brooklyn". Lex is just regaining consciousness and he's pretty upset about being jumped and trussed up twice in one night. "Brooklyn" has Lex on the "table" where Coldstone was created. He's attaching electrodes to Lex (or some other high-tech deathtrap, that "Brooklyn" would never be blamed for). As he does this, he reveals to Lex and our audience that he is Iago. He likes Brooklyn's body and has no intention of surrendering it. Not to go back to the hellish Coldstone cyberscape, and certainly not to be bannished into nothingness. He doesn't know how Coldstone woke up again, but it's a marvelous opportunity. He and the gargoyles will destroy the Coldstone body and if by some "accident" Othello/Bway is also destroyed during the battle, then "Brooklyn" will have no choice but to console a grieving Desdemona/Angela. Eventually, he will use his position as Goliath's right hand to destroy Goliath as well and rule the clan. He thinks it's a pretty good plan, activates the deathtrap and leaves. Lex is in considerable pain, but just when it looks like curtains, a magical sparkle enters Lex via his mouth. Suddenly, Lex stops screaming, smiles and magically breaks free.

16. Oth/Bway and Des/Ang have found their way down to the Atrium beneath the castle. There they find Goliath and Hudson, trussed up. They go to help, but it's a trap. Coldstone attacks and he's winning. Iago/Brooklyn shows up and the tide starts to turn against Coldstone, but then Iago/Brook does something that allows Coldstone to get the drop on Oth/Bway. It's looking like Iago's plan is going to work, when Coldstone cybernetically summons Coldsteel and Goldfire, and uses them to trash Iago/Brook and Des/Ang respectively. Coldstone now has the upper hand and explains (while fighting) that Xanatos created these robots as a gift to Goliath. In payment for saving his son Alexander, Xanatos wanted to find a cure for Goliath's brother's multiple personality disorder. What no one counted on is that Coldstone had developed a personality of its own. Now Coldstone will use the robots to destroy all three of the former Coldstone personas so that they can't return to take the Coldstone body back. "Brooklyn" protests that he's not one of them, but Coldstone skoffs. Coldstone can sense that Brooklyn's body is possessed by Iago, and Coldstone is determined to destroy Iago. It looks like curtains for Iago, Othello, Desdemona (and thus Brooklyn, Broadway and Angela as well), when Lex swoops in and slams Coldstone back. While Coldstone is recovering, Lex (who never says a word) frees Hudson and Goliath. Now all our gargoyles (including Iago/Brooklyn) battle Coldstone and the robots. The good guys win.

After the smoke clears, Goliath and Hudson turn to face Iago/Brooklyn. (Lex is still strangely silent. And Oth/Bway and Des/Ang are too ashamed of their own desires to be too self-righteous towards Iago/Brook.) They want Iago to abandon Brooklyn's body. Iago/Brooklyn says fat chance. He's never returning to cyberspace, and he sure isn't going to voluntarily banish himself to nothingness. He does express some regret and wishes outloud that Xanatos' plan had worked out. The powerful Coldsteel robot body is clearly superior to the gargoyle teen-ager he now inhabits. Hearing this, Coldstone asks Iago/Brook if that is really what Iago wants? Why, yes. Can Coldstone transfer him? Coldstone says he can't, but Lexington can. Lexington steps forward. With a little prompting help from Coldstone (Puck) he recites the magical rhyme from Act One (the only words he's spoken in this scene) and transfers Iago out of Brooklyn and into Coldsteel. Brooklyn, the real Brooklyn, stands there very confused. But Coldsteel/Iago laughs at the fools who would give him such power. Goliath, Hudson and Coldstone move toward him, and clearly outnumbered, Iago/Coldsteel flees to fight another day.

Once Iago/Coldsteel is gone. Puck magically removes himself from the Coldstone body, leaving it empty and comatoast. Goliath wasn't expecting Puck, but in retrospect is hardly surprised. "Why all the subterfuge?" he asks. Well, in the first place, Puck lives for subterfuge. And in the second place it was necessary. Puck explains that what he had told them about Xanatos wanting to repay his debt to Goliath was true, though obviously the bit about Coldstone developing its own personality was a little elaboration, creatively added to convince Iago to voluntarily enter the Coldsteel robot. Magical soul transfers are tricky business and generally require the cooperation of the subject. Now if they're ready Othello and Des can be transferred as well. There's a moment of hesitation on their part. Will they trade flesh & blood lives for stone & metal casings. But they know they cannot steal Broadway and Angela's bodies permanently. Othello and Des share one last embrace. Lex again casts his spell (this time with more confidence) and after the transfer is completed, Broadway and Angela regain consciousness in mid-grope. There's a nice awkward moment that should help set up any future romance for these two. Coldstone/Othello and Goldfire/Des thank Bway and Ang for the use of their bodies. Goliath invites them back to the clock tower, but they feel they must pursue Coldsteel. He's still a threat and he's still their responsibility. But when that threat is ended, they will return. They depart. Our gargoyles turn to thank Puck for the magic he wrought and ask why he has been working through Lexington? Puck replies that although he set the ball rolling, this last magic wasn't his, and that this Lexington is not exactly who he appears to be. Magical sparks fly out of Lex's mouth and coalesce in Puck's arms to reveal baby Alex. Puck praises Alex for being a good student, and himself for being a good teacher. Alex smiles, yawns and falls asleep. Lex awakens to himself almost as confused as Brooklyn, Broadway and Angela. Goliath promises to explain and the group heads for home.

Suddenly, Puck pulls a giant watch from a very small pocket. "Look at the time," he cries. And vanishes.

17. Alex's room. Puck and Alex materialize. Puck puts Alex in his crib and transforms back into Owen just as Xanatos and Fox return home from the opera. Was Alex any problem, Fox asks. No, Owen replies. He's a very well-behaved and intelligent child. Owen turns to Xanatos and tells him that the Coldstone problem has been solved. A bit surprised, Xanatos thanks Owen. Owen demurs. "Don't thank me, sir. Thank your son." A bit confused, Xanatos looks into the crib where his son sleeps and smiles.

GENERAL NOTES FOR THE ABOVE:
Keep the talky scenes as brief as possible. Just get the point across. Give the most space to action sequences: the act one Coldstone vs. Xanatos fight in the Himalayas; the act two Goliath & Hudson vs. Coldsteel & Goldfire fight at the castle; the act three mega-battle in the Atrium.

Also, milk the transformation scenes. Particularly the act one scene where Puck/Goliath transfers the souls of Othello and Desdemona into the bodies of Broadway and Angela. And the act three scenes where Lex/Alex transfers Iago, Othello and Des into Coldsteel, Coldstone and Goldfire.

Don't forget that the names Othello, Desdemona and Iago are for our designation only. They should not appear in spoken dialogue at all.

Any script dealing with Coldstone, Puck and magical possession is bound to be confusing. Lots of people in other people's bodies. And a few illusions from Puck as well. Let's go out of our way to make it clear in the script both whose body we are seeing visually (and thus whose voice we are hearing), and who's mind is actually controlling that body (and voice). Remember, we're not trying to keep any secrets from the storyboard artists. However, we are trying to keep secrets from the audience, so don't hesitate to spell things out in description and then explicitly state that the audience shouldn't be able to figure this out yet.

Consistency is key. I think in order to best describe who's who, the best designation for dialogue headings and description may be to put the body's name first, followed by the possessor's name in parenthesis. As follows:

COLDSTONE (OTHELLO) - Coldstone with Othello's personality in control.
GOLIATH (PUCK) - Puck magically disguised as Goliath.
HUDSON (ALEXANDER) - Alexander magically disguised as Hudson.
BROADWAY (OTHELLO) - Othello in possession of Broadway's body.
ANGELA (DESDEMONA) - Desdemona in possesion of Angela's body.
BROOKLYN (IAGO) - Iago in possession of Brooklyn's body.
COLDSTONE (PUCK) - Puck in possesion of Coldstone's body.
LEXINGTON (ALEXANDER) - Alexander in possession of Lex's body.
COLDSTEEL (IAGO) - Iago in control of the Coldsteel robot.
GOLDFIRE (DESDEMONA) - Desdemona in control of the Goldfire robot.

THE THEME here is HONOR. Xanatos is trying to honor a debt he owes Goliath. Coldstone and Desdemona are torn between their desires and the honorable thing to do, the honorable sacrifice to make. Iago demonstrates no honor and is a negative example, but even Puck shows honor. He is trying to serve his master Xanatos without breaking any rules. He's very true to that code. Emphasize the theme as much as possible.

NOTES ON MOTIVATIONS:
XANATOS -- He's barely in this story, but his initial plan starts the whole ball rolling. Though he's in no particular hurry, he is -- in his own way -- actually trying to do a good deed for a change. He feels he owes Goliath for saving his son in "Gathering Part 2". He wants to return the favor by reuniting Goliath with his brother Coldstone. And he wants to help Coldstone out by creating new bodies for the Iago and Desdemona personalities, thus freeing Othello from his pseudo-schizoid condition. When we open, he's already had the Coldsteel and Goldfire robot bodies built. The inner workings are basic Steel Clan, but the robots have no artificial intelligence programming, which would allow the Iago and Desdemona personalities full control if Xanatos could figure out how to make the soul transfer.

PUCK/OWEN - He'd like to help Xanatos out, but is forbidden from using his magic that directly. So he's set up this elaborate "trick" in order to accomplish two things. One is getting Iago, Desdemona and Othello to voluntarily enter Coldsteel, Goldfire and Coldstone respectively. Two is training the infant Alexander in the art of "Soul Transfer and Exchanges". Both are necessary conditions to accomplishing his goal. So Puck demonstrates how Soul Transfers are done in Act One, but leaves it for Alex to do the magic in Act Three that would actually satisfy Xanatos' intentions.

IAGO - Initially, Iago wants to keep the Brooklyn body, if possible, without revealing that he's taken it. When Puck possesses Coldstone, Iago sees it as an opportunity. He's planted the seeds of dissatisfaction in Othello and Desdemona. He feels if they destroy Coldstone, they'd get to keep these new young bodies. And he's seducing them with both carrot and stick to make that choice. If he can kill Othello and/or Goliath in the process, all the better. He still lusts after Desdemona and wouldn't mind fooling her into "Brooklyn's" arms after Othello was out of the way.

It's important, however, to see Iago's goals change during the final battle. We need to demonstrate that he is frustrated by how much less powerful the Brooklyn body is when compared to the Coldsteel robot. We need to believe that he would willingly give up Brooklyn to live in a robot. (You might even try to hint that vanity played a part in his decision, at least subconsciously. After all, Coldsteel has been designed to look like Iago. That may impress him almost as much as the robot's power.)

OTHELLO & DESDEMONA - Are almost literally drunk with the sensation of being alive again in Broadway and Angela's bodies. Otherwise, they'd never consider what they in fact do briefly consider here, which is keeping bodies that don't belong to them. Ultimately, they realize how wrong that is and willingly give the gargoyle bodies up. Othello returns to Coldstone. Desdemona takes possession of Goldfire.


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GOOD NEWS!

As many of you already know, the first issue of the new GARGOYLES comic book sold out its print run. There WILL be a second printing... and all the fans who bought copies and/or SPREAD THE WORD deserve a round of applause...

<CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP>

But please, let's not use this as an excuse to be complacent. We now need to sell out this second printing and encourage pre-orders on issue #2. Not to mention the two DVD sets.

This is NOT me asking people who've already bought the book to buy additional copies. This IS me asking people to continue to spread the word. (I can't tell you how many garg fans I just met in Minnesota, who had no idea that the comic was even out.) Contact the ELFQUEST fandom, the STAR TREK fandom the FILL-IN-THE-BLANK fandom. Contact local comic shops. Contact local conventions. Contact any community that might be interested.

Keep the good news rolling in...

SPREAD THE WORD!!!!


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CONvergence

Just got back from CONvergence in Minnesota. I had a great time at the convention. Met a bunch of new Gargoyles fans, signed comic books, dvds and posters and read "BLATHER" as the secret ingredient for their Iron Artist competition. FYI, "Blather" can be found at...

http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?rid=469

Of course, I did a panel on Gargoyles, but I also had fun doing panels on writing characters, on writing subtext, on DC Comics characters in animation, on creating cartoons that aren't just for kids, on how fans can revive dead properties and even on Veronica Mars.

It's a great con. So check out their website at:

http://www.convergence-con.org/

I'd like to give particular thanks to Chris Jones, who brought me into the Convergence fold. Chris was the penciller on the Captain Atom/JLE/Gargoyles parody story ("The Flashback of Notre Dame") that I did for DC Comics all those years ago. It was great to finally meet him in person.

Special thanks also to Perrin Klumpp, their guest guru and to guest liason Mark Tempel, for putting up with me all weekend and to guest liason Lex Larson, who picked me up at the airport and hung out with Mark and I when she could.

I also had a great time with fellow guests Bridget Landry and Ken Hite and the rest.

Thanks also to Windy, Tim, Pat, Ishmael, Jeremy, Melissa, Melissa, Mandy, Anton, Jenni, Amanda, Eryn and everyone else who made it such a great experience.

WOW! Two great cons in a row. I'll be at the San Diego ComicCon in a couple weeks, but there's almost no way that monstrosity could ever be as much fun as the Gathering and Convergence combined.

Finally, I'm now in love with Jucy Lucy. And Soylent Theater is People.


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Chapter  LXI : "The Reckoning"

Time to ramble...

[Disclaimer: I watched this episode back in January of 2006. So it's been half a year since I've seen it. At the time, I did take a few notes of things I wanted to include in the ramble. So this is what you're getting now. A somewhat abbreviated ramble, as the ep isn't as fresh in my mind as I might like.]

Chapter  LXI : "The Reckoning"
Story Editors: Brynne Chandler-Reaves and Gary Sperling
Story: Lydia C. Marano
Teleplay: Gary Sperling
Director: Dennis Woodyard

The title, I believe, is one of my one-word numbers.

But what strikes me the most in this episode is the number of great (and well-delivered) one-liners. Some of the best are related below. (All quotations approximate.)

DEMONA
We open with a very Batman/very proactive stakeout. Note Goliath's ongoing concern for Angela vis-a-vis Demona. I believe he sees that Angela's vulnerable to emotional pain from that source.

Demona: "Oh, but it's a very clever tin can."

Once Demona's caught, we establish that banishment was a typical garg punishment back in the day. But it's obviously not too effective in the modern world. And so we head down to...

THE LABYRINTH
We reestablish the mutates, the homeless and begin our prison scheme. Angela takes the first watch and has her first real conversation with Demona ("I'm told there's a resemblance.")

FANG
Fang is fun in this one. Some great deliveries...
"You chicks are better than soap."
"Kinky." (And yes, I'm also stunned, particularly in hindsight, that we got this word on the air.)
"How many Gargoyles does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"
"Some of my best friends are half-gargoyle, half-human babes with bad attitudes."

SEVARIUS
But Fang's got a run for his money when Sevarius is also in the episode.
"The prodigal bug returns."
"You don't want to end up with another you."

THAILOG
This last said to the true villain of this piece (amazing, when it already includes Demona, Fang and Sevarius), i.e. THAILOG. Of course, Keith has some great lines as Thailog too...

"My clan can beat your clan any day of the week."
"It would seem that the love has gone out of our relationship."
"Obedient and lovely."

ANGELA & DEMONA
Angela lays the big "I hate you." on Demona, which effects the latter much more than I believe she would have thought. It's one of the things that make Demona so wonderfully complex. She cares. She cares about everything. Even things that she tells herself she doesn't care about.

Of course, the "I hate you" is later a source of guilt for Angela, but that will be short-lived (tapestry-wise). Demona will be back in Hunter's Moon. And her plot is grandly genocidal enough to wash away any particular thoughts of three little words. For now. But in the comic, Demona and Angela will eventually return to this point... if we survive to have enough issues.

One thing to keep in mind was that we thought for a while that this was going to be the last episode of the season. (With Hunter's Moon coming out as a direct to video.) Later when, Hunter's Moon became the last three episodes of the season, we did a quick reshuffling to put "Possession" in between this and "Hunter's Moon" so that we could wonder about Demona for a little longer before seeing her again. And let Angela wonder too.

Many people have asked me why or how Angela and Goliath didn't know that Demona would survive, given what happened in "Sanctuary". But I think it's important to realize that knowledge and confidence are two different things.

CLONES
"They kinda give me the creeps." And they need to learn to "use verbs." But I kinda like them. We'll be seeing more of them in the comics, eventually.

LAST WORD
Hudson: "You'll have to do better than that." (There were some lines that we just kept using over and over again. It's a bit embarrassing, and yet episodically they just seemed to fit.)

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours...?


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GATHERING 2006 - Con Journal - Monday

GATHERING 2006 - Con Journal

My usual caveats... I meet so many people at the Gathering that I can't possibly remember all the names. I apologise. I try, believe me. Please, do not be offended if you've slipped my mind.

Monday, June 26
8:30am - Wake up.

9:15am - Staff Breakfast. Good food. OJ, Eggs Benedict, Potatos, strawberries. I sat with Cindy, Sammy, Seth, Carol, Adam and Greg.

10am - "Time Travel in the Gargoyles Universe" This was a fun panel. I discussed BACK TO THE FUTURE and SPEED III: THE LAKE HOUSE first. Discussed my made-up chestnut about the Gettysburgh Address and the classic Kill-your-own-Grandfather chestnut. We talked about Griff and the Archmage, and I even snuck in two fun anecdotes to illustrate how Free Will works.

11am - I went back to my room to begin checking out. Went to the Art Room to collect my kids' unsold pieces. Went back to my room. Checked out. Dropped stuff in my cars. Around here the Goodbyes began.

Noon - My Mug-A-Guest with Tigris, Ed, David, Cynthia, Adriana, Jonathon, Kristen and Cathie. (And I saw Liz hanging out too.)

1pm - Hosting a Gathering with Jen, GXB and Nikki. Looks like we've got serious interest from Chicago in 2008.

2pm - Closing Ceremonies. Art Show awards included a "ZOMG! Improved" ribbon for Benny. Kyt, I believe, took home Best in Show.

4pm - TGIF for an early dinner. Another huge crowd. I sat with Andrea, Tony and Greg. But there were 19 other people there.

6pm - Dead Dog Party with the ConStaff. We watched a big chunk of the G2004 raw footage that the documentary crew shot in Montreal.

8:30pm - Headed home.

Another Great Gathering. I had a total blast, as I am wont to do at these things. For those who came, I hope you had a great time too. And for those who didn't, start planning ahead now for G2007 in Pigeon Forge. Check out the website at www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com.

AND PLEASE POST YOUR CONJOURNALS HERE AT ASK GREG!!!

(Plus responses to the 1st issue of the comic!!)


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GATHERING 2006 - Con Journal - Sunday

GATHERING 2006 - Con Journal

My usual caveats... I meet so many people at the Gathering that I can't possibly remember all the names. I apologise. I try, believe me. Please, do not be offended if you've slipped my mind.

Sunday, June 25
8:30am - Wake up.

9:15am - Staff breakfast. I was getting a little later everyday, but heck I showed up, so that's something, right? I didn't eat much. Just some O.J. and a couple of croissants. In general, I honestly think I ate less at this Gathering than at any previous Gathering. Not sure why. But I feel like my ConJournals of the past have basically been food diaries. And it doesn't feel that way this time.

10am - First panel of a very busy day was "Gargoyles: the Comic Book" with Dan Vado (of SLG), David Hedgecock (pencil artist), Stephanie Lostimolo (cover color artist) and Marty Lund (of CreatureComics.com). We had a bit of an adventure with the "airwalls" as the two ballrooms weren't properly set up in advance. That forced us to interrupt a church service nearby. A very pleasant guy came over during the hustle and bustle and asked what we were up to. I told him, and he said something like: "Well, we're just over here saving souls."

Moving on...

11:30am - We held a signing for the comic. Signed a bunch of DVDs too. (For a few years there it was starting to look like I had already signed every piece of Gargoyles memorabilia in existance, so it was nice to have some new product, huh?)

12pm - Next up: "Gargoyles: the Voice Acting Process" with Brigitte (Angela) Bako, Elisa (Obsidiana) Gabrielli, Morgan (Petros/Odin) Sheppard, Keith (Goliath) David and Thom (Lexington) Adcox. I meant to bill myself as Commando #2, but I think I forgot. It was a great group. I didn't have to say much unsurprisingly.

1:30pm - Another signing. This time I didn't have to sign much. But I was hardly the main attraction.

2pm - The BIG PANEL. "W.I.T.C.H." Carol and I had gathered a HUGE group of writers and voice actors, etc. for the panel. Elisa (Sarina) Gabrielli, Justin (Eric) Shenkarow, Susan (Cassidy) Chessler, Loren (Julian) Lester, Thom (Sammy) Adcox, Crispin (Sylla) Freeman, Andrew Robinson (writer), Tracy (Bess) Martin, Jon Weisman (writer), Nicole Dubuc (writer), Sam Bernstein (writer), Ginny McSwain (voice director), Candi (Irma) Milo, Liza (Hay Lin) Del Muno, Steve (Blunk) Blum, Marriane (Galgheita) Muellerleille and myself. I screened the third episode of our new season, "C is for Changes" (written by Nicole). A lively Q&A followed, and we even ran long.

3:40pm - Back into the foyer for yet another signing. By this time there really wasn't anything for me to sign. Said hello to the Ben Ten people as they were coming in for their panel.

4pm - Auction. I just peaked in. Gorebash bought my jacket, which pleased me. He's a pal, so I was glad to see it go to him. Over at the art show, Erin bid on and won a shirt from Jade, and Benny bid on and won a piece by Cindy.

6pm - Banquet. A tasty buffet. Sat with Beth, Erin, Benny, Caitie and her dad, Abbie and her dad and one more guy whose name escapes me at the moment.

7:30pm - The Banquet Q&A with myself, Crispin, Thom, Brynne, Michael, Wendy, Dennis Woodyard, Frank Paur, Patrick Archibald (storyboard artist), Sam and Bob Kline.

9pm - Masquerade. Quantity of costumes was lower than average, but the quality was VERY high. The judges were myself, Thom, Sam, Michael, Brynne and Wendy.

Awards:

KIDS CANON
1. Fox as Lex.
2. Abbie as Katharine.
3. Becca as Hyena.

KIDS ORIGINAL
1. Benny as the Garghoul.
2. Fusion Demon as Celestial Elf.
3. Erin as La Belle Morte.

ADULT CANON
1. Victoria as Puck.
2. Brenda as Goliath.

ADULT ORIGINAL
1. Doug as Onyx.
2. Pearl as Pearl.
3. Shara as Gene Simmons.

Cutest Couple went to Thom and Tony, who also won the Thom Adcox Memorial Award for squeezing himself into a kids Chernabog costume.

Revel & Spacie got 2nd place for Cutest couple for playing Brod & Salli.

The Gorelisa Award went to Jason as Ines. (VERY impressive.)

We gave a 1/2 award to Jade for coming as Inuyashi 1/2.

And finally BEST IN SHOW went to a very impressive SET costume and Lance.

Later, there was some dancing and singing, but a number of people wanted to continue the Blue Mug from the night before. So Thom & Michael and I sat down in a corner for that.

12:15am - We ended it, and I went back up to my room.

2am - Lights out.

TO BE CONCLUDED...

Tune in tomorrow for my further adventures in Valencia...

(AND POST THOSE CONJOURNALS!!!)


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GATHERING 2006 - Con Journal - Saturday

GATHERING 2006 - Con Journal

My usual caveats... I meet so many people at the Gathering that I can't possibly remember all the names. I apologise. I try, believe me. Please, do not be offended if you've slipped my mind.

Saturday, June 24

8:30am - Wake up. I actually got 7.5 hours sleep that night, which is stellar for me.

9am or thereabouts - I made it downstairs for the Staff Breakfast of O.J., eggs, bacon & croissants.

Shortly thereafter, Beth, Benny and Erin arrived. So I got them checked in, before heading off to...

10am - Auditions. The final round.

11:30am - Casting. Once again, Jen, Thom and myself had an embarrassment of riches to choose from. We went up to my room, and went through the forms and our notes. Relatively small cast this time, so some great people got left out. Hope that doesn't discourage them from trying again.

12:15pm - After posting the cast lists both in front of Ballroom D and at the Reg Desk, I hurried over to the fan panel that most interested me: "Gargoyles Physiology, Psychology & Sociology." Christine and Jade were leading the panel. It was a fun discussion. I would have loved to have stayed longer, but I was just diving in between casting and my next pro panel, so I couldn't linger.

12:30pm - My first real pro panel of the con: "Gargoyles: the Development Process". I was joined by our original Art Director Bob Kline (inspirational designer of David Xanatos), our second Art Director Dave Schwartz (inspirational designer of Brooklyn, Lexington and Broadway), Gary Krisel (former president of Walt Disney Television Animation) and Michael Reaves (head writer and story editor). I played an earlier version of the pitch narrated by Jim Cummings. I ran through the basics of developing the show (with stray commentary from the other panelists here and there), and then we opened it up to questions from the audience. It was a lively discussion. Even I learned a few behind the scenes things from Gary about what was going on in upper management (very upper: Michael Eisner & Jeffry Katzenberg upper) that helped us keep Gargoyles alive despite two passes.

2pm - The first panel segued directly into the second. Michael and I stayed in our seats. We were joined by Brynne Chandler (story editor) and Jay Fukuto (former head of Current Programming at Disney). We talked about, well, writing the episodes. Duh. Once again, I ran through our basic process, and then we opened things up for another lively Q&A.

3:30pm - We gathered our cast together to rehearse the Radio Play. This is generally a closed rehearsal, but a number of people wanted to sit in (including my son Benny and Michael Reaves). I tried to discourage this, and I think I scared Richard Pini with my intentionally (and supposedly comedic) over the top banishment. Wendy Pini assured me that she explained the situation to her husband, so I hope he forgives me. The rehearsal didn't take long. So I gave the cast some time off.

5pm - The Radio Play performance. This year we were doing an adaptation of "The Mirror" (written by Lydia C. Marano and originally story edited by Brynne Chandler Reaves).

Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2006 Gathering Players...

Keith David as Goliath
Jennifer Anderson as Demona
Mallory Reaves as Puck
Abbie Sulik as Elisa
Crispin Freeman as Hudson
Thom Adcox as Lexington
Zach Baker as Brooklyn
Joshua Poole as Broadway
Eric Tribou as Bronx
Laurean Leigh as Burglar #1
Erin Weisman as Burglar #2
Susan Scoggins as Gargoyle #1
Stephanie Scoggins as Gargoyle #2
Fox Anderson as Gargoyle #3
Lanny Fields as the Security Guard

with myself as narrator and Adam Leigh and Jenny Baker understudying.

I think, if I do say so myself, that the performance went quite well.

After the show, Beth, Erin, Benny and myself drove out to Vic Cook's house for a small barbecue get-together. Dave Schwartz provided much of the food. His barbecue sauce was to die for. I'm sure I won't remember everyone who was there, but I'll try... Vic and his wife Sonia, Kevin Hopps, Kuni Bowen and her two daughters, Tad Stones and his daughter, Phil Weinstein and his family, Bob Kline, Carol Wagner, Wendy Pini, Crispin & Izzy and Gary Krisel. There was Tri-tip, ice cream cake, sushi, hot dogs, chips and dip, oatmeal cookies. I was stuffed.

9:30pm - Beth dropped me back off at the hotel, before heading home with the kids. I chilled for a bit in my room. Changing shirts to something more appropriate for what was to follow...

10pm - Time for the Blue Mug. I was joined by Thom, Crispin and Keith. The room was PACKED. There were blue moments, but it was neither the bluest nor the least blue mug we've ever had. Keith sang a bit. We all joked around. Answered some questions. I revealed that I was a robot. The usual. Then around 11pm, I told a story about working in Hollywood... demonstrating what I'd like to have done in the situation by standing up on a chair and mock screaming at invisible studio executives.

So of course, we were kicked out of the consuite for making too much noise.

Mugus Interruptus.

Whoops. My bad.

We tried going down to one of our banquet rooms, but it was locked, and the security guard wouldn't let us congregate in the foyer in front of that room. We dispersed, but a few of us went to the bar until THAT closed down at 12:15am.

So I headed back to my room.

3:15am - Lights out.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Tune in tomorrow for my further adventures in Valencia...

(AND POST THOSE CONJOURNALS!!!)


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GATHERING 2006 - Con Journal - Friday

GATHERING 2006 - Con Journal

My usual caveats... I meet so many people at the Gathering that I can't possibly remember all the names. I apologise. I try, believe me. Please, do not be offended if you've slipped my mind.

Friday, June 23nd
7:30am - Woke up, giving me about 2.5 hours sleep for the night (after a number of bad night's sleeps earlier that week).

9am - I think I shocked the staff by arriving more or less on time to the staff breakfast. (Traditionally, I sleep through it.) I had potatos, Fresh OJ (which I love), french toast and bacon. But, man, I was tasting that breakfast for hours.

I do want to take time to praise the amazing staff of this year's con. Sort of an all-star team of past con chairs and staffers... or as Jen liked to call them, the Dream Team. I'll try to list them all here...

Jennifer L. Anderson - Con Chair
Patrick Toman - Vice Con Chair

Greg Bishansky - Assistant to promotions
Karine Charlebois - Volunteer Coordinator
Seth Jackson - Promotional Coordinator
Cindy Kinnard - Art Show & Masquerade Coordinator
Kythera - Official Lackey
Laurean Leigh - Program & Website Coordinator
Stephanie Lostimolo - Graphics Designer
Christine Morgan - Anthology, Contest & Fan Panel Coordinator
Tim Morgan - Dealer's Room & Auction Coordinator
Scott Sakai - A/V Coordinator
Carol Wagner - Guest Coordinator

And Rob, M.I.A. for the con itself, but otherwise a year-long staffer who kept us on "TOPIC" at our on-line meetings.

Plus a number of great volunteers, people who just pitched in. I felt that this was one of the smoothest run cons I'd ever been to.

APPLAUSE FOR THEM ALL!!!!

After breakfast, I helped carry stuff down to registration.

10am - Went to the Art Room to put Erin & Benny's art panel up. Browsed the other art that was there...

Finally got my first look at "Gargoyles #1: Nightwatch" the new comic. Dan Vado of SLG, who, with Joe Nakamura, was setting up his table in the dealers' room gave me a copy. It was great to finally have it in my hand. Real. Solid. I was thrilled. I realize it isn't perfect, and I know the hardcore fans are probably impatient to get to issue #3, when we enter into a new arc of stories, but I'm still ridiculously proud of the thing. I think David Hedgecock's work is passionate and dramatic, and getting better all the time. I love how Will Terrell's work enhances David's. And the cover by Greg Guler and Steph Lostimolo is just stunning. Thanks to all of them and to Dan and Joe and Jen de Guzman (our editor) and Marty Lund of creaturecomics.com. I do hope all the fans buy a copy or two, but more than that I'd love it if they SPREAD THE WORD about the comic. Don't assume that people know the thing is out there (same with the DVDs and the Gathering too for that matter).

I'm not just talking about word of mouth, though that's great. But I'd love to see each hard core fan take responsibility for finding a way to reach a thousand people. (And I'm only half-kidding.) No, not all of those people will be buying our product, but that's the numbers we need to reach in order to get the numbers we need. Go to conventions. Go on the net to places we haven't thought of. Check out complimentary fandoms and let them know. Nearly everyone I meet at the con has a story about wearing a garg t-shirt or something and having someone say, "Hey, I really liked that show." But they don't know about the comic, DVD or conventions. Those are the people we need to reach. And sure, it would be great if Disney spent some advertising dollars, but it's really not going to happen. So if as fans, you want to see more comics and another DVD release, SPREAD THE WORD.

Specifically, at this con, I heard a LOT of anecdotal stories about the comic already being sold out at individual comic book stores. Which is great, of course. BUT.... The two questions I always wonder about are (1) how many copies were ordered in the first place and (2) now that it's sold out are they ordering more? A lot of stores low-ball their orders (because they've been burned before) and when they sell out, they feel pleased that they guessed right about how many copies to order. They don't necessarily think to order more once they sell out, and if the comic isn't on the shelf, then most people won't know to buy it. So talking to retailers is another VERY helpful tack.

But enough of the sales pitch... back to the ramble...

I spent some time talking to Dand and Joe of SLG, but Si needed a ride to Kinkos to print out some missing Mug-A-Guest sign up sheets. So we hopped in the P.T. Cruiser and took off. When we got back, I popped into a few panels, making a cameo at the Con Virgin Panel and then catching the tail end of Thom & Crispin's Voice Acting Workshop, which was very cool and hi-tech.

3pm - Next up were our first round of Auditions. It was me, Jennifer Anderson and Thom Adcox (i.e. the usual suspects), though a bored Michael Reaves sat in and observed for a while. We had some amazing people this year, but unfortunately one of the smallest casts to cast that we've had in a while, made the smaller because we had Thom, Keith David and Crispin Freeman already slotted for three of the fifteen roles.

5pm - Opening Ceremonies. Always fun. Very good energy in the room this year. Which was necessary, because the thing -- to me at least -- seemed kinda endless. Not that I'm complaining. We did have a lot of new people, for whom everything I have to show is new -- and I gave everyone else the chance to bolt when my turn came. But most stuck around. I guess it's tradition. And I do feel like I had more energy than in the last couple of years. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Mai Li (I hope I'm spelling that right) got the Fan Guest of Honor Award, which she thoroughly deserves. Mai was conchair of the very first Gathering in Manhattan in 1997. Not just the conchair, really but the only staff member too. She basically all but did it all herself. (Burned her out so bad, we haven't been able to get her back to a Gathering again until this year.) Without Mai, there'd be no Gathering. And I wouldn't be a part of this fandom. I have always credited Chris Rogers, Eric "Gorebash" Tribou and Mai Li as the three people who introduced me to the fans. We've been feeding off each other ever since. ;)

Nikki "Y2Hecate" Owens got up to pimp G2007 in Pigeon Forge, Tenessee. Nikki, the new conchair, is already way ahead of the game. They've got a date (JUNE 22-25) and a low cost/high quality hotel. So let me do a little pimping too here. Register NOW!!! The cost is pretty darn cheap in these early months, and the more money that comes in early the better the con will be. Walk-ins are great. I'm not knocking them, but walk-ins don't pay for guests and activities, because that's money that the con can't count on. Small money sooner is worth more than Large money later. Just a fact. Of course, to be intentionally repetitive the main thing you can do is SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!!

Anyway, the staff was introduced, and then we watched a bunch of music videos. They were all pretty cool. Of course, since everyone's working independently, they have no way of knowing that they're all going to duplicate a bunch of footage. But I still enjoyed seeing them. An ironic "Can you feel the love" featuring Demona and Macbeth pounding on each other was a highlight. The "Beauty and the Beast" one for Elisa and Goliath was like shooting fish in a barrel, but I was a sucker for it. And Jen's video "Wake Me Up" I think it was called, which opened Opening Ceremonies was VERY cool and eventually one first place in the Music Video contest.

Then it was my turn. I talked about the comic, G2007 and the DVDs. At this time, Buena Vista Home Entertainment has not scheduled Gargoyles Season Two, Volume Two for release. The short and simple truth is that Volume 1 did not sell enough copies. The ONLY remedy is to find a way to sell more. As always, I'd love it if the fans bought copies, but I'd NEVER ask anyone to spend money they don't have or need for things like food/shelter/education/etc. Frankly, as I've said many times, if every single hardcore fan bought ten copies our sales would still be mediocre. What I need from the hardcore fan is for each and everyone to find creative ways to SPREAD THE WORD!!! (Sense a theme, yet?) We did a more effective job of this on the Season One set. Now Season Two costs more, I know. But that only means we need to reach out to even MORE people, to compensate for those who bought Season One, but can't afford S2V1. Only a percentage of those who know about the DVD will buy it. But the more people who know, the greater the chance that we'll reach the sales threshold that Disney feels we need to convince them to release S2V2. Now... a lot of people have asked why Disney isn't promoting the DVD. But ultimately the answer doesn't matter too much. They aren't. That's not money they're prepared to spend. So we need to do it. We need to SPREAD THE WORD!!!

Next up, I showed all the old standards. The original pitch, the promo, the preview, the New Olympians and Dark Ages pitches, the Bad Guys Leica Reel and finally "The Last" -- a never-produced episode of Team Atlantis featuring Marina Sirtis as Demona, Cree Summer as Kida, Frank Welker as Obie and Sheena Easton as Fiona Canmore. The fans have taken the original voice tape and the tiny bit of storyboarding that was completed and are trying to make the episode themselves. We have a little more picture every year. If you're interested in helping out, contact Vashkoda in the Station Eight Gargoyles Comment Room.

Opening Ceremonies finally came to a close, and I went to dinner with Wendy Pini, Michael Reaves, Brynne Chandler, Crispin, Izobel, Thom, Jamie, Lexy, Marty and Kiffin. Unfortunately, the restaurant couldn't seat us all together, and Marty, Lexy and Kiffin were semi-abandoned at another table. (Sorry, guys, really.) The Japanese food was good (California Roll, Miso Soup, salad, rice, shrimp and vegetable tempura, beef teriaki). More importantly, I got a chance to talk to Wendy Pini. Wendy, the creator of Elfquest, as it turns out, is a big Gargoyles fan. And I've been a fan of hers for longer than either of us cared to admit. She was extremely charming, and we really hit it off. Yeah, yeah, mutual admiration society. <YAWN> I know. But it does raise an interesting point. Gargoyles. Elfquest. If you like one, you might like the other. (After all, I like both and so does Wendy.) And yet before Wendy contacted the constaff a few days before the con, it never occured to any of us to try to win Elfquest fans over to Gargoyles or vice versa. So what other FANDOMS are there out there that we're not reaching out to. I don't know. But I need all of you to start thinking about it and SPREAD THE WORD!!!

When we got back to the hotel, a few of us headed up to the con suite to hang. (Thom stopped off at his room and promised to meet us up there.) But when we got to the consuite, they were on the verge of closing down. So everyone else booked, and I waited in the suite for Thom (who never showed up). Still, I got to have a real nice talk with Mai, Karine, Patrick and one other person, whose name is just escaping me at the moment. (Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry!)

Midnight... Karine headed to her room, and Patrick was ready to crash, so I left for my room.

1am - fortunately, I was actually tired. And turned off the lights, and pretty much went right to sleep.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Tune in tomorrow for my further adventures in Valencia... and to find out how many more times Greg can write "SPREAD THE WORD" into his ramblings...

(AND POST THOSE CONJOURNALS!!!)


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GATHERING 2006 - Con Journal

GATHERING 2006 - Con Journal

Well, the con is over, and as usual, I just had an incredible time. It was so gratifying how much all the fans love the show. So here's my con journal. I hope ALL of you who attended take a few minutes to write up and post your con journals/diaries/memories/etc. here at ASK GREG. Cut and paste, my friends.

My usual caveats... I meet so many people at the Gathering that I can't possibly remember all the names. I apologise. I try, believe me. Please, do not be offended if you've slipped my mind.

Thursday, June 22nd
3pm - I didn't even bother going to the office. I packed, puttered. Watched some ALL MY CHILDREN. Said goodbye to Erin, Benny and Beth when they got home from Camp, Camp and school (respectively) and then hit the road. Listened to an unabridged book on CD version of "Pride and Prejudice" on the way to Valencia.

4pm - Arrived at the hotel and was checking in when the vast majority of the con staff approached. My room was very nice. I dropped my stuff off quickly (I had a lot of stuff) and then helped the constaff carry some boxes and bags in.

Ran some constaff errands next with Jennifer, Karine, Kyt, Seth, Cindy, Steph and Patrick all stuffed into Jen's SUV. Ate a Three Musketeers bar, which was all I had eaten that day.

