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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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