7pm - Planning ahead, we made a reservation at BJs (across the street from the hotel) for 21 people. But on our way there, we found we were 25. There was some delay in setting up our tables, and the longer the delay, the more our party grew. 21, no 25, no 32, no 35. Finally, we were all seated at three tables of 12.

My table included myself, Taylor, Liz, Sean, Ckaote, Spacie, Revel, Sylvia, Kristin, Kyt, GXB and Laurean. But the group also included Lynati, Aaron, Mara, Jen, Susan, Steph, Syndey, Tim, Arno, Norcumi, Quindar, Christine, Karine, Steph L., Becca, Cindy, Nikki, Jade, Seth, Patrick and Fox. (At least.) I had a great dinner (French Dip, baked potato) and Siryn and I shared an apple crisp with ice cream for dessert.

After that, it was up to the consuite to fold t-shirts and stuff envelopes w/Nikki, Steph, Cindy, Jen, Patrick, Seth, Greg, Tim, Christine, Karine, Kyt, Patrick, Laurean and Carol.

I don't think I've ever seen the constaff so organized as they were this year.

11:50pm - I retired to my room.

3am - Lights out.

5am - Still AWAKE! Arrggghh!!!

TO BE CONTINUED...

Tune in tomorrow for my further adventures in Valencia...

(AND POST THOSE CONJOURNALS!!!)


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DUCKS IN A ROW

ASK GREG will be open up again today (Thursday, June 22) so that questions and especially G2006 CON JOURNALS can be posted. We'll stay open at least until the end of July.

In addition, Gorebash has been working on the site to allow Todd to answer some frequently asked questions for me by searching the archives. We haven't totally got the new system up and running, but the long awaited upgrade to ASK GREG is on the verge of reality here. REJOICE!!!

This should help us get through the queue MUCH faster.

But another thing that would help is still a bit of common sense on the part of posters. Try to search the FAQ or the ARCHIVES first. Ask your question here in the comment room. (And, gang, be nice to the newbies, ignorant or not.) Keep the queue as clean of garbage as possible.

And POST THOSE CON JOURNALS. Cut and paste them! It's important!!!!!

Also, post comments and questions about the new comic book that hit stores YESTERDAY (Thursday, June 21)!!! Copies of the first issue ("Nightwatch") WILL be available at the Gathering this weekend, but as Marty said, anything that can be done to encourage sales at local stores is essential.

[I realize from VERY recent personal experience that this can be frustrating. A drone at MY local comic shop was very insistent yesterday that the comic wasn't out yet. Do NOT let them tell you that. It IS out! Be persistent, insistent, but unfailingly POLITE, as it won't help the cause to alienate the guy who orders books for the store.]

This isn't simply about you guys buying a bunch of copies yourself. If EVERYONE who normally checks out ASK GREG bought ten copies, our sales would still, frankly, suck. Yes, I hope you guys support the book with cold hard cash (though as always I'd never ask you to spend money you don't have and/or need for food, shelter, education, etc.), but what I'm really COUNTING on you guys to do is spread the word. EVERYWHERE. We need to bring in a much larger crowd than simply the hard core fans. Word of mouth to individuals is great, but try to brainstorm ways to reach a lot of people on the net, at conventions, etc. Look at other rabid fandoms that might like Gargoyles, and LET. THEM. KNOW what they're missing! (Let them know.) BRAINSTORM NEW WAYS. NEW. NEW WAYS.

DO NOT TAKE FOR GRANTED that the book will just be an ongoing thing. If sales on the first couple issues suck then don't assume that there will be an issue #3. (That's how we got into the dilemma we're facing with the DVDs.)

WORD MUST BE SPREAD!!!!!

Finally, for those of you attending the Gathering this weekend in Valencia: please come up to me and say hello. Many of you know me already. Some of you have met me briefly. Some of you are strangers. I'll admit in advance that though I am fearless when I'm "On Stage," ironically I get very shy trying to conduct small talk. So be patient with me. It usually takes me two cons to remember names and three to really get to know a person. But keep trying. I have made so many great friends at these conventions, and you could be one of them. I really do want to know you all.

It's a very exciting con this year. We've got so many great guests and events planned. Panels with the creators of Kim Possible, Talespin, Darkwing Duck, Ben Ten. Jim Cummings, the voice of Dingo, Don Karnage, Darkwing Duck, Pete, Winnie-The-Pooh, Tigger, Bonkers, etc., etc., etc. will be there. Voice directors, background artists, character designers, film editors, music editors, sound effects editors, storyboard artists, and tons of VOICE ACTORS. Nearly the entire writing staff and Voice cast of WITCH will be there. (And I hope you've been watching the episodes of WITCH that I produced which have been airing on Toon Disney and ABC Family's Jetix blocks.) Frank Paur will talk about Spawn, Iron Man and Dr. Strange. Tad Stones will talk about Hellboy. Keith David, Thom Adcox and Crispin Freeman will all BE IN THIS YEAR'S RADIO PLAY!!! Brigitte Bako, the voice of Angela, is attending her first convention EVER!! (So be extra nice to her.) I'm even doing a seminar on time travel.

So stop by, have fun, enjoy... and SPREAD THE WORD. (Have I mentioned that yet? SPREAD THE WORD!!!!)

Gargoyles is BACK!!!!

Thanks,
Greg Weisman


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W.I.T.C.H. Season Two Premiere

Hey gang,

Season Two of W.I.T.C.H. (i.e. the season that I story edited and produced) is currently slated to premiere with an episode I wrote ("A is for Anonymous") on Monday, June 5th, 2006 on Toon Disney (with a rerun airing on June 10th on ABC Family's Jetix block).

I'm very proud of this season of W.I.T.C.H. It's one of the best things I've worked on since Gargoyles and Roughnecks. I had a great writing staff and an incredible cast, including some familiar-to-Garg-fans voices (Kath Soucie, Thom Adcox, Ed Asner, Bill Faggerbakke, Elisa Gabrielli, Rocky Carroll, C.C.H. Pounder, among others).

If you've read the comic books or seen the solid W.I.T.C.H. first season, I think you'll truly love Season Two. If I do say so myself... IT KICKS ASS!! And if you've never seen W.I.T.C.H. before but are any kind of a fan of my work, please check us out. I promise you won't regret it.

Incidentally, we're having a LARGE W.I.T.C.H. Cast and Crew reunion at the Gathering 2006 in Valencia on Sunday, June 25th. So check that out too.


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Blather

So in a tryce came the documentary depicting many a Chinese doll and also the three wise men (who may or may not have been kings) that needed sixty-two dollars between them to redeem the coupon, which offered up solace and not a little irony to anyone who hadn't yet seen the crew chewing on leaves that weren't tobacco, but might have been sage and still left horrible stains in the dirt floor of the lean-to where I left my ski poles after the overnight with the cranes that were kept on the lake domestically for the purpose of tourism but who could also speak Latin on occasion when prompted by offers of cheese or jerky -- though not just any jerky, it had to be salmon jerky -- which isn't always easy to come by when you've agreed to leave before closing on summer days in the springtime of your life, which has been known to last longer in people who aren't concerned about under-inebriation or over-intoxication or both: it's the balance which is everything when nothing else will do and no one else will participate in the extravaganza that's been created by the giant invisible flying monkey brain that is modern life in the Twenty-First Century, counting since the (approximate) birth of Christ -- as long as the lack of the number zero doesn't disturb your math sensibilities as, frankly, it does mine, though I like to think I've made peace with that and with the Skrull too, since I haven't picked up an issue of that book in about nine years, which wasn't an intentional or explicit act of cold turkey so much as a sliding away followed by a none-too-impressive epiphany -- far from the best epiphany I've ever had, say, compared to Tintagel or Lego, not to mention the birth of certain children, which couldn't get more personal than the zany antics of the semi-erotic flea circus, which used to travel the stars waiting for an invitation to land at your door, since you are the personal target of the extra-lunar probe that counted all the seahorses that Aquaman used to make the giant seahorse that he could actually ride, though no faster than he could swim himself on his own power -- and no, we're not talking Super Friends here, but something older, more primal, something that was born back when the Ptero-whatever streaked across the sky leaving behind contrails made not of smoke but of pure and unadulterated grace, a commodity in which we are sorely shy as a planet, and yet which we find in the most unlikley of places, including but not limited to contracts which dictate how we will interact with each other but do it in such a way that no normal human being could possibly wrap their heads around the language and internalize the meaning, which we declare to be progress or civilization and which is not meant as a criticism so much as a detachment of troopers marching on a hill that you wouldn't pay five ducats -- FIVE! -- to buy yourself, or so I told myself and Hamlet night after night, but now Hamlet is a Thief on FX and I haven't seen him face to face in over twenty years, which sometimes seems quite normal but sometimes blows me away, not that I want to move backwards at all, though I'm not sure that I'm truly moving forward and I'm convinced I'm not moving sideways, though the metaphor of the sidewinder is appealing, not in the cliché sense of something sinister and left-handed, though I do throw with my left hand, I can bowl just as badly with either hand, and even though I'm 42, I quite prefer to have bumpers instead of gutters, where the rain gets backed up and sometimes flows over the lip and creates leaks in the roof and drips, drips, drips down into the shiny metal bowl that's usually used for something much more pleasant like mixing cookie dough to create chewy wonderful ... well.. cookies (I mean "duh") that taste a little bit like home even when you are home and it is raining, or maybe ESPECIALLY when you are home and it is raining and the water overflows and the ocean fills and the giant seahorse peaks out and winks at the cranes, which is exactly what the documentary crew was hoping to capture when they first took out their cameras and shot the whole thing from three different angles across six different days and still never saw the giant invisible flying monkey brain, because it was, to put it mildly, invisible.


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Buffyverse Stats - Year Six

BUFFYVERSE STATS

TOP 40 CHARACTER LIST:

Once AGAIN, I'm wasting my semi-valuable time (and hopefully yours) to bring you the latest update in my attempt to catalogue the most significant characters in the BUFFYVERSE. Previous CUMULATIVE updates covered the first, second and third years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After that, the task became more complicated as Buffy's fourth season aired simultaneously (day and date, literally) with the first season of Angel. So the Year Four update included Buffy S4 & Angel S1. Year Five covered Buffy S5 & Angel S2. This update, Year Six, covers Buffy S6 & Angel S3.

As you may recall, I've tried to inform this subjective task with an objective formula. I tried, as much as possible, not to allow my knowledge of future events to influence the current standings. Still, I won't deny that subjectives have played a role. It's hard not to take extra notice of a character you know is going to be important later. And ties were broken based entirely on subjective criteria.

The idea behind a cumulative tally is to mimic the original experience of following the Buffyverse. It's a horse race. Some of the winners and losers are decidedly predictable. Others are a bit surprising - surprising enough that it's become absolutely clear that my system must be flawed. I've since dreamed up a new system, but it's too late to implement it. Someday, LONG after I've finished this first survey (but ONLY if I prove truly insane), I might just start over and see what the results are with OBJECTIVE SYSTEM 2.0. But for now - assuming you haven't nodded off - you're stuck with System One.

I have a list of ALL the characters that have appeared in both series up to this point. It's so long (including everything from leads to ridiculously minor characters) that I haven't even bothered to count how many there are. But my list of MOST significant currently tops out at 202 characters.

But I think listing the top 40 is both pleasantly traditional… and plenty. Or largely. I just want to note a few characters introduced (or revisited) in this set of episodes, who haven't yet or never will make the top 40, but whom I believe are memorable enough to merit honorable mention.

Starting with…

[SPOILERS]

#197 - The Prima Ballerina. Summer Glau, later of FIREFLY & SERENITY, plays a dancer trapped performing the same ballet forever until Angel and Co. save her.

#196 - The Girl in the White Room. At Wolfram & Hart. A creepy, vicious little god-girl.

#191 - Lady with a Baby, a.k.a. Mother #2. Same actress played a mom with a kid on Buffy and then later played a mom with a kid on Angel - who's secretly working for Wolfram & Hart. No guarantee that these two roles on two separate shows are actually intended to be the same character. But I like to think so.

#175 - Arney. Lorne's Demon contractor, who betrays the Angel gang to Holtz.

#167, #168, #169 - Fury #1, Fury #2, Fury #3. Very funny trio, who defy their names by being REALLY into their former sex partner Angel.

#166 - Sunny. Connor's first friend - a junkie who doesn't survive long - after he arrives back on Earth.

#165 - Doctor. In Buffy's vision of being in an asylum, this was the Psychiatrist, who tried to convince her that her entire life in Sunnydale was psychosis.

#163, #164 - Josh and Sara Harris. Xander and Anya's two kids in the false vision of the future presented to Xander at the couple's aborted wedding.

#160, #161 - Mr. & Mrs. Burkle. Fred's parents.

#154, #155 - Caroline & Sarah Holtz - Victims of Angelus & Darla that send Holtz on his centuries long quest for vengeance.

#144 - Sweet. The tap-dancing Demon that brought us BUFFY: THE MUSICAL! "Once More With Feeling…"

#130 - Doris Kroeger. The woman from Child Services, who tried to take Dawn away from Buffy.

#118 - Cave Demon. The guy who gave back Spike's soul.

#117 - Billy Blim, a.k.a. Young Man. The guy that Angel saved from a burning hell to protect Cordelia's visions from killing her. He returns later as a guy who can bring out "primal misogyny" in men. Lilah kills him.

#113, #192 - Razor and Mag. Biker Demons who appear in the opening two-parters where Buffy comes back to life.

#108, #174 - Lorraine Ross & Gina. Buffy's boss and fellow employee at the Double Meat Palace, who each appear in a couple episode.

#102 - Sandy. Sandy first appeared when the Vamp-Willow came to our universe. She was a victim that Vamp-Willow bit. Then two seasons later, she resurfaces as a vampire, whom Riley allows to feed on him. Riley then stakes her. Again, I love that they used someone with continuity for Riley.

#99, #131, #162 - Tony, Rory & Jessica Harris. Xander's Dad, Uncle & Mom, i.e. the horrible family that convinced Xander - more than the misleading vision, that he wasn't ready for marriage with Anya. Personally, I never bought this.

#75 - Clem, a.k.a. Clemmet, a.k.a. Loose-Skinned Demon. With Merl dead over on Angel, we meet a newer, sweeter sympathetic Demon. Gotta love Clem.

#70 - Rack. Willow's magic pusher.

#69 - Skip. Originally Billy Blim's hell-guard. Later Cordelia's spirit guide. I really liked Skip and have to admit I was pretty bummed when in Season Four of Angel he turns out to have been a villain all along.

#55 - Halfrek… and Cecily Addams? Halfrek is Anya's best friend, a fellow vengeance demon. But the same actress also played Spike's first love Cecily. And when Halfrek first spots Spike, she recognizes him, so…

#45, 46 - Justine Cooper and Sahjahn. The demon who brought Holtz to the present, and the obsessed woman who fell in love with Holtz because he gave her purpose.

#41 - Connor/Steven. Angel's son. He'll crack the top 40 next season.

And before we start, a fond Top 40 farewell to Willy the Snitch (now at #51), Mr. Trick (#49), Jinx (#47), Holland Manners (#44), Amy (#43) and Adam (#42).

AND NOW THE TOP 40
Abbreviations for previous rankings…
Y1 - Buffy Season 1.
Y2 - Buffy Season 2.
Y3 - Buffy Season 3.
Y4 - Buffy Season 4/Angel Season 1.
Y5 - Buffy Season 5/Angel Season 2.
NR - Not Ranked that year.

#40 - The Master. Y5: 34. Y4: 27. Y3: 16. Y2: 13. Y1: 8. Buffy's first Big Bad from an abbreviated first season just barely holds on to the Top 40, falling 6 rankings. And it's not at all a given that he'll hold on after next season. After all, Adam has already fallen OUT of the top 40. Adam may not have been the best of Buffy's Big Bads, but I'm still stunned that he fell out of the Top 40. (Particularly given some of the less interesting characters that ARE holding on.)

#39 - The Groosalugg. Y5: 81. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Groo, the half-demon from Lorne's dimension, who fell hard for Cordelia, jumps up 42 rankings, as he joins the Angel team for half a season… before gallantly riding off into the sunset so that Cordelia and Angel can (not) hook up.

#38 - Gavin Park. Y5: 128. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Gavin, in his second season as Lilah's post-Lindsey foil at Wolfram & Hart, leaps up a WHOPPING 90 positions. I really liked Gavin, but in hindsight I really should give credit for that to Daniel Dae Kim (now playing a totally different character on LOST), because other than functioning as a FOIL, he never really has any juice of his own. But he sure appears a lot.

#37 - Andrew Wells. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Andrew, the definite third wheel of the Season's Evil Trio (no, not Brooklyn, Lexikngton & Broadway) is #37 with a bullet, entering the Top 40 in his first season. He's very funny… and he becomes a near regular next season, so he's only just getting started.

#36 - Warren Meers. Y5: 82. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Warren, who emerges as the only non-banality of evil member of the Evil Trio, jumps 46 rankings. Murderer of Katrina and Tara. Creator of Dark Willow. He winds up skinned.

#35 - Forrest Gates. Y5: 32. Y4: 21. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley's ex-best buddy falls three rankings. Still twice-dead, he's one of the characters that I can't believe is still holding onto a Top 40 spot. I mean Adam's fallen off, but this guy holds on… based on having a lot of screen time.

#34 - Glory. Y5: 30. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Year Five's big bad drops 4 rankings. Any big bad deserves the Top 40 in my opinion. Hope she holds on.

#33 - Mayor Richard Wilkins III. Y5: 29. Y4: 19. Y3: 14. Y2: 40. Y1: NR. The Mayor also loses 4 rankings. This guy damn well better hold on.

#32 - Graham Miller. Y5: 28. Y4: 22. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley Finn's second best friend falls four rankings. Like Forrest, another one that I can't imagine why he's still in the Top 40.

#31 - Maggie Walsh. Y5: 27. Y4: 18. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. And Maggie, the holding place for Adam (who actually had more screen time) falls four rankings herself. Still feels like she's too high up to me, but at least I buy her being in the Top 40. But her placement above Adam, Glory, the Master, and the Mayor is one of the things that points up a flaw in the current system.

#30 - Ben. Y5: 26. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Year Five's big bad's alter ego for Glory also drops four places. And here again, a flaw is pointed up. Ben ahead of Glory? And still in the Top 30? Really? Like Maggie ahead of Adam, it's about screen time, not actual character significance or OOMPH.

#29 - Jenny Calendar. Y5: 25. Y4: 17. Y3: 13. Y2: 11. Y1: 15. Jenny also falls four rankings. (Who are the four guys who pushed everyone back, huh?) Says something about Jenny's original significance that a non-regular like her is holding on for so long.

#28 - Harmony Kendall. Y5: 23. Y4: 25. Y3: 20. Y2: 26. Y1: 18. Harmony keeps bouncing back and forth, falling five (not four) rankings this year to her lowest ranking yet. Of course, this is the first year that Harmony doesn't actually appear at all.

#27 - Kate Lockley. Y5: 22. Y4: 23. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Angel's cop friend doesn't appear this season at all… and I hate to say isn't particularly missed. She falls five rankings. (Five being the new four.)

#26 - Lindsey McDonald. Y5: 21. Y4: 29. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lindsey has hit the road, and having also been absent all season, falls five rankings too.

#25 - Daniel Holtz. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Captain Holtz, Angel's Big Bad for the Season (or surrogate, if you're counting Connor as the finale's final big bad) is #25 with a bullet. He's deadly and great and played by my buddy Keith Szaribajka (who played Psycho for me on MAX STEEL).

#24 - Jonathan Levinson. Y5: 33. Y4: 24. Y3: 17. Y2: 19. Y1: NR. Jonathan, the LEAST evil of the EVIL Trio, picks up the same nine rankings he lost in Year Five (when he had zero appearances). He's always welcome.

#23 - Francis Doyle. Y5: 20. Y4: 15. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Doyle falls three ranks (three, really?) and out of the top twenty.

#22 - Lilah Morgan. Y5: 31. Y4: 31. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lilah climbs nine positions. She has some really great moments this season - and really seems to come into her own with Wesley at Season's end. But the promise of the previous season, that she would be IN CHARGE doesn't materialize as she gets a new boss.

#21 - Principal Snyder. Y5: 18. Y4: 12. Y3: 9. Y2: 10. Y1: 12. Snyder falls three ranks, dropping out of the Top 20.

#20 - Faith. Y5: 17. Y4: 13. Y3: 10. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Faith loses three rankings and doesn't appear all season. Though she holds on to the Top 20.

#19 - Drusilla. Y5: 16. Y4: 16. Y3: 11. Y2: 8. Dru doesn't appear this season and falls three rankings her own self.

#18 - Darla. Y5: 19. Y4: 28. Y3: 23. Y2: 23. Y1: 11. Darla jumps up only one ranking for her half-season on Angel. She has one of the best death scenes EVER. EVER.

#17 - Lorne, the Host. Y5: 24. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lorne becomes a de facto Angel regular and jumps up seven rankings to enter the Top 20.

#16 - Winifred "Fred" Burkle. Y5: 50. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Fred leaps up 34 positions to reach the Top 20. Being a new regular gives you a boost, huh?

#15 - Riley Finn. Y5: 12. Y4: 11. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley makes his last appearance (as a married man no less) but still falls three rankings.

#14 - Joyce Summers. Y5: 11. Y4: 9. Y3: 8. Y2: 7. Y1: 7. Joyce appears in Buffy's Madhouse Vision, but misses out on the rest of the season, falling three slots.

THIS IS WHERE I LEFT OFF, DUDE.

#13 - Tara Maclay. Y5: 15. Y4: 20. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Tara moves up two rankings, but she'll probably peek at unlucky #13. I can't belive that I haven't seen Amber Benson in a hundred things since Buffy. She is so missed.

#12 - Daniel "Oz" Osbourne. Y5: 9. Y4: 7. Y3: 7. Y2: 12. Y1: NR. Well, Oz falls three rankings, dropping out of the Top Ten. Two years of non-appearance'll do that to ya.

#11 - Dawn Summers. Y5: 14. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Dawn, on the other hand, moves up three rankings, trading places with mom Joyce.

#10 - Charles Gunn. Y5: 13. Y4: 37. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Gunn climbs 3 ranks to crack the Top 10.

#9 - Anya Kristina Emanuella Jenkins. Y5: 10. Y4: 14. Y3: 22. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Anya continues her steady climb. Only one ranking this year, but within the Top 10, that's still impressive.

#8 - Wesley Wyndam-Price. Y5: 8. Y4: 10. Y3: 15. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Wesley stalls at a still impressive #8, as he begins his turn toward the darker Wesley.

#7 - Spike. Y5: 7. Y4: 8. Y3: 12. Y2: 9. Y1: NR. And Spike likewise stalls, maintaining at #7. And there's a HUGE gap between him and #6.

#6 - Willow Rosenberg. Y5: 6. Y4: 6. Y3: 4. Y2: 4. Y1: 4. Willow stays at #6. Again, her being this far below Xander absolutely demonstrates that the system is flawed, particularly when this was Willow's turn to be the Big Bad. It just doesn't make sense.

#5 - Rupert Giles. Y5: 3. Y4: 3. Y3: 2. Y2: 2. Y1: 2. Giles falls two rankings, but manages to just barely hold onto the Top 5, despite missing much of the season. Willow's hot on his trail though, which seems right.

#4 - Cordelia Chase. Y5: 5. Y4: 4. Y3: 5. Y2: 5. Y1: 5. Cordelia moves back up one ranking into the #4 slot by passing Giles.

#3 - Angel. Y5: 4. Y4: 5. Y3: 6. Y2: 6. Y1: 6. Angel moves up one ranking also by passing Giles. Is Xander next?

#2 - Xander Harris. Y5: 2. Y4: 2. Y3: 3. Y2: 3. Y1: 3. Xander maintains his #2 ranking for now. Since he just saved the world from Dark Willow, maybe he's earned it.

#1 - Buffy Anne Summers. Y5: 1. Y4: 1. Y3: 1. Y2: 1. Y1: 1. Duh.


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Tough Love

I've been informed that the Season Two Volume One Gargoyles DVD has not sold as many units as the Season One Gargoyles DVD did. That's not particularly surprising, since it has a higher price point. But let's be honest, the lower sales are putting the release of Season Two Volume Two at risk.

To be clear, I'm not asking anyone to spend money they don't have and/or need for things like food, shelter, education, etc. But if you've just been lazy and have been putting off buying the darn thing... well, pal, help us all out by ponying up sooner than later.

And ALL OF YOU -- PLEASE DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO SPREAD THE WORD!!!!

It is NOT a given that Season Two Volume Two will come out!


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Chapter  LX : "Turf"

Time to ramble...

Chapter  LX : "Turf"
Story Editor: Gary Sperling
Writers: Marty Isenberg & Robert N. Skir
Director: Dennis Woodyard

ANGIE
The one word title is, as usual, one of mine, referring of course to the Turf War over Manhattan between Brod & Dracon, and the "Turf War" over "Angie" between Brooklyn, Lexington & Broadway.

We were careful NOT to have Broadway call her Angie here. He used it first, in a previous episode, but by now has already grokked that she doesn't like it.

There's some fun stuff with the Trio acting like goofballs here. Brooklyn is particularly transparent.

Lex: "He's doing it again..."

There's also some awkward audio moments. Reused dialogue. (Brooklyn's "Heys") Arguments between the three of them that don't quite have the right snap. Oh, well...

But I think the ending is nice. Her "Slow down" is kinda lovely. The kisses are corny, but I think they work. And I love the reaction to her having "Fifteen Rookery Sisters back on Avalon"... (most of which she must know are spoken for by her many rookery brothers)... Brooklyn: "When do we get our world tour?"

ALL THE BUMS
In a way, this was fun for us, allowing us to gather many of our gangster characters together in one episode: Dracon and Brod of course, but also Glasses, Danforth and Pal Joey.

I do enjoy Brod. He has some great lines...

--"That was my favorite restaurant." In the middle of a turf war, and he's bummed about the food.

--And after Glasses speech tips Brod off to his NEW goal, i.e. breaking INTO jail... I love how Clancy reads, "Time to cut off the head!" (By the way, I always liked the audacity of Brod. Most people try to break OUT of jail. He breaks in.)

--When Brod says "Easy as shooting fish in barrel." I wanted the line to be "Easy as shooting Moose and Squirrel". But I was overruled. No one appreciates a good Boris Badinov reference.

--It was fun to see Brod & Dracon trying to classify the Gargs. "Bats." "Reptiles." They can't even agree on what they're fighting. Notice, no one said "Gargates".

I also like Jack Danforth a lot. Ed's great in that role. I loved Danforth in "Revelations". So I brought him back here and gave him to Brod to try to balance the character scale a bit. We tried to give Jack the word "Bum" to say as often as possible, e.g. "The Bum's in Cell Block D".

And it was fun to see the Guards punish Brod & Dracon by making them share a cell. Fun to see all dem bums jailed there.

SALLI
We used animation conventions here to try to fool the audience or at least to keep them off-balance. Because often the same actor plays multiple rolls, the mere fact that Salli Richardson was voicing Salli didn't guarantee that Salli and Elisa were the same person. (After all, Coldstone and Taurus aren't the same person. They're not even related. I PROMISE.) Plus models of humans can often be very similar. So the blonde Salli might or might not be Elisa as well. I figured some percentage of our audience would know. Some would miss it completely. Most would just be unsure... and that feeling of uncertainty was what I was counting on. Erin recognized Salli's voice as being the same as Elisa's. But neither her nor Benny were sure if it was really her or not until she took off the wig. When we had her sneak up to the Tower, they were pretty confident... and yet, and yet... I did like the garg's reactions after the fact. All sure. (To be fair, they were looking at a stranger from a distance.)

And by the way, I also liked that Salli's name is (coincidentally) nearly an acronym for Elisa. Maybe we should have spelled it "Salie".

Of course, Elisa looks damn good as a blonde. As always, it's nice to see her in different costumes.

Salli nearly gets the blame for the raid at the chop shop. She saves herself, probably literally, by mock accusing herself. Humor. Everyone's weapon of last resort.

It was also nice to see Elisa in the big sister (or young step-mother) role to Angela. I almost wish we had the time to play that more here.

Now, the question has been raised how Elisa got back on the force again, without getting in trouble after the World Tour. Here's a good part of the answer. She was needed. It's not that Chavez wasn't pissed about the disappearance. But the fact was that Chavez needed an unfamiliar face to infiltrate Brod's organization. Elisa's protracted absense wound up being useful. So Elisa gets in on a major undercover assignment that results in multiple high-profile arrests... and she's back in the fold.

It was also kind of fun to put Elisa in the uncomfortable position of having to protect Dracon.

AH, THE NINETIES...
Payphones. Salli looks wistfully at a payphone. Not that a cellphone would have helped her all that much with Brod watching her every move. But still...

Also, it seems that back in the 90s, a particle-beam weapon could shoot through the metal ceiling of a train... but NOT through seats on the same train. My wife gleefully pointed this out to me.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours...?


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TURF OUTLINE NOTES

In preparation for my next ramble, here are my notes on the outline for Turf... written after story editor Gary Sperling turned in the episode's outline but before work began on the script itself.

You'll notice that I didn't finish my beat outline. Didn't have time. But I got the ball rolling, and Gary was so good, he didn't need me to do the rest...

WEISMAN 5-16-95

Notes on "Turf" Outline...

ANGELA
She can't be a cypher. Nor can she be naive of the Trio's attentions for very long. She can miss it for a beat, then be flattered at first. Then annoyed at their presumptions. We can play the whole range, except non-responsiveness. Also, we'd like to make her fun in her own right. New York (and even the modern world) are still very new to her. Situational excitement can distract her from the Trio's antics. But lets try and get a sense of who she is outside of the context of her parentage.

Also, I feel that we need to know who Angela will wind up with in the long run (assuming there ever is a long run). Gary Sperling and I discussed it, and came to a semi-consensus that Angela and Broadway would make a nice couple. This should NOT be objectively reflected in this episode, and Broadway can make just as big an idiot of himself as Lex and Brooklyn, but if we keep it subtle, I wouldn't mind if viewers were able to look back to this episode and say, "you know, it really started here."

BROADWAY
Independent of his romantic prospects, his appetite seemed overwhelming here. No arguments that he likes to eat. And I have no problems depicting him eating, but I don't want his appetite to ever overwhelm his common sense. No hunting for jalapeños when he's on a covert mission. Food does not become a priority when Elisa or the gargoyles' lives are at stake. And per Gary Krisel, we don't even want him to be talking self-consciously about food. It's a background element to his personality, not a defining element. He's imaginative. He likes to roll play. To have a good time. He likes pop culture. He's a fierce warrior. He's sensitive. Kind to animals. Protective. And, yes, he likes to eat.

CORRUPTION
I'd love at some point (that's that elusive long run mentioned above) to do a story about corruption. But I don't want to depict casual corruption in a story that doesn't have room to deal with it. Xanatos was in prison in "Thrill of the Hunt" and "Enter Macbeth" and got no massive privileges, except maybe a private cell. He ate prison food in the common room, etc. And he was in for a considerably lesser charge and has considerably more wealth at his disposal than Tony. So I don't want to see Dracon bribing guards or living the high life. Again, if our story was about that I wouldn't hesitate. But it's not. So prison is tough and cold and unpleasant. Dracon can have a private cell, a privilege he loses in the epilogue, and he is still running things via communication with Glasses. But he ain't having fun.

ELISA/SALLI
When the story opens, she's already in with Brod. In fact from her point of view, the first scene was designed to be the end of her undercover operation. She leads Brod to hit one of Dracon's illegal operations and the cops bust both sides. The plan is screwed up when she is knocked out before the cops arrive. She comes to later and has to improvise from that point on.

BROD
Brod's not a secret. This is an open turf war between two gangsters. Everyone, Dracon, Glasses, the cops, etc., know who the combatants are. The dilemma for the cops is that they cannot afford to let either side win. The winner would become too powerful. Putting Dracon away is embarrassing evidence of that. His operation is still in place. Elisa and the cops want to take the opportunity that the turf war presents to decimate the operations of both sides.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. Some Dracon operation is raided by rival gangsters led by Brod. Brod's second-in-command is a woman (Elisa/Salli). Brod's men have the drop on Glasses and company, but "Salli" is knocked unconscious in the first early struggle. Suddenly, the raid is raided by the cops led by Chavez and Bluestone. (Morgan can be there too, but Elisa is conspicuously absent.) The cops nail henchmen on both sides, but Glasses and Joey escape (probably via some escape route that was in place for just this kind of police raid). Brod also escapes with the unconscious Salli, maybe to some extent because the cops don't want to fire on "Salli". (Though obviously, we don't want to reveal that here.)

2. In the hovercraft, Salli comes to. What happened? Brod explains that her plan to get the drop on Dracon's lieutenants worked -- until the cops showed up. Brod is generally suspicious, though not paranoid. The cops may have stumbled onto this thing on their own. Or one of Dracon's men might have betrayed the operation, and the Brod raid was just a case of bad timing, an unlucky coincidence. But Brod does not like coincidences. It's very possible that one of his people snitched. He still basically trusts Salli. (The fact that she got knocked out probably doesn't hurt her credibility.) But he doesn't trust anyone 100%. So for the time being, he's not letting anyone out of his sight.

3. Glasses visits Dracon in prison. Dracon orders a counterstrike against one of Brod's new operations.

4.


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Chapter LIX: "Vendettas"

Time to ramble...

Chapter  LIX : "Vendettas"
Story Editor: Cary Bates
Writer: Cary Bates
Director: Bob Kline
Voice Director: Greg Weisman

I don't usually list the voice director for each episode, because it's ALWAYS the same name: i.e. the incomparable Jamie Thomason. Out of 78 Gargoyles and Goliath Chronicles episodes, Jamie directed 77 -- and did a damn fine job on each and every one. This is the only episode I directed. I'd been sitting on Jamie's left hand (not literally, you sickos) throughout the first 58 episodes, and I wanted to take a shot at directing myself. I had done a few pick-up sessions here and there, mostly long distance phone patches with Keith David (who was starring in SEVEN GUITARS on Broadway). But I had never directed an entire episode. So I chose one with a small cast of people I knew very well and who knew me and would cut me some slack... FINDING an episode of Gargoyles with a small cast was no easy task, by the way. I tend toward casts of thousands. (I really drove the WITCH folks crazy this past year.) But Vendettas was perfect. Only five actors: Keith David (as Goliath), Edward Asner (as Hudson), Jeff Bennett (as Vinnie), Clancy Brown (as Wolf & Hakon) and Jim Cummings (as Mr. Acme & the Construction Worker). They were a great group, who made popping my voice directing cherry a pleasure.

In any case, I have a particular fondness for "Vendettas" for this reason. I don't think we got the animation to support the comedy. We didn't get the snappy timing. It's all pretty turgid. But I still think it's a fun story... with a great little cast.

ORIGINS
The title is mine. Originally, back when "Hunter's Moon" was scheduled to be a separate Direct to Video and NOT part of our 52 episode second season order, the ideas in Vendettas were part of two separate springboards. The Wolf/Hakon villain team-up was going to be story edited by Cary Bates. The Vinnie/Pie stuff was going to be story edited by Brynne Chandler Reaves. When Hunter's Moon became our ending three parter, we had to lose three episodes that we were planning to do. One way NOT to lose anything was to combine these two thematically similar stories. Allow the comedy and action to play as counterpoint to each other. It was a great theory. But as I said above, I don't think we had the animation to support the slapstick, and so the comedy falls flat and just winds up undercutting the drama... making this arguably one of our weaker eps. Which doesn't mean I don't still like it a lot. A LOT. Cuz I do. (So depending on your point of view, Brynne either was out of luck or dodged a bullet when I pulled her Vinnie story away from her and combined it with Cary's Hakon/Wolf story. [Brynne was busy on the Gathering two-parter and on Reckoning, so she had plenty to do even without this.])

I think Jeff's performance as Vinnie -- another inspiration for the episode -- is hilarious. And the interaction between Clancy as Wolf and Clancy as Hakon is also terrific. (There's very little difference in the characters voices... just in the performance. Clancy's previous performances in these roles was, of course, another inspiration for the story idea. It came to me one day that Wolf was Hakon's descendant BECAUSE of the voice actor connection. But also because it just felt right.) Plus the normally stellar work of Ed & Keith. I'm not focusing on the voice actors because I directed them, but probably in spite of that fact. They were so great, that even my tyro effort couldn't make them bad.

AXE VS. MACE
Of course, it bothers me to no end that one of the biggest blunders in the series is right here in this ep. The whole haunted battle-axe idea is great. Except that it should absolutely have been a HAUNTED MACE. It should be the Mace that Hakon used to massacre Gargoyles back in "AWAKENING, PART ONE". We should have reestablished that in "SHADOWS OF THE PAST" and used the mace here. Instead we use an axe, which has no resonance for the series. It still drives me nuts. Though it does give us one good line of dialogue: "Tonight is battle-axe night!" I don't know why I like that line so much. Again, I'm sure it's mostly Clancy's reading. But it's still fun.

MR. CARTER & MR. ACME
Of course, the name Carter was chosen (and we had Jim say "Carter" clearly as Acme so that we were legally protected) specifically because it would sound, with Vinnie's dialect, like he was saying "Mr. Kotter". This of course, because Vinnie sounded like Vinnie Barbarino (a.k.a. John Travolta) from the ancient sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter". Mr. Acme's name is of course a tribute to all the wacko-gadgets that the ol' Warner Bros. Coyote got from the Acme company. Vinnie in this episode is our Coyote. (Wile E. as opposed to the Trickster or the robot or Xanatos... although when you think about it, who's to say that the spirit of the trickster isn't present in all of the above.)

Of course (and yes, I realize, I'm saying of course a lot... all of this stuff seems kinda obvious to me... which does beg the question "Why are you writing about it then?" but I guess the answer is, cuz maybe it's not THAT obvious), the idea behind Mr. C. was that the audience would view Vinnie as a comic but real threat. You were supposed to think the gun was a gun. Vinnie threatens Mr. Acme with it. Threatens to "cream" him. But I tend to doubt on your first viewing that "cream" tipped you off to the nature of his ammunition.

There's some nice parallelism with Vinnie talking to Mr. C and Wolf talking to his axe. Of course, Wolf's axe is possessed, and Vinnie's just kooky. But we liked it.

SLUGFEST
Sometimes it's fun just to have an old-fashioned slugfest. Let Goliath and Hudson duke it out with Wolf/Hakon. Not every story has to have three hundred twists and turns. If they did, even that would get old. Sometimes you just want (as a creator, at least) a little satisfying ultra-violence. Even the characters agree sometimes. After the first skirmish, Hudson says: "I enjoyed that." Goliath not so much: "I'm glad SOMEBODY did."

There's a semi-funny double beat that can be hard to catch where Goliath cocks his fist to hit Wolf and accidentally smacks Hudson in the face. Later he NEARLY does it again. I really like that stuff. But I'm not sure the animation pulled it off.

BEING VINNIE
The idea behind Vinnie as he developed over time to this point, was the idea of the shmoe. The guy who just keeps getting nailed by life. Life, in this case, being the gargoyles. They aren't aware of his existence, but they keep trashing him. Vinnie's narration is a riot to me. I love the shock in his voice after Lex takes his bike: "Can you believe it? He didn't know the first thing about motorcycles!"

"Can you believe it?" became Vinnie's catchphrase. Also "Uh oh."

In order to make Vinnie play, we actually had to visually "recast" the guy with the big nose from "Awakening, Part Four". I mean that guy had a REALLY big nose. He looked like Mr. Darling from 101 Dalmations. But I did like the contrast between the two versions of that scene. In Awakening, when Goliath grabs "Vinnie" he pulls him off screen and we hear an off screen BANG. And then "Vinnie" collapses unconscious. The implication being that Goliath knocked "Vinnie" out. Now in Vendettas, it's not off screen. And we see that Goliath BANGED his fist against the bulkhead, and Vinnie... fainted. Yet in his narration, Vinnie is always the hero.

Vinnie's true origins of course are in joke voices that Jeff did off the microphone. But when we had a security guard in "CAGES" that needed to be a bit dim, we had Jeff use the Barbarino voice. Then we ret-conned Vinnie back into the guy with the motorcycle and Big-Nose. There's also a scene with Vinnie that wound up being cut from the script for time from "Hunter's Moon". Remember when Goliath pulls the metal hatch off the Hunters' airship, so that he and Brooklyn and Lex can infiltrate. There was a follow-up scene where Vinnie's walking down the street and the metal hatch comes crashing down -- and nearly brains him. This was just going to be another example of Vinnie's "luck".

And it's just perfect here when after taking the pie, Goliath is asked by Hudson who Vinnie is, and Goliath answers, "I haven't the slightest idea." The gargoyles have no idea how they are changing life in Manhattan... not just by the big battles they win (ala Wolf/Hakon) but in many small ways. Most of these things are good. (Look at Mr. Jaffe, for example.) But they can't all be good. And the gargs can't possibly be aware of all the connections they are making. (BUT I TRIED TO BE.)

Of course, I later used Vinnie in "The Journey" (my one episode of Goliath Chronicles, my farewell episode). Vinnie at the end becomes something of a stand in for me, myself. At that point I knew I was moving to DreamWorks just as Vinnie was moving to Japan. But I also couldn't resist giving Vinnie the opportunity to grow and even be mildly heroic. We tried on Gargoyles to let all our characters grow, even someone as goofy as Vinnie. And seriously, anyone who would chose revenge by pie can't be all bad, right? Or even all stupid. There's something sophisticated in creating a gun that looks threatening... to the idea that you are letting your enemy know that you could have killed him. But instead you chose to hit him with a pie. I'm not recommending this in real life. But it's a bit more advanced than straight out revenge OR straight out pie-throwing.

MISC.
"Since when do Werewolves fly?" It was fun to give a Hakon-possessed Wolf some ghost powers. This may not have been as effective as "Shadows..." but I think we had some play with it.

Hudson gets his "Jalapeña" here.

Wolf to Hakon: "Dream on, Casper!"

Hudson to Hakon: "Hakon Clan-Slaughterer!" I wish we had made more of this. (And again, I think the mace would have helped.) The idea is there, but I would have liked to push it more. Hudson was one of the clan's rookery fathers and grandfathers. He lost a lot -- A LOT -- of gargs he cared about. To Hudson, Hakon is the ultimate evil. I do like his line: "Get an afterlife!" But I do wish we had played this more. The idea was to comment on the foolishness of vendettas, vengeance, revenge, which is -- as a certain DX once said -- a sucker's game. And yet, I would have liked to see Hudson actually taking revenge here. Not just defeat an enemy, but take revenge. Although it seems contradictory, I think it would have helped to illustrate the point. Hakon sought revenge and wound up a victim of it. The cycle continues. This is all mostly there, but I would have liked to play the drama more.

PIE
"And now it's time to take my sweet revenge." And boom, the goofball whom we have been trashing for an entire episode gets the clean kill shot that neither Hakon nor Wolf could achieve. Only he doesn't fire a bullet (or cannon shot or whatever). Rather he fires a pie. The idea of the pie was Brynne's. I seem to recall that she got that off a Superman story she saw or read once. The choice of BANANA CREAM was mine.

That choice was a direct result of a pie memo I wrote to the original staff of Bonkers (including Duane Capizzi and Ralph Sanchez) on what makes a funny pie. We decided on that show (for a character named Gloomy the Clown) that cream pies were funnier than fruit pies (something Gloomy had trouble grokking). And we decided that the funniest possible pie was Banana Cream. So that had to be Vinnie's choice.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours...?


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Chapter LVIII: "The Gathering, Part Two"

Time to ramble...

Chapter  LVIII : "The Gathering, Part Two"
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves and Gary Sperling
Story: Lydia Marano
Teleplay: Lydia Marano and Gary Sperling
Director: Bob Kline

ARE WE GATHERING OR AREN'T WE?
My initial reluctance toward calling this two-parter "The Gathering" revolved around the fact that we weren't actually showing much of the Gathering on Avalon. Basically one extended scene at the beginning of Part One. And then nothing. Nothing in part two at all.

But ultimately, I came to view "gathering" as a more metaphorical concept. Certainly, a lot of folk gather in this puppy even after we leave Avalon. Xanatos, Alex, Fox, Petros, Titania, Oberon, Puck/Owen, Renard, Vogel, Fortress-Two, Cybots, Iron Clan Robots, Goliath, Hudson, Angela, Brooklyn, Broadway, Lexington... etc. We're "all in" here.

The Gargoyle clan regathers. The extended (more extended than we knew) Xanatos family gathers. They form the start of a real alliance, laying the seeds for Hunter's Moon.

And, hey, if we hadn't called the eps "The Gathering", what would we call our annual convention now?

PARENTING
Goliath has clearly learned the lesson Diane Maza sought to teach him in "Mark of the Panther". He not only has no qualms about viewing Angela as his daughter, he
also has come to regard the bond between parent and child as sacred.

David has also learned a lesson or two. Not that he EVER would have let Oberon just take something (anything) that belonged to him, but you get the sense that in discovering in "Eye of the Beholder" that he really did LOVE Fox, he learned that he could love. And that his defense of his son here isn't just defending his property but, as Petros puts it, standing up for his family. That's what Petros is responding to here when he praises his son.

(And you got to admit that for a normal fisherman, Petros handles a lot of weird crap with surprising equanimity.)

Renard has likewise remembered what matters most to him. Not repairing his body or his company, but his family. He may not approve of his daughter and son-in-law, but he sure isn't going to let anyone take his grandson from them. He's a bit defeatist at the end. Maybe a tad self-involved, but being terminal, he may not want his final legacy to be failure. I thought it was nice to see Vogel buck him up some. (Though it was also fun to hear Vogel's flat sycophantic "You're a genius, sir." earlier.)

IRON
I liked the Iron Clan Robots. I wish it was clearer that they were scaled larger than the old Steel Clan. There supposed to be about 20 feet tall. But I'm not sure we ever see them beside anything that defines their height.

Benny suggested that they put the baby in an iron ball. The idea is so simple and brilliant, that I'm embarrassed that I never thought of it. But then, ahem, neither Owen nor David thought of it either, right? So why blame the writing staff, huh?

In general, I feel like we played a little too fast and loose with iron here. Presumably, Petros' harpoon was made of iron. If Oberon can be disabled by the ringing of an iron bell, you'd think an iron harpoon through the chest would have killed him. I guess he's just THAT powerful. It hurt bad, drained him horribly. But ultimately someone would have had to finish him in some way. NOW where is that bell?

Actually, there are moments of weak animation here that almost had me thinking of a whole 'nother way to defeat giant Obie. Moments that seemed cartoony enough so that the solution seemed to be for one of the gargs to fly into Oberon's ear, so that we could see him through the windows of Oberon's open eyes breaking stuff in there.

THE RULES ACCORDING TO OBERON
Oberon: "My decrees are mine to interpret."
Oberon: "Oberon does not compromise. Oberon commands!"

Eh, six of one, half dozen of the other.

He's promised that he won't use magic against Goliath's clan. But he interprets that loosely. He won't turn them into glass statues or zap 'em with a magic bolt. But he feels free to attack them physically with his hair. Or sic magically animated statues on 'em. (Liked those industrial age "gargs", btw.)

Of course those Industrial gargs wind up destroying themselves. Brooklyn says, "It's incredible how often that move works." Which is him covering for us the writers knowledge that we kept falling back on that same solution over and over.

And, hey, what's the deal inside Oberon's cape? Actually, I really like that. It's a nice weird, spooky cool moment to remind us how other-worldly Oberon really is.

XANATOS
You'll notice at the beginning of the episode that Xanatos still feels the need to come up with a cynical excuse for saving Broadway's life. He can't yet simply view him as an ally (let alone friend or fellow), but still as a resource that shouldn't be wasted. I love Jonathan's reading there. The cynicism rings so hollow. He's already going through changes.

By the end of the episode, he'll truly regard the Goliath and the clan in a new light.

"HERE'S PUCK!"
So... honestly? How many of you were surprised? If not by the revelation itself, then by the details, as he tells his history to Oberon. (With "visual aids," no less.)

What we tried to do was let all thoughts of Owen AND Puck fall from your head by this time. There are a couple clues to their dual identity in episodes like "City of Stone, Part One" and "The Mirror", and I felt like there were a TON of hints in "The Gathering, Part One". But in Part Two, we tried to keep even the mention of the two characters to a minimum. So that the audience wouldn't be focused on THAT mystery and we stood a chance of at least catching everyone off guard.

I love X's line: "Owen has all sorts of hidden talents."

I also love Puck's, "I'm on a roll." This is delivered into camera. I always wanted Puck to be the one character in our series who could and would break the fourth wall. But I always met resistance from Frank and Dennis. But this ep was directed by Bob Kline, who tossed me a bone, I guess.

Puck had never played the roll of straight man. I loved that idea. That he would out Vogel Vogel. Of course, when Vogel was first introduced, many fans, as expected, were highly critical of the character. Saying he was just an Owen rip-off. It was great to turn the tables. It made us all feel so clever, as Owen is in fact a Vogel rip-off.

Puck has a bunch of great lines, some of which are probably only great because Brent delivers them so brilliantly...

"Sweet kids, but boring."

"One wish from the Puck or a lifetime of service from Owen"

"He chose Owen". Brent's reading there almost breaks your heart. As Oberon says, it's clear that Puck was impressed by X's choice. In fact, he's clearly touched by Xanatos' choice, by his loyalty. He extends a loyalty back to X that he's never, I think, felt before. As with Titania, it's Oberon's punishment backfiring on him. He sent the Children out into the world to learn humility. To learn to be ... "humane". Oberon himself did NOT learn. But many of his subjects did, and the results don't always please Lord O. Puck is loyal to Oberon because he has to be. But he's loyal to David because he wants to be. Guess which loyalty ultimately wins out?

"You hurt him with that one. Do it again." (LOVE THAT.)

"I've got a sunny disposition, and I'm always kind to animals."

It's also nice to see Puck's demeanor and Owen's side by side. Puck is horrified by his permanent banishment from Avalon. (An elegantly appropriate punishment if I do say so myself.) But Owen takes it in stride, as Owen takes everything in stride, right down to and including a stone fist. (Which is another vindication thing for me. Many people seemed willing to crucify us after "The Price" for the cavalier way that the writing staff and Xanatos allowed Owen to get that fist. But now that they knew that Owen is Puck, and that Xanatos (and the writing staff) knew it all the time, it all makes a bit more sense.)

ODDS & ENDINGS
Talk about elegant though, how about Titania's manipulations... assuming you believe her when she takes credit for everything. Do you believe her?

And no, I'm not going to tell you what she whispered to Fox. At this point, I'm quite convinced that the answer would be anti-climactic. Better left to your own imagination.

Oberon gives us the "Midsummer Night's Dream" reference. I like that.

I also like the last exchange between Xanatos and Goliath, starting with:
X: "Wait!"
G: "What?!"
So suspicious our G, huh?

And I like Goliath's line, "The future is not written yet." And it isn't. Not from their point of view. There's still free will. But certainly, Goliath hasn't forgotten the recent vision that was "Future Tense".

Is it here that Broadway calls Angela "Angie" for the first and last time?


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Chapter LVII: "The Gathering, Part One"

Time to ramble...

Chapter  LVI : "The Gathering, Part One"
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves
Writers: Lydia Marano
Director: Bob Kline

CAVEAT
This episode is/was so jam-packed with stuff that I literally couldn't take notes fast enough. I'm bound to have missed a ton of stuff that I might have wished to comment on. So this ramble is going to be far from comprehensive. Also, all quotes are approximate.

ORIGINS
My original title for the episode was "Reunions". Finally, I think we all agreed that it should become "The Gathering". Originally, believe it or not, this was going to be a one-parter, with "The Reckoning" (then called "Endgame") as a two-parter. We realized that the Gathering was too jam-packed to fit in one part, and made the switch.

WATCHING WITH MY FAMILY
I think generally you'll see fewer comments from my family in the next few rambles. Having become too aware that I was writing down their responses, they started to play to THAT. And thus their responses have become, I think, less authentic and more designed to make good copy. Ah, well...

I will say that wife and kids have taken to calling out "And we live again!" along with Keith over the opening titles. They find it very amusing. :P

THE GATHERING
Sometimes you do just wish there were more hours in the day. Time to figure out who besides the usual suspects (Grandmother, Raven, Anansi, Coyote, Odin, Anubis, etc.) should have been there. Instead, we get some random designs. (Perhaps even some reuse from New Olympians where I had a similar problem?) Still it did give us Nought. So I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

I hate seeing Anubis laughing.

Note that Titania's mirror was broken in "The Mirror" but that Oberon clearly has his own mirror. A matching set. A wedding gift perhaps?

Love the Weird Sisters as Oberon's storm troopers.

Wish we had done more with Puck's flute. Oh, well. Someday.

Love Oberon's treatment of Banshee. "Anything to say?" he asks when she's frozen. And he won't take the magic-gag off until he can hear her be humble. Guy is tough to please.

MEET THE NEW KID
Alexander is born and intro'd to all his eclectic genre-spanning grandfolk. Here's where I thought we were perhaps being too obvious about Owen's secret. But I do love Vogel's reaction to being "accused" of being related to Owen. And I like Owen's reaction to the news of Anastasia's remarriage.

"Alexander Fox Xanatos". A little bit of mom. A little bit of dad. A little bit of world conqueror. A chilling reminder in middle name and hair color of the events of "Future Tense". We expect great things from this kid...

OBERON'S HUNT
The Jogger does our now standard bit where he blames something recently ingested to explain the "hallucinations".

Oberon obviously saw Star Wars. Maybe he thought "Obi Wan" was some kind of tribute to "Oberon".

Like seeing the Eyrie Nightwatchman again. Haven't seen him since "Awakening", I think.

I love the exchange between Oberon and Titania. Mortal jealousy over something as "mild" as an "illegitimate child" is beyond these two. Oberon is amused that Fox is Titania's daughter. (Of course, for S&P reasons, we had to make it very clear that Oberon and Titania were divorced and that Fox was born when Anastasia was married to Renard.) Some good lines here too:

O: "What is exactly is going on?"

T: "I'm gathering even now."

O: "Titania, what have you been up to?"

I like Anastasia's de-glamouring into Titania. It's as if Oberon's magic gives her a physical/sexual thrill. This plays into her relative descriptions of her two husbands. Halcyon proved to rigid for her tastes. Only Oberon can hold her interest. For an immortal, the one thing that she absolutely needs is variety. Only Oberon possesses that kind of infinite variety. He may not be perfect, but for Titania no one else compares.

Oberon's rationale for leaving Fox alone (as she's turned out human), but taking Alex away (as he has the potential to be one of the Children) makes perfect sense to me. Especially when you consider that he's interpreting his own laws.

I also love Oberon's version of not being heartless. "Hey, kids, come on. I'll give you one whole hour with your new born son before taking him away forever, 'kay?" (I told you all quotes were approximate.)

REUNIONS
I dig Travis Marshall, who never resists an opportunity to point out who Xanatos and Fox really are.

Note BWay's response to seeing Elisa again. Note also the Trio's response to Angela. Broadway calls her "Angie" here. And the stuff with the chocolates is classic, I think.

I also love Hudson's line: "We're not the last. We're not alone." That, more than anything else was the main point of the World Tour. It isn't hopeless for the Gargoyles species.

PREPPING FOR WAR
Owen's abandonment is fascinating to me. There was still a piece of me here that felt like we had given his identity away earlier. But if not, this scene is so amazingly confounding. For the first time, Owen seems more in control of the situation than Xanatos. But also for the first time, Owen actually seems frightened. Then he abandons his post in David's greatest time of need. I am curious how many of you figured out either here or earlier that Owen was Puck. And if not, what did you think of this scene.

ELISA & GOLIATH
Elisa: "There's no place like home." And there's no place I won't stick a Wizard of Oz reference when given the chance.

G's basically making (or ready to make) his declaration of love right here on Elisa's terrace. But she stops him. She still views their love as impossible (the species thing). Watching it now, I'm reminded of "Tears in the Rain" that beautiful BLADE RUNNER moment. But I can't remember if we were consciously inspired by that or not.

REVELATION
Given all that gets revealed in this ep, this may seem minor, but it was very important to me. Avalon did not RELEASE the foursome from their quest. Avalon brought them where they needed to be, i.e. Manhattan because of this Alex conflict. After that, in essence, you have to assume that Goliath, et al, abandoned Avalon's quest. Not the other way around.

CLIFFHANGER
Some fun stuff with Morgan here. But I love the notion of Oberon putting the city to sleep. Summons back a bit of CITY OF STONE of course. But how can you do Oberon and not at some point give everyone a midsummer night's dream? Especially Brendan & Margot. (Who are making a comeback soon, trust me.)

Elisa and Travis are fun to see too.

And finally, KING KONG OBERON. Hey, Peter Jackson's not the only one who found early inspiration with the big ape.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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BACK IN BUSINESS... briefly

Happy New Year!

Gorebash, Todd and I are briefly opening the submit function here at ASK GREG. I plan on posting some ramblings soon on "The Gathering, Part One" and "The Gathering, Part Two" and "Vendettas". And I'd love to get your rambles on those episodes as well.

More than that, I'd like to get your response to the new DVD that came out last month.

I also don't mind getting a few legit new questions, but PLEASE... be reasonable. As of now, I'm still nearly two years behind in answering questions. Gore is planning a major retrofit of the site, but until then, it doesn't help to flood ASK GREG with questions that have already been answered or that could be answered much more rapidly in the comment room.

We'll be closing the submit function down at the end of January, 2006. (I don't want to get too much further behind.)

Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you about that DVD,

Greg


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BUFFYVERSE STATS - Year Five

BUFFYVERSE STATS - Year Five

TOP 40 CHARACTER LIST:

Once AGAIN, I'm wasting my semi-valuable time (and hopefully yours) to bring you the latest update in my attempt to catalogue the most significant characters in the BUFFYVERSE. Previous CUMULATIVE updates covered the first, second and third years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After that, the task became more complicated as Buffy's fourth season aired simultaneously (day and date, literally) with the first season of Angel. So the Year Four update included Buffy S4 & Angel S1. This update covers year five, i.e. Buffy S5 & Angel S2.

As you may recall, I've tried to inform this subjective task with an objective formula. I tried, as much as possible, not to allow my knowledge of future events to influence the current standings. Still, I won't deny that subjectives have played a role. It's hard not to take extra notice of a character you know is going to be important later. And ties were broken based entirely on subjective criteria.

The idea behind a cumulative tally is to mimic the original experience of following the Buffyverse. It's a horse race. Some of the winners and losers are decidedly predictable. Others are a bit surprising - surprising enough that it's become absolutely clear that my system must be flawed. I've since dreamed up a new system, but it's too late to implement it. Someday, LONG after I've finished this first survey (but ONLY if I prove truly insane), I might just start over and see what the results are with OBJECTIVE SYSTEM 2.0. But for now - assuming you haven't nodded off - you're stuck with System One.

I have a list of ALL the characters that have appeared in both series up to this point. It's so long (including everything from leads to ridiculously minor characters) that I haven't even bothered to count how many there are. But my list of MOST significant currently tops out at 166 characters.

But I think listing the top 40 is both pleasantly traditional… and plenty. Or largely. I just want to note a few characters introduced (or revisited) in this set of episodes, who haven't yet or never will make the top 40, but whom I believe are memorable enough to merit honorable mention.

Starting with…

#159, 160 - Nikki the Subway Slayer, The Chinese Slayer. The two Slayers that Spike killed.

#142 - Aggie. An aura-reader friend of Lorne's, played by the same actress, who played a character named Aura in episode #1. The oddness of this struck me.

#140 - The Valet a.k.a. Jeeves. A gatekeeper, who nearly gave Darla a third chance at life. He interested me.

#129 - Olaf the Troll. Anya's ex-boyfriend. His hammer was almost more important than he was. But I liked him.

#127 - Gypsy Man. The guy who cursed Angelus into Angel. Appeared in two separate flashback episodes.

#126 - Monk. The guy who turned the Key into Dawn. He had a lovely death scene.

#125 - Dracula. Want to make the point that Anton Martin, who played Dracula, used to be on the soap All My Children. He and Sarah Michelle Gellar played lovers on that show. (Michelle Trachtenberg is also an AMC alum.)

#122 - The Primitive, i.e. the First Slayer.

#115, 116, 151 - Francine Sharpe, Stephanie Sharp and The Skilosh Demon. Mother and daughter and the Demon that killed them after Angel Investigations cured young Stephanie of her third eye. Appeared in multiple episodes.

#112 - Bethany. A telekinetic that Angel saved from Wolfram & Heart and her abusive father.

#102 - Sandy. Sandy first appeared when the Vamp-Willow came to our universe. She was a victim that Vamp-Willow bit. Then two seasons later, she resurfaces as a vampire, whom Riley allows to feed on him. Riley then stakes her. Again, I love that they used someone with continuity for Riley.

#98 - Judy Kovacs. The woman in the fifties at the hotel that appealed to Angel for help and then sacrificed him to the mob and then wound up feeding a demon for fifty years.

#92 - Major Ellis. Riley's new C.O., who takes him away from Buffy.

#91, 105 - Vardell, George. Gunn's boys. Both appear in a couple episodes. Then George gets killed, and Vardell gives Gunn guilt for leaving the hood behind to join Angel's team.

#88 - Danver. Bookstore owner. Two different actors played this character across fifty years and two different episodes. Played a major/minor role in Angel's redemption.

#83 - Merl. Angel's comic informant.

#82, 131, 135 - Warren Meers, Buffybot, April. Robot builder and his creations. Lots of fun. And who new Warren would turn out to be Warren?

#76, 101, 107, 108, 149 - Crazy #1, Orlando, Crazy #2, Crazy #3, Older Nightwatchman. Victims of Glory that appeared in multiple episodes. As always, I give extra credit whenever the series reuses characters instead of creating new ones. Orlando was a Knight of Byzantium.

#75, 128 - Nathan Reed, Gavin Park. New Wolfram&Heart lawyers. Nathan is a place holding upper management type, who takes over after Holland Manners dies. (The second place-holder after a one-shot appearance by Nicholas Surovy, another AMC alum.) Gavin will wind up being Lilah's new foil now that Lindsey has left town.

#74 - Dr. Kriegel. Joyce's doctor.

#65, 66, 106 - Dreg, Murk, Gronx. Multiple recurring scabby demon servants of Glory. Across the season, each of these minions become prominent for a few eps and then vanish to be replaced by another for no particular reason that I could see. Why they didn't pick one and stick with him or her is beyond me.

#53 - Anne Steel. Anne, played by the same actress, is clearly the same character who originally went by the name Chanterelle and later Lily on Buffy. She then took Buffy's (middle) name Anne and recreated herself as an advocate for teen runaways on Angel. They don't reference the Buffy stuff, but it's clear. Nice to see a character grow from being a dumb vampire wannabe to being a strong woman who helps others.

#50, 70, 71, 81, 86, 147, 148, 153, 154, 155 - Fred, Landoc, Head Priest Psyalas, Groosalugg, Lorne's Mother, Constable Narwak, Numfar, Priest #1/Barshan, the Rebel Leader, Rebel #1. Inhabitants of Pylea that appeared in the multiple Pylean episodes that ended Angel's sophomore season. Fred, of course, became Fred. It's fairly clear in hindsight that Joss and company had planned from her first appearance on making her a regular for Season Three. Landoc is Lorne's warrior cousin. Psyalas is the main baddie. Groo is Cordy's surprising love interest. Lorne's mom, played by a male actor is pretty funny. But Numfar, a cousin of Lorne's, is hilarious. The moreso because he is played by a dancing Joss Whedon.

#48 - Virginia Bryce. Wesley's girlfriend for a number of episodes.

#44 - Doc. Played by Joel Grey, he's the most direct cause of Buffy's death.

And before we start, a fond Top 40 farewell to Larry (#47), Principal Flutie (#46), Ethan Rayne (#45), Percy (#43), Parker (#42) and the Annointed One (#41).

AND NOW THE TOP 40
Abbreviations for previous rankings…
Y1 - Buffy Season 1.
Y2 - Buffy Season 2.
Y3 - Buffy Season 3.
Y4 - Buffy Season 4/Angel Season 5.
NR - Not Ranked that year.

#40 - Mr. Trick. Y4: 33. Y3: 18. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. The Mayor's #2 man drops 7 rankings, but just manages to stay in the top 40. Don't look for him to be here after Y6 ends.

#39 - Willy the Snitch. Y4: 30. Y3: 21. Y2: 24. Y1: NR. Willy falls another nine rankings, as his bar appears without him. At least he's mentioned.

#38 - Amy. Y4: 32. Y3: 27. Y2: 23. Y1: 17. I can't remember seeing the rat this season, though she does get mentioned. She only falls six rankings.

#37 - Jinx. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. #37 with a bullet, Jinx is another of Glory's scabby minions, the one that appears in the most episodes. If they hadn't kept switching minions, i.e. if you added Jinx's appearances to those of Dreg, Murk and Gronx (or even just Dreg's), Jinx might easily have been in the top twenty.

#36 - Holland Manners. Y4: 61. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Holland leaps up 25 rankings to join the top 40. He continued to make a couple of appearances even after Darla ate him. But as the first and best of W&H's upper management types, he's pretty memorable.

#35 - Adam. Y4: 26. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Adam, last year's big bad, falls nine rankings.

#34 - The Master. Y4: 27. Y3: 16. Y2: 13. Y1: 8. Buffy's first Big Bad appeared in an Angel flashback that seemed to contradict the Master's nostalgia for Angel in the first season of Buffy. Nevertheless, this flashback allows him to fall only seven rankings, justly lifting him above Adam again.

#33 - Jonathan. Y4: 24. Y3: 17. Y2: 19. Y1: NR. Jonathan, who didn't appear at all this season, drops nine rankings, but he's poised for a comeback.

#32 - Forrest. Y4: 21. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley's ex-best buddy falls eleven rankings.

#31 - Lilah Morgan. Y4: 31. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lilah maintains the exact same rank a year later.

#30 - Glory. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Year Five's big bad is #30 with a bullet. I know Glory isn't anyone's favorite. But I thought she was fun.

#29 - The Mayor. Y4: 19. Y3: 14. Y2: 40. Y1: NR. The Mayor loses 10 rankings. Probably the best of the big bads - unless you count Angelus. But it's inevitable with two series to see even major players like him start to fade when they're not appearing over multiple seasons.

#28 - Graham. Y4: 22. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley Finn's second best friend falls only six rankings, thanks to a couple more appearances this season.

#27 - Maggie Walsh. Y4: 18. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Maggie falls nine rankings, and yet still seems WAY too high up to me. Her top thirty placement above Adam, Glory, the Master, and the Mayor is one of the things that points up a flaw in the system.

#26 - Ben. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Year Five's big bad's alter ego is #26 with a bullet. And here again, a flaw is pointed up. Granted, Ben actually has more screen time than Glory, as he was ALSO part of the Joyce hospital subplot, but it's still stunning.

#25 - Jenny Calendar. Y4: 17. Y3: 13. Y2: 11. Y1: 15. Jenny falls eight rankings, as memory of her begins to fade…

#24 - Lorne, the Host. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lorne is #24 with a bullet. So much fun. It's amazing it'll take seasons more before he officially becomes a regular.

#23 - Harmony. Y4: 25. Y3: 20. Y2: 26. Y1: 18. Harmony keeps bouncing back and forth, climbing two rankings this year with multiple funny Buffy appearances and one funny Angel that reunited her with Cordelia.

#22 - Kate Lockley. Y4: 23. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Angel's cop friend loses her badge and basically exits the series after a redemptive suicide attempt, but at least she's up one ranking. But she'll peak at 22.

#21 - Lindsey McDonald. Y4: 29. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. On the strength of his relationship with Darla, Lindsey climbs eight ranks before hitting the road in his pick-up. He'll be back in Year Eight.

#20 - Francis Doyle. Y4: 15. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Doyle falls five ranks, but stays in the top twenty - as any regular should.

#19 - Darla. Y4: 28. Y3: 23. Y2: 23. Y1: 11. Darla shoots up nine rankings. Amazing what a couple of resurrections'll do for ya.

#18 - Principal Snyder. Y4: 12. Y3: 9. Y2: 10. Y1: 12. Snyder falls six ranks.

#17 - Faith. Y4: 13. Y3: 10. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Faith loses four rankings, with only a brief prison appearance in the first episode of Angel. After that, I guess Angel loses interest in her.

#16 - Drusilla. Y4: 16. Y3: 11. Y2: 8. Dru maintains the same rank, as she re-sires Darla.

#15 - Tara. Y4: 20. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Tara and Doyle switch places on the chart, as Tara rises five ranks. I'm a Tara fan.

#14 - Dawn Summers. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Talk about bullets… Dawn "The Key" Summers enters the rankings at #14. Impressive.

#13 - Charles Gunn. Y4: 37. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Gunn climbs 24 ranks to land within the Baker's Dozen of top characters.

#12 - Riley Finn. Y4: 11. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley leaves the show halfway through the season, resulting in a slight drop off of one ranking. But it's qall downhill from here, pal.

#11 - Joyce. Y4: 9. Y3: 8. Y2: 7. Y1: 7. Joyce's powerful farewell season still has her falling two rankings and out of the top ten for the first time.

#10 - Anya. Y4: 14. Y3: 22. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Anya moves up four more ranks as she finally becomes a regular and joins the top ten.

#9 - Oz. Y4: 7. Y3: 7. Y2: 12. Y1: NR. Well, Oz finally starts to dip, falling two ranks.

#8 - Wesley. Y4: 10. Y3: 15. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Wesley continues his upward mobility, climbing two rungs.

#7 - Spike. Y4: 8. Y3: 12. Y2: 9. Y1: NR. Spike jumps 1 ranking. That may not seem like much but within the top ten, the competition is damn tough. Of course, the current distance between him and #6 is immense. So he may have peaked here.

#6 - Willow. Y4: 6. Y3: 4. Y2: 4. Y1: 4. Willow stays at #6. Again, her being this far below Xander absolutely demonstrates that the system is flawed.

#5 - Cordelia. Y4: 4. Y3: 5. Y2: 5. Y1: 5. Cordelia actually falls one ranking as her boss Angel moves up.

#4 - Angel. Y4: 5. Y3: 6. Y2: 6. Y1: 6. Angel's moving up… Giles better watch his back.

#3 - Giles. Y4: 3. Y3: 2. Y2: 2. Y1: 2. Giles maintains his #3 slot.

#2 - Xander. Y4: 2. Y3: 3. Y2: 3. Y1: 3. Xander maintains his #2 ranking.

#1 - Buffy. Y4: 1. Y3: 1. Y2: 1. Y1: 1. Duh.


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TOMORROW!

December 6th, 2005 is a day that will live in famy!

VOLUME ONE of the SECOND SEASON of GARGOYLES is available on DVD. If you're buying a copy, particularly if you plan to buy from AMAZON.COM, tomorrow is a GREAT DAY to make your purchase! The more sales we can get on DAY ONE, the better. It's like free marketing!!!

And even if you don't have the money... PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD!!!

This three disk set includes 26 uncut episodes...

LEADER OF THE PACK
METAMORPHOSIS
LEGION
A LIGHTHOUSE IN THE SEA OF TIME
THE MIRROR
SILVER FALCON
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
VOWS
CITY OF STONE, PART ONE*
CITY OF STONE, PART TWO*
CITY OF STONE, PART THREE*
CITY OF STONE, PART FOUR*
HIGH NOON
OUTFOXED
REVELATIONS
DOUBLE JEOPARDY
UPGRADE
PROTECTION
THE CAGE
THE PRICE
AVALON, PART ONE
AVALON, PART TWO
AVALON, PART THREE
SHADOWS OF THE PAST
HERITAGE
KINGDOM

These episodes introduce Angela and the Avalon Clan, Thailog, Puck, Halcyon Renard, the Uprgraded Pack and the Illuminati. Depth and history are added to Xanatos, Fox, Demona and Macbeth. There's action, comedy, romance, history, Shakespeare and more...

The disks include a commentary track by myself, Frank Paur and Michael Reaves on all four parts of City of Stone. Plus a mini-documentary about making Season Two that includes myself, Frank, Michael, Thom "Lexington" Adcox, Jeff "Brooklyn" Bennett, Bill "Broadway" Faggerbakke, Brigitte "Angela" Bako and Edward "Hudson" Asner. AND I introduce every episode, hopefully without too much embarrassment!

So buy a set! Give it as a holiday gift to friends and loved ones! And SPREAD THE WORD!!!!

Thanks,

Greg Weisman


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Fraternal Cross-Promotion!

I am pleased to announce the release of "The Best of Dodger Thoughts," a
325-page book featuring the top selections from my brother's Dodger Thoughts website (www.dodgerthoughts.com). Since 2002, Dodger Thoughts has been the leading independent source online for information and insights on the Los Angeles
Dodgers. Now, the best pieces have been compiled in print, with sections on:

--The 2002-2005 seasons
--Dodger history
--Key Dodger players
--Dodger atmosphere: the stadium, the fans, the broadcasters
--Coaching and managing
--Ownership
--The GM's Office
--Baseball and writing
--Plus, a foreword by longtime Dodger broadcaster Ross Porter

Besides providing immediate enjoyment this offseason, "The Best of
Dodger Thoughts" will have long-term worth as a historical resource: a
you-are-there record of an important chapter in Dodger history, as well as
the first printed compendium of blog coverage of the Dodgers. For longtime
readers of the website as well as those who have never seen it, "The Best of
Dodger Thoughts" will be well worth owning. 

"The Best of Dodger Thoughts" can be ordered though this link at Lulu.com -
http://www.lulu.com/content/164688 - or by visiting the Dodger Thoughts
website.

Thanks ...


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SERENITY

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Let's end the suspense right away...

I LOVED THIS MOVIE! I THOUGHT IT WAS GREAT.

But it made me sad, and not just for the obvious reasons that two great characters died... although their deaths are certainly major contributors to the overall cause of my sadness.

But I'm sad because in order to make this film an event -- a motion picture -- in its own right and not just a glorified episode of the series... Joss had to blow a big chunk of the Firefly wad. Yes, the tale was great, but wouldn't it have been even greater spread out across anywhere from 7 to 29 more episodes of the series?

Joss, who's next project is the WONDER WOMAN feature, seems to have graduated to movies. And my overall response is... keeping in mind I'm a huge worshipful fan... what a WASTE!!! This is a guy BORN for series television. For taking characters and building them through nuance and familiarity and suprise. For taking universes and creating them, populating them with myth and incident and humanity. For taking stories and weaving them into intricate, surprising and satisfying tapestries.

In movies -- at least in good ones -- you can get a taste of this. But just a taste. In series television, all this stuff is JOB ONE.

So where's my next FIREFLY/SERENITY fix to come from?

And please don't try to tell me there weren't more stories to tell with Book or Wash. And how will those stories come to light now?

It was a great movie. But... I am left with overwhelming sadness over what an even GREATER series it was and would have been.

Quibbles:

The rescue of River doesn't seem to match up with the version we had been told before. I thought others freed River and deposited her with Simon. I didn't think he was a one-man rescue squad.

I found Simon's deactivation word to be a bit hard to buy. If he knew that word, why wouldn't he have used it in "Objects in Space" when she was waving that gun around? It's not like he knew he'd have to save it for a real massacre.

Some of the extra production values in the film got on my nerves a bit. I'd have rather had MORE old west and less extra goop. But that's just me being a curmdudgeon, I suppose.

If you're the Operative, and you know Serenity's "havens" do you really scorch the Earth... leaving them with no place to go that you're aware of? Or do you use that manpower to stake out these locations... and THEN attack? At this point, he had to know that taking this action would only piss Mal off more.

And what was the point of the Operative killing off River's "doctor" at the beginning. Sure, the dude slipped up. But he posed no threat. And one has to assume that his mind -- pride aside -- presented a valuable resource. So what exactly are we punishing him for? Frankly, the real reason to kill him is to (a) establish the Operative and his own sin of pride and (b) to set up Mal's non-death at the end.

The movie was called Serenity, but she felt like way less of a character in this then in nearly ANY episode of the series. (Although I never liked the title FIREFLY for the series. Too obscure.)

I had hoped to see a bit more of the wonderful population of the series. At the VERY least the guys with the blue gloves. But I guess they all had to make way for what was there.

When Book died, I was totally bummed. I kept thinking, why didn't he go with them to Inara. Then he could have returned to Haven to find the massacre and survived it. I felt like there was so much more to get from his character. I hated to see him go.

When Wash died, I was stunned. I hadn't necessarily expected either of these characters to die. I had done a fairly good job at NOT spoiling things for myself. But the death of Book seemed to qualify as the sacrificial lamb. Like the death of the Magus in "Avalon". So I was really caught off guard by Wash's death.

Now don't get me wrong. They were both good deaths for the characters. Heroic and with strength. Not cheap in any way. And structurally right and sound.

But ... well... see above...

So how exactly did those blast doors open? The Reavers were not supposed to be able to open them from their side. I'm perfectly willing to buy the idea that River is smart enough to over-ride whatever Kaylee had done and open them herself. But when they open, she's standing there in her super-hero bleeding-axe pose - not even standing next to the control panel. So who opened those doors?

Was there always a co-pilot's seat? I don't remember ever seeing that before the moment we see River sitting there.

So do we think that Zoe is pregnant?

Also saw Wallace & Grommit this weekend. Did anyone else notice the bit of song from Wathership Down?


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Hamilton Camp, R.I.P.

I read today that Hamilton Camp passed away.

I first met Mr. Camp, when I story edited the last five episodes of DuckTales. Hamilton was the voice of GizmoDuck.

We worked together again on Starship Troopers, where he played the "Old Ranger".

More recently, I'd seen him live on stage in a number of productions with Glendale's "A NOISE WITHIN" Theater company. He played Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and he was hilarious.

And it doesn't seem that long ago, that I ran into him in Larchmont Village and introduced him to my two kids. We didn't know each other well, but he was always gracious, professional... and FUNNY as hell.

Godspeed, Hamilton.


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BUFFYVERSE STATS

BUFFYVERSE STATS

TOP 40 CHARACTER LIST:

Once AGAIN, I'm wasting my semi-valuable time (and hopefully yours) to bring you the latest update in my attempt to catalogue the most significant characters in the BUFFYVERSE. The first three previous CUMULATIVE updates covered the first, second and third seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After that, the task became more complicated as Buffy's fourth season aired simultaneously (day for day, literally) with the first season of Angel. Since a normal season of Buffy (the first excepted) consists of 22 episodes, the fourth of Buffy added to the first of Angel totaled 44 episodes, and that seemed too long to wait for an update. So the fourth update took 11 eps from each series. Now, this - our fifth update - completes the tally for Buffy S4 & Angel S1. (I think from now on, I'm only going to do an update at the end of each season, so this one'll have to hold you all over for awhile. And you won't see that mid-season update reflected in the rankings below. Just made life too complicated.)

As you may recall, I've tried to inform this subjective task with an objective formula. I tried, as much as possible, not to allow my knowledge of future events to influence the current standings. Still, I won't deny that subjectives have played a role. It's hard not to take extra notice of a character you know is going to be important later. And ties were broken based entirely on subjective criteria - i.e. my personal preference.

The idea behind a cumulative tally is to mimic the original experience of following the Buffyverse. It's a horse race. Some of the winners and losers are decidedly predictable. Others are a bit surprising - in fact in one specific instance, surprising enough that it's become absolutely clear that my system must be flawed. I've since dreamt up a new system, but it's too late to implement it. Someday, LONG after I've finished this first survey (but ONLY if I prove truly insane), I might just start over and see what the results are with OBJECTIVE SYSTEM 2.0. But for now - assuming you haven't nodded off - you're stuck with system one.

I have a list of ALL the characters that have appeared in both series up to this point. It's so long (including everything from leads to ridiculously minor characters) that I haven't even bothered to count how many there are. But my list of MOST significant currently tops out at 112 characters.

But I think listing the top 40 is both pleasantly traditional… and plenty. Or largely. I just want to note a few characters introduced (or revisited) in this set of episodes, who haven't yet or never will make the top 40, but whom I believe are memorable enough to merit honorable mention.

Starting with…

#111 & 112 - Ilsa & Inga. The Swedish twins that Jonathan is bedding in "Superstar". Sex objects? Sure. But it's a great visual joke.

#110 - Vanessa Brewer Weeks. The Blind Assasin from Angel. She was pretty cool. A Daredevil rip-off, but a cool twist on it.

#106 - Scientist #1. Just giving credit for continuity, in that they used the same actor to play a generic Initiative scientist in multiple episodes.

#105 - Roy. Same deal. You need a college student, why not use Roy, who we've met before?

#103 - Mr. Ward. The Washington Bigwig who shuts down the Initiative.

#102 - Mason. You need a college student, why not use Mason, whom we've met before?

#101 - Colonel George Haviland. The first guy to take charge of the Initiative after Maggie Walsh dies. He's mysteriously replaced in a later episode with a new actor playing a new Colonel serving the exact same function… but I can't resist including him here because he was played by John Saint Ryan, who voiced King Arthur in GARGOYLES.

#97 - Miss Kitty Fantastico. Willow & Tara's kitten. Whatever happened to her?

#91 - Angel's Dad. Seminal, even in death.

#86 - Alanna Gunn. Seminal for Gunn.

#83 - Adam's Follower. A vampire who basically got forgotten.

#82 - Reporter. Again, just some points for consistently using the same person.

#81 - Weatherby. Part of the Watcher Hit Squad that was chasing Faith and crossed over from Buffy to Angel.

#80 - Smith. Ditto.

#78 - Ryan. Little kid with no soul, who was more dangerous than the demon who possessed him. A chilling idea.

#76 - Jeera. Other-dimensional freedom fighter and potential love interest for Angel. I remember thinking she'd reappear some day. But nope.

#71 - Detective Clark - Recurring Buffy Police Detective (second in a series) who made a bit of an impression. Again, I thought we'd see more of this guy, but the idea of the cops of Sunnydale beginning to catch on just never, well, caught on… perhaps because that WAS a semi-important part of the Angel series.

#61 - Holland. Not one of the Senior Partners at Wolfram & Heart, but as close as we get. He'll become more important next season.

#54 - Collins. Head of the Watcher Hit Squad chasing Faith.

#53- David Navitt. Nerdy billionaire on Angel.

#52 - Angleman. The #2 Initiative scientist who gets zombified by Adam.

#49 - Colonel McNamara. The Initiative Colonel who stuck… until he bought the farm.

And before we start, a fond Top 40 farewell to Scott Hope, Deputy Mayor Finch, Whistler, Kendra and Devon.

AND NOW THE TOP 40
Abbreviations for previous rankings…
Y1 - Buffy Season 1.
Y2 - Buffy Season 2.
Y3 - Buffy Season 3.
NR - Not Ranked that year.

#40 - Principal Flutie. Y3: 24. Y2: 16. Y1: 9. The original Principal of Sunnydale High is still just hanging on.

#39 - Larry. Y3: 25. Y2: 35. Y1: NR. A former bully, he became one of the White Hats and was killed by the Mayor. Still dead, so he basically peaked last year (while we was still alive), falling 14 slots to 39.

#38 - Ethan Rayne. Y3: 29. Y2: 22. Y1: NR. Giles former friend still looms larger in my memory than his ranking suggests. But he's fallen nine to 38.

#37 - Charles Gunn. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Gunn is #37 with a bullet. Making a big, fast impression in just a few key episodes at the end of the last season of Angel. I'm assuming that they knew they wanted to make him a regular in Season Two, but him getting all the way into the top 40 this quickly came as a surprise.

#36 - Percy. Y3: 26. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Percy, an obnoxious basketball player from Sunnydale High, drops 10 rankings in a year, but is still hanging on to the top 40 thanks to the fact that he humiliated Willow at a Sunnydale U Frat Party. He's still not even vaguely interesting as a character. But he keeps showing up.

#35 - Parker Abrams. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. The second guy that Buffy ever slept with. A real jerk. But he was pretty important this one season.

#34 - The Annointed One. Y3: 19. Y2: 14. Y1: 10. The Master's mini-me drops 15 rankings this season. Odds are after next one, he'll be a mini-memory.

#33 - Mr. Trick. Y3: 18. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. The Mayor's #2 man also drops 15 rankings. Not a good season for early season second bananas.

#32 - Amy. Y3: 27. Y2: 23. Y1: 17. Her continuing appearances as a Rat - including one brief but hilarious transformation back to human, are keeping her in the top 40, but she still falls 15 rankings.

#31 - Lilah Morgan. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. #31 with a bullet for this Wolfram & Hart attorney. She's a comer.

#30 - Willy the Snitch. Y3: 21. Y2: 24. Y1: NR. I thought that maybe Willy was gone for good, but he made one more appearance in a nice Buffy/Riley/Willy scene. He still falls, but only nine rankings. Less precipitous than some.

#29 - Lindsey McDonald. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. #29 with a bullet for this Wolfram & Hart attorney. Another comer. Is it a coincidence that both Lindsey and Lilah have the initials LM?

#28 - Darla. Y3: 23. Y2: 23. Y1: 11. Hard not to slip a bit (5 rankings) when you're a vampire who's been staked. But Darla's poised for a bit of a comeback, as flashbacks and the last Season 1 episode of Angel indicated.

#27 - The Master. Y3: 16. Y2: 13. Y1: 8. Buffy's first Big Bad appeared in a shortened first season, so has fallen (11 rankings) out of the top twenty.

#26 - Adam. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Buffy's latest Big Bad zips past the Master, but not (thankfully) past the Mayor.

#25 - Harmony. Y3: 20. Y2: 26. Y1: 18. Harmony keeps bouncing back and forth. She's dropped five rankings, but she's still up there.

#24 - Jonathan. Y3: 17. Y2: 19. Y1: NR. Jonathan drops seven rankings, but his single appearance this season in "Superstar" was darn memorable.

#23 - Kate Lockley. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Angel's cop friend started out as a potential love interest, but has become something closer to an enemy.

#22 - Graham. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley Finn's second best friend climbed this ladder on the basis of screen time, I guess.

#21 - Forrest. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley's best buddy at the Initiative and the Fraternity at least has the virtue of being cyber-demonized into a Second Banana.

#20 - Tara. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Tara appropriately climbs halfway up the top 40 in her first season.

#19 - The Mayor. Y3: 14. Y2: 40. Y1: NR. The Mayor loses 5 rankings. Probably the best of the big bads - unless you count Angelus. But it's inevitable with two series to see even major players like him start to fade when they're not appearing over multiple seasons.

#18 - Maggie Walsh. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. But this is just wrong. One of the things that points up a flaw in the system. It's one thing for her to be ahead of Adam. He didn't even show up until WAY into the season. But how does she jump ahead of the Mayor. You figure Maggie & Adam together might equal the Mayor. But no…

#17 - Jenny Calendar. Y3: 13. Y2: 11. Y1: 15. Still maintaining a good number. Made a deep impression.

#16 - Drusilla. Y3: 11. Y2: 8. Dru has fallen five ranks, but she's still way up there.

#15 - Doyle. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. With his midseason death, Doyle's got nowhere to go but down. But I loved this character. He was a blast. And his death really did catch me off guard. His ranking was really helped by Angel having such a small regular cast initially. It gave him a lot of screen time and story points.

#14 - Anya. Y3: 22. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Anya's admirably fills the Cordelia role, but even by the end of Season 3, she's still not a regular. But she's moved up eight rankings over last season.

#13 - Faith. Y3: 10. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Faith loses three rankings due to coma.

#12 - Principal Snyder. Y3: 9. Y2: 10. Y1: 12. Snyder falls three ranks, to equal his season one score. Pretty good for a dead guy, but he was helped by a dream appearance right out of Apocalypse Now.

#11 - Riley Finn. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley just misses entering the top ten. A new regular (hopscotching over Anya).

#10 - Wesley. Y3: 15. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Wesley's midseason reappearance, joining Angel's small cast allows him to rise 5 rankings.

#9 - Joyce. Y3: 8. Y2: 7. Y1: 7. Joyce has barely appeared this season, but she was so high up that she only lost one rank.

#8 - Spike. Y3: 12. Y2: 9. Y1: NR. Spike jumps 4 ranks, as he becomes a regular.

#7 - Oz. Y3: 7. Y2: 12. Y1: NR. Well, Oz is done, but he's high enough to maintain his ranking. It's all downhill from here. Still, I'm sure he'll remain in the top 40 forever.

#6 - Willow. Y3: 4. Y2: 4. Y1: 4. Maggie was a small hint, but Willow's #6 ranking absolutely DEMONSTRATES that the system is flawed. Of course, we expect Angel, now the lead of his own show, to pass Willow. And I get how Cordelia's position as Angel's Gal Friday on Angel gave her a ton of screen and story time. And Cordy was close enough to Willow, to allow her to pass our young Wicca. But how did Willow fall so far behind in the first place? How is it that she's so far behind Giles and Xander that she's vulnerable to fall two ranks?

#5 - Angel. Y3: 6. Y2: 6. Y1: 6. I'm mildly surprised that even as the Lead of his own show, Angel's still behind Cordelia, his second banana.

#4 - Cordelia. Y3: 5. Y2: 5. Y1: 5. See above. She's #2 in a tiny regular cast.

#3 - Giles. Y3: 2. Y2: 2. Y1: 2. Giles falls one rank. Still the number 3 guy, which is tops, but his Season Four fears that he has no roll in Buffy's life may have a basis in reality.

#2 - Xander. Y3: 3. Y2: 3. Y1: 3. Xander moves past Giles into the #2 spot. This doesn't surprise me… except again as it relates to Willow. How did he pass Giles and Willow doesn't? It's just counter-intuitive.

#1 - Buffy. Y3: 1. Y2: 1. Y1: 1. Duh.


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Greg Guler Responds...

Hey gang...

The other day, I got the following question here...

Audra writes...

Hi Greg,
I was just wondering, how tall is Elisa? I am an 18 year old female and I am pretty tall myself. I am 5'7. And Elisa seems like a tall woman to me. I was wondering if she is as tall as me or taller. Thank you Greg!

I responded...

I don't know. It would be a good question for my CreatureComics.com partner, art director, Greg Guler. I'll ask him.

Here's Greg Guler's response:

Hey guys. Although it's never been figured out in feet
and inches, I figure she has to be at least that tall
in order for her be as tall as she is with Goliath,
and make decent eye contact.
Greg G.

So there you go. You asked Greg, and a Greg answered. All part of the service here and at CreatureComics.com.


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Troubies

In my praise of the Troubador Theater Company, I forgot to include their website address:

www.troubie.com

The website itself may not be that impressive, but bookmark it for future reference. Heck, a bunch of you are coming to Gathering 2006 in Los Angeles. Maybe we can all plan to attend a Troubie show together.


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"Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1599..."

Yesterday, I took my kids to see "Hamlet, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Of Denmark". It's a fairly faithful adaption of Shakespeare's Hamlet, set to the music of Prince with a ton of clown shtick thrown in for good measure. For folks of a certain age, like me, who remember the 1984 joy of total emersion in Purple Rain, it was a blast. And my kids really liked it too. Plus, hey, Shakespeare to boot!

And all of it, the brilliant work of the Troubador Theater Company. Matt Walker, who directed the show and leads the company and plays Hamlet, is an f-ing genius.

(Oh, and that guy on stilts... Whoah!)

I think this is my favorite Troubie show since "A Midsummer Saturday Night's Fever Dream".

The talented Troubies are celebrating their tenth anniversary. Other shows of theirs include:

"Fleetwood Macbeth"
"The Comedy of Aerosmith"
"It's a Stevie Wonderful Life"
"Alls Kool that Ends Cool"
"A Christmas Carol King"
"Funky Punks with Junk in their Trunks"
"Santa Claus is Coming to Motown"
"Twelfth Dog Night"

Coming in November... "Little Drummer Bowie"

If you're in L.A., you really don't want to miss it.


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G2005 - Tuesday, August 2

G2005 - Tuesday, August 2

8:30am. We hit the road back for Los Angeles. Reading Harry Potter most of the way. (Although we didn't actually finish the book until just last night.) We stopped for lunch at Tommy's (chilicheeseburger, chilidog, fries, coke)... and we were home again by 2pm. That's five and a half hours, including the hour-long lunch break. Half the time it took Thom and I to fly to Vegas. Oh, well.

After that, it was Unpack, Nap, Dinner. Beth made a great home-cooked meal of Meat, Corn, Mushrooms and Strawberries.

More Harry Potter. Did some actual work on W.I.T.C.H.

Then finally bed.

So ends my journal.

Please, everyone post your G2005 CONJOURNALS to ASK GREG by the end of August. I've asked Gorebash to shut down the ASK GREG Submit function at about midnight on August 31st. So before memories get even hazier, please take a few minutes to write up your experiences and cut and paste them here.

Thanks.


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G2005 - Monday, August 1

G2005 - Monday, August 1

11:30am. I went down to the art room to collect the kids' art that hadn't sold. (Some of it had!) Spent the entire day saying good-byes to various people as they took off.

12:00pm. Time for my final panel: Creating Original Properties. Talked about DOC SHAKESPEARE. Also showed the animatic "sizzle tapes" for MECHA-SAPIENS (which I developed with Vic Cook and Greg Guler) and KIDD/HERO (which I developed with DAG Entertainment and Vic Cook). Thom came in during the panel to say his goodbyes. Hopefully, he had an easier flight back to L.A. than the one that brought us here.

1:30pm. The auction began with a piece called "Bonanza" by Spike -- which depicted Hudson, Brooklyn, Lexington & Broadway as (respectively) Ben, Adam, Joe and Hoss Cartwright. Now the day before in the silent auction, my daughter had put in a bid on Liz's "Leo" piece and gotten it. And my son had bid $5 on Bonanza. All this was done with Beth's permission. We were willing to buy them each a five-dollar piece of art. But Benny noticed that someone had bid $10 after him on Bonanza. Without asking us, he bid $15. That someone then bid $20. And Benny bid $30!!!!! Thus sending the thing to the live auction on Monday. We were stunned. But he offered to pay in the money he made on his art, so I told him that if the bid didn't go beyond $30 in the live auction, I would get it for him.

So anyway, Bonanza came up for bid. I bid $30. And then... I made faces. Yeah, Spike, I'm truly sorry. No one was forbidden from bidding higher. (And the person who had bid against Benny had already left the con.) But I'm not sure anyone was willing to bid against me or my mock-scowl, so $30 is all you get.

The kids love all the artwork they got from Liz and from Spike and from Jade. Beth has framed or is framing it all. It all goes up on their now very crowded walls. Karine also drew me a picture that I am very fond of -- though I don't see us putting it up on the wall.

I did some signing during the auction. But I also wandered around a bit. Fusion Demon had lost her Doc Shakespeare script, and I found it and returned it. But I also found Thom's script -- which I guess he had given to her -- and didn't realize it wasn't up for grabs. So it got auctioned off for $150. Thom's pants went for big money too, I think.

3:00pm. Closing Ceremonies. Brief and to the point.

4:00pm. A group of us went to Quark's for dinner. Patrick, Tony, Andrea, Trishanna, Cindy, Kyt, Julie, Karine, Jen, Seth, Seth, Jade, Scott, Marina, Liz. I finally got that messy burger that I've been wanting since San Diego. Plus onion rings AND fries.

7:15pm. Then I took a taxi back to the hotel. Packed up.

8:15pm. Checked out of the hotel and waited outside. Saw that guy in the big Top Hat. I'm sorry, I'm blanking on your name, but we had a nice talk.

8:30pm. Beth, Erin and Benny picked me up and we drove to my in-laws, where we read chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. And I had a blueberry muffin, minestrone soup and juice. I was still pretty wired, even after the family went to bed.

3:00am. Went to bed myself.

I'll wrap up this ConJournal tomorrow...


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G2005 - Sunday, July 31

G2005 - Sunday, July 31

10:00am. Erin, Benny & Beth arrived at the hotel. They had actually arrived in Vegas the day before, but they were staying at my in-laws house, so I hadn't seen them since Thursday morning. We got them checked in, badged up and showed them the art show. Hung up a couple more of Benny's pictures.

10:30am. Second Day of Auditions with Thom & Jen. Erin auditioned, and did great. We had a number of good people the second day too.

11:45am. Jen & Thom & I went back to Guadelajara's again for our casting lunch. I had a Roast Beef Dip, Fries and a Pepsi. We had some really tough casting choices to make. A lot of good people for only 16 roles and two understudies.

1:00pm. Jen & I posted cast lists at five different locations. I wasn't going to take any chances.

1:30pm. Had a panel next on W.I.T.C.H., the series that I'm working on now. The location got tossed around a bit, but we finally wound up in the ConSuite. I showed the animatic "Pilot" created by the series' first set of producers, who were pushed sideways a bit by Disney, who replaced them with a second set of producers, who were the showrunners for the first season. All four of those producers were then let go, and I did Season Four. I tell this story to show that it can happen to anyone in this business. God knows, it's happened to me. Anyway, it was a fun panel, but I felt very restricted as to what I could talk about. I don't think the entire first season has aired yet, and I didn't want to spoil anything for their stuff, let alone MY second season stuff, which won't begin airing until December at the earliest. But next year's WITCH panel at G2006, should really kick some ass. We'll have a bunch of writers and actors there. Anyway, I recommend checking out the show. We have some really fun stuff planned. It's one of the most fun shows I've EVER worked on.

3:00pm. We had our Radio Play Rehearsal. Everyone showed up, which meant our understudies didn't have much to do, but I hope they enjoyed the process at least. I had fun. It was a great group.

4:30pm. The Radio Play. Again, everyone showed up. This year we were doing an original live-action pilot called "DOC SHAKESPEARE", written by myself & Samuel Bernstein. *UNSOLD*.

Here's the cast list:

Susanna Shakespeare - Laurean Broadbent
Judith Shakespeare - Jen Anderson
Mike Santos - Erik Mambu
Jeff Wylie - Seth Jackson
Anita Santos - Kaylle
Luís Santos - Eric Tribou
Tess Derbyville - Sarah McEvoy
Hamnet Shakespeare - Erin Weisman
Aaron Moore - Adam Leigh
Lewis Santos - Echo Eberle
Arthur Soames - Revel
Ralph - Thom Adcox
Jonas Kent - Alex Garg
Doris - Lanny Fields
Mort - Bruce Lane
Nathan - Vani Shaw
Understudies - Tracy Prelog, Anthony Zucconi
Narrator - Greg Weisman

Everyone really did a great job. I was very pleased with the response.

5:30pm. The family and I went back to my hotel room, to hang out for a while.

6:00pm. Banquet. The four of us were told where to sit, but we were sitting alone and there was some confusion as to how or whether anyone else was supposed to be chosen to join us. Eventually, the Leonard Family (Susan, Robert, Chloe & Carly) joined us and so did GXB, though I think we were too dull for Greg, as he bailed on us at some point. It became a very family oriented discussion there. Erin won the big Gargoyle centerpiece, and Susan was very nice and gave Benny the Garg Puzzle Cube thing. Appreciated, but very unnnecessary. The food was great, I thought. Salad, veggies, rice, eggplant, meat, onions.

No Q&A -- which surprised me. I guess there's just not much left to ask me and Thom. Though I'd think everyone would have wanted a shot at Dave.

After dinner, we went upstairs again and the kids changed into their costumes. GREAT COSTUMES -- created of course by Eden. Last Halloween, Cindy made Benny a Goliath costume (which he reprised for the con) and Erin a Marilyn Monroe costume (which Cindy then added wings to, to transform it into a HOLLY costume, i.e. the mascot of G2001 & G2006).

After they were dressed, we went down to Lanny's room, where Benny got painted purple and Erin got a few make-up highlights. We hung out there awhile with Cindy, Abram, Jen, Karine, Lanny, etc.

9:00pm. Dave, Thom and myself judged the costume contest (after dessert - apple pie, Banana Cream Pie, Swan Puff, Pepsi). Some great costumes...

Junior Division
Erin's Holly won best non-canon character
Benny's Goliath won best canon character
Fusion Demon won best cosplay

Senior Division
Noel's Werefox (with an honorable mention to Jade's La Belle Elisa) won best cosplay.
Eden's sexy Banshee won 1st in canon.
Revel's great Jackal won 2nd in canon.
Onyx won in non-canon.

Tony & Thom won cutest couple.
Andrea won the Thom Adcox Memorial Award.

Shara as Future Tense Brooklyn won both the Gorelisa Award and Best in Show.

Beth, Erin & Benny left at that point to head back to my in-laws and call it a night.

We gave out the art awards too, but I didn't write all those down. I know that Liz's amazing Zodiac series won Best in Show, among others.

After that, I just hung out talking... which is of course one of my favorite things...

Who was there? Thom, Seth, Tony, Andrea, Carol, Dave, Marina, Flanker, Ahkento, Liz, Trishanna, Jen, etc. (I know I'm missing a ton of people. Sorry.)

Finally, we called it a night....

More soon...


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GARGOYLES DVD - SEASON TWO, VOLUME ONE

GANG - IT'S OFFICIAL!!!

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has authorized me to reveal the following:

The Gargoyles Season 2 (Volume 1) DVD was announced to the BVHE sales force this past Friday.

Here are the details:
--First 26 episodes of Season 2.
--3-disc DVD set.
--Available on DVD December 6, 2005.
--$39.99 SRP US.

Bonus Features:
--Episode Introductions by Greg Weisman.
--Audio Commentaries on "City of Stone" Four-Parter.
--The Gathering of the Cast and Crew (featurette).

More info as I get it...


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GARGOYLES DVD - SEASON TWO, VOLUME ONE

GANG - IT'S OFFICIAL!!!

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has authorized me to reveal the following:

The Gargoyles Season 2 (Volume 1) DVD was announced to the BVHE sales force this past Friday.

Here are the details:
--First 26 episodes of Season 2.
--3-disc DVD set.
--Available on DVD December 6, 2005.
--$39.99 SRP US.

Bonus Features:
--Episode Introductions by Greg Weisman.
--Audio Commentaries on "City of Stone" Four-Parter.
--The Gathering of the Cast and Crew (featurette).

More info as I get it...


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G2005 - Saturday, July 30

G2005 - Saturday, July 30

10:30am. Aborted Mug. I showed up. So did Carol. But no one else... :(

Oh, well. Gave me a chance to have breakfast with Carol and Dave Schwartz -- again at Guadelajara's. (Tomato juice, scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, pancakes.) I'm afraid I didn't really have the opportunity to sample many of the Palace's restaurant options. Didn't even make it to the Buffet. But I always love breakfast food.

12:00pm. Next up, Dave and I (Thom was a no-show) took on the Development and Production Panel, discussing the entire process of creating and producing an animated series from start to finish. That was fun. Just hanging with Dave is fun. He's a great guy. I hope a bunch of you got a chance to get to know him.

1:30pm. Voice Acting Panel with Thom. I think this went very well. I'm using the same materials I've been using for years, and I should probably get some new ones... but (a) it's hard to find the time and (b) these materials really do a great job at illustrating the basic (very basic) points that Thom and I want to emphasize in the panel. But people must be getting sick of them. Well, we'll see about next year. Anyway, we had some good readers. It was fun, and a nice preamble to...

3:00pm. Auditions. The first set. As is traditional, Thom and Jen and I handled auditions while Cat (Kat?) and ... and... ARGH... I'm blanking out on another name... worked the door. We got some very good people. We were to have more auditions the next day, but Day One gave me confidence that we'd be able to cast the show.

4:30pm. Next up was the SLAVE LABOR GRAPHICS, CREATURE COMICS.COM panel with myself, Dan Vado and Marty Lund. Dan showed his slide show, which included glimpses of all his upcoming Disney Licensced Books: TRON, HAUNTED MANSION, WONDERLAND and, of course, GARGOYLES. For that all we have to show is one gorgeous NEW piece of pro-art depicting Goliath and Elisa. Illustrated by CCC Art Director Greg Guler and colored by the folks at SLG, the piece really kicks some ass! We talked about the upcoming GARGOYLES comic. A lot is still up in the air, but we're all now fully committed to getting this book out in the first half of 2006 -- i.e. sometime between January and June. I know that's a pretty big window, but we'll keep you posted as we begin to nail things down.

Dan was very favorably impressed by the Garg fandom and plans to make SLG a BIG presence at next year's Gathering 2006 in Los Angeles.

6:00pm. We all wanted to grab some dinner, but the wait at Macaroni Grill was like FOREVER. And I had a poker tournament to play in at 7:30pm, and many of the girls were planning to take off to throw Laurean her bachelorette party. So we (me, Adam, Lexy, Tony, Andrea, Patrick, Anna, Si, Marty, Jen, Karine and Kyt) wound up eating at McDonalds (#2 meal and a peach pie).

Si, Lexy, Jen, Cindy, Kyt, Andrea, Trishana and Karine took off for the aforementioned party. And the MEN headed for the Poker Tourney.

7:30pm. Charity Poker Tournament. Competing were myself, Marty, Tony, Eric, Adam, Chris and Thom. All for great charities. (Mine was Daphneyland, a Basset Hound Rescue Organization in Acton, California -- where we got our two new dogs, Abraham and Sami.)

I had NEVER played Texas Hold'em before, but Kathy bought me a book: "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Poker". It was somewhat helpful... though it did make me feel like: "If this is the Idiot's Guide, I need the Moron's Guide." But I did pretty well. We had a pro dealer named Matt. Heavy chips. Good times.

I busted Tony out first. That shocked him, I think. Marty then got killed by Thom, who went out next. I think I slammed him when he thought he had won with two aces in the hole, but I had something like three of a kind or two pair or a full house or something.

Adam then bit the dust, and it was down to myself, Gore and Chris. Chris had been playing slow and easy, letting us all take each other out. But by the time we were down to three, Gore was nearly busted, and I had a decent pot, but Chris had almost all the play money. It finally came down to one hand where both Gore and Chris went all in. I knew I could fold and stay in the game for longer, but I felt it would just be a game of attrition at that point. If Chris took Gore out, I wouldn't have the resources to fight him. So I gambled on a weak hand... and lost. (Though I did beat Gore, to come in second.)

Anyway, I did pretty well and had a great time. It was fun to play with other people's money. I'd do that again anytime!!

9:30pm. I led a HUGE crowd to the Station's Ice Cream Store. Don't remember all who were there, but I know it included myself, Thom, Tony, Lanny, Marina, Ryan, Patrick, Norcumi, Carol and Dave. I had a Banana Royale.

Then we stopped by the Arcade, but that doesn't really jazz me. I asked what else we could do. (I usually run out of ideas after food.) Someone suggested swimming... so we made our way to the pool.

10:00pm. Took a quick couple of dips in the main pool, but we mostly hung out in the jacuzzi: me, Lanny, Adam, Scott, Carter, Thom, Seth, Eric, Tony, Marty and Marina -- the one brave girl willing to hang with ten dopey guys. Marina, whom I remember as a KID from G1997 is a real sweetie. *But man does she make me feel old!*

12:00am. Called it a night, when the guard kicked us out of the pool.

2:30am. Turned out the lights and went to sleep.

More coming soon...


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G2005 - Friday, July 29

G2005 - Friday, July 29

ConJournal continues...

The Guadelajara Restaurant in the Palace Station bookends my day.

Started there in the morning, eating alone: eggs, toast, sausage, hash browns.

Then I checked in at the front desk, I believe, before heading upstairs for my first Mug-A-Guest at...

12:00pm. Fan was there, and Daniel and Doug, I think. And others. But I can't remember now. (Please forgive me, as always, if I left you out.) We had a nice fairly open chat, I think. Friendly and intimate, which is the whole point of Mugs.

1:15pm. Then I think I helped Carol carry a bunch of the Gargoyles Production art that she had brought down to the art room. (And a shout out to Johanne Beaudoin at Disney for helping arrange this for us.) I also set up the art panel for my kids stuff. I also spent some time admiring all the great fan art.

3:00pm. Next up, the Writing for Animation Panel. I'm afraid I had nothing prepared for this one, so I talked a little about the writing process, and then opened it up to Q&A. Somehow, we managed to fill the time. I hope it was somewhat interesting and/or informative.

4:15pm. By this time, I was hungry again. So it was time for a late lunch across the street at the Macaroni Grill with Jen, Si and Patrick. Still, I didn't want this to be my dinner, so I just ordered a Fried Calimari appetizer.

6:00pm. Opening Ceremonies. Chris spoke. And Jen intro'd the 2006 convention in Los Angeles. Eventually, it was my turn... and I had a lot to cover:
--Talking about the DVDs (First Season out, Volume One of Season Two coming this winter (probably December)).
--the Comics (due out in the first half of 2006).
--A BIG YEAR FOR GARG FANS!!!
--I thanked the current staff: Chris, Lanny, Carol, Kathy, Lynati, Winterwold, Dreamie, Aaron, Hudson & Seth.
--Nearly forgot to thank Thom.

Then I had stuff to play.
--We had pre-recorded Audio Greetings from Kath Soucie and Keith David. That Keith greeting went over very well.
--Then we had pre-recorded Video Greetings from myself, Thom, Michael Reaves, Frank Paur, Jeff Bennett, Bill Faggerbakke, Brigitte Bako and Ed Asner. Those also seemed appreciated.
--I showed a teaser from the Second Season DVD extras. People seemed to like that too.
--I skipped showing the Gargoyles Pitch that I show most years, as it now appears on the first season DVD. Instead, I had dug up a tape that I had forgotten existed: it's an earlier version of the pitch, with older art, read by Jim Cummings. Next year, I may show both.
--Showed the Garg Promo and Garg Presentation videos, as always.
--Showed the New Olympian & Dark Ages pitches, as always.
--Showed Bad Guys, as always.
--Instead of playing the Audio to "The Last", we had a special treat. Vashkoda did an amazing job of editing, coloring and adding music and effects to The Last, based on the audio tape, script and storyboard. It looked just great. The work only really covered ACT ONE of the episode, but I'm really hoping that some of you artistic types will contact her. If every artist in the fandom just boarded one scene, then by next year, we might have a "new" episode totally completed.

After the Ceremonies, a bunch of us went looking for a place that could handle a large dinner party. We (myself, Carol, Kathy, Thom, seth, Marina, Eric and Scott) wound up at Pasta Palace, where I had bread, minestrone, Veal Picatta and mashed potatos.

Also finished in time, so that I didn't need to run to the Blue Mug... though somehow Thom managed to be late.

10:00pm. Blue Mug. A few Blue moments and a stunning near-psychic moment from Andrea Zucconi. ;) But mostly it was just fun talking until late into the night.

Then, as noted above, it was back to bookend the night at the Guadelajara for Banana Cream Pie and "milk". (In quotes, because it was undrinkable.) I think that was me, Kathy, Lynati, Norcumi, Aaron, Emambu, GXB, Tony & Andrea. And... and... i can totally picture him, but I am just blanking out on the name. (SORRY!!!)

Then I called it a night.

More tomorrow...


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G2005 - Thursday, July 28

G2005 - Thursday, July 28

And so begins my annual ConJournal. As I've stated before, it would be very much appreciated if all of you who attended would post your conjournals, diaries, etc. here at ASK GREG. I know there are other places to post them, including the new Gathering Archives, but please ALSO cut and paste the things and put them here too. This is a location Disney is already aware of. In the past, it's helped them to see the fandom taking such a passionate interest.

Okay, the usual caveats... I may misremember some stuff, may leave out some people, reorder events, etc. For that -- in advance -- I apologize.

I do not apologize that most of my conjournal is dedicated to the discussion of what I ate. That's just who I am. Live with it.

Also, some thank yous off the top to Chris Rogers and this year's AMAZING CONSTAFF. GREAT JOB! As always, I had a BLAST at the convention! And you guys did it all!

Okay, here goes...

For the first time in ages, I was taking a non-working vacation. Wasn't even bringing a script to read on the plane. So Thursday morning I woke up and didn't go into the office.

10:30am. Instead, I went to my kids' summer camp to see the neat furniture that my son had built in his furniture building class: a chair (which he named "bacon & eggs") and a table (which he called "hot dogs and mustard"). It was pretty amazing stuff. I said my good-byes to Beth, Erin and Benny. I wouldn't be seeing them again until Sunday at the con.

11:00am. I went home to pack. Had a bit of time to kill, so I had a snack of apple, cheese and salami, while watching a bit of ALL MY CHILDREN, a soap I've watched on and off since the 70s.

12:15pm. Note the time. This is when I departed my house. The car that Carol Wagner arranged picked me up and got me to Bob Hope Airport in no time at all. There, I met up with Thom Adcox. I checked in while he waited to retrieve his cellphone from the driver of his car. Then we went to the gate. We grabbed some lunch (Turkey Sandwich, Chips, Three Musketeers bar, Water, Perrier, Licorice Wheels) and sat and talked.

2:55pm. The flight does NOT leave as scheduled. It's late arriving from Oakland.

4:00pm. We board the plane. Thom gives me some Tootsie Rolls. We wait. Eventually, we depart. I doze off. I wake up, having just missed a P.A. announcement. Seems we're very close to L.V., but we're being redirected. There are thunderstorms in L.V. and unfortunately, since we left Burbank in a hurry -- trying to make our "landing window" -- we didn't take the time to refuel. So now we don't have enough fuel to circle Las Vegas indefinitely. Instead, they send us back to Ontario, California. That's almost all the way back to Burbank.

We land and stay on the plane while they refuel. They give us peanuts. Then they tell us we won't be departing for another hour and a half, so they let us deplane. Thom and I go to Carl's Jr. and order food. Then suddenly a Southwest person comes running through the terminal, telling us all to get back to the plane immediately... we're about to take off. So we grab up our food and reboard... and sit... and wait... and sit... and wait...

One thing I will say is that everyone on that plane maintained a VERY good attitude. Good spirits. You'd expect some nastiness given all the delays ... but it never happened.

I ate my Carls -- Sourdough Bacon Cheesburger, Fried Zucchini and a coke -- and wished I hadn't. Just NOT very good, but with plenty of grease to spare.

Finally, we take off.

8:15pm. We land in Vegas. But there's no gate open for us, so we wait on the tarmac.

9:15pm. We pull into a gate and deplane. Now originally, Chris was supposed to pick us up and take us to the hotel to check in. Then we were all supposed to go to a pre-con staff dinner at the Excalibur. But by the time we arrived, the dinner was already underway. So instead of dragging Chris out, we went to catch a cab. Man -- that's a LONG line for cabs. I spotted Ellen behind us in the line and invited her to share our cab. It was hot. But I was with good people, and like I said, everyone stayed calm.

We finally got a cab. Got to the Palace Station and checked in with no problem.

10:15pm. I finally got up to my room. TEN FULL HOURS exactly after I left my house. Thom and I could have DRIVEN to Vegas and back in that amount of time. Oh, well...

Thom decided to call it a night, so I went down to the consuite and hung around for awhile, chatting with Carol, Hudson, GXB, Lynati, Winterwolf, Dreamie, Aaron, Allayne, Kat (Cat?) and Revel. Kathy came in searching for her cellphone. (The second cellphone search I witnessed just in that day. And people wonder why I don't want one.)

Then, finally, I headed back up to my room and called it a night...

MORE TOMORROW...


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G2005 or BUST!

Hey gang,

Well, I'm taking off tomorrow for Vegas. I'll be back here in August to post my Gathering Journal. Don't forget to post yours too!


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GATHERING JOURNALS

Hey gang...

Gorebash is going to be opening the ASK GREG posting function in the next day or so. Specifically, that's because I'm hoping that a whole bunch of you will post your Gathering Journals, Diaries, Notebooks, etc. right here.

It helps to have a central place for industry types to read this stuff. Plus I like to read it all.

I'm told we have 170 people pre-registered for the Gathering. So my goal is to get 100 Gathering Journals up on this site in the next couple weeks.

During this period, we'll also be open for questions, but I urge you not to post a question lightly. I'm still backlogged nearly two years worth.

Thanks in advance,

Greg


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San Diego ComicCon 2005

Hey guys,

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.


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Regarding Oberon

The other day, I was asked a question about sources for Oberon. I didn't know the answer, but I received this e-mail from site moderator, Todd Jensen:

Dear Greg,

In "Ask Greg" today, curousity asked you if there were any other sources besides Shakespeare for Oberon as "king of the faries [sic]". You replied, "Not off the top of my head." I hope that I'm not presuming here in e-mailing you, but I have found at least three works beside "A Midsummer Night's Dream" that portray Oberon in that role, both of which are early enough that they count as "primary sources".

One is a late medieval French work about one of Charlemagne's knights, entitled Huon of Bordeaux (written in the 15th century, and translated into English by a certain Lord Berners in 1548 - early enough, in other words, that Shakespeare could have used it as a source for Oberon). In it, Huon befriends Oberon in his adventures, and the latter becomes Huon's guardian, almost a "fairy godfather". (Oberon is portrayed in it as around three feet tall due to a curse placed upon him in his infancy, and as the son of Julius Caesar and Morgan le Fay!) At the end of the story, Oberon even brings Huon to Avalon and formally abdicates in favor of Huon, declaring him ruler over the "faerie-folk"; a bit of trouble develops, however, when King Arthur arrives at the gathering and protests, saying that if any human should be ruling over Avalon, it should be he himself rather than a relative newcomer like Huon. Oberon angrily tells Arthur that he has chosen Huon for his successor, is not going to change his mind, and even threatens to curse Arthur by transforming him into a werewolf if he doesn't accept it. Huon at this point steps in as a peacemaker, to say that he doesn't think that he could rule Avalon on his own and suggests that he and Arthur act as co-rulers. Oberon and Arthur both agree to this, after which Oberon peacefully dies and Arthur and Huon are crowned in his stead.

Another non-Shakespeare "primary source" involving Oberon is Michael Drayton's Nimphidia, which has Oberon ruling over the "fairies" as well - and wedded here to Queen Mab! (According to the research that I've done on fairy mythology, Titania appears to have been Shakespeare's invention as opposed to a pre-existing legendary figure, though Oberon and Puck both predated him.)

A third is Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, which presents Oberon as the former ruler over "Fairyland", now deceased, with his daughter Gloriana - the Faerie Queene of the title - ruling in his stead. (Gloriana is actually an idealized Elizabeth I, meaning that the Oberon of Spenser would be an idealized Henry VIII.) The poem also includes, incidentally, King Arthur, Merlin, and Talos as on-stage characters.

THANKS, TODD!!!!


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IKKI TOUSEN

For those of you who have worn out your GARGOYLES first season DVD playing the words "Nice Mask" over and over and over again...

For those of you who have waited and watched for that Panda-La episode of Talespin, just so that you can hear: "Father, the rockets aren't working!"...

For those of you who just can't get enough of the homeless guy in 3x3 Eyes humming the Gargoyles' theme...

I'd recommend you rush out and purchase the four volume DVD set of IKKI TOUSEN (Strength of a Thousand).

Heck, I'd recommend it anyway. I've watched the first three volumes and plan to watch the fourth volume tonight. They're all a lot of fun. The interview with the director is worth the price of admission alone. Loads of action and sexy stuff. (NOT FOR KIDS, BTW! ADULTS ONLY!)

Ikki Tousen.


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Creature Comics.com

Creature Comics.com.

It doesn't quite exist yet. But, yes. It's coming. Or at least I'm starting to feel confident that it's coming. (Traditionally, this kinda confidence has a history of blowing up in my face, but what the heck, right?)

Want the backstory?

At the Gathering 2003 in New York City, I sat down for a while with Martin Lund. Some of you know him as Kai, I believe. At the time, I have to admit, I mostly knew him as Lexy's other half. (Sorry, Marty, can't quite bring myself to say "better half".) Anyway, Marty and I talked. About a lot of stuff, but mostly about how much we'd both like to see a new GARGOYLES comic book telling original stories for the fans.

Marty felt we could make it happen. And Marty got me to believe it was possible.

We soon partnered up with Greg Guler. Many of you have met Greg G. at various Gatherings. Greg was one of the main development artists who helped create GARGOYLES. (He did the key inspirational designs on a few minor characters that you might remember: Goliath, Elisa, Demona.) He was also the Lead Character Designer for the entire Second Season of the Series. Like me, Greg G. also has a comic book background. We both worked at DC Comics in the late eighties/early nineties -- though we never actually worked together back then. He did a bunch of stuff, but the thing I always rememered was his monthly work on HAWK & DOVE.

(When Greg & I first met in person, he was doing prop design at Disney. I kinda credit myself for giving him a push into character design. He's been one of WDTVA's chief character designers for years now. His credits there are almost endless.)

Anyway, Marty & Greg & I formed a partnership, which we soon called CREATURE COMICS. Our initial goal was to license and launch a new GARGOYLES comic book. Marty would handle the business end. Greg G. would handle the art end. Yours truly would handle the writing (and to a lesser extent be the big mouth mouthpiece for the group -- hence this ramble).

Of course, this was nearly TWO YEARS ago. But Marty does NOT give up. Money was our first problem, i.e. we had none, and *surprise, surprise* Disney wasn't keen on the idea of licensing the GARGOYLES property for free. In fact, because we were a start-up (up-start?) company with no track record, they actually wanted a LARGER license fee as, in essence, insurance, in case we screwed up. The good news was that they did LIKE the idea of having two of the original creators being in charge of the creative. (This would fortunately be of importance down the road.) They just weren't wild about a bunch of "amateurs" being put in charge of their property.

But as I said, Marty does NOT give up. Still, for the time being, we put a pin in the GARGOYLES idea. If that was too expensive, we'd start with an ORIGINAL property -- one that CREATURE COMICS could own. We'd prove ourselves on that. Then after we were huge successes, we'd be able to go to Disney again with that track record they felt they needed.

Turns out we had a problem here too. No money. (Funny how that keeps coming up.) So CREATURE COMICS morphed into CREATURE COMICS.COM. We'd launch the comic on the web. This seemed like a plan. But life/reality/actual paying work kept getting in the way. (We -- meaning Greg G. -- did manage to create a logo though, which should be revealed soon.)

Meanwhile, as I mentioned, Marty was busy NOT giving up. He maintained contact with Disney. They were still interested in having the GARGOYLES creators on a GARGOYLES comic book. (And I figure the relative success of the DVD didn't hurt our situation either.) It was just that pesky start-up status that they couldn't deal with. But believe it or not, DISNEY suggested a solution. They were (are) currently in the process of making a licensing deal with SLAVE LABOR GRAPHICS... i.e. a comic book company with an actual track record!

Now, as of this writing, to my knowledge, the deal between SLG and DISNEY is not yet fully, totally realized. As I understand it, they're VERY close. But it's not signed. So normally, I would TOTALLY not be discussing ANY OF THIS (this whole ramble would not exist). But Dan Vado, who runs SLG, spilled some beans last weekend. So we talked with him, and he was okay with us talking to you, with us being cautiously optimistic.

SLG is on the verge of licensing four properties from Disney: HAUNTED MANSION, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, TRON and... GARGOYLES.

GARGOYLES was NOT part of SLG's original pitch to Disney. But Disney hooked Marty, Greg & myself up with Dan. Everyone (Disney, Dan, Marty, Greg, Greg) really liked the idea of CCC packaging the creative on a new GARGOYLES comic for SLG. So THAT is the plan.

But I have to add the caveat, that at the moment, it's STILL only a plan. Because SLG hasn't signed on the dotted line with Disney, they have -- for obvious reasons -- not yet made any deal with us at CCC. As I said, I'm cautiously optimistic. But s--t happens, you know? So cross your fingers for us, but... well, it may still be a touch premature to ACTUALLY hold your breath.

Anyway... I'll be the writer. THE ONLY WRITER. So those of you looking to trade me in for Joss Whedon or Neil Gaiman are SOL. Greg Guler will be the Art Director. He may not pencil every issue, but he'll be making sure that every issue looks damn good. Marty, as usual, will handle the business end of things in his capacity as Executive Vice President of Not-Giving-Up.

Our direction is pretty straight forward. The book we'll be styled to look like the series, and my plan is to pick up pretty much where "Hunter's Moon" left off and do the "third season" that I wanted to do (as opposed to the GOLIATH CHRONICLE version). (The year is 1996. Although I'm probably not going to go out of my way to put a date in the content of the comic that'll scare away a new audience. There's always ASK GREG to fill people in on timeline details. And eventually, I'm hoping to catch up to the present.) I'm also eventually hoping that this thing is such a massive success that it'll lead to all the spin-offs we've been talking about for years. Not to mention those ORIGINAL PROPERTIES that CCC would own and that we still hope to do someday. But to some extent that won't be up to us. It'll be up to all of you.

Marty & Greg & I are all VERY excited! I'd say SPREAD THE WORD!!! But frankly, it's all a bit premature. We hope to begin finalizing things in the next month or so. (Dan's "leak" has certainly lit a bit of a fire. Hmmmm.... wonder if that wa his plan all along? Why, that little scamp!) Greg G. and I are both planning to be on hand for a bit with Disney & SLG at the San Diego ComicCon, so look for us there.

And of course, I'm hoping to be able to tell you a LOT more at the GATHERING 2005 in Las Vegas. Marty'll be there too. You can all hoist him on your shoulders, cuz honestly, he's the real hero in all of this. I get the juice, but he squeezed it.

So that's the scoopage, folks.

CREATURE COMICS.COM. It doesn't exist yet. But... damn... don't give up!


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Frank Gorshin, RIP

I just read that Frank Gorshin passed away. I'm kinda bummed about it.

I didn't know him well, but I did meet him a couple of times. He played Professor Hugo Strange in "The Batman" episodes that I wrote. He was terrific.

I've seen him do George Burns (briefly) live, and he was amazing.

And of course, as a kid, I just loved him as the Riddler. And there was that strange-o Star Trek episode too.

Like I said, didn't know him all that well, but he was a very talented guy. He'll be missed.


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Since Chad spilled the beans...

WHAT WE KNOW
I've been authorized by Buena Vista Home Entertainment to confirm that there will indeed be another release of episodes from Gargoyles on DVD.

Obviously, those episodes will come from the second season... and I have been assured that in any case the episodes will be released in the correct order.

They are planning on involving me again.

WHAT WE DON'T KNOW
We don't know how may releases there are going to be to cover the second season.
We don't know how many discs. We don't know how many episodes per disc.
We don't know what the extras are going to be.
We don't know any release dates.

As I learn more, I'll keep you posted.

WHAT I'M HOPING FOR
My preference would be that they break up the 2nd Season into three separate releases.

The first release would include 23 episodes, running from "Leader of the Pack" through "Avalon, Part Three".

The second release would include 26 episodes, running from "Shadows of the Past" through "The Reckoning".

The third release would include 3 episodes, running from "Hunter's Moon, Part One" through "Hunter's Moon, Part Three".

I am not even vaguely implying that this is there plan. I don't know what they are planning. I'm simply expressing my personal preference, as many of you have done in the Station 8 Comment Room.

I will, of course, take whatever I can get.


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Correction...

I just received this very helpful missive from Greg Bishansky:

Hey Greg,

I just saw the latest question in Ask Greg about the stone Xanatos model
sheet, sounds to me like she may have been refering to the stone model of
Xanatos that Puck creates in "The Gathering Part Two" when we finally learn
his backstory.

Greg

MYSTERY SOLVED! Thanks, Greg!!


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Chapter LVI: "Future Tense"

Time to ramble...

Chapter LVI: "Future Tense"
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Writers: Marty Isenberg & Bob Skir
Director: Bob Kline

CAVEAT
This episode is/was so jam-packed with stuff that I literally couldn't take notes fast enough. I'm bound to have missed a ton of stuff that I might have wished to comment on. So this ramble is going to be far from comprehensive.

I think the title was Michael's, by the way.

GOLIATH ON THE SKIFF
Take this opening scene for example. In less than a couple minutes, Goliath mentions the Gathering (setting up Puck's eventual motivation), wishes to be back home, longs to "see the Trio and Hudson" again and says he would "give much" to return home (all of which invites and allows Puck to interfere in mortal affairs)... and THEN gets hit by lightning.

I wonder how many of you remembered that odd lightning hit. Our hope was that with all that was going on in the ep, you'd forget about it.

PLANET OF THE APES & THE X-MEN
Hard to show the Statue of Liberty in ruins without summoning up that classic moment from the Heston film... a definite influence. Another influence, clearly, was the Claremont/Byrne run on X-Men in the eighties. That first time they sent the Kitty Pride from the future to the present and showed us some horrifying scenes in that alternate future stuck in my memory. Later, of course, I thought all that stuff got WAY out of control in X-Men. It wasn't one story. It became a source of endless regurgitated characters and over-grim (but no longer shocking) situations. It was tiresome to me. But the visceral shock of that first story was a clear inspiration for Future Tense.

Of course, Gargoyles has MUCH stricter time-travel rules than X-Men has.

Again, I wonder what you guys were thinking as shock after shock SMACKS Goliath and the audience. Starting with the explosion of the skiff. When the "face" of the skiff sinks away, I thought it was a chilling start to the festivities.

THE NEW STEEL CLAN
Putting the face of Xanatos on this new Steel Clan was Frank's idea, I believe. It seemed both odd and appropriate to the "new" Xanatos we were presenting.

FORTY YEARS
Did you buy it? Even for a moment? We tried to ramp up the shocks gradually, to suck you in. Claw without wings. An old Matt. The Talan Commandos. Chavez'sdaughter. (I love the baby crying symbolically as she looks at the picture of her mom Maria.) Xanatopia. ("They have better things to be afraid of.) The destruction of the Clock Tower. The late Hudson memorialized in bronze (so it was clear that it was just a statue of him and not him frozen in stone, as in "The Price".) Xanatos having achieved immortality. A Grown-up and Hostile Brooklyn. A grown-up and blind Broadway. The reported deaths of Maggie, Talan and Coldstone. Sevarius and the Ultra-Pack. The last free humans turned into mutates?

All this revealed in a matter of minutes. The idea of course is to try to keep both Goliath and you guys off balance for as long as possible. How many of you just went along for the ride? How many spent the half hour balking?

THE PHOENYX GATE
Step by careful step. When Brooklyn brings up the gate the first time, our hope was that it wouldn't come across as -- 'Hey, this is what this whole episode is really about?', but simply as a logical question that needed to be refuted by Goliath's great line: "Solutions lie not in the past, but in the present."

CLONE WARS
We wanted to play fair, but we still wanted to fool you.

Demona is introduced -- as Brooklyn's mate, no less. And for the first time it is Puck who is caught off guard, unaware that Demona and Thailog have hooked up. His Brooklyn is forced to vamp that Thailog was killed in the "Clone Wars". (I like to think that it was Puck who spur of the moment stole that reference from George Lucas as opposed to us.) And to justify it, he later shows the Thailog Shock Troops.

(Note that both the Talan Commandoes and the Thailog Shock Troops are cybernetically disfigured -- with a full hemisphere of their brains replaced.)

AND THE SHOCKS KEEP COMING...
A cybernetic Lexington, clearly influenced by Hyena & Jackal. (And as it turned out, more influenced than we knew.)

Fox not being Fox. But being F&X's son, Alexander, a.k.a. Fox 2.0. I love that VERY anime battle scene between them. Isn't that kick-ass animation. And Xanatos killing his own son because he no longer "required an heir"... woo.

Goliath: "...but to destroy his own son..."

This was ALSO us playing fair... on two levels. The Xanatos we all knew would NEVER murder his own son. So this must NOT be the real Xanatos. And it isn't. Not within Puck's vision (where this Xanatos is just a computer program with delusions of grandeur and the LACK of self-awareness necessary to be blind to the fact that Lex was actually calling the shocks) and not really AT ALL (as the whole thing was just an illusion of Puck's).

When Brooklyn says: "We better get out of here before Xanatos nukes the place," we were hoping that by this point the audience wouldn't be sure whether or not to take Brooklyn's statement/fear literally.

DEATH & CONSEQUENCES
I love Broadway's Sonar collar.

I love Demona's appeal to Goliath to save their daughter by sending her back in time with the Gate. If not to change history, at least to live out her natural life in a better era in safety.

The shocks AND hints proceed to escalate rapidly. Next up is the deaths of Claw, Matt and Bronx.

The death of Bronx, I feel is in some ways the biggest shock/clue of all. With all the other deaths up to that point, both those announced (Hudson, Maggie, etc.), implied (Chavez) and depicted (Claw, Matt), we may still see them as part of a future that we somehow hope to avoid. But Bronx is a rider on the skiff. If he dies, isn't he REALLY dead?

Then comes the abduction of Lex. Again, we were hoping that SO MUCH would follow this (especially the immediate death of Broadway) that you'd all forget about Lex until we were ready to reveal him as the big villain (of Puck's vision).

Then the death of Broadway. As I've said many times, we had a WONDERFUL S&P person with Adrienne Bello. But we still had a fight here. Showing these deaths -- or even talking about them -- would DEFINITELY be out in today's environment. The fact that eventually it was all revealed as an illusion would not stop today's S&P from K.O.ing the ENTIRE NOTION.

But even Adrienne balked at the death scene. She thought it would be too painful for our audience. My point, and I was adamant about it, was that we had to make it painful. That a violent death is painful and that the audience had to feel, really feel, the consequences -- the horrible consequences -- of that death. So Broadway and Bill Faggerbakke get that wonderful death scene. The most potent moment perhaps in the entire series (at least IN the moment, if not in hindsight -- given that it was all part of the illusion). The music there is just heart-breaking too. And the sun that never comes...

CYBER-DEATH & CONSEQUENCES
Tron is another influence of course. Digitized into the cyber-world, our last trio of heroes is immediately trapped. We learn that Xanatos is in fact DEAD.

I love Goliath's line: "You're not immortal. You're not even Xanatos."

Angela dies. Brooklyn dies. Demona is transformed to human. (Another clue: Puck can't resist praising his own handiwork.) Then she dies.

And then Goliath awakens while STILL in stone form. And Xanatos goes to work on him in a way that would make Jackal envious. I love the juxtaposition of Shakespeare and Monty Python...

"Alas Poor Goliath, I knew him well." and "What are you going to do? Bite my kneecaps off?"

And then I love how Goliath's floating stone debris SWALLOWS the Xanatos program whole.

The cyber-world dissolves and all Goliath can do is save Elisa. His last tie to this world. He is nearly back to the state he was in after the Wyvern massacre. Alone in a world that contains only horror and tragedy.

LEXINGTON
I think he was fairly effective and chilling as the ultimate villain here. Goliath KILLS him personally, which I thought was also quite chilling... The Eyrie "Pyramid" explodes and again, all Goliath can do is protect Elisa.

PUCK
But now Goliath lies, broken on the ground. Elisa again asks for the Phoenix gate. And he cannot even muster the strength to deny it to her. But Puck has overplayed his hand. Goliath is so weak, he cannot hand it to her. And the more Elisa begs, the more suspicious Goliath gets. And the more suspicious he gets, the more Puck's hold weakens. And the more Puck's hold weakens, the stronger Goliath gets. I know it sounds complicated, but I think it plays.

I love how not just Elisa, but the entire world (or BG anyway) is sucked together and transformed into Puck.

I love how Puck created this entire horrible torture device just to get Goliath to "fork over" the Gate, and that the only reason for that was so that Puck could have something to bribe Oberon with, so that he could skip out on the Gathering.

I love how Puck still torments Goliath with the "dream or prophesy" line. And I love how that line has similarly tormented the fans. Much has and still will come true from that "prophesy" and yet much already has not.

FINALLY
I remember we stuck in that line about Goliath falling into the water. I remember that we had a play-fair reason for putting that line in. But for the life of me, I cannot remember what that reason was.

I like how Goliath dispatches the Phoenix Gate and how it seems to rain a bit of magic on them all. (This was also the set up/inspiration for the TimeDancer spin-off.) The idea that the Gate would be "forever lost in time".

And finally, Goliath explains: "I had a nightmare, Elisa. And now we must make sure it does not come true."

Did you guys sense that the World Tour was FINALLY coming to an end?

And overall, what did you think? We wanted the episode to really effect you. We wanted to play fair. We didn't want you to walk away feeling cheated because the whole thing was a trick of Puck's (and ours).

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours...?


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Future Tense outline notes...

I don't know when I'll get around to rambling on Future Tense, but as it's up next, I'm posting my outline notes on that episode to Story Editor Michael Reaves.

The thing you need to know is that there was much discussion back then of doing the episode (or at least sections of it) in 3-D. Now I do NOT mean CGI. I mean the 3-D glasses kind of 3-D. So many of the notes below reflect that.

WEISMAN 4-23-95

Notes on "Future Tense" Outline...

Michael, I know this is exactly the kind of document that drives my story editors nuts. I apologize, but in the interests of time I believe this is the best solution.

I also want you to know that I considered your suggestion that we replace one of Cary or Gary's episodes with a from-scratch 3-D affair. But after reviewing the schedule it just wasn't practical. Aside from the fact (and budgetary concern) that those guys are already underway on those stories, we just don't have time to come up with a new story from scratch and get Gary Krisel's approval on it and still make all relevant deadlines.

I believe that what I've beated out below preserves all the essential stuff from Marty and Bob's outline, but gives us more opportunity for 3-D action in cyber-space. As usual, none of it is etched in stone. If this approach works for you, you can go right to script. If there's anything you, Marty or Bob want to discuss, that's cool too.

GENERAL NOTE ON 3-D ACTION IN CYBERSPACE
Please remember the nature of this particular 3-D process: some elements push backward or forward depending on their assigned color. You guys don't have to worry about assigning the colors. Leave that to the art director. Nor do you have to sweat the foregrounding and backgrounding. We'll leave that to the board artists, art director, line producer and Frank. What you do need to be aware of though is that this particular 3-D process only really works with characters and objects. They should not be interacting with the environment or backgrounds. That's not to say that Cyber-Xanatos or whoever can't form any specific object out of the "ether" or something. But we don't want scenes of Goliath tearing up Cyber-walls or Brooklyn being swallowed up by the cyber-ground or whatever. Energy beams might work, but "energy fields" could be problematic. If this is unclear, we can set up a meeting with our technical expert, Rob Hummell.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
I. Streamline and combine your beats 1, 2, 3 & 4.
Open on the skiff and the mist with some specific line from Goliath, where he's saying that the odyssey they've been on has been rewarding, but that he really is starting to miss the clan and Manhattan, his adopted home. He feels woozy for a second. Then he sees the Statue of Liberty. (The wooziness is being done in the interest of fair play. Don't make too much of it. The audience will forget about it until the end of the episode, at which point, they'll think: "Of course.")

Combine the blowing up of the skiff with the capture of Elisa and Angela by the Steel Clan robots, (we don't need uniformed human sentries). Goliath and Bronx are rescued by Matt. As they make their way to rebel headquarters we can get Xanatos's brief big brother (3-D) message. We can see the statue of Hudson and find out he's dead. Meet the hostile Brooklyn.

II. Combines your beat 5 & part of beat 6.
Meet the Blind Broadway. And bring up the Phoenix Gate. Make sure Goliath states definitively that "HISTORY CANNOT BE CHANGED". The line about 'time as a river' is a good one, but don't count on that to be clear enough by itself. Intro Good Demona and establish that she is mated (as opposed to married) to Brooklyn. Don't forget to plant another "fairness clue" with our audience. When Goliath says that he thought Demona was in love with Thailog, it takes her a flustered minute to explain that Thailog also died fighting Xanatos. Or something like that. Also I think we can let the more sophisticated members of our audience see the irony that Demona is finally good again only to be lost to Goliath forever. We don't have to state that in dialogue. It raises a lot of complicated issues.

Suddenly Cyborg-Lexington enters and announces that Talon, their inside man, is transmitting all-important data even as they speak. He turns on a monitor and we see Talon getting his butt kicked by Xanatos (in 3-D). While they are watching this, Goliath should ask where this battle between Xanatos and Talon is taking place. All Lexington knows is that it was coming from somewhere inside the Eyrie Pyramid. Xanatos gloats about his plan to do to the entire planet what he has done to Manhattan, then he destroys Talon and the transmission is cut off.

ACT TWO
III. Combines just a bit of your beat 6 and both of your two beat 7s. (Don't feel bad. This late in the season, I'm having trouble counting too.)
We don't need the attack by the Thailog Stormtroopers. Brooklyn states that it's now or never. We have to launch a pre-emptive strike on Xanatos' lair. They'll divide into ground and air forces. Brooklyn, Demona, Cyborg-Lex, Blind Broadway and Goliath will wait for Matt and Bronx and the rebels to create a diversion downstairs. Then they will go in above.

As the five gargoyles wait atop a nearby building for their cue, Demona and Brooklyn again try to prevail on Goliath to use the Gate.

IV. Combines your beats 8 & 9.
Matt and Bronx's diversion begins. The gargoyles fly in, but Lex reports with his cyborg-sight that both Matt and Bronx have been killed. Brooklyn is determined that they won't have died in vain.

They get in, but Lex is quickly taken prisoner and Broadway dies. Goliath, Brooklyn and Demona make their way to Computer Mainframe/Banquet Hall. They aren't looking for any Chief Administrator. They're still looking for Xanatos, not realizing that he no longer exists on the physical plane.

V. Basically your beat 10.
Except instead of a VR helmet, have Goliath, Brooklyn and Demona digitized into (3-D) Cyber-Space ala TRON. No physical bodies left outside. If you die in there. You dead. Obliterated.

ACT THREE
VI. Your beat 11, greatly expanded to fill most of the act.
Xanatos has been holding Elisa and Angela prisoner inside cyber-space, anticipating Goliath's arrival. We get our explanation. Our fight. And the destruction of Brooklyn, Demona and Angela. Goliath finally manages to take out Xanatos, which causes the whole cyber-world to dissolve.

VII. Combines and abbreviates both of your beat 12s.
Goliath and Elisa are re-digitized in the real world. Only to discover that Lex used the opportunity to activate Xanatos' plan. Now he'll rule what's left of the world. Goliath lashes out at Lex, which knocks him back into the main frame and the whole thing starts to blow. Castle is destroyed taking out Lex. (No redemption possible.) Goliath barely manages to save Elisa, but he's broken by it. And Elisa tries to get the gate from him. She fails and melts into Puck. In fact the entire world seems to melt into her to become Puck.

VIII. Your beat 13.
Puck reveals what it has all been about. (Make sure to specifically mention that Oberon has begun "The Gathering".)

IX. Your beat 14.
Make it clear that Goliath passed out right after he said his line about missing his adopted home. So the audience in retrospect can place the exact moment when Puck's little adventure began.

And that's it. Feel free to call with questions or concerns.


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Chapter LV: "Ill Met by Moonlight"

Time to ramble...

Chapter LV: "Ill Met by Moonlight"
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Story: Michael Reaves
Teleplay: Diane Duane & Peter Morwood
Director: Dennis Woodyard

TITLE
This was Michael's title, which he chose knowing it would appeal to the Shakespearean in me. I liked it, but it did concern me that people would misread it. Which is often the case. "I'll Meet by Moonlight" is the one I hear most often.

LORD & LADY
We'd been building toward this one since "The Mirror" -- i.e. from the moment we introduced the concept of the Third Race (a.k.a. Oberon's Children). Note that Oberon refers to himself as "Lord of the Third Race". It's interesting to me that he acknowledges that Gargoyles and Humans are first & second. Perhaps that's his version of humility. Supports my notion that the Oberati (as I wanted to call them originally) evolved last.

Anyway, when we first intro'd Titania's Mirror, I'm curious how many of you thought you'd eventually get to meet Titania?

Note also Oberon & Titania's skin color. This was intentional. Since I knew we had the Gathering coming up and that myth-figures from many cultures would be bowing to Oberon as Lord, I didn't want to depict him or Titania with traditional caucasoid skin. I wanted them a step removed.

We also establish that Oberon divorced Titania for her hybris and disdain for mortals. That he sent her and ALL the children out to learn humility. As I've stated many times, the problem that Oberon had is that 1001 years ago, relative to his fellows, he was already humble. But that's relative. They all go out, and Titania and Puck and a few others learn the lesson that he sent them to learn. But thinking he had no lesson to learn, he learned... nothing. So Titania has evolved, and Oberon has not.

FAMILIAL RELATIONS
Gabriel has been a bit bored on Avalon. Angela says: "Join us on the skiff, my brother." This seemed like a pretty clear indication to me that Angela & Gabriel's relationship was fraternal, not romantic. (I mean, after all, Demona's called Goliath a lot of things, but never "brother".) But still some people thought that these two were an item. They take evidence, I'm told, from the way they held hands over the volcano later in the episode. But I still see that as fraternal concern.

LINES I LIKE (all quotations approximate)
Angela: "I'm beginning to think that this Manhattan is a myth."
Seline: "Humans and Gargoyles profane your kingdom."
Oberon: "A minor nuisance" and "Insolent infestation!"
Titania: "Time for even Puck to mend his manners."
Oberon: "So proud Titania, the game's a foot." (Combines Shakespeare and Conan Doyle.)
Guardian: "No choice and only one chance."
Oberon: "Now, you're just quibbling." (One of my all time favorite lines in context.)
Angela: "Gargoyles stand together."
Titania: "Oberon's word is law."
Katharine: "But does that mean he's always right."
Titania: "Not while he's married."
Goliath: "All's well that ends well."

THE BELL
Silver, we're told is for vampires and weres. So Elisa loses ANOTHER gun to contribute a bit more iron.

I thought the iron bell was a VERY clever solution, and I even thought that Titania's clues were very clever. And the oblique exchange in the forge is clever.

But the forging itself is a disaster. No mold. Just pour hot iron on the ground? Then cool it BEFORE you start hammering it into shape? I picture a forgotten scene where the Guardian finally looks up from his work and says, "I gotta confess I don't know what I'm doing here." And then Elisa says, "Didn't you forge your armor?" And Princess Katharine says, "Actually that was two of the eggs: Michael and Raphael." And Ophelia sighs and says, "I'll go get them."

I do like the overlapping hammer sound effect onto the next scene though.

Ophelia's honesty is also very neat. She questions whether they are doing the right thing. And her arguments RING a lot truer than the rationalization we get from the rest of the gang. Lucky our guys are sympathetic, and Oberon is not.

OTHER TOUCHES
I like the pairing of Gabriel with Goliath and Angela to carry the action. That was fun.

The sound effects accompanying Oberon's flight -- a kind of more meaty version of what was done with Puck in "The Mirror" -- are pretty cool. I like his arrival as a pillar of flame too. He's got style, you have to admit.

I like the cool lighting in the volcano and my daughter Erin liked the lava hands ("That's so awesome.")

I also like the Firefalls. I remember those as being part of the pre-Byrne/pre-Salkind version of Krypton. And long ago, Yosemite National Park used to do firefalls too. The image always stuck with me as very cool. And I like the steam as the lava flows into the river. (Helping to keep the island warm and balmy, perhaps?)

At one point, Gabriel says: "This way!" but on the cut, Goliath is again in the lead. A small mistake, I'm afraid.

I love Goliath's fury as he attacks Oberon (Erin: "Whoa, that was cool!") And I love how Oberon shatters to become diamond-hard beneath. And I love how Goliath STILL doesn't give up, putting Oberon into a half-nelson.

RESOLUTION
Getting us to where I wanted us to go...

Oberon grants assylum, with no hard feelings. He makes the Gargoyles his Honor Guard, which I think is cool. He exempts Goliath and his "clan" from his magic (inadvertently granting this exemption to both the Avalon & Manhattan clans, since Goliath thinks of himself as a member of both.) Oberon & Titania are remarried simply by agreeing that it is so. I mean when you're at the top of the food chain, who needs anyone else to officiate?

Goliath learns that Titania feels indebted to him, though he doesn't learn why. How many of you guys put together that Titania and Anastasia were one and the same? Of course, our voice casting was a HUGE clue. But we have enough actors doubling characters who aren't related that I thought that few people would draw the conclusion that we already had in mind.

And of course, we pave the way for the Gathering...

That's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Chapter LIV: "Cloud Fathers"

Time to ramble...

Chapter LIV: "Cloud Fathers"
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler-Reaves
Writer: Lydia Marano
Director: Dennis Woodyard

PREVIOUSLY
Our recap emphasized Xanatos' near disinterest in Goliath. It's kinda funny. And I love how Xanatos spells out that he doesn't hold a grudge. I really do think that it's his reasonableness that sets him apart as a villain. That and the fact that he's such a big picture guy. His big plans are rarely about acquiring things he can get himself. He wants immortality.

Xanatos: "It's my first real step at cliched villainy. How am I doing?"

Still, it was fun at the very end to let him at least get annoyed: "...These last minute upsets you keep handing me are becoming... irritating." THAT in fact is the closest Xanatos comes to cliched villainy.

ARIZONA, 1960
Throughout the episode, the girls keep asking Peter if he wants to "visit" his own father. I'm curious as to how many of you realized that Carlos Maza had actually passed away.

I think the Cloud Fathers memo that I recently posted gives a pretty clear indication of what I was trying to go for here. This, in my mind, is an internal struggle: Peter vs. Peter. Were his actions as a young man reasonable? Are they justifiable? If he admits his mistakes can he live with them? Etc.

I like how dialogue from the Arizona flashback is referenced by Coyote later. My kids noticed it too. Erin also noticed how much Coyote looked like young Peter with his "rugged good looks". I'm glad that was clear.

BETH MAZA
We finally get to know Elisa's other sibling -- the non-mutated one. She seems like an interesting character. Very open-minded. Influenced by her mother's more academic and anthropological pursuits, but choosing to focus on the Native American side of her heritage as opposed to the African side that her mother studies.

It's interesting to me that Elisa is the only one of the siblings who really directly follows in a parent's footsteps.

And I like Beth & Elisa's exchange...
Beth: "They're kinda beautiful... but so alien."
Elisa: "After a while, all you notice is the beauty."

So is Elisa in love or what?!

And PLEASE don't tell me that Beth's line is further evidence that the gargs come from another planet.

THE SWIMMING POOL
I thought this was VERY clever having the skiff arrive in a pool. But I wonder how visually clear it was. that it was JUST a swimming pool.

I did like Elisa's line, when asked where she came from, she says: "The deep end." True in so many ways.

MORE LINES I LIKE
Coyote 4.0: "Once more with feeling."
Coyote 4.0: "Don't quit your day job." (This said to a gargoyle.)
Xanatos (regarding Angela): "She's lovely, Goliath."
Angela (while attacking): "I'm the lovely one, remember!"
Elisa: "Bronx, hit it!" (Didn't she say the same thing in Golem?)
Xanatos: "No way my luck is this bad."
Elisa to Peter re: the Gargs: "Are THESE guys figments of your imagination?" (Answer that one for yourself.)
Coyote re Coyote: "I should sue for trademark infringement."
Xanatos: "I've always considered myself a trickster at heart."
Xanatos to Coyote 4 re the Trickster: "Bottle him."
Coyote 4: "Curious."
Xanatos: "It's so hard to program good help these days."
Coyote 4: "I'm programmed for vengeance."

TRICKSTER STORIES
Coming up with Trickster plots -- for guys like Coyote or Puck or even Xanatos -- can be REALLY hellish. It's hard work making sure that you have all these twists and turns and contingencies figured out. Now try pitting TWO TRICKSTERS, Coyote and Xanatos, against each other. Man!

You can imagine why we were never quite able to tame our FOUR TRICKSTER story involving Puck, Coyote, Raven & Anansi. Not that I think it's impossible, but we just ran out of time and had to settle for the still incredibly complex "Possession".

EYES OF THE COYOTE
I wish the carving had had NO EYES until the acid created them.

Michael Horse, who played both Peter & Carlos in this story, advised us on this script. Obviously, we were trying to be respectful of the culture. He told us to make sure that the carving and the Kachina masks were NOT copies of actual sand-paintings or masks in use. That would be sacreligious.

We did get one letter of complaint about this episode, but it was clear from the letter that the writer hadn't yet seen the episode. So we sent them a tape. Got no more complaints.

COYOTE 4.0
He's a nice stand-in for X, but pales in comparison. Still it was fun always redesigning him. Making him tougher in new ways. And I really like that the Cauldron of Life was reincorporated into him. Nothing ever wasted on this series.

I was also highly amused by the Coyote/Roadrunner schtick. With the trickster in the role of the Roadrunner, tricking Wile E. 4.0 into destroying himself.

AND BACK TO PETER
Coyote had to get Peter back. I like that. And I like the bittersweet ending at Carlos' grave. It strikes me as a graveside victory.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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W.I.T.C.H. news

I meant to post this LAST WEEK, but anyway...

A new animated series, W.I.T.C.H., has premiered both on ABC Family's Jetix block and on ABC (broadcast) Saturday Morning block. (Check local listings.)

Of course, I'm biased. I had nothing to do with this first season, but I do think this is a fun series, with on-going continuity, a large ensemble cast and a larger epic storyline that spans the season's 26 episodes.

I'm currently working on the series' SECOND season, which just got an official pick-up for 26 more episodes. They've done some cool stuff in Season One. And my team is doing some very cool stuff for Season Two. This is the most fun I've had working on a series since ROUGHNECKS & GARGOYLES. (My only real complaint is that it's non-union.)

I've got a great writing staff, but none of them worked on the first season either, so I'll save that for a later post.

In the meantime, I heartily recommend that you get in on the ground floor of W.I.T.C.H. now. They'll be airing the second part of the two-part pilot this Saturday. I assume they'll have a recap to bring everyone who missed part one up to speed. (And for all I know, they may still be rerunning part one on Jetix.)


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"Cloud Fathers" Outline notes...

Well, I'm not exactly sure when I'll be watching Cloud Fathers and doing that ramble, but it's obviously on deck, so while I'm thinking of it, I thought I'd present my notes on the Outline from May of 1995.

SPOILERS for the episode.

WEISMAN 5-1-95

Notes on "The Cloud Fathers" Outline...

PETER MAZA
Primary emotional conflict is between Peter and himself. It's an internal conflict. Think Field of Dreams. He can't admit that there was value to his father's Sioux Traditions or he'd have to admit that he wasted all those years being at war with his dad. Now that his dad is dead, he feels it's too late to see his pop's PoV. That's where his adamant stance comes from. But we won't objectively reveal that Peter's dad is dead until the last scene.

We'll illustrate this conflict by letting Coyote/Trickster/Kachina appear as young Peter. One of the trickster's goals is to recover the real Peter. Bring him back to the fold, so to speak.

We'll have less "obvious" magic up front, or else it's hard to keep the real Peter in complete denial. Replace shimmering trickster with trickster posing as mysterious "young Peter" in various guises. Very worldy and cynical the way young Peter was and old Peter believes he still is, but really isn't.

Not a Beth/Peter conflict, per se.

Maza family is Sioux. Not Hopi.

XANATOS
In retrospect, I was wrong to leave the real Xanatos out of this story. His presence will undercut Coyote, but we need someone for Coyote to talk to anyway, so we might as well put Xanatos on the scene and in charge. It's another one of his bids for immortality. And the narcissistic byplay between Xanatos and Coyote might be fun.

It's Coyote (Kachina Trickster) vs. Coyote (4.0 Robot & Xanatos) for the Trickster hall of fame.

Coyote-4.0 has been made from an alloy that includes the melted down Cauldron of Life, making him able to catch and contain a Kachina. The robot is also heavily upgraded with armor and weaponry, making him a lot tougher than the last three versions Goliath defeated.

RANDOM STUFF
No longer necessary to force the proximity between campus, construction site and "village".

Don't need the elders.

Keep the midnight ceremony, but I'm extremely nervous about the dancing -- it could be a real animation problem.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. Teaser opening at seemingly deserted construction site. Something very weird and spooky is happening to the bulldozers. Don't show too much.

2. Flashback to 1960. Peter, an only child, is 18 years old. (Maybe he's got a brush cut, while his dad has very long hair.) Peter's fighting with his dad. Dad believes in old ways. Peter doesn't. He leaves for NYC.

3. Dissolve to Peter waking up from Flashback dream as his airplane comes in for a landing. He doesn't like to be back in Arizona.

4. Beth picks him up at airport. She's asked him to come because of Xanatos' building project on leased tribal land. (She can't tell authorities about Derek, but she knows X is probably up to no good.) Peter is equally suspicious of Xanatos. (As long as it's a real world thing.) Beth's driving Peter out to get a look at the construction site. Small talk en route: While he's in town does Peter want to "visit" grandpa? No, he does not. O.k., then, new topic. Any word on Elisa?

5. Mist to swimming pool. Elisa is alarmed to find out where they are. If Avalon sent them here, her sister Beth might be in danger.

6. Beth and Peter arrive at construction site. They are given permission to enter, even encouraged to enter, by a young security guard (whom the audience may or may not recognize as a dead ringer for the young Peter Maza, but who is in fact the kachina Coyote in disguise). Beth may say in an offhand way that the security guard looks familiar. Once inside the perimeter, we find the bizarre Stonehenge of vehicles and tires (in front of the large shed that hides the soil carving). And then Peter and Beth are surrounded by Xanatos and the tribal police. Arrested for trespassing and vandalism. Vandalism? They didn't do this. How could they? And the security guard gave them permission to enter. Xanatos says he has no security guards, but maybe he should hire some. Take them away.

7. The next day, Beth and Peter (a bit worse for wear) make it back to her off-campus apartment. They spent the rest of the night in jail, before making bail. Elisa is inside waiting for Beth. Reunion. Gargoyles are frozen in stone on the terrace. They discuss Xanatos situation. He must have set them up, which is a neat trick since he didn't know they were coming. Who was that security guard? He's the key to proving their innocence. And what is Xanatos up to on that land in the first place?

8. Meanwhile at construction site, Xanatos is in conversation with someone who's standing in the shadows. Someone who sounds a lot like Xanatos. (Coyote Robot, obviously.) Xanatos knows the Mazas didn't have anything to do with the "vandalism". But he let them take the rap because he didn't want the tribal police to investigate any further. Maybe he has a security camera video of "Young Peter/Phony Security Guard/Coyote/Trickster/Kachina" giving the Mazas permission to enter the site. Xanatos thinks that this security guy is the true vandal. He's positive he knows who the guy is. And he wants him.

9. Night. Goliath and Angela have been filled in. They are going to enter construction site by air to find out what Xanatos is up to. Peter has a few moral qualms about this, but the Gargoyles don't legally exist, so legally no one is trespassing. (Let's also not make Peter and Beth too comfortable too quickly around the gargoyles. Knowing they exist and seeing them frozen in stone, is not the same as seeing them walking and talking in all their glory.) After gargoyles head out, Elisa asks whether Peter might want to "visit" grandpa, after this is all over. No, Peter does not.

10. Goliath and Angela glide in. Enter the "shed". Find the soil carving and the land-sat pictures, though they don't know the significance of them. Then Coyote-4 shows. He was expecting Peter and Beth Maza, not Goliath and Angela, but he figures they'll do. We have a fight, which the gargoyles lose. They are down for the count.

ACT TWO
Intercut between beats 11 and 12.

11. Outside the construction site, Peter, Beth and Elisa spot "Young Peter" (no longer dressed as a security guard, but as we saw young Peter dressed in the flashback). With Bronx's help they "apprehend" him. Now that he doesn't have his security guard hat, both Beth and Elisa are startled by his resemblance to their father. "Dad, doesn't he remind you of someone?" But Peter doesn't notice the resemblance and doesn't give them much opportunity to comment on it. He wants some answers from this faux-security guard. Why did he help Xanatos frame them? The kid sidesteps the question by asking a question of his own. Why shouldn't he help Xanatos? Who cares if Xanatos destroys a soil carving sacred to the kachina Coyote? All that old indian stuff is just that: old indian stuff. Beth is shocked. If that's what Xanatos is up to, he definitely must be stopped. Peter begrudgingly agrees that the tribe should be informed. The soil carving has anthropological value at least. Oh, please, says the kid, scoffing at Peter, the way Peter once scoffed at his father. Xanatos is bringing jobs to the tribe. Real jobs. Real money. If you inform the tribe, they'll just rope the site off as sacred land and Xanatos' project won't get off the ground. No jobs. No cash inflow. The kid looks at Peter and says: Get with the program, old man. Besides, where are your priorities. Your worried about some scratches in the sand, while Xanatos is about to ice your two gargoyle friends. The Mazas look shocked. They instinctively turn to look toward the construction site. In that moment, Bronx starts howling, and when they turn back, the Trickster has vanished.

12. Goliath and Angela regain consciousness inside the shed. Coyote-4 has just finished securing them in some kind of James Bondian deathtrap. Xanatos is there and he's actually apologetic. He has no desire to kill either Goliath or this intriguing new female. But the death trap has to be real, and he must be prepared to follow through or else he couldn't hope to trap his true quarry. He's figured that out at least. For weeks he kept pretending that he was about to destroy the soil carving, but until he made up his mind to actually bulldoze the thing last night, he didn't even get a nibble. His prey obviously knows when he's sincere. The seconds tick away and soon the gargoyles will die.

13. Led by Elisa, the Mazas and Bronx are breaking into the construction site perimeter and shed. (If we need a legal rationale, Elisa feels they have probable cause at this point. They have reason to believe a homicide is about to take place.) Peter can't figure out how that strange kid got away so fast. Beth thinks she knows how and also who the kid really is. But before she has a chance to voice her theory, they're in. Unfortunately, Xanatos (in his battle armor) is waiting. It looks bad for all of our heroes. And then Xanatos is hit with a lot of bad luck. Outrageously bad luck. And Xanatos actually seems pleased. He knows his quarry is near. All our gargoyle and human heroes escape, but not before Beth sees "Young Peter" watching them from the rafters. Coyote-IV tries to sneak up on him, but "Young Peter" jumps out an open window (or something) to safety.

14. Our heroes head for the tribal police station to inform the authorities about Xanatos and the hidden soil carving. Beth finally has a chance to reveal what she's now convinced is the truth about the faux-Security Guard. She believes he is Coyote, the trickster. Peter can't believe that this nonsense is coming out of the mouth of one of his daughters. The guy was a punk working for Xanatos. But Beth spells it out. Why would Coyote try to grab one of Xanatos' employees? And c'mon, the guy looked exactly like old pictures of Peter. And he was clearly trying to goad Peter into action through some pretty amateurish reverse-psychology. Plus the soil carving is sacred to Coyote. And who else would have the power to set those bulldozers up that way? And how about the amazing string of luck that allowed them to escape unharmed? That "kid" was Coyote. And he was protecting his sacred carving and us. Peter is appalled. He appeals to the others. But Elisa knows that such beings exist. She's met them. And Goliath says that Beth's theory fits with what Xanatos said earlier about his "true quarry". Angela finds it hard to believe that Peter doesn't believe. Peter won't budge. This is about a rich guy trying to build a building by bulldozing a cultural icon. That's it.

15. Just before they get to town, the gargoyles hide. The Mazas arrive outside the tribal police station. It is dark. Around back, there is some kind of tribal ceremony going on. No spectators. Just participants in masks. Beth is a student of this stuff, but even she's stumped. Nothing was scheduled, and she's unfamiliar with this ritual. Reluctantly, Peter explains. It's a ceremony of gratitude to Coyote. He knows because when he was a kid, his father made him participate. In fact, he played Coyote in the ceremony. But this old rite was rarely performed even when he was a kid. Beth sees this as further proof. The dark, empty police station. The spectatorless ceremony to Coyote. But Peter just mumbles, "It's a coincidence." Then the 'Coyote dancer' takes off his mask, revealing himself to be the "Young Peter" and asking the real Peter if this is a coincidence too? Before Peter can respond, Coyote-4 rockets into the scene, grabs "Young Peter" and rockets away.

ACT THREE
16. Pick up more or less where we left off. The other dancers take off their masks as if waking from a trance. They are the tribal police we met in beat 5. They don't have a clue what they were doing out here, but are very interested to learn about the soil carving in the shed. The Mazas hook up with the gargoyles who saw the robot zoom in and out. Everyone is now sure they must save the true Coyote from Xanatos. Everyone but Peter. Xanatos was simply saving his employee from arrest. There's no one to rescue. Peter refuses to participate in any more of this foolishness. He is adamant in his denial. ADAMANT. This can't be true. It just can't.

17. But of course, it is. The Young Peter/trickster is locked in Coyote-4's grip. He's not exactly terrified, but he's a bit surprised he can't shape-shift himself free or vanish into smoke or something.
(NOTE: I don't know exactly where this should take place. Back in the "shed" makes logical sense, but we've staged all of our action there, and we might want to mix it up some.) Xanatos explains that Coyote-4 was made from an alloy that included the melted down Cauldron of Life -- a device which was supposed to grant Xanatos immortality, but fell short of his expectations. So he put it to a new use. The magic metal of the Cauldron allows Coyote-4 to hold onto Coyote-Trickster indefinitely. (And no, the irony of the names isn't lost on Xanatos. He's always considered himself something of a trickster at heart.) Now, with the trickster under his control, he can get his heart's desire. Starting with immortality. Just then Beth, Elisa and the gargoyles bust in. Still without the trickster's help, it isn't going well. Suddenly, a man appears in the Coyote mask from the midnight ceremony. His mere presence seems to bring bad luck to the villains. Xanatos is shaken. He thought he had the real coyote/trickster but now he isn't so sure. The tide turns. "Young Peter" is freed. Coyote-IV is destroyed. Xanatos is forced to flee or something. And of course, the masked man is revealed to be Peter Maza, who really doesn't know why his appearance helped turn things around. "Young Peter" explains that playing Coyote all those years ago connected them. They are part of each other, which, Young Peter says, is why he worked so hard to get him back. And with that Young Peter vanishes. Leaving the real Peter with the Coyote mask. Peter turns to his daughters and says. Let's go visit your grandfather.

18. We dissolve to the gravesite of Peter's father. The gargoyles keep a respectful distance. Elisa and Beth are closer, but also give Peter room. In a monologue to his dead dad, Peter reveals why he couldn't believe: if he admitted he had been wrong all those years ago, then he'd have had to admit that he lost all that time with his dad for nothing. He believes now, but it is too late. And he's so sorry, because he wishes there was some way his dad could know how much Peter always loved and respected him. Elisa and Beth approach to comfort their father. "I think he knows, dad. I think he knows."

O.K. That's it. As usual, NONE OF THIS is etched in stone. If you like it, you can go right to script. If you don't like it or any part of it, just come talk to me.


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Chapter LIII: "Bushido"

Time to ramble...

Chapter LIII: "Bushido"
Story Editor: Gary Sperling
Writer: Gary Sperling
Director: Dennis Woodyard

PREVIOUSLY
As with "Sentinel", which immediately proceeded this ep, the Previously scenes are all from "Awakening". Because again, we're going to use this episode to tell another story loaded with parallelism and "What ifs?"

My daughter Erin, who's seen this episode before of course -- but not recently, picked up on all of it immediately. Taro is a Japanese Xanatos. Kai a Japanese Goliath. Yama a Japanese Demona. Hiroshi a Japanese Elisa. Etc.

What if Xanatos' plan for the gargoyles had been more directly and publicly exploitive? What if Demona was tricked... but also maintained her sense of honor and need for redemption. And etc. Would things have worked out better or worse?

Fortunately, Goliath has (in a sense) been through all of this before. And fortunately, Taro is clever. But he's no Xanatos. So it all turns out all right.

But the parallels continue. Taro also parallels the Captain, and we even present a faux Wyvern to drive the Captain/Demona - Taro/Yama relationship home.

I also like how Yama uses Goliath as proof that the Ishimura Clan doesn't need to hide from the world. Goliath disabuses him of oversimplifying, but it reminds me of when Goliath cited Xanatos to Demona as proof that humans can be trusted.

Yama is great at spouting half-truths that he has thoroughly embraced. Or put another way, Yama is right about a lot. But has chosen a really poor road with which to pave his good intentions. (Not quite the road to Hell, but the road to being a living walkaround character in a theme park!)

LOTS O' LINES
Yama (bored): "Yes, I know. We're terrifying."

Kai: "It's the best kept secret in Japan."

Goliath: "And you believe this problem will be solved by charging admission?"

Taro: "I was always a poor student." (Understatement of the year. And I love how Kai tries to deny it. That's good manners, cuz you gotta figure that for once Taro is being honest -- disarmingly honest.)

Kai: "Gargoyle must not fight Gargoyle" (A conscious tribute, believe it or not, to the semi-seminal "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" and the line "Ape has killed Ape!")

Elisa: "If you don't hurry, you're gonna wind up TV Stars!"
Goliath (horrified): "NO!" (See, we always blamed Disney for GARGOYLES low corporate profile, but Goliath himself was uncooperative.)

Taro: "Nobody ever got rich off Bushido."

Taro again: "Who else needs lessons in courtesy?"

And Taro again: "Bushido is not kind to you, Yama."

Reporter: "You've watched too many cartoons."

Elisa: "But it's a start."

Most of our guest actors began our voice recording playing different roles. But part way through the recording, Jamie and I realized that we needed to start over. They were all good actors but we hadn't worked with most of them before. Once we actually heard the SOUND of their voices, we knew we had to do some switching.

LITTLE TOUCHES
My son Benny immediately noticed that Elisa spent the last half of Act One in a kimono. (I assume her regular outfit was being cleaned -- QUICKLY.) Again, Elisa looks good in anything.

Hey, we actually do get attacked by "EVIL NINJAS"!

Also notice that Taro purchased the same brand of Tranq Gun that Bruno uses for Xanatos.

I love the cultural difference that the Ishimuran Gargoyles face IN, instead of out.

I love how Goliath crumbles the faux stone castle walls.

Hiroshi and Elisa both have some really nice moves. But she's WAY better looking.

And how about those electrified fans of Taro's. VERY COOL. Credit for those go to Dennis Woodyard and his team. The script had electro-disks on Taro's palms. But the fans are much cooler than what I had pictured. (Though I am gonna use those palm disks someday.)

LITTLE ANNOYANCES
Just exactly how many domes did Taro build? When Elisa & Hiroshi are behind the main dome, there ALWAYS seems to be another dome behind them from every angle.

More damn automated cannons shooting up the place. Sometimes, we fell back on old standards.

Way at the beginning of the World Tour, we had a meeting to decide what we were going to do about foreign languages. The majority felt we should ignore them. (I was on the fence, myself.) So when we wrote and recorded Bushido, we used no actual Japanese. Later, Frank wanted to put the first section in Japanese (with subtitles) -- right up until Kai meets Goliath, and then begins speaking English as a courtesy to his new friend. I felt it would work great (though I sure wish he had brought it up earlier). I felt that even our youngest non-literate audience would be okay with it, since the situation being presented was VERY straight-forward and easy to figure out.

Unfortunately, Frank came up with his plan too late, and Disney didn't want to spend the additional money to rerecord everything. (Many felt it was a dubious creative choice, and the cost settled it.) But in general, I wish we had played with foreign languages more. In Bushido and other World Tour eps.

BUSHIDO IN ISHIMURA
We also were interested in showing that Goliath's vision for human/Gargoyle relations wasn't just a pipe dream. For centuries, humans and Gargoyles have protected each other and lived in peace in Ishimura. It's not a perfect system. The younger human generation has (as the ep opens) lost interest in learning the ways of Bushido. And threats to their little community will always exist, both from within and without. But we felt it was important to demonstrate that peace is possible. And by the end, the pact between human & gargoyle, which we sense had begun to be taken for granted, is renewed. And the study of Bushido will be resumed. This struck me so keenly -- i.e. the notion of young humans and gargoyles studying together in the ways of Bushido (which I view to some degree at least as the Japanese version of the Gargoyle Way), that I incorporated the idea into Gargoyles 2198. Eventually, Ishimura will train both gargoyles and humans from across the globe. The former as protectors, the latter -- as GUARDIANS. All proving that Goliath was a garg ahead of his time.

Yama popped for me a bit. We bulked him up and added him to BAD GUYS as a guy who really wanted to redeem himself for betraying his clan.

We also wanted to do an episode set in Japan for our Japanese Animation Studio. At one point, I noticed that this specific episode was scheduled to go to our Korean sub-contractor. This seemed insane to me, so we juggled some stuff so that WDTVA-Tokyo could do Bushido. And they did a VERY nice job with it.

AND WHO CAN FORGET THE ANIMATRONIC GIANT GARGOYLE
Frank Welker is a lot of fun playing this guy. I want to bring him back. Or them rather. And I love how Taro is stranded up there and then falls. And I love how he says, "Not now." when the Garg starts talking.

Anyway, there's my ramble... Where's yours?


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Chapter LII: "Sentinel"

Time to ramble...

Chapter LII: "Sentinel"
Story Editor: Cary Bates
Writer: Cary Bates
Director: Bob Kline

PREVIOUSLY
All really old stuff to compare and contrast with this odd little attempt to present Goliath & Elisa's first meeting in an alternate universe, so to speak.

Lost already?

In "Awakening", Elisa accepts Goliath fairly quickly. In my mind, a lot of that acceptance comes because Elisa has a good sense of herself. She's secure in her black shirt, red jacket and genes. (Pun intended.) I believe that someone who is basically (and truly -as opposed to kidding his or herself) self-possessed, has a better chance at accepting those that are different. If I know who I am and am comfortable with that knowledge, than how does your being different effect me? It doesn't. So live and let live.

In "Awakening", Elisa knows Elisa. So Elisa accepts Goliath. But what if Goliath had met someone, even someElisa, who was not quite so self-assured?

Like, say, an Elisa with amnesia? In that alternate universe, how does their first meeting go? She takes a shot at him with her service piece, that's how it goes. Fortunately, she's out of bullets.

And ultimately, Elisa has good instincts. We left it intentionally ambiguous as to how much of her eventual turn around is credited to her returning memory and how much is a result of her instinct. But she quickly comes to believe that "this Goliath," or as I love to hear her call him, "Tiny," is a guy she can trust, even when she CANNOT trust herself.

SPEAKING OF TINY
Little changes are refreshing to me. So hearing Elisa call Goliath Tiny is like seeing her with her jacket off. Which we do, here, briefly. Long-sleeve shirt again. I know that she has both short and long sleeve black t-shirts. But has anyone kept track of whether or not we saw her in the short-sleeve t-shirt on the World Tour. Cuz that would be a continuity gaff that I could easily explain.... but I'm hoping I don't have to.

OTHER INSPIRATIONS
Well, for starters one notion that I wanted to put to rest, was some fan buzz after the first season that suggested that Gargoyles must be aliens from another planet. So I wanted to hit that idea head on with the intent of knocking it out once and for all. So Nokkar BELIEVES that the Gargoyles are servents of the Space-Spawn. But he's wrong.

And the result... I got even more fans thinking after this episode that the gargs must be from outer space. <sigh>

Another inspiration was of course, Rapa Nui/Easter Island itself. And those moai statues. This was another stop that seemed like a natural for our world tour. Famous strange statues always drew us to send the skiff to town. I love the image at the very end of Nokkar in profile beside the profiles of the moai.

Finally, when I was young there were tons of stories about forgotten Japanese soldiers assigned to remote South Pacific Islands who were still fighting World War II, because they were cut off from all communication and had no idea that the war had ended (let alone that Japan had lost). I think THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN did an episode about that. So Nokkar is a metaphor for that kind of (probably apocryphal) forgotten Sentinel.

A FEW LINES
(all quotations approximate)
*Goliath to Elisa when she agrees not to fight him at high altitude: "I suppose that's a start."

*Elisa to Tiny: "Just shut up and land."

*Nokkar to the Gargoyles: "Tell your Space-Spawn Masters that Nokkar will never abandon his post!"

Elisa to Tiny: "That's some story. Gargoyle Clans. Mutated Brothers. You threw in everything but King Arthur and the Holy Grail."
Tiny to Elisa: "Yes, well, we haven't encountered the Holy Grail yet." (HINT, HINT)

Elisa to Angela: "Stow the melodrama. I'm immune."

Goliath to Nokkar: "We are both Protectors. Guardians. Sentinels."

The way Avery Brooks (as Nokkar) says the words: "Little doubt" used to always strike me as odd. But I guess I've gotten used to it. Didn't bug me this time.

IT'S THE AMAZING NOKKAR SHOW
The way this ended, you'd almost think we were setting up yet another spin-off. "That wacky alien Nokkar teams up with a doctor and two archeologists to save the world from invasion and learn a little something about getting along... all in one hotel room!"

In fact, I did have a spin-off in mind, but set so far in the future that Arnada, Duane and Morwood-Smyth would be long gone, I'm afraid. (See the GARGOYLES 2198 archive, here at ASK GREG for more information.)

Have I mentioned that Arthur Morwood-Smyth was named after Peter Morwood and Arthur Byron Cover, and that Lydia Duane was named after Diane Duane and Lydia Marano? Yeah, I thought I had.

A FEW LITTLE TOUCHES
Goliath thinks Bronx is disoriented, because he's meandering around in front of the hill. In fact, he's meandering there, because that's the secret entrance to Nokkar's ship.

I like how Goliath gathers Elisa to him by scooping her up in a wing.

A real nice hand-to-hand battle between Goliath and Nokkar.

And Bronx jumps Nokkar TWICE!

Erin, who I believe is now TOO aware that I write down her comments thought it was cool the way Goliath sort of "ice-skated" backwards after Nokkar threw him aside.

AND SADLY
We destroy yet another archaeological treasure when Nokkar's ship topples a moai.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Will Eisner, RIP

Just taking a moment to note with sadness the passing of comic book (or I should say sequential art) genius, Will Eisner. I met Will only once, when he came to speak to a gathering of DC Comics staffers in the mid 80s. (I was a very junior editorial staffer at the time.) But I've admired his work forever and found every Spirit I've ever read to be extremely instructive. And THE DREAMERS... wow!

Bye Will, and thank you.


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HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Hey gang,

I'm back in town after a great holiday (tempered by the tragedy in Asia). I hope all of you are doing well.

Well, the holiday gift-giving season has passed, but please keep spreading the word about the Gargoyles DVD. Buena Vista Home Entertainment will begin discussing whether or not to produce a DVD of the second season in February, so the more sales we rack up between now and then, the better.


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Happy Holidays...

I'm heading out of town. Don't know how much (if any) net access I'll have, so this may be my last post until January 3rd of the new year.

So all of you, have a great Holiday Season. I am so grateful to have all of you in my life.


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Chapter LI: "The Green"

Time to ramble...

Chapter LI: "The Green"
Story Editor: Cary Bates
Writer: Cary Bates
Directors: Kazuo Terada, Takamitsu Kawamura

PREVIOUSLY
Use a voice actor. Pay a voice actor. That's the rule, and it's a good one. What that means practically is that even the guy who says, "Previously on Gargoyles" needs to be paid for that episode. Or rather, we won't use someone to say "Previously on Gargoyles" unless that actor is already appearing in the episode, because we don't want to pay someone JUST to say "Previously on Gargoyles..." Now, if you know that one fact, then when you hear our good friend Thom Adcox saying "Previously on Gargoyles" at the beginning of the episode, then it's a pretty safe bet that Lexington is going to appear... and yet, as the episode begins, it seems, at least by this time, to be a fairly standard World Tour Adventure: Goliath, Elisa, Angela & Bronx in the exotic locale of the week. So where in the world (since it ain't gonna be Guatemala) is Lexington going to pop in?

The origins of this episode ("The + [one word title]" attributable to me) come from two semi-competing desires. 1) I wanted to make sure we hit every continent, including South America on the World Tour. And I believed that the stunning visual image of Quetzacoatl, the Flying Serpent was another great inspiration for a Gargoyle character. 2) Frank felt strongly that we had not seen enough of Hudson & the Trio during the Tour. I'll admit, as I have before, that I underestimated their popularity and probably overestimated -- at least at the time -- the interest in our little odyssey 'round the world. But even then, I could see Frank's point. I didn't want to not do our Mayan adventure, so Cary & I constructed a story that would give us an interesting experience in the Green, but would also bring us back to the deep purples of Lex & Broadway's Manhattan.

IT'S ALL IN THE DELIVERY
Some great lines in this one, mostly from Hyena & Jackal:

Hyena...
"Hey, he's a fan."
"Have I mentioned how much I hate Gargoyles."
"They get no mercy." (This right before H&J get slammed by a pretty darn impressive throw of a bulldozer shovel.)
"Bowling for Gargoyles!" (To which my daughter Erin responded with: "That was disturbing." I found it interesting that in all the gonzo stuff in this episode, the thing she found most disturbing was Hyena rolling up into a ball. I mean is that really as disturbing as Jackal's dream of "resculpting" Goliath's head?!!)

Jackal...
"If a tree falls in the forest... do I get to hear it scream?"
"Timber!"

Zafiro had a good line too: "There's no such thing as a few trees."

And Goliath: "What's left of their world is rapidly dwindling."

And Broadway: "Leave our mothers out of this." (Broadway always thinks in clan-parentage mode. My son Benny wondered if they even knew whom their mothers were. Of course, they did. Not biologically, but they knew which females gargoyles were their rookery mothers. All gone now.)

And Morgan (to an unconscious Hyena): "You have the right to remain silent."

"WHAT IS THE GREEN?"
My kids wanted to know.

First off it's hot. Elisa takes off her jacket, revealing her (in this instance) short-sleeve black t-shirt. Even this slight clothing change for her comes off as exciting to me.

Second, it's full of potential herbal medicines, admirably demonstrated by Obsidiana.

Third, it's got Obsidiana. And Turquesa and Jade and the amazingly designed Zafiro. And the revelation, that long ago, Gargoyles were everywhere in the world. In hindsight, I wish that all four characters had had the serpentine lower body. Though I'm glad that only Zafiro had the feathered wings and snake-like head. There's a great Mayan/Aztec flavor to all four gargs. And you wouldn't believe the trouble we had figuring out their names. Now they seem so right. But we went through many permutations, before figuring them out. I think at one point, Zafiro was named Jose.

Fourth, it's got that cool pyramid.

Fifth, it's got amulets which defy the basic Day/stone dynamic. We had some fun with that. And my son Benny liked seeing them alive in the morning. It was different.

Sixth, what didn't get mentioned was Oxygen. I had a line in there which talked about the dilemma of losing the rain forest on the basic level of how much of our oxygen it produces. I felt that was a VERY important message. Frank felt it was preachy. I lost that battle, or ceded it or something. But the line's not in there.

FOR A CHANGE OF PACE
Elisa is accepted fairly easily by the Mayan Clan. Obsidiana takes a particular shine to her. Despite having undergone a Wyvernesque massacre, none of the Mayan gargs have a knee-jerk negative reaction to humans. And certainly nothing on the level of what Elisa had just experienced in New Olympus.

DID YOU NOTICE THE HOMAGE?
To THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN & THE BIONIC WOMAN? I think we did some cool things with Hyena's bionic ear and Jackal's seven-figure eye.

Also, Jackal has a built in hair dryer?

And there's a moment in the museum when Hyena activates her rear jetpacks, when both my kids and my wife thought that she had "rocket-boobies". The shot switches from front to back, and her jets emerge from bionic shoulder blades. But if you miss the camera-angle switch, it can certainly look briefly as if her breasts have become rocket powered. Top that Lyndsey Wagner!

Heck, Jackal even has a built-in Bionic wrist-watch. For some reason, I find that particularly hilarious. ("And he tells time...!")

VOGEL
Just a taste of him here. He's largely a place-holder. A bad employer of our two bad villains. But we tried to make even this little bit of Vogel interesting. He's still somewhat morally-challenged. And he reveals that he has gained more responsibility as Renard's affliction has worsened.

This episode is, by the way, loaded with references to OTHER World Tour episodes. That's supposed to be a no-no. We couldn't guarantee that they would all air in order within the World Tour Tier, i.e. between the AVALON Three-Parter and the GATHERING Two-Parter. But I guess, we had some confidence that "The Green" would air after "Golem", after "Grief", etc.

THE GOLIATH & ELISA FANCLUB
I love how they disagree with each other without losing respect or concern for each other. It's so DAMN mature.

WE TRASH ANOTHER LANDMARK
Yep, we're knocking down and burning down the rain forest right & left (in an attempt to save it by influencing public opinion, no less). But we also trash another museum. I was SO cavalier about it at the time, but when I see that Mammoth skeleton go down now, I cringe.

Cool amulet though. It rolls. It frisbees with a great sound effect. Since we had the NYC plot ending -- before the Guat-plot ended -- with Hyena's defeat, we wanted to maintain some suspense. So we have Broadway and Lex come to the incorrect but believable conclusion that the Amulet must be destroyed. Fortunately, they decided to confiscate it instead. And, yes, it survives the destruction of the Clock Tower in Hunter's Moon. Then back in Guatemala, we have Obsidiana lose her amulet so that we could see her in stone and wonder if Broadway had destroyed it so that all four Mayan gargs would be sleeping.

Speaking of Hyena's defeat, she goes down after a head injury. In today's world of S&P there's no way we would be allowed to give her that head injury in the first place.

WHAT IS THE GREEN PART TWO
Seventh, I hope, without getting TOO preachy, it managed to teach a lesson. Erin thought so. Which is perhaps good enough for me.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Gargoyles DVD

Still, don't have my copy. I ordered it from Amazon with Return of the King, so I guess I'm on Hobbit time waiting to get both DVDs.

I went to Target near my house. They didn't have it. No indication that they ever had it.

So I'm still waiting.

In the meantime, for those of you who do have it, I'd love to see DVD reviews posted here at ASK GREG.

Again, it helps to have one centrally located spot where I can direct the Powers That Be at Disney. So all of you... review!


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Buffyverse Stats

BUFFYVERSE STATS

TOP 40 CHARACTER LIST:

Once again, I'm wasting my semi-valuable time (and hopefully yours) to bring you the latest update in my attempt to catalogue the most significant characters in the BUFFYVERSE. The three previous CUMULATIVE updates covered the first, second and third seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The idea behind a cumulative tally is to mimic the original experience of following the Buffyverse. It's a horse race. Some of the winners and losers are a bit surprising. Others are decidedly predictable.

The task has gotten more complicated with Buffy's fourth season, which airs simultaneously (day for day, literally) with the first season of Angel. Since a normal season of Buffy (the first excepted) consists of 22 episodes, the fourth of Buffy added to the first of Angel will total 44 episodes, and that seemed too long to wait for an update. So I'm taking the pulse at the halfway point, after 11 episodes of each series.

As you may recall, I've tried to inform this subjective task with an objective formula. I tried, as much as possible, not to allow my knowledge of future events to influence the current standings. Still, I won't deny that subjectives have played a role. It's hard not to take extra notice of a character you know is going to be important later. And ties were broken based entirely on subjective criteria - i.e. my personal preference.

I have a list of ALL the characters that have appeared in both series up to this point. It's so long (including everything from leads to ridiculously minor characters) that I haven't even bothered to count how many there are. But my list of MOST significant currently tops out at 86 characters.

But I think listing the top 40 is plenty. Or largely. I just want to note a few characters introduced (or revisited) in these two half-seasons, who haven't yet or never will make the top 40, but whom I believe are memorable enough to merit honorable mention.

Starting with…

#84 - Lee Mercer. Lee was a cold-blooded Wolfram & Heart attorney that I remember being sure would become a recurring danger. During this first half, W&H didn't focus on any one recurring villain. And I kept thinking any minute now… Any minute now… And I was right. But I picked the wrong horse.

#82 - Dennis. The Ghost haunting Cordelia's rent-controlled apartment. He was a good roommate, who obviously had a crush on her. He was sweet, and I worried about him after Cordelia was gone.

#81 - The Gentlemen. The lead Gentleman in particular. The best single episode menaces - EVER. Terrifying in look. Terrifying in M.O. Stylish. In one of the most impressive hours of television I've ever watched.

#75 - Aura. Aura appeared as an incredibly minor character in the Buffy pilot. And never again. But her name stuck with me and obviously with the Whedon team as well. Because in an early Angel, when they needed a high school pal from Cordelia's past to give her a call, they used Aura.

#74 - Tom. Tom was a vampire, part of a clique who preyed on Freshman at UC Sunnydale. The rest of his crowd was staked, but Tom was the first "Hostile" we saw captured by the Initiative. He later helped Spike escape, and we never saw poor Tom again.

#70 - Trevor Lockley. Police Detective Kate Lockley's jerk of a dad.

#67 - Lyndsey. The first W&H lawyer we met wound up being the most important. But halfway through the season, we still hadn't seen him after the pilot.

#65 - D'Hoffryn. Anya's former boss as a Vengeance Demon. He offers Willow a job after Oz leaves. (We should have seen her sixth season rampage coming.)

#64 - Tara. Willow's fellow witch makes her first appearance, and although she has very little screentime, and doesn't immediately appear again, she does seem interesting from moment one.

#61 - Sunday. Buffy's first college Vampire. #74's boss. Some nice attitude.

#57 - Olivia. Giles' incredibly hot girlfriend from London. She appears twice, including memorably in "Hush". At the end of that episode, she says she isn't sure she can take Giles' "lifestyle". And then she never appears again…

#53 & #54 - Oracles. Male and female representatives of the Powers That Be. They're not particularly interesting, so they'll die soon.

#47 - Kathy. Buffy's original Freshman roommate. A Celine fan. Brrrrrr.

#44 - Veruca. The werewolf that broke up Oz and Willow, and sent Oz running from Sunnydale.

AND NOW THE TOP 40

#40 - Graham. No previous rank. Riley Finn's second best friend. Laconic.

#39 - Scott Hope. 3rd Season Rank: 33. Buffy's one real normal boyfriend. He's still holding on to the top 40, but down 6 places, and not likely to still be around by the end of the year.

#38 - Deputy Mayor Finch. 3rd Season Rank: 32. Also down six places. Faith's murder victim.

#37 - Whistler. 3Season: 31. 2Season: 18. The Demon who set Angel on the right path. Kind of the guy I figured to take the Doyle role on Angel. But he's lost 6 rankings (19 since Season 2) and is falling fast.

#36 - Kendra. 3S: 30. 2S: 17. This whole crowd is dropping six rankings. Kendra the original auxilary Vampire Slayer deserves a bit better, I think.

#35 - Ethan Rayne. 3S: 29. 2S: 22. Giles former friend still looms larger in my memory than his ranking suggests. I keep thinking he's going to appear again, because I find it hard to believe he registered so well in so few appearances.

#34 - Devon. 3S: 28. 2S: 37. Oz's bandmate, has peeked.

#33 - Forrest. NPR. Riley's best buddie at the Initiative and the Fraternity.

#32 - Principal Flutie. 3S: 24. 2S: 16. 1S: 9. The original Principal of Sunnydale High is still hanging on.

#31 - Willy the Snitch. 3S: 21. 2S: 24. Looks like Willy has peeked also.

#30 - Larry. 3S: 25. 2S: 35. Hard not to peek when your dead. But I always liked Larry. A former bully, he became one of the White Hats and was killed by the Mayor. And he's still in the top 30.

#29 - Darla. 3S:23. 2S: 23. 1S:11. Hard not to slip when you're a vampire who's been staked. But Darla's poised for a comeback.

#28 - Percy. 3S: 26. I'm stunned Percy's holding on. He's not even vaguely interesting. But he keeps showing up.

#27 - Parker Abrams. NPR. The second guy that Buffy ever slept with. A real jerk. Makes me miss Scott Hope.

#26 - The Annointed One. 3S: 19. 2S: 14. 1S: 10. The Master's mini-me.

#25 - Mr. Trick. 3S: 18. Staked and falling. But his attitude is missed.

#24 - Amy. 3S: 27. 2S: 23. 1S: 17. Her continuing appearances as a Rat, are keeping her in the top 25.

#23 - Kate Lockley. NPR. Angel's cop friend seemed like a potential love interest, but has at the first season's halfway point, become something closer to an enemy.

#22 - Jonathan. 3S: 17. 2S: 19. Jonathan's falling, but his presence is missed, and he'll be staging a comeback.

#21 - The Master. 3S: 16. 2S: 13. 1S: 8. Buffy's first big bad appeared in a shortened first season, so has fallen out of the top twenty.

#20 - Harmony. 3S: 20. 2S: 26. 1S: 18. Harmony's emergence as a vampire was a stroke of comic genius, and has allowed her to hold onto her #20 ranking.

#19 - Maggie Walsh. NPR. The Ice Queen enters the rankings as a real comer.

#18 - Anya. 3S: 22. Halfway through the season, and Anya's admirably filling the Cordelia role, but she's still not a regular. Still she's moved up four rankings already.

#17 - Riley Finn. NPR. But the big news is Riley. Entering the rankings at 17. A new regular (hopscotching over Anya) before the Season's half over. He's Buffy's new boy. A soldier and a nice guy. Cornfed Iowa boy.

#16 - The Mayor. 3s: 14. 1S: 40. The Mayor's only lost a couple slots. Probably the best of the big bads - unless you count Angelus.

#15 - Wesley. 3S: 15. Wesley's midseason reappearance on Angel, allows him to hold onto his #15 ranking.

#14 - Jenny Calendar. 3S: 13. 2S: 11. 1S: 15. Still maintaining a good number.

#13 - Drusilla. 3s: 11. 2s: 8. Dru has fallen a couple ranks, but she's still up there.

#12 - Doyle. NPR. Okay, bigger news than Riley is Doyle. Although with his midseason death, he's got nowhere to go but down. But I loved this character. He was a blast. And his death really did catch me off guard. His ranking was really helped by Angel having such a small regular cast initially. It gave him a lot of screen time and story points.

#11 - Faith. 3s: 10. Faith only loses one rank (thanks to Spike).

#10 - Principal Snyder. 3S: 9. 2s: 10. 1s: 12. Snyder falls one rank, to equal his 2season score. But he's still in the top ten, which is pretty good for a dead guy.

#9 - Spike. 3s: 12. 2s: 9. Spike jumps (finally) past Dru, past Snyder, past Faith, as he becomes a regular. The start of something truly beautiful. (I'm choking up here.)

#8 - Joyce. 3s: 8. 2s: 7. 1s:7. Joyce has barely appeared this season, but she's got points to spare to keep her up in the high numbers.

#7 - Oz. 3s: 7. 2s: 12. Well, Oz'll be back, briefly, but he's clearly peeked. So it's all downhill from here. Still, I'm sure he'll remain in the top 40 forever.

#6 - Angel. 3s: 6 2s:6. 1s:6. This surprised me. Though Angel is climbing fast, even his own series hasn't been enough for him to catch up - yet - with Buffy's main Scoobies.

#5 - Willow. 3s: 4. 2S: 4. 1s: 4. But THIS just stunned me - and frankly makes me question my system entirely. Yes, Cordelia's position as Angel's Gal Friday on Angel gives her a ton of screen and story time. And she was close enough to Willow, to allow her to pass our young Wicca. But perception of course, suggests that Willow should be #3 or even #2 behind only Buffy. This may still end up to be the case. Figure by the end of the horse race, to see Buffy & Angel in the one/two slots, but I'd assume that Willow would pass Cordelia (once Angel gains more cast members) and maybe even Xander. (And certainly Giles).

#4 - Cordelia. 3s:5, 2S: 5. 1S: 5. See above. She's #2 in a tiny regular cast.

#3 - Xander. 3s: 3. 2s:3. 1s: 3. Xander hasn't quite found his place in Buffy's college life. But then neither has Giles. So both of them are cruising on old points.

#2 - Giles. 3s: 2. 2s:2. 1s: 2. Giles still hanging on to the #2 slot.

#1 - Buffy. 3s: 1; 2s: 1; 1s: 1. Duh.


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I GOT MINE!!

Just got back from the Amazon my friends -- went their via the Gathering 2005 site at www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com -- where I purchased my copy of the GARGOYLES SEASON ONE on DVD. I'm pretty excited. Nervous too.

I want to thank all of you who are supporting this product. Supporting this property, this fandom and my emotional state.

But let's try this. Everybody contact SOMEBODY from the fandom whom you haven't heard from in a while. Someone maybe who attended a Gathering in 1998, maybe. Or someone who used to frequent Station 8, but just sort of drifted off. Search these people down. Odds are they'd love to get the DVD, but if they've been out of the loop, they may not know it's available NOW!!!

If all of you contact just one lost fan, it would really help to spread the word!!

Thanks!


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TOMORROW OR NEVER

Well, guys, tomorrow -- December 7th, 2004 -- is the big day. The GARGOYLES first season comes out on DVD.

I know I'm preaching to the converted, but I can't emphasize enough how important it is to the fandom that this DVD sells well.

Good sales on the first day, particularly a nice Amazon turnout, are important, but what's more important are PHENOMENAL SALES over the next month or two.

If you can't get it at Amazon, get it somewhere else.

If you can't get it tomorrow, get it soon.

But get it. And more than that get everyone you know to get it.

Get strangers to get it.

Yes, I know we're all a bit disappointed in the way Disney has somewhat failed to support the DVD with advertising. But as I've always maintained... the burden is on the fans. They need to prove to Disney that Disney needs to spend money to make money on Gargoyles.

They need to prove to Disney that the fandom is rabid and large and ready to support the property with actual dollars and cents.

A very small part of me feels bad about asking you to spend money. But keep in mind if this DVD doesn't do EXTREMELY well, it will be very difficult to convince Disney to support the property in other ways -- including a second season on DVD, let alone new and original material set in the Gargoyles Universe.

By the way, we did get a nice write-up here:

http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/rage/index1.htm

Check it out.

But mostly, take advantage of this opportunity to demonstrate your love for the show. Again this is NOT just about money. This is about SPREADING THE WORD WITH RELIGIOUS FERVOR!!!

Good luck to us all.


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Chapter L: "The New Olympians"

Time to ramble...

Chapter L: "The New Olympians"
Story Editor: Gary Sperling
Writer: Adam Gilad
Director: Bob Kline

ORIGINS
Well, the Greek Myths of course. But that's not really what I'm talking about. As many of you know, The New Olympians was a concept -- originally created by Bob Kline -- that we began developing at Disney TV Animation even BEFORE Gargoyles. It was definitely a concept that evolved, but it was also a concept that we felt fit nicely into the Gargoyles Universe. So this episode was created as a backdoor pilot. At the time we had big plans for the Gargoyles Universe. Hopes that it would eventually evolve into Disney's equivalent of the Marvel or DC Universe. The World Tour expanded our Universe in many ways -- mostly for the sake of the Gargoyles series itself. But also to demonstrate that our universe had the "chops" to go the distance.

So the New Olympians were imported whole, like Athena from Zeus' head -- into the gargverse. The development for "The New Olympians" series focused on four major characters: Terry, Sphinx, Talos and Taurus. Terry and Sphinx were kept out of this episode on purpose -- so that we'd have fresh faces for the series if it went. Talos has a very minor role. But Taurus took a lead here. Other characters, such as Kiron, Ekidna, Helios, Boreas and, of course, Proteus were also part of the N.O. development. Though again, we left out a bunch of other characters: Xetes, Kalais, Medusa, Jove and Xanatos (yes, Xanatos) so that the whole series didn't become old news, should it get going.

The basic concept of the series, familiar to anyone who's attended a Gathering and seen the original pitch, was Romeo & Juliet. Terry is a human. Sphinx is a New Olympian. They are in love. But their "families" aren't making that love easy. This episode, would in essence be a PREQUEL to that series. Terry hasn't arrived yet. Elisa will help pave the way for Boreas' decision to finally reveal the New Olympians to the human world.

But another important inspiration was the work of Jack Kirby. In my recent ramble on "Eye of the Storm", I commented on how we strove to avoid a Kirbyesque Odin -- and didn't entirely succeed. Here, Kirby was a clear influence. I hope The New Olympians weren't a rip-off, but I can't deny that his Inhumans, his Eternals and his New Gods influenced us -- or me, at least -- when we were creating both New Olympus and our cast of characters.

Creating the cast was also interesting. We basically compiled a list of Greek & Roman myth-figures. Gods. Monsters. Titans. Etc. Then we tried to think about their descendants... Tried to think about which would be the most visually interesting. (A lot of the gods, for example, just look like glorified humans, so we tended to ignore them.) Originally, Kiron had the Taurus role and Medusa had the Sphinx role. But after talking with the artists, we made the double switch, because it was felt that having to animate a centaur and a woman with snaky hair on a regular basis was just inviting difficulties. As with many of these pragmatic decisions, I eventually fell in love with the new version -- and wouldn't want to go back, even if I could be assured of the highest possible animation quality.

In order to import this diverse group into the Gargverse, I posited that these were the descendents of mortals who mated with the Children of Oberon (or Mab). They therefore have incredible abilities and amazing appearances, but they are mortal. Some may have extremely long lives, but they do age. Still, before they left the human world behind, many of the original Olympians were treated as Gods. But some were treated as Monsters. As in Gargoyles, PREJUDICE would be a major theme of the series. In fact, if you look at the PREVIOUSLY of this episode, you'll see that it's fully thematic. All stuff about humans being prejudiced about Gargoyles. That's because we had nothing content-wise that we needed to set up. But if we set-up human prejudice, than it helped forge the twist of prejudice against humans, which Elisa would face in the episode. (I do wish we had thought to include Goliath's line: "Humans fear what they do not understand...")

So the New Olympians fled the Human World. They established a secret island and developed astounding technology... including a cloaking device. (I was always a touch disappointed with all the fog and mist in the opening scene. I wanted the skiff to suddenly be on the open sea, with nothing around for miles. The fog allowed for the notion that something might be hiding BEHIND it. I didn't want that. Still, I think the idea gets across. And the shimmer effect is nice. Plus, I like how Goliath abruptly spreads his wings when he enters it. When my daughter Erin saw the city finally materialize, she said: "Wow!")

OLD LINES IN NEW CONTEXT
Were we just out of dialogue ideas, or were we trying to make a point or an inside joke or something. I'll let you decide...
Goliath: "We cannot wage war against an entire city."
Elisa: "You'll have to do better than that."

VOICE WORK
Michael Dorn wound up playing Taurus and the late Roddy McDowell as Proteus. Dorian Harewood, who was originally cast as Boreas, also wound up playing Talos. But none of these three were our original choices for those rolls. Instead we cast three people who I thought would be perfect for their parts. But none hit it. It was one of our rare recordings that DIDN'T work. So we fell back on Michael to play the very Worf-like Taurus. (This sometimes bothers me as the voice is exactly the same as Coldstone's. But ultimately you go with the best hand you have at the time.) Dorian ended up doing double duty as Talos and was terrific. And of course, Roddy was just brilliant as Proteus.

What's interesting is that Proteus himself is not the greatest actor. Erin noticed... "There's something different in his voice." Of course, it's Keith David PLAYING Proteus playing Goliath. (Which is always fun.) And Keith hits the mark with precision. As does Salli & Michael when they're playing Proteus playing Elisa & Taurus. Sure Proteus always LOOKS the part -- thanks to his shape-shifting abilities. And I suppose he's less of a ham than Sevarius. But he never quite takes the time to truly "inhabit" his roles. Certainly, while playing Elisa and then Goliath, there are a number of small tip-offs in his choice of words that are just wrong. Like can you really imagine Goliath saying: "Who's that guy?" One assumes that his performance as Taurus' dad is equally off the mark.

The walla in the Senate House when Elisa is on trial isn't my favorite. We just didn't get enough coverage, so it repeats and repeats.

PREJUDICE
All of the New Olympians we see are prejudiced. Every one. Some are worse than others. Boreas is well-meaning, but wrong. Taurus is narrow-minded. Talos is, at best, only pragmatic -- not morally outraged by Elisa's treatment. Most of the others are just flat out racists. "New Olympians fear what they don't understand." I'm sure somewhere on the island there were some more enlightened individuals, but we made a point of NOT showing them.

I wanted to do a few things with that theme. (1) Show that prejudice breeds prejudice. The New Olympians have some legitimate grievances against the human race, but they've learned the wrong lessons from their ancient persecution. (2) Of course, we wanted to play the irony of the monsters being afraid of the "Humans of Legend". Elisa tells the Gargoyles to hide when they first land on the island. And she's the one that the New Olympians fear. They have "no quarrel" with the Gargoyles. And the best solution that even Boreas and Taurus can come up with is to "Quarantine" our girl. (3) There was a three. I had it in my head a minute ago. Now, for the life of me, I can't remember what it was.

Maybe it had something to do with Prejudice only truly being able to be attacked one person at a time. I went to an all boys high school. We were all so deathly afraid of being called homosexuals that a culture of homophobia was ingrained into all of us. It wasn't like I was going around gay-bashing. I like to think that even then, I had the sense and the control to stifle my prejudices. But I can't deny I had them -- probably still have them to some extent, unfortunately. Anyway, then I went to college. Acted in a couple plays with a guy I really admired -- both as an actor and as a human being. Became good friends with this guy (who had the amazing name Steve Wraith). THEN I discovered he was gay. By that time, I didn't care. He had personally won me over -- in a slightly less dramatic fashion then how Homer Simpson learned to accept gays after John Waters saved his life. Steve never saved my life, but I'm afraid the metaphor is VERY apt. I haven't seen Steve in twenty years, but I owe him a lot. A few years later my cousin came out. After that, many if not most of my friends came out. My sister. Etc. Steve paved the way to make me a better person. Conceptually, we can all talk about dismissing prejudice, but I have this sneaking suspicion that the only way we really learn is one human being at a time. That's why Goliath vouching for Elisa was ineffective. People are doomed to HAVE to figure things out for themselves. And unfortunately, some never do.

WHO KNEW THESEUS WAS SUCH A BASTARD?
And so we put Taurus through that process. He meets a human. His distaste is palpable. He knows the story of the Minotaur, his ancestor. [Now Theseus is one of my all time favorite characters from Myth. But I couldn't resist flipping the tale of the Labyrinth and telling it, if just for a few seconds, from the Minotaur's point of view.] But Taurus will learn to respect humans - one human at at time. Elisa and Taurus actually have a lot in common. Both are cops. Both have/had fathers who are/were cops. But as Elisa says, he's "got some funny ideas about justice."

Elisa is clearly more enlightened. In part, that may come from her own history. She grew up as a person of color in a largely white society. She's no stranger to prejudice. Being both African-American and Native American, it's possible that she has even faced some rejection from African-Americans and Native Americans as well. Clearly, based on her openness with regards to Goliath and the Gargoyles, she learned her lessons long before we met her. Pretty much from the moment she realized that Goliath could talk -- and was therefore sentient by human standards, she treated him as an equal. I always admired her for that. Unlike the New Olympians, she didn't let the prejudice she faced turn her into a bigot.

Taurus will eventually get the message. His prejudices don't just vanish. But he's learned something.

SOME NEAT MOVES
I like the sequence where Goliath comes to break Elisa out, and Proteus takes advantage of the situation by first turning into Elisa and then Goliath. (When Erin first saw him as Elisa, she said, "Uh oh." which is pretty much exactly what he was going for.

I like how Taurus threatens to fire Helios.

I like how Goliath turns to stone in Proteus' cell.

I like how Elisa takes charge -- and basically FORCES Taurus to partner up with her. She has two tip offs that Proteus is posing as Goliath. First the fact that he didn't turn to stone and blames it on the cloaking device affecting the sun's rays. Of course, Elisa knows that it's not literally the sun that turns a gargoyle to stone. It's his or her biological clock, which is often triggered by sunrise. But the real clincher is Proteus' plan to blow up the Collonadium. Elisa knows Goliath would NEVER do that.

I like when Taurus tries to express his admiration -- and still can't do it without insulting her species. Elisa takes it in stride: "I'll choose to take that as a compliment." Progress is slow.

THE NEW OLYMPIANS
We end the episode with a pretty blatant pitch for giving the New Olympians their own show. It's certainly shameless. But I make no apologies. I still contend that THE NEW OLYMPIANS would make a GREAT t.v. series.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Chapter XLIX: "Eye of the Storm"

Time to ramble...

Chapter XLIX: "Eye of the Storm"
Story Editor: Cary Bates
Writer: Cary Bates
Director: Bob Kline

FAMOUS LAST WORDS (PART TWO)
Goliath at the end of "Avalon, Part Three" (and in the PREVIOUSLY of this episode): "I am personally going to make sure that the Eye of Odin and the Phoenix Gate are never used again." Of course, he's thinking he won't let anyone else use them. But he neglects to protect them against himself. We've already seen him use the Phoenix Gate -- mostly to positive effect -- in M.I.A. Now, we'll see him don the Eye of Odin...

ENVIRONMENTS
Elisa's cold. Cold enough to put her life in danger. Cold enough to force us to add a sweater and parka to her ensemble as the episode progresses. As Angela says, "It's enough to take your breath away." To which Elisa responds: "I can vouch for that."

(I do wonder what sport it was that Gunther was playing in the middle of winter that he did so well at.)

VOICE ACTORS RETURN
J.D. Daniels -- formerly Tom and Young Luach and Young Canmore -- is here playing Gunther Sturlusson. As I write this in 2004, J.D. would have to be in his late teens or early twenties. He was a great child actor -- which is rarer than you might think. I hope he's doing well.

Morgan Sheppard -- formerly Petros Xanatos -- also returns, as Odin. I would later cast Morgan in "Atlantis: Milo's Return" as a crazy guy who THOUGHT he was Odin. I love working with Morgan.

ODIN & THE STURLUSSONS
The name Sturlusson is a direct steal from Snorri Sturlusson (I hope I'm spelling this right), the author of the Eddas -- the more-or-less original source materials that we have as reference to the Norse Myths.

We tried to paint an Odin that would make Snorri proud, one "well-versed in myths and legends". Having him pose as an old man with a cloak of stars. That's out of the myths. Making him a storm god. That's right out of the myths. Giving him the ability to transform into animals (in this case a VERY cool one-eyed polar bear). Right out of the myths. The rainbow bridge at the end. Right out of the myths. Giving him a flying battle steed named Sleipnir is right out of the myths too, if you forgive the fact that Sleipner is supposed to have eight legs, but Bob and Frank balked at our ability to animate that decently. [Note: I do worry whether or not the final GOD-ODIN design was a bit too Marvel/Kirby influenced. Jack Kirby's seminal work is so all-pervasive in American visual vernacular, it's hard to avoid, even when you're consciously attempting to avoid it.]

And of course, there's the Eye itself. Traditionally, Odin traded his eye to the wise Jotun Mimir for wisdom and insight. Obviously, Mimir lost it at some point, perhaps after losing his own head (another story) and the Eye floated around for centuries before David found it and gave it to Fox who lost it to Goliath who had it stolen by the Weird Sisters who gave it the Archmage who lost it to Goliath again. Now Odin's claiming that HE directed Goliath's skiff to Norway. This time it isn't Avalon that's sent them here, but Odin who has waylaid them so that he can FINALLY get his darn eye back in its socket. I do regret that our "Eye-as-a-piece-of-Jewelry" design always looked more Egyptian than Nordic to me. The gang over at Disney Interactive who created the concept of the Eye for their game, had a much more runic/nordic/ravenesque design.

But I am curious -- how many of you were surprised to discover that the Eye of Odin was actually Odin's eye?

Odin also refers to Elisa as a Maiden. I wonder if he felt that she would have made a good Valkyrie?

{My ten-year-old daughter Erin asked: "Why doesn't [Goliath] give it to Odin. It's his eye. Of course, she's seen the episode before and knows what's coming vis-a-vis Goliath's behavior, but it's still interesting to me that she placed the burden for the misunderstanding on Goliath and not on Odin.}

Odin -- as Odin sees it -- is playing by the rules. He tries barter and then fair combat and then takes a hostage, which in ancient times did not have the same cowardly (if not downright terrorist) connotation that it carries today. All of which might have been avoided, if at the beginning he had just -- i don't know -- offered Elisa the cloak with no strings attached and sat down with Goliath to discuss the whole eye thing. Odds are, when he was not being confrontational, Bronx would have slid up to get his chin scratched. Angela would have said something like, "Well, Bronx likes him." And Goliath might have realized that giving the darn thing back to Odin was the safest possible outcome. BUT NO! Odin, as he admits, is not the most patient of gods and a bit rusty when it comes to the whole dealing directly with mortals thing.

AVATAR
So, instead, Odin comes on strong (rules or no rules) and Goliath is pushed into thinking that he has no choice but to use the Eye's power himself. (I think that was adequately motivated.) And thus Goliath and NOT Odin quickly becomes the VILLAIN of our piece. Which was interesting for us. We'd seen Zombie-Goliath in "Temptations". We'd seen Goliath's "evil twin" in "Double Jeopardy" and "Sanctuary". But we'd never seen Goliath himself go bad until now. He becomes more of who he is. A protector -- a tyrant -- a fascist. Someone who cannot brook disobedience. Someone unaccustomed to dealing with gods or being one. (A good line, I thought.)

His new attitude is, I think, embodied by the casualness and callousness of him saying: "We will pack them too." This in regards to moving Bronx and his DAUGHTER, currently frozen in stone.

At first, everything he says is pretty darn rational-sounding. But Elisa and Angela and Erik quickly develop their suspicions. They are just naturally slow to believe that their Goliath -- OUR Goliath -- could be the bad guy. Eye or no eye.

Goliath also succeeds in becoming an Avatar for Odin, much like Jackal and the Emir each became Avatars for Anubis. It's not quite as literal, but his wings take on Odin's starry pattern. His helmet is similar (although on my tape his horns are doing some FUNKY animation things). And everytime Odin uses one of his powers, Goliath acquires and mimics that power.

I'll admit that Goliath's turnaround at the end plays on screen a bit too quick for my tastes now. But ultimately, we were still counting on Goliath's protective nature, his basic decency. His love for his daughter. It's not as strong for me as, say, Renard's turnaround or the Captain's (from "Golem" and "Shadows of the Past" respectively), but I think it basically works.

OTHER NEAT LINES (all approximate)
Erik: "I am rich in sweaters."
Goliath: "Now that Elisa is safe, we can rest in peace." (Okay, this is more of an odd line than a neat one.)
Odin (understated): "This calls for a change in strategy."
Goliath (once they're all on to him): "Is there a problem."
Elisa: "The Eye! The Eye has gone to your head!"
Goliath: "That is all you need to know."
Odin: "I have more than gained in wisdom, what I have lost in strength."
Odin: "You're on my turf with my property."
Odin: "I am not the threat."
Goliath: "So close to Death and Rejuvenation at the same time."
Elisa: "You took a big chance. Wish I'd thought of it."
Odin: "Then we have both gained rare enlightenment. The Eye's standard gift." This last one was important to me. I wanted (from the moment we intro'd the eye into the series back in "The Edge" to play the Eye true to it's Eddaesque roots.

JALAPEÑA
Goliath removes the Eye and speaks that word again. This caught me off guard last night, cuz I had thought Hudson's Pendragon Jalapeña was the last one until "The Journey". But I guess we squeezed one more in.

And Odin finally gets the Eye back. And ... and... NOTHING HAPPENS. He just sticks it back into his eye socket and it becomes... his eye. I LOVED the anti-climax of that. Generally -- not such a big fan of anti-climax, but the irony and the RIGHTNESS of it just thrilled me.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Chapter XLVIII: "Pendragon"

Time to ramble...

Chapter XLVIII: "Pendragon"
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves
Writer: Lydia Marano
Director: Dennis Woodyard

SOMETHING'S COMING
There's a wonderful children's book called "Something's Coming" about three stuffed animals and [SPOILERS] a sneeze. I hadn't read that book when we did this episode, but it was all I could think of reviewing the opening minutes now.

In fact, what's coming, according to Macbeth, is the "Harmonic Convergence". When I heard that, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that this was a Cary Bates episode. (Cary, at least for a time, was very into incorporating all sorts of New Agey schtick into his work [cf. his comic book series SILVERBLADE published in the late 80s by DC Comics].)

Of course, as noted above, this was a Brynne/Lydia/Greg collaboration. No Cary at all.

A BRIEF STOPOVER IN LONDON
Arthur arrives in his "City of Wonders", i.e. modern day London. We throw in some beauty shots of the city from "M.I.A." here. It helped us trim a few bad seconds of animation later in the episode, and helped establish the mood a bit better.

With Arthur arriving at what must have been his final destination from Avalon's point of view (minus a quick Stone of Destiny hop to NYC's Guggenheim Museum), his skiff sinks down into the water. I always imagined that the skiff resurfaced back on Avalon. Having shown this here, I didn't feel bad about NOT showing the sinking skiff in "Gathering, One" when our quartet returned to Manhattan. Allowed us to keep some surprise at their arrival at the Clock Tower.

Arthur makes a point of using a mace, since his quest is to find EXCALIBUR and we didn't want to confuse the issue by having him simply exchange one decent sword for the subtlety of a better sword. Or at least not until the end of the ep.

We also made a point of him missing Merlin, which was a bit of foreshadowing to the proposed Pendragon spin-off, where Arthur and Griff's first order of business would be a Quest for Merlin.

Speaking of Griff, his silhouette is a bit too distinctive here for my tastes. I wish it hadn't quite given away his indentity so soon. His design is somewhat inconsistent in this episode. As I mentioned during my "M.I.A." episode, Frank, Greg Guler and I were never 100% satisfied with the design. In this episode, in particular, he has some real Foghorn Leghorn moments.

The first real stop on Arthur's tour is Westminster Abbey. The door is locked, which makes sense in the Twentieth Century but not to a guy from the Sixth Century. And it perhaps makes even less sense to us in the 21st-Century. Is that all the security that exists there: a locked door? And of course, GARGOYLES continues its traditions of wantonly damaging historical sites, when Arthur uses his mace to enter.

Inside we find the Stone of Destiny in it's 1990s home beneath the throne. Shortly thereafter, the Stone would be moved to Edinburgh Castle. As for the Stone, I perpetrated one of my favorite mythological devices, which is conflating various similar concepts... so the Stone of Destiny (i.e. Jacob's pillow) also becomes the Stone from the Sword in the Stone, i.e. the stone from which Arthur drew Excalibur. And the thing talks!! What's interesting to me now, is that Arthur doesn't seem surprised by the fact that it talks. Legends state that an inscription revealed that "Whosoever pulleth this sword from this stone [and anvil] will become King of Britain." But perhaps there was no inscription, and the stone talked from day one. One question: Is the Stone itself one of Oberon's Children (in stone form) or is it magically enchanted? (I lean toward the latter, but it's interesting to ponder the former.)

Arthur, without Excalibur, had hoped that the sword would have returned to the stone. He's frustrated when he finds it hasn't. But he doesn't doubt his "ownership" of it, until much later in the episode. The Powers That Be are much less sure of Arthur's claim on it. They are constantly reminding him that at best, all he has is a shot at it: "It belongs to the True King. Are you still he?"

I also love how Arthur says that he hates riddles. It just feels so right for my interpretation of Arthur as a man who LEARNED to be a thinker, but to whom it didn't necessarily come naturally. Said interpretation of course heavily influenced by the works of T.H. White. Anyway, that poem/riddle which Griff recites (an unknowing trust past down across generations of the London Clan) was written, as I recall, by Lydia. It was hearing this poem that reminded me that she had written this episode and not Cary.

Note that everytime he sees a gargoyle, Arthur asks if he's "of Goliath's Clan".

BACK AT THE RANCH
Once again, we abandon our travelers to focus on life on the homefront with the Trio & Hudson. We will, once they've met up with Griff & Arthur, get a bit of an update on how updated our left-behinders are. They've heard from Halcyon Renard that he spotted Goliath, Elisa & Bronx in Prague. They've heard from Diane Maza that she spotted them in Nigeria. [I have to assume that all communications were channelled, per Elisa's suggestion, through Matt.] Now they learn about the travelers stop-overs in London (from Griff) and Avalon (from Arthur). [All of this was a bit of a risk, as we couldn't guarantee the airing order of the World Tour episodes. But I guess we felt it was a risk worth taking in order to give us a bit of legitimate continuity. Fortunately, it all worked out.] I'm curious if Angela was mentioned by either Renard or Diane (or Griff or Arthur after the adventure was over), and if so how prominently. Also, Griff demonstrably proves that other Gargoyles still exist in the world. Though the ramifications of that and of Angela clearly don't sink in with Hudson and the others until "The Gathering, Part One".

You'll see flashes of Brooklyn taking charge in this episode. With no one (including him) questioning it or even making an issue of it. I guess the lessons of "Kingdom" stuck.

You'll also see Broadway destroying one of Macbeth's lightning guns. But in contrast, Griff -- a man of HIS era, i.e. the forties -- comandeers the other one and makes it a part of his arsenal. I liked that, even -- or especially -- with the spin-off series in mind.

WILL OF THE WHISP AND OTHER STRANGERS...
I've since revealed here at ASK GREG, that the Will of the Whisp (introduced here by Macbeth, who uses both science and sorcery to control and utilize it) is the primitive magical entity that Oberon's Children evolved from. Sort of the Homo Erectus of the magical set. (Or maybe something even more primitive like a lemur or lungfish.)

The Lady of the Lake surfaces (literally). I like Lexington's "And she was right in our own lake.." for its understated humor. Also, this gives Hudson an excuse to say "Jalapeña", thus fulfilling another of the verbal challenges that Voice Director Jamie Thomason set for me -- and thus further pissing off the contingent of artists who truly HATED that expression. I think this may be one of the last times, until "The Journey", that we used it.

Anyway, we constantly raise the question of why the sword and the Lady associated with it were now in New York and not in Britain. Of course, the short answer was that we wanted to involve Hudson & the Trio without sending them on their own World Tour. But in fact, we did have a larger purpose. We wanted Arthur to become a player on the World Stage. A larger stage, as the Lady says.

I wasn't wild about that Water Djinn sequence. We wanted Arthur to solve the problem through leadership. But having him order Griff to use the Lightning weapon seems a fairly feeble solution to me (even though I endorsed it at the time). Wouldn't Arthur simply be electrocuted?

PEN... DRAGON
It's a goofy joke, but I still chuckle at Lex saying "Brooklyn" and Brooklyn answering.

I also am amused by the fact that it's Banquo in his slow pondering way that gives Macbeth the idea -- if not the ambition -- to take Excalibur for his own: "Hey Boss, you're a king. And you've been alive a long time..." Mac, an established Arthurphile, may seem an unlikely person to try to supplant his own hero. But it perfectly suits my interpretation of the character. Our Macbeth may not have the ambition of Shakespeare's Macbeth. But he's always been a man to sieze an appropriate opportunity. And he's always been a man in search of his own purpose. Perhaps this business of being a "Timeless King" and everything else that Excalibur represents in the past and future provides the reason for why he's lived for a largely tormented nine hundred years. Of course, Mac is also a man of honor. He vies for the sword. But when it becomes clear at the VERY end that Arthur is indeed its true master, he swears fealty to the (Whitean) Once and Future King. The thought DID cross my mind to add Macbeth to the cast of regulars in my PENDRAGON development. To give Arthur, in essence, two knights: Griff & Macbeth. But the dilemma comes in the fact that any spin-off has to stand on its own two feet. Characters can have backstories, but you can't assume that the audience has seen x amount of episodes of Gargoyles. I felt that telling Arthur's GARGOYLES-related backstory was going to be difficult enough. Throw in Griff's complicated story and you've set yourself a real challenge. Throw in Macbeth and that boat is just going to sink under two much backstory-weight. Much better to use him as guest star. Then if it seemed to work, over time he might spend MORE time in Pendragon. You never know. [NOTE: I was considerably less worried about adding Blanchfleur, Merlin and Duval to the cast, as we would be introducing them IN Pendragon.] So in the end, Mac accepts a more separate but equal arrangement. This was still cool to me. It reminded me of Arthur's relationship with King Pellinore. King Pellinore was also a King, but he was a wandering King. He didn't always sit at the Round Table, but he always came to Arthur's side, when Arthur needed him. They maintained a certain equality between them, and yet unspoken was the acknowledgement that Arthur was the one true king.

Speaking of Banquo... note his "Popeye" expression throughout most of the episode. This is a result of his model sheet, which showed him squinting through one eye. That was just supposed to be a single expression, but many of the overseas artists naturally assumed that it was a permanent condition -- because of course, we didn't have another model sheet with a different expression. Also, what did you think of Banquo & Fleance's power armor. I'm not sure it really came across as power armor. It was supposed to make them tougher and stronger. But I think it just looked like a flight suit for their sky-cycles. [But I did love those sky-cycles, especially the way Lex used them as a staircase for the Gargoyles to get some air. That was really cool and clever, I think.]

Random fact: My ten-year-old daughter Erin was fascinated with the topiary monkey.

An episode called Pendragon needed... a Dragon. I think this one is positively glorious. I love those steam vents. And the stone flight. And the fire. GREAT FIRE. But before it wakes up, I like how in essence this stone statue becomes the NEW Stone of Destiny. Macbeth draws the (faux) Excalibur from the dragon's stone grip and declares: "Macbeth, son of Findlaech, is the one true king." Arthur for a minute seems a sore loser. But his better nature wins out, after Macbeth points out that he's being a jerk. [Macbeth is great about being right when he's wrong.] When, as a youngster, Arthur drew the sword, many opposed his rule. It's a lesson that he's learned from. Griff resists, but Arthur kneels. He will not be an obstructionist if Macbeth is the new true king. Erin also felt that Arthur was being a sore loser. But Benny, my seven-year-old, disagreed, calling Arthur "the World's best fighter" and therefore the guy who deserved the sword. What's interesting, is that was NEVER my intent. I don't think of Arthur as the world's best FIGHTER. Even in his own legends, there were many knights who could outfight him. Arthur was a decent fighter, but his greatest strength was as a LEADER of men. That's what we tried to get across, both here and in "Avalon, Part Three".

It's also a cool play on words, I think, that this time the phrase "Sword IN the Stone" needs to be taken literally. The dragon statue surrounds the true sword inside it. I love the steps Arthur goes through to figure this out, primarily that moment when he recovers the faux Excalibur and can instantly sense that it isn't the genuine article. That was us trying to DEMONSTRATE with clarity that Excalibur wasn't just any sword, but rather something special. But what exactly was it? That, to be honest, we still needed to figure out. But we were hoping we'd have an entire spin-off to explore that question.

SOME GOOD LINES
Fleance: "No free rides, Bat-boy."

Broadway: "Now you stay put." And Banquo: "No problem."

Lex: "Take the stairs."

Arthur: "Arise... SIR Griff."

Plus a bunch of great British Griffisms:
"In for a penny, in for a pound."
"Well, that just about tears it."
"You are the Once and Future King."
"Right with you, Your Majesty"
"That's the stuff!"

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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THE LEOPARD QUEEN

And here are my notes on the second draft outline... note we were approaching ever closer to the correct big cat.

WEISMAN 3-12-95

Notes on "Leopard Queen" Outline...

Hi, Brynne. Well, I'm at it again. Basically, I didn't feel we were there with the last draft of the outline, and given how far behind things are, I felt that it was necessary to beat it out here. My main problem was a lack of true jeopardy. The poachers were never any real threat to our gargoyles. In the end, neither were Tea or Fara Maku. The traps in the lost city had no effect on either Tea or the Poachers, so it was hard to believe that they would give Goliath and Co. a hard time. I just felt we really needed to escalate the situation, so I've added in the only character from African Mythology that I know anything about: Anansi the Spider. (And of course, I have no idea if Anansi is part of Nigerian myth, and unfortunately no time to check.) And just so you know, I wasn't secretly hoping you'd add Anansi. But he was the only thing in my head that felt authentic when I addressed the Jeopardy problem myself. Giant Spider. Worked for me. I tried to preserve what I felt was best from all the various versions we've had of this story. In reworking the legend of Kara Digi to include Anansi, I went for an animal folk tale feeling, instead of a curse, since you told me that African Myth tended in that direction. As usual, if you have problems with all or part of this thing, just call me.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
I. RIVER WILD SEQUENCE.

II. On landing safely, no one is completely sure where they are.

A. Africa maybe, ELISA thinks, but she's not sure. She and her brother and sister came here as a child with their parents. Her mother's side of the family is from Nigeria.

B. ANGELA makes some semi-bitter comment about how she wishes her father would talk to her about her roots. GOLIATH gives the gargoyle company line in response. But it's clear that Angela wants something more personal from G.

C. Suddenly they spot something horrifying. We don't see what it is, but we can tell from their faces that it is something disgusting. Goliath is appalled. He cannot understand why any hunter would skin, defang and declaw an animal, only to leave the meat behind. Elisa explains that these jungle cats weren't hunted; they were obviously poached. An illegal practice, that's destroying the wild. Goliath thinks that may be the reason Avalon sent them here. To stop the poaching. They move off into the jungle. We do not follow them. We cut away.

III. Tribal clearing. A woman (DIANE) is telling a story to a bunch of native children. A few adults are gathered too (including FARA MAKU who has a claw mark tatoo or scar on his shoulder). In a cage nearby, a black leopard paces back and forth. We segue into her folk tale, told in arealistic "primitive" animation.

IV. The Tale of the LEOPARD QUEEN and ANANSI THE SPIDER.
A. The Leopard Queen was the most beautiful creature in the
jungle.
1. Beautiful black fur. Razor Sharp Claws. Huge white
teeth.
B. But she was also very vain.
1. She mocked the Hippo.
2. She mocked the Crocodile.
3. Then she made the mistake of mocking Anansi the
Spider.
C. Anansi weaved a magic spell in his web that transformed
the Leopard Queen into the first human.
1. No beautiful fur. No sharp claws. Puny little teeth.
D. The Leopard Queen begged Anansi to return her to her proper
form.
1. He promised he would on one condition.
2. That she build him a great city shaped like a giant
web.
3. She agreed.
E. But she could not do it alone. So she gave birth to the
human race to help her build the city of Kara Digi.
1. They followed Anansi's plans to the letter.
2. Anansi was very pleased.
F. When the city was built, Anansi kept his promise and
weaved a spell that returned the leopard Queen to her
true form.
1. With the beautiful fur, sharp claws and big teeth.
(Keep emphasizing these three elements.)
G. But Anansi had tricked the Queen. For now she was lonely
for her children.
1. She asked Anansi to turn her children into leopards.
2. He refused, because they tended his city.
3. But he told the Queen that if she hunted for him and
brought him food, she could choose one of her
children by marking him, and Anansi would turn
that child into a leopard.
H. So the Leopard Queen hunted for Anansi and brought him
food.
1. Anansi got fat and happy. He promised to grant her
request.
2. The Leopard Queen made her mark on her oldest son,
who was the wisest, bravest and most handsome
man of the tribe.
3. Anansi didn't want to let this great man leave his
city, but he had given his word.
I. Anansi called the Prince to him and told him of his promise.
1. The Prince did not want to become a leopard.
a. He had been born a human and wanted to stay
that way.
2. He asked Anansi if there was any way to escape this
fate.
3. Anansi told the Prince that if he killed the Leopard
Queen, Anansi would no longer be obligated to her.
J. So the Prince hunted the Queen.
1. But when he found her, he saw the beauty of her fur,
the sharpness of her claws and the hugeness? of
her teeth.
2. And he realized that she had chosen him out of love.
3. He decided not to kill her.
4. And so Anansi was forced to transform the Prince into
a Black Leopard.
K. Anansi was so furious, he banished all of the humans from
Kara Digi.
1. But that was foolish, because now he had no one to
tend his needs.
2. And so the spider went hungry.

V. As the tale ends, we see that Goliath, Elisa, Angela and Bronx have been listening from just beyond the clearing. They are enraptured by the story.
A. We get Angela's line about: Who is that woman? Magus?
Queen?
1. Elisa responds definitively: "No, that's my mother."
2. Probably at some point someone should remark on the
coincidence of her mother being there when our
travellers arrive, and someone else should point
out that with Avalon it is no coincidence, it is fate.
Maybe not here, but somewhere.
B. When the story's over, the adults (except for Fara Maku and
Diane) lead the children from the clearing for the
festival meal in the nearby Hauka village. We find
out that after the feast, the Black Panther will be set
free to honor the Leopard Queen.
C. Once the clearing is empty, Diane asks Fara with some
trepidation whether she told the story well. She'd been
studying to do this for months.
1. Fara praises her.
2. And Elisa steps into the clearing to tell her mother
she did a great job for someone born and raised in
New York.
D. That smart-ass remark is followed by a tremendous hug
between Elisa and Diane. Diane is very releaved Elisa is
all right.
1. But now that she knows that Elisa is all right, Diane
is furious that Elisa just vanished the way she did.
a. Elisa is surprised that she didn't get the
message from Matt.
b. But Diane can't believe that Elisa didn't call
home herself.
i. And Elisa's excuse that there hasn't been
time, doesn't cut a lot of mustard here.
2. Diane was so worried she nearly didn't come to
Nigeria for the Leopard festival, even though she
had been preparing to participate for a year. Peter
had to practically force her to get on the plane.
And he had to skip the festival, in case any word
came about Elisa back home.
3. So what is Elisa doing in Africa?
a. Elisa fumfers a lame excuse.
b. Diane recognizes it as lame, and is more pissed.
c. From the clearing, ANGELA doesn't understand
why Elisa doesn't tell her mother the truth.
d. Goliath explains that Elisa has some problems
sharing her secret with people. Though he
agrees that she SHOULD be able to tell her
parents.
e. Angela remarks pointedly that Goliath's right.
Parents and children should be able to talk
about anything. Goliath burns but says
nothing.
E. Suddenly, Poacher's attack led by TEA. (Please find a
different last name for her than MAKA, it's just too close
to Fara's MAKU. We're asking for confusion problems.)
Tea and the poachers want to kill the ceremonial leopard.
(Though for very different reasons.) And we may notice
that Tea also has what we might take as a claw mark
tatoo or scar on her shoulder.
1. Angela is prepared to jump in right then. But the
Poachers have guns which can fire faster than even
the gargoyles can move. Goliath wants to give
Elisa a chance to try to diffuse the situation.
2. Elisa, Fara Maku and Diane obviously have no intention
of letting Tea and her men kill the leopard. Fara
seems to know Tea. He can't believe she's working
with Poachers. This is what comes of leaving the
tribe for the big city. (Doesn't have to be America,
in fact it probably shouldn't. It's a bit distracting.
What's the biggest city in Nigeria or near Nigeria?)
We see Fara's getting very upset by all this.
3. Tea doesn't want to hurt Fara, but he doesn't know
what happened to her when she went to the big city.
And one way or the other that Leopard is going to
die. If necessary, every leopard in the jungle.
4. An increasingly agitated Fara places himself in front
of the leopard. The poachers are getting angry.
Let's just get rid of them all. We don't want
witnesses anyway. Things are reaching a boiling
point, and left with no choice, Goliath is just about
to go in.
5. When Fara Maku transforms into a HUGE black leopard
-- at any rate, considerably bigger than the
ceremonial leopard in the cage.

ACT TWO
VI. All hell breaks loose. Tea says something like "It was you!!". The poachers panic and start shooting at Fara, who attacks and is wounded. Goliath, Angela and Bronx wade into the battle. Short work is made of the poachers, but Fara/leopard flees into the jungle pursued by Tea. (We still think Tea is a villain at this point.)

Diane is stunned at all that's happened. And the appearance of the Gargoyles doesn't help. But the straw that breaks the camel's back is that Elisa clearly knows these monsters. Elisa is quickly able to convince her mom that Goliath and company are friendly, but that only raises more questions. How long have you known about this? Why didn't you tell me? Etc. Elisa doesn't want to deal with this, so she changes subject. What's the deal with Fara's transformation? Diane doesn't know. She thought the legend was just a legend. Goliath says that in his experience most legends have a seed of truth in them. At any rate, Fara's in obvious danger from that Tea-woman. They need to protect him. Elisa wants her mom to stay behind. Fat chance, young lady.

Just before they leave, they free the ceremonial panther and put the poachers in his cage.

VII. In the jungle, Tea hunts the Fara/leopard like a woman possessed. We get a sense that she and Fara once cared for each other and that for some reason she feels betrayed by him. She nearly kills him, but is prevented by Goliath and co. But when they try to apprehend her, she too transforms into a HUGE black leopard (though she seems to be trying to fight the transformation in a way that Fara didn't earlier.) Tea/leopard escapes, still pursuing the wounded Fara/leopard.

VIII. With Bronx's help, our intrepid band track Fara and Tea to the gates of legendary Kara Digi -- home of Anansi the Spider. Diane can't believe it's real, but then again, what isn't real these days? The city is layed out like a spider's web. Bronx seems confused. There are multiple cob-web filled pathways, and he seems conflicted between two of them. Angela realizes that Fara and Tea must have gone down separate paths. Angela, Elisa and Bronx will follow one path. Goliath and Diane will follow the other. (Elisa probably wants Goliath with Diane so that the big guy can keep mom safe.)

IX. The two teams split up. But both fall into death traps. Spider-themed death-traps ideally.

ACT THREE
X. Both groups separately escape their respective death traps and continue pursuit.

XI. Along the way, Angela has a discussion with Elisa, that chastens Elisa. (Angela wishes that her father would talk to her the way Diane seems to want to talk to Elisa, or something like that). Diane has a conversation with Goliath that chastens him. (As you said, the difference between the human and gargoyle way; the unreasonableness of children, the fact that Goliath treating Angela like a daughter doesn't preclude him from loving his non-biological kids back on Avalon. Diane has three kids, and she loves them all, but that doesn't mean she can't try to be as close as possible to Elisa. You might even get in the fact that Elisa's always been Daddy's girl. In fact, maybe we should run this through Elisa and Diane's whole conflict. Or maybe not. I'll leave that up to you.)
Note: Both Elisa and Goliath should be chastened but unconvinced at this point. Also, plant little spiders throughout their treks through the city.

XII. Anyway, all paths lead to the heart of Kara Digi, the heart of the web. Everyone converges there. Fara arrives first and transforms back into a wounded human. Tea isn't far behind. She too transforms back, and pulls a primitive weapon off the wall to use on Fara. She's intercepted by the several arrivals of all our heroes. And finally we get some answers. Tea was attacked by a leopard just before she left for the big city. Now everytime she gets upset she transforms into a black leopard. Made life difficult in the big city. She knew the Tale of the Leopard Queen and figured that if she killed the Leopard who marked her, it would break the spell. So she teamed with the Poachers. They helped her kill the leopards to get the fur, claws and teeth. She still can't believe that it was Fara that marked her. She loved Fara. Fara protests that he loved her too. That is why he marked her, to force her to come back to the jungle and stay with him. That isn't love, Diane says, that's selfishness. Fara realizes that now, but he really does love Tea. (Man this jungle's just filled with lousy communication skills.) But Elisa doesn't understand. How did Fara get cursed himself. Fara's reluctant to answer....so Anansi answers for him. Anansi lowers himself on a web from the darkness of the ceiling. He is a GIANT INTELLIGENT SPIDER. Fara knew the legends and searched for the city. He found it and Anansi, who was just a hungry little thing. Fara made the old deal. He would hunt for Anansi and bring him food in exchange for the Leopard "curse". Anansi's pleased with the arrangement. He's obviously eaten well. Now Fara begs Anansi to remove the curse from Tea, even if Fara has to serve Anansi forever. Tea's touched, but Anansi figures if one hunter is good, seven might be better. Anansi knows from his little spider children (who "bugged" Elisa and Goliath's respective conversations with Angela and Diane) that each of them has a loved one here. He may send a few of them out at a time to hunt while the others serve him and act as hostages. Of course this doesn't sit well with anyone, so we have a fight. Fara transforms again, so we have gargoyles, Fara/leopard, Tea, Elisa and Diane against this giant spider, and frankly, it doesn't look good for our guys. Fara is still wounded, and Tea has to transform to a leopard to save him at some point. She still loves him. Anansi is ultimately destroyed in some cool way that ANGELA thinks of. But with Anansi gone, now there's no way to remove the curse from Fara and Tea.

XIII. Epilogue. A bandaged Fara and Tea are reconciled. Both have done bad things that they need to atone for. But they are together, and like the Leopard Queen and her son, they choose to stay together out of love. If that means occasionally turning into black leopards to protect their jungle. Well, so be it.

Goliath tells Angela that he is very proud of how his Daughter defeated Anansi. She gets the message and gives him a huge hug, as dawn breaks and they turn to stone in each other's arms.

Diane is once more, suitably impressed. She and Elisa share a nice quiet moment alone. When night falls again, Elisa plans on continuing the world tour with her gargoyle friends, but she promises to tell her Mom EVERYTHING about it when she gets home.

THE END

So that's that. I'm not sure about the break between the second and third act. You can move it if you want. And if this doesn't play for you, all or in part, give me a call and we'll talk.

Finally, this may be sticky from an S&P standpoint. I can't really justify the poachers having futuristic guns. Their rifles can be semi-hi-tech, but they can't be laser guns. Also, I want to deal as realistically as possible with Fara's wound. Both as a leopard and as a man. I'm going to copy Adrienne on this. After you've both read this, you might want to confab with her to discuss perimeters.


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THE JAGUAR QUEEN

Below are my notes on Brynne & Lydia's first outline for what would eventually become "Mark of the Panther". (Unfortunately, I no longer have copies of the actual outlines. Just my notes.)

WEISMAN 3-1-95

Notes on "Jaguar Queen" Outline...

FOCUS & THEME
"Emotional Distance" would be my best guess.
Goliath and Angela.
What is key issue/theme?
--He treated her more like a daughter before she knew he was her father.
--He is fighting a loving instinct inside himself.
--She doesn't grasp Gargoyle heritage on the subject.
--Distance? Coldness? Heritage? Self-control? Acknowledgement?

Diane and Elisa.
What is key issue?
--Distance? Coldness? Heritage? Self-control? Acknowledgement?
--Elisa is Daddy's girl.
--Is she distanced from her mom and/or her mom's heritage.
--Is mom shocked by Elisa's secret life with gargoyles?
--Is respect the issue?
--How does it relate to G&A arc?

Fara Maku and Tea.
What is key issue?
--Distance? Coldness? Heritage? Self-control? Acknowledgement?
--How does it relate to G&A and/or D&E?
--Do we need another set of parent & child?

Maybe we need to team Goliath and Diane?

ACT STRUCTURE
--Got to get more happening in Act One.
--Act One currently feels like it's all prologue, except that emotional issues aren't introduced until Act Two.
--Act Two seems too late to bring up Angela's arc.
--And Goliath's side doesn't get any play.
--It seems tacked on, not a dynamic element in the story.
--Must intro emotional arcs by end of Act One.
--Definitively for Goliath, Angela, Elisa and Diane.
--At least hint at them for Tea and Fara Maku.
--By end of Act One we need a jaguar transformation.
--By end of Act Two we need to get to the city if we're going there at all.

DIANE MAZA
--She's not personally from Nigeria. Her ancestors are from Nigeria.
--I frankly don't want to distance Diane & Elisa from the most negative side of the African-American Experience.
--Diane's been to Nigeria before, though.
--Searched out her ancestors.
--Studied there traditions.
--Has Elisa been here before? Probably.
--But how 'into it' is Elisa?
--Can she sense a monsoon coming?
--Much more of a Daddy's girl.
--Diane's an expert on "oral storytelling traditions"
--Not on all things Nigerian.
--Not on healing herbs for example.

FRENCH
--Elisa can't speak it.
--Maybe Angela can, but do we need it?
--Can't it all be in English?
--Ellipsis between 4 Heroes leaving the skiff and there arrival in village.
--We wipe from riverside to the village.
--Start hearing the story.
--Segue to depiction of story.
--When we return from 'telling', we see that the heroes are there and heard most of it.
--Elisa recognized her mom's voice right away, but doesn't tell the others right away.
--Stunned to see her there.
--Lost in the tale. etc.

THE CURSE - Simplify & Clarify
--Jaguar Queen's Logic seems confused.
--Curses conditions seem unclear and "Multiple"
--Why doesn't Tea turn into a jaguar?
--Was she turning into a jaguar in America?
--Does she want vengence on Fara Maku or does she want to kill the tribe's Jaguar?
--If she knows Maku is the jaguar that bit her, why try to kill the tribe's Jaguar?
--If she doesn't know, why does she want specific vengeance on him?
--What initiates Fara Maku's transformation into a Jaguar?
--Greed? Anger? How does it fit the curse we heard about?
--What initiates his transformation back at the end?
--How did he get cursed in first place?
--Do we want him to be the villain?
--Does their love story seems off point? Can we bring it on point?
--His motivation for cursing her seems pretty reprehensible.
--Tia's not bad for wanting to leave, per se.
--His vengeance being motivated by her greed, is fishy too.
--Why can't Tea end her curse by killing Fara Maku?
--How can she keep it from "being passed along"?
--Why do they reconcile?
--Who or what are we rooting for?

LOGISTICS
--When does Diane first see Elisa?
--How do gargoyles take out poachers without being seen?
--Why does Elisa feel it's necessary to reveal gargoyles at page 8?
--Beware set-ups that don't pay off.
--Straw man dangers.
--Spiked pit.
--Everyone notices and glides or "edges" around.
--Rope bridge - same deal. Whole set up feels artificial since Goliath could have glided over to rescue Tia in first place.
--Settled things that become unsettle.
--P.6 Tea's down, then is up again, with knife.
--Even gets her rifle back.

S&P CONCERNS
--Spear in Fara Maku's shoulder.
--Tea's rifle or shotgun at end of show.

LOST CITY
--Also discovered too late to not feel tacked on.
--Why is city booby-trapped? What is it protecting?
--A city doesn't only have one way to proceed.

POACHERS
--Aren't poaching.
--So why were they helping Tea?
--Was Tea a poacher?
--Has she been killing Jaguars looking for the one that bit her?


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Chapter XLVII: "Mark of the Panther"

Time to ramble...

Chapter XLVII: "Mark of the Panther"
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves
Writer: Lydia Marano
Director: Dennis Woodyard

PREVIOUSLY
We reestablish Elisa's reluctance to share the Gargoyles even with people she trusts. And we reestablish Angela & Goliath's conflict over her parentage.

TITLE
This one went through a number of permutations, as you'll see from the various drafts of outline that I'll try to remember to post tomorrow. We kept changing the title as we kept learning more about the myths of the area. Here was one time where our research helped to keep us honest. Since it's not a one-word title, it probably came from Brynne and/or Lydia.

NOTE THE WATERFALL
We did Elisa falling and Goliath saving her so often -- even as we tried to avoid relegating Elisa to a mere damsel in distress -- that we always had to find variations on the theme. This time he catches her, but then gets slammed by Angela and they all fall into the water. Fortunately, he split the distance on the drop, so they're all okay. Compare this to Hunter's Moon III and... well, maybe I'll wait until I get to that ramble to elaborate...

THE LEGEND OF THE PANTHER QUEEN: TEETH, FUR & CLAWS
I've always been interested in Tricksters. Tricksters and Bastards are my two favorite archetypes. So I'd already done a bit of reading on Anansi legends. This one isn't authentic. The words that Nichelle Nichols speaks in narration as Diane Maza were written by Lydia, but the story itself was mine... though I had made it more of a tribal creation myth. Anansi creates a human being by removing the things about the Panther Queen that were the root of her vanity: her pelt, teeth and claws. The Panther Queen then mothers (at least this segment of) the human race, the ancestors of Fara Maku and Tea. Brynne felt that might be disresepectful to the peoples of the area, so we modified things so that the Queen had her own individual children but was no longer mother to the ENTIRE tribe. (Although I like to think that Fara Maku, at least, was an ancestor of the Queen.) From the beginning, we kept the emphasis on the fur, teeth and claws. Even the poachers are the most interested in those three items.

And how about our little mini cartoon within a cartoon? I love it, myself. (He says without a hint of bias ;) I think Dennis and his team did an amazing job at designing an entirely different art style appropriate to the fable. And I think Nichelle's reading is amazing. She did that in two takes. The first half in one take, the second half in the second take.

But as good as I think it is, I think it's most amazing for its daring. We stopped our episode and ran another cartoon of a totally different style for minutes there. Imagine someone tuning in late to see Gargoyles and finding themselves in the midst of the Tale of The Panther Queen... That was one of the things that was just magic about working on Gargoyles. We took RISKS.

OUT OF CONFLICT...
Some of our best stuff came out of conflict, I hate to admit. Like "The Mirror", this episode was one that Brynne and I fought over a lot. In general, I "won" those fights, because, after all, I was the boss -- and because, even if I had trouble at times articulating it, I had a clear vision (or would eventually find a clear vision) of what I was looking for. But Brynne (and everyone else) would influence me, temper me, moderate me. And the result was usually pretty darn cool. In the end, I think this was one of Brynne & Lydia's favorite episodes. They asked Nichelle to autograph their scripts -- and Nichelle asked THEM to autograph her script. I think she was quite taken with it as well.

PARENTS & CHILDREN
The Panther Queen & her son. Goliath & Angela. Diane & Elisa. Obviously, the theme of parents and children ran throughout the episode. But because of that, we made a conscious decision to make Tea into Fara's lover, not his daughter. We didn't want things to seem TOO pat by having every observable relationship be a parent/child relationship. But Tea & Fara still provide a cautionary example of someone attempting to hold on too tight...

Diane: "That's not love, Fara, that's selfishness."

It applies to any relationship.

Still, we get some fun mother/daughter and father/daughter and mother/son stuff from the three parental relationships we did have in the episode.

As with Fox and Anastasia in "Walkabout" you get moments of the old dynamic emerging between Diane and Elisa. Elisa comes up with a lame excuse for being in Africa ("I'm on a case.") and Diane responds with the kind of "Oh, please," that you know she must have used a hundred times on the 16-year-old Elisa.

But Elisa is still impressed by her mom and proud of her. She listens in some reverence -- and without interrupting -- to her mother telling the tale of the Panther Queen. Angela, also impressed, asks if Diane is a queen or magus (trying to relate her own reverence to her experience). And Elisa responds simply, but eloquently: "Actually, that's my mother."

We also get to see how much ALIKE Diane and Elisa actually are. Both hate spiders. ("Spiders. Why did it have to be spiders?" is of course a riff from Raiders of the Lost Ark.) Both hate to be seen as weak or needy. (I love Goliath's intimidated reaction when Diane tells him: "I don't need watching over." I wonder if he's already regarding her as his mother-in-law?)

My kids listened to Elisa being pissed off at Diane in front of Angela. She seems to be making sense at first, but it soon becomes clear -- even to an embarrassed Elisa -- that she's being unreasonable. Angela does a very Goliath-esque reality check for her (remember when Goliath reprimanded Elisa & Derek in "Her Brother's Keeper"?), which also served to remind us that Angela is Goliath's daughter in more ways than one.

Erin said: "I don't always understand Elisa." Goliath gets her. She doesn't like to share her secrets. She doesn't seem to trust easily. But she also views knowledge as power, and she doesn't want to share that power. The "THAT" which makes her special.

We also get some nice Angela resolution here, as well. Goliath's obviously so concerned about Angela focusing on her biological parentage (because he fears what that means vis-a-vis Demona) that he's totally blind to his duties as her only present (if not surviving) rookery father. He's there. She needs him to act as a father to her, not just as a leader. He refuses. And then Diane sets him straight, simply and clearly. Later, when he says he's proud of her, it's a bit of a sappy moment, but I like to think we've earned it.

And I like to think we've earned the better executed moment at the end between Elisa and Diane. Diane knows that loving sometimes means letting go. (Fara helped remind her of that.) But Elisa now doesn't want her mother to let go so soon. While the gargs sleep she has a full day to tell her story. *You know... Chapters I - XLVI.

Diane's last line is cute: "There aren't any more spiders are there?" But I wish we had ended there or with Elisa's little chuckle. When Elisa ends by saying, "No." it flattens out the moment. Oh, well...

ANANSI
During the Tale of the Panther Queen, Anansi laughs when the Queen attacks him because "creatures such as he cannot die." This is a tip off -- along with the little tiny spider we see at episode's end -- that we weren't actually killing Anansi by having Goliath plunge that spear into him. As my son Benny asked: "Is that all magic that's coming out of him?" Yes, indeed. He's being bled, in essence, of some of his magical energy. He's weakened but not destroyed. And he escapes as a little spider, to reappear in cameo during the Gathering. This was ALSO designed as a hint that Banshee was still alive too. I'm not saying that Oberon's Children cannot be destroyed. I think they can. But it's tough. They have to be utterly wiped out. Otherwise, they are simply weakened. It's easy enough for them to flee to recharge later and fight or trick or whatever another day.

Anansi was played wonderfully by LeVar Burton. But Frank Paur felt that his voice wasn't threatening enough to play the giant spider. So he was enhanced by the good folk at Advantage Audio. (Love those guys.) I think they did a marvelous job of merging LeVar's voice with the effect. We lost none of the acting. But we gained a lot of presence. And Anansi has some great lines:
"I know. Company's coming"
"I'll spin you wishes!"

NOTHING GETS BY THEM
Benny noticed the mark on Tea's shoulder, indicating that she was a were-panther. He wondered if Tea and Fara were the actual Queen and Prince from the legends...

Erin noticed that when Goliath was gliding with Tea and she transforms, she seems to scratch Goliath with her claws. She wondered if that meant Goliath would become a panther-goyle? THAT thought never even occured to me before. Should have though. I'm contemplating adding that to the list of missed bets along with the Pack killing everyone in "Grief" and Cu Chullain's armor and bones being in the tomb in "The Hound of Ulster".

RANDOM STUFF
Goliath has his own version of the Weird Sisters: "All Things Are True" line when Diane expresses surprise that the legend she had just faithfully related might have had some basis in fact.

Bronx is a great old smell hound. (I miss Norman. After watching this episode, my kids went to bed... and then an hour later my daughter had another grief-attack over our late dog. I can't help thinking that subconsciously, Bronx reminded her of Norman in this episode. Not that Norman ever hunted down were-panthers for us, but you get the idea.)

There's also a wonderfully animated moment, where Bronx knocks Tea over, just as she's about to spear Fara. The way she stumbles before crumbling is just gorgeous.

Fara Maku echoes the Captain of the Guard when he says: "It wasn't supposed to be that way." One could argue that it's us just being unoriginal. Or self-indulgent. But I like to think we were creating thematic echoes that ran across the entire tapestry of our 66 episodes.

"Dream on, Spider-Man!"

DID WE CHEAT?
Tea spends most of the episode trying to take revenge on Fara Maku. Then at the end they reconcile? I like to think that the events with Anansi really served to take the steam out of her need for vengeance. That seeing him threatened reawakened her feelings for him. And the fact that he admitted his mistake and apologized didn't hurt either. She makes a conscious decision to forgive him. But did that forgiveness come too cheap? Was it too pat? Maybe. I'm pretty confident about Renard's turnaround in "Golem" and the Captain's in "Shadows of the Past". We only had 22 minutes, and I think we planted all the necessary seeds to justify those last minute changes of heart. I'm less confident about this one. But I can live with it. And we created two more heroes for down the road...

Anyway, that's my ramble...

Where's yours?


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Chapter XLVI: "Walkabout"

Time to ramble...

Chapter XLVI: "Walkabout"
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Story: Michael Reaves
Teleplay: Steve Perry
Director: Dennis Woodyard

PREVIOUSLY
Focus here was on Fox being in the family way and on Dingo. At this point, I often (almost) forget that Fox was ever in the Pack, she seems so beyond them now. But there are a couple of nice reminders throughout the episode, that as "Grief" dealt with Jackal, Hyena, Wolf and Coyote (i.e. the LEAST human members of the Pack), "Walkabout" reunites the MOST human (former) members.

TITLE & ORIGINS
"Walkabout," is one of my typical one-word titles. I kind of had an ambition to hit every inhabited continent at least once on our World Tour. Couldn't skip the land down under therefore, and couldn't go to Australia without Dingo, of course. But this was also our opportunity to present a demonstrably pregnant Fox and to introduce her mother Anastasia, voiced by the incomparable Kate Mulgrew -- whom I've loved since her amazing run as Mary Ryan on Ryan's Hope.

When the skiff first appears, my kids (Erin & Benny) attempted to guess the location: Asia, Africa. Then they see the kangaroo.

Then they see the advancing "Gray Goo". Or silver sheen. That was another concept that Michael and I wanted to cover: nanotechnology and the threat it presents, i.e. the Gray Goo Scenario that Anastasia describes later. Oh, and artificial intelligence. More on that down below...

Unfortunately, the Gray Goo as executed here never really worked for me visually in the episode. It gets the idea across, but it's never got the precision that I wanted. And it's terribly inconsistent for a mono-maniacal computer program. It's kind of all over the map.

DINGO
He's seeking a clean slate, a fresh start. But it's not that easy. When Goliath spots him later, and Angela asks who he is, Elisa says: "He's not one of the Good Guys." Erin countered: "Trying to be."

Benny saw him activating his armor and immediately figured out what he was up to. How did he know? Because he's seen the concept more recently on the new "The Batman" series. Dingo's using Batwave!!!! (Dingowave?)

I love the visual of Dingo's armor opening up in back to let him step right in. Then closing up around him. There are some great armor moments in this episode.

[But some awkward movement throughout. There's a shot of Goliath falling to the ground and landing on his back, before rapidly flipping over onto his hands and knees to hold his head. It's very clumsy. And Fox runs very well for a pregnant woman, don't you think?]

Dingo also has some nice lines... (particularly: "Always did fancy a trip to Disneyland.") ...and Jim Cummings-provided Australian slang like "Ripper" and "Sheila" (referring to Elisa -- though Sheila is also my mother's name)

MATRIX
Erin wanted to know if we got sued for calling the computer program "The Matrix". I explained that this episode pre-dated the movie. So a couple of minutes later she asked why WE didn't sue the movie. (Where did she get so law-suit happy, huh?)

ANASTASIA & DAUGHTER
There are some great moments between Fox & Anastasia. Some moments where you can hear Fox practically reverting to her teen self with lines like "Mo-ther!" And I like when Anastasia plays on that by saying, "Humor your mother." Relationships trump science fiction.

When Fox says, "Your grandson just kicked me..." Erin said, "I'm her grandson," referring to the fact that Erin provided the voice of Alex Xanatos in "The Journey." But this was a bit of a reveal. In "Outfoxed", we revealed that Fox was pregnant. Now we reveal the baby's gender.

I also like Fox's "Where are my manners?" line.

And we get a bit more feeling for the Renard clan as Goliath realizes that Fox is Halcyon's daughter, and as Anastasia dismisses discussion of her "ex-husband."

THERAMIN
I never knew what that "instrument" was called before working on this episode. Carl did a great job of providing some unique scoring to this episode (as he had with Hound of Ulster). The Theramin work. And the Didgeridoo (am I spelling that right?) Cool stuff. Both added greatly to the ambiance and helped compensate for some weakly executed gray goo.

SHAMAN
Mr. One-Note, huh? You must use the Dream-Time. Find the Dream-Time. Enter the Dream-Time. Okay, okay. We get it.

There's potential in that character, which I wanted to explore in Bad Guys. But I don't think we found it here. Part of the problem is the accent. I don't know what I'm hearing exactly, but it doesn't sound like the accent of an Australian aborigine. I like James Avery's performance, and I'm not being critical of him, but he was hampered by our accentual ignorance and the one-note nature (as written) of the character. Still he has some decent moments, I suppose. At least enough that I wanted to make him Harry Monmouth's surrogate father in Bad Guys. I just wanted to get the accent right by that time.

And what is the Dreamtime, exactly? I'm not sure we got THAT right either, really. I think we just played it like the inside of Coldstone's head. That was probably my fault. Again, we just didn't always have the time to do all the research we would have loved to do.

SPEAKING OF BAD GUYS
I haven't watched "Walkabout" in a few years, but I see the Bad Guys Reel EVERY year at the Gathering. So I'm used to hearing Jeff Bennett as Matrix. But here we have Jim Cummings as Matrix, and it does sound very different, despite all the electronic filtering and futzing we did on both actors in the part. In the episode, we cast Jim as Matrix because he was already there as Dingo, so it saved us money.

But when we developed Bad Guys as its own series, I decided to recast Matrix. Not because Jim isn't great or because he couldn't handle doing two voices on a regular basis, but because we wanted to have the freedom to play with Matrix's voice a lot. And we didn't ever want him to sound like Dingo. So I brought in Jeff, because, well, I just love Jeff.

FINAL BATTLE
There's some interesting visuals in the Dreamtime. I liked how each of the combatants used what they know. Goliath uses a medieval shield and recreates the Trio & Hudson to fight with/for him. (It was also a conscious attempt on our part to get those four in the episode -- at least visually. We knew even then that we were short-changing them during the tour and that the audience would be missing them.) Dingo "upgrades" his armor again, saying with relish "I like it." _I_ like how he dived down into the "stuff of dreams" to revamp the armor. And Matrix uses waldo-like arms to fight and capture his opponents.

Of course, Dingo (and the writers including me) are grasping at straws with that whole "Law and Order" thing at the end. It's Artificial... but, hey, so is Matrix's Intelligence. As Dingo says as his armor tranforms yet again (looking positively gorillaish for a second or two), "Australia's got a new kind of hero, mates!" And I like how he revealed that he liked PLAYING the hero when he and Fox were on the Pack TV Show. You never know what you've got until it's gone, eh, Harry?

Of course, we were building up our international cast of heroes, but the idea behind Dingo & Matrix soon evolved into Bad Guys. And I think they work very well together and as part of the larger group in that piece.

Erin thought that the Shaman was the real hero of the episode. I like that she thinks that. Accent or no accent.

Anyway, that's my ramble...

Where's yours?


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OUTLINE NOTES ON WHAT WOULD BECOME "THE HOUND OF ULSTER"

These are the notes I gave to Michael Reaves based on his outline for the episode...

WEISMAN 3-21-95

Notes on "A Bronx Tail" Outline...

Play a lot of Bronx PoV throughout.

ACT ONE
1. Night. Rory and SEANA (Finuala/Banshee) escape coppers. We see that she encourages him to delinquency. We hear about Hound. They split up. We hear Bronx howl. (Seana/Banshee hears it too?)

2. Night. Cut to Bronx howling by riverside. Banshee screech. Some sign of Banshee/Woman for Bronx to sniff.

3. Rory and Mom or Dad (not both). Day.

4. Switch with beat Five. Dungeon. Angela and Goliath wake up. Chained. (Combine Castle and Cairn) Gargs and Elisa in unbreakable chains.

5. Swith with beat 4. Rory leaves home to meet Seana. Bronx pursues Rory. (Tracking scent of Seana/Banshee on Rory.)

6. Rory falls into quarry.

6.5. Unconscious Rory has Vision of Ulster past - still a bit confused. Bronx might still be threat or ally.

7. Banshee attacks G, A, E. in dungeon.

ACT TWO
8. Bronx helps Rory out of Quarry.

9. Banshee ceases her assault on G,A, E. Senses that Rory is with Bronx. And/or she gets some info from G, A, E.

10. At bog. Bronx playing Lassie. Rory has a vision of Cairn/Castle.

11. Cut.

12. Seana appears. Bronx growls at her. Rory rejects Bronx for rejecting Seana. Bronx attacks. Rory cannot stop him. Seana/Banshee forced to reveal herself to protect herself. Bronx knocked out. Rory is shocked. Afraid of Banshee. Banshee does siren number on Rory. He leaves with her. How ominous.

13. Cut.

ACT THREE
14. Cut.

15. Cut.

16. Late Morning, early afternoon. Rory awakens at home probably. Parent bitching, he's a bum who's out all night and sleeps all day. Previous night feels like a good/bad dream. Seana shows up. Doesn't know what he's talking about. But Place from his vision sounds like Cairn/Castle. He insists on going there. She's frightened but she loves him. She'll go with.

17. They arrive after dark. Banshee/Seana is prepared to kill him... She was hoping to keep him from realizing his potential. But if that's not going to work than the ancient battle begins again.
Bronx arrives nick-o-time. (G,E and A hear commotion but can't do anything to help.) Bronx saves Rory, who gets spear and transforms. They battle and ultimately defeat or destroy deathworm. They free G,E and A. Rory returns to normal, but Ireland has a New Hero.


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Chapter XLV: "The Hound of Ulster"

Time to ramble...

Chapter XLV: "The Hound of Ulster"
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Story: Michael Reaves
Teleplay: Diane Duane & Peter Morwood
Director: Bob Kline

THE TITLE/ORIGINS
I think my original title for this episode was "A Bronx Tail" or "A Bronx Tale". They wound up using that title for an episode of Goliath Chronicles, I think.

Then I think I wanted to change the title to "The Barghest". But Michael and Peter & Diane protested that the Barghest was a Northern English legend, not an Irish one. They wanted "The Hero of Ulster". I changed it to "The Hound of Ulster," which was a compromise we could all live with.

But somewhere in here we confused the legend of Cu Chullain, with the legend of the Barghest/Great Beast (not to mention tossing in and combining the Banshee and Crom-Cruach).

I've since gathered fromt the fans that Cu Chullain himself was the Hound of Ulster, a title he won by having to act as a watchdog for another lord for a period of time.

Oh, well. I just wasn't that familiar with this legend at the time. And I didn't do or have time to do all the necessary research, I'm afraid.

I guess in the Gargoyles Universe, things might have been a bit different. Or maybe not. Actually, the on-going story of Rory & Molly a.k.a. Cu Chullain & the Banshee still fascinates me. Eventually, I'd love to be able to bring them back and have the excuse to really research the topic thoroughly.

PREVIOUSLY ON GARGOYLES
Sometimes we struggled to fill out that 30 seconds of footage. This looked like one of those times. We emphasized Bronx moments and Avalon's past abandonment.

LIFE IN LISCOO
And then we're in Liscoo. Again, I like the relationship between Rory & Molly. Her manipulations are subtle... she encourages his delinquincy. Tries to convince him to leave town... to leave Ireland even, for America.

Rory believes he's nothing. He's a quitter... as his father later says, "Ah, Rory, you always gave up to easy." Rory's arc is to move from being a boy who's a quitter to a man who refuses to quit. Even in the face of inhuman opposition.

But there's a real economic undercurrent to all this. Rory's dad is explicitly on the Dole. Rory is shoplifting and has no trade. It's a relatively sophisticated, young adult dilemma he's facing.

I really like Rory's dad Mr. Dugan -- and Colm Meany, the actor who played him. Love the exchange between him and Molly...
Molly: "Hello, Mr. Dugan."
Dugan: "Hmph. Molly."
(So much ... unfondness... in so few words.)

Of course Molly IS a bad influence on Mr. Dugan's boy Rory. Cuz she's a Banshee trying to keep Rory from realizing who he really is. DUH!

FUTURE STORY IDEAS OR RANDOM REFERENCES: YOU DECIDE!
Rory: "And dwarves made me shoes."
Elisa: "I don't know whether to expect vampires or Sherlock Holmes."
Banshee: "The time of the Gathering approaches." (That was a freebee.)

WHEN THE BANSHEE KEENS...
...lots of people have to work really hard to make it sound really cool. Start with Sheena Easton's vocals directed by Jamie Thomason. Throw in music effects by Carl Johnson, edited by Marc Perlman. Throw in Sound Effects by Paca Thomas, all mixed by the great crew at Advantage Audio. We have many great shows. And the Advantage guys, our composer and voice actors always did a great job on them. But the soundwork on this episode, is just STUNNING.

WIZARD OF OZ REFERENCES
Elisa: "I don't think we're in Scotland. Or Kansas either."
Banshee: "But more than enough to deal with a noisy young hero -- and his little dog too!"
(Frankly, I don't think you can ever have too many Oz references. Erin, my ten-year-old daughter recognized the latter line as a reference to something, but couldn't immediately place what it was from. She guessed Scooby Doo episodes. Odds are that "little dog too" line has been used once or twice over the hundreds of adventures that Scooby has had. So she may not have been wrong. But when I mentioned Wizard, she immediately remembered.)

CAIRN NA CHULLAIN
The site of one of my most annoying missed opportunities. When Elisa, Angela and Goliath wake up in Cu Chullain's tomb, his armor and bones should have been in there with them.

It's interesting to me that the Banshee gets so annoyed by their denials that she doesn't try to mesmerize the info that she thinks she needs from Elisa, Angela or Goliath. She says that her voice can mesmerize (a little forshadowing for what she's about to do to Rory) but instead she just tries to torture the travelers into telling her what she wants to know.

RANDOM OTHER LINES I LIKE
Elisa (sing-song): "We've got company."

Banshee: "You have recently been in Avalon -- the scent of its magic is all about you." (I love the idea that magic has a scent to the carefully trained nose.)

Banshee: "I like it here."

Rory: "About last night... you don't recall putting on a foot of height and a yard of hair--?"
Molly: "Huh! In your dreams..."
(If she can do anything to convince him it was all just a dream...)

Goliath: "A land with a hero soon finds other deeds for him to do." (Is this the old Batman argument that Batman's mere presence draws the Joker and his ilk to Gotham..?)

DELAYED REACTION
Rory comes to as Bronx licks him awake. There's a funny delayed reaction. And a real Elisa-in-Awakening moment, as Rory says: "This can't be happening."

In general, it's hard for someone of my generation to avoid making a Lassie comparison with Bronx here. Timmy may not be in the well, but Angela, Elisa & Goliath are stuck in the Cairn. And Bronx is finding the one person he believes can help get them out.

When Molly first turned into Banshee on screen, I'm curious what you guys thought. Did you think that Molly was Banshee or that just in THAT scene the Banshee had posed as Molly until Bronx figured out the truth?

(When Rory walks off with Banshee at the end of the act, Erin said: "Bad idea." And my seven-year-old son Benny said, "He's tranced. He can't do anything.")

We were trying to generally confuse you guys by having Rory leave with the Banshee and then wake up unharmed in his home. Molly shows up... is she to be trusted? Is this the real Molly? Is the real Molly a Banshee? Was the whole thing a dream?

The whole thing was actually pretty linear. But we wanted to keep Rory and the audience off balance.

In the end, I think we played pretty fair. Even Molly's initial reaction to hearing Bronx's howl in the opening minutes of the episode plays well I think, both as the kind of reaction a superstitious Molly would have AND as the reaction the Banshee would have to hearing the sound of a Gargoyle Beast for the first time in centuries.

SO THORY
The Cu Chullain design and concept we wound up with is a little too close to Marvel's THOR for my tastes. I'm not worried about the legalities, but I'd have liked to have come up with a better design for old Cu and a fresher idea than leaving Rory with a walking stick that transforms into the Spear of Light. We just didn't have the time to dance with it enough to come up with something better.

SO CLEVERDON
Actor Scott Cleverdon, who played Rory came up with Cu's battle cry at the end, insisting that it was authentic. Sounded cool. So we trusted him.

REINCARNATION
So if Rory is the reincarnation of the Hero of Ulster, does that make Bronx the reincarnation of (Buena Vista's Gargoyles') Hound of Ulster. Or is he just another Great Beast? We intentionally left that vague.

A BRONX TALE
But we did want this story to BELONG to Bronx as much as possible. I had to kinda push to keep Goliath, Elisa and Angela from joining in the heroics, leaving the heavy lifting to Bronx and Rory.

The episode inevitably became Rory's story. But by removing our three regulars from the action, I felt that Bronx got more of a showcase than he would have.

I love the "smug" Bronx at the end.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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W.I.T.C.H.

Hey gang,

I got a job!!!!

I'll be producing the SECOND season of a series called W.I.T.C.H. for SIP Animation and ABC Family's Jetix block.

I had nothing to do with the FIRST season, but I'm rooting for its success... because frankly if it doesn't do well, then you'll never get to see the neatokeen stuff I'm planning for season two.

The first W.I.T.C.H. "minisode" premieres on Jetix on Saturday morning, October 30th. (Check your local listings.) Again, I had nothing to do with it, but I do think it's fun stuff. (And if you love me, you'll support it ;)

Oh, and while I'm at it, I think my first episode of THE BATMAN, "The Big Chill" featuring Mr. Freeze airs THIS Saturday, October 23rd on Kids WB. (Again, check your local listings.) It features the voice of Clancy Brown (Hakon, Wolf) as Freeze.

And also keep an eye out for the two episodes of SUPER ROBOT MONKEY TEAM HYPERFORCE GO! which I wrote for Jetix. I'm not sure exactly when they're airing, but I'll keep you posted.

Thanks!!


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Little things...

It's amazing how nothing major has changed in my life.

It's also amazing how many little things have changed.

I'm up VERY late. I generally work until midnight and then try to wind down from 12am to 2am. I try to go to bed around 2, but often I'm up until 3am or later.

All of this was time I used to spend with Norman. Beth and the kids were long asleep. Sure the cats stopped by occasionally, but Norman was my constant companion. He'd be on the floor or on his old recliner chai (the one he commandeered when Beth wouldn't let him on the new couch). I'd pet him some, but mostly it was just his presence.

Now his hair-covered blanket is off the chair. It makes it available for human seatage -- but I'm not that big a fan of humans, and in any case there are none around at those hours. So I'm just alone at my desk. Or alone on the couch. And it's just strange. And very lonely.

Erin and I walked into Larchmont yesterday. (Saw Matt Dillon, by the way.) It was weird not having Norman on the leash, our walking smile-magnet. And every dog we did see on someone else's leash kinda broke our hearts.

Beth said she's been hearing him at the back door, crying to get in. So I open the door occassionally.

We see Bassetts on tv ALL the time. Two just on the "er" episode I recorded the other night. (One on a commercial and one in the actual show.)

We can now leave chalah out on the kitchen table. Cause he's not there to swipe it.

And I can leave the front door open when I bring the groceries in from Beth's car, because he's not there to bolt out into the middle of the street.

And when the doorbell rings, he doesn't bark and howl like a lunatic.

But mostly, he's not waiting in the living room window when we get home anymore.

No. Mostly, he's just not there on his chair at night.

It's the little things. Not the big things. There are no big things, frankly. Our lives haven't changed. (Less pooper-scooping, I suppose, but I'd be lying if I said we missed that.) School, work, etc. Life goes on, of course.

Nothing has changed.

But nothing is quite the same either.

I really miss my dog.


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Air Commander Bentley Norman

Our Basset Hound, Norman, died today. Beth and I were with him as he was put to sleep.

He had lymphoma, which came on quickly and was only discovered while he was recuperating (or rather failing to recuperate) from his last ear surgery. He was completely deaf and nearly blind. He couldn't eat, couldn't drink, couldn't walk or even stand. I carried him out to the yard -- which only a few weeks ago would have been impossible, but he's lost so much weight that it was depressingly easy -- but he couldn't even go to the bathroom. His stomach was hard as a rock. He was having a lot of trouble breathing. He had stopped barking and howling completely. He could barely wag his tail.

So it was time. But it was very hard.

He was truly a joy of a dog. And dashingly handsome. I'm really going to miss him.


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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THE DVD

Gang,

I just talked to the folks at Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

I asked them what was the best date for us to MASS ORDER/PURCHASE the 1st Season Gargoyles Series DVD.

My contact was unequivocal in his response.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7th, 2004.

Yep, that's right the day of the release. I guess anything earlier is nice but winds up being too early to be useful. But day and date with the release is exactly what we need.

In the meantime, BV encourages ALL OF YOU to go to Amazon and rave in the comments/reviews section. Leading up to Dec 7, the more good buzz on Amazon's site the better.

(Remember this is the make or break event in the fandom. It's time to prove to Disney once and for all that we have the bodies and the dollars and the fanbase and the communications skills to support more Gargoyles product -- both merchandise and creative. If we can't prove it with this DVD release... well, we're not likely to get another chance.)

So spread the word. SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!!!!

The DVD is coming out December 7th. And we'd like EVERYBODY to ORDER/PURCHASE it on THAT DAY!!!!!!!!!


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More info...

Greg Bishansky's going to town (to save my reputation, I guess)...

Okay, just went and did some research...

The Hunter's Moon is technically not the first full moon of October. It's
the first full moon after the Harvest Moon, which is associated with the
beginning of autumn... usually close to mid-September.

So, the September 28th date is still possible :)

That's great. Although it was my understanding that if a month had a second full moon, it was a BLUE MOON. But thanks, Greg.


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APOLOGIES

I just received the following e-mail from Greg Bishansky:

Hey Greg,

I was reading your newest update, and you had this answer in there...

"I didn't MISS anything. Yes, I chose that date because it was my birthday.
But I also never claimed that the confrontation with Charles took place on
the Hunter's Moon. It was the final confrontation between Demona, the other
Gargoyles and the Hunters which took place at St. Damien's Cathedral on the
Hunter's Moon."

Now, I really hate to be nitpicky, but to be fair, in the actual episode,
during the flashback Charles Canmore says...

"Tonight is the Hunter's Moon. Our moon, my children."

Now... considering Charles' line, I thought your answer was a little on the unfair side.

That it was, Greg. Thank you for keeping me honest and pointing out my error. Double error, it seems. Both in the original series and in my answer to Richard of Portugal's question.

My apologies on both counts.



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