A Station Eight Fan Web Site
Yes, we're back with another look at the most memorable characters in the Buffyverse.
[For more information on what I'm doing here and why I'm doing this, I recommend an archive search using the word "Buffyverse". That'll show you the character countdowns for the first two seasons.]
Keep in mind, this is a subjective exercise that I've tried to make as objective as possible.
The following horserace takes the first three seasons into account. All three seasons. NOT just Season Three. However, it does not include the last four seasons of Buffy or any season of Angel.
First some honorable mentions from the third season (in reverse order of importance)...
*The Lunch Lady who tried to poison the entire student body.
*D'Hoffryn, the Demon who gave Anya her powers and refused to give them back when she lost them. This is cheating a bit. He may not have made that much of an impression if I didn't know he'd be more important later.
*Tucker Wells - The student who sent hellhounds to the Prom. This is WAY cheating. If I didn't know Tucker's brother Andrew would become important, I'm not sure I'd have remembered this guy much at all.
*Mr. Platt - A sympathetic guidance councelor killed by a Mr. Hyde like student. He just had a couple of great scenes with Buffy.
*The Shrouded Sorceror who helped Angel and Buffy con Faith and the Mayor into thinking Angel had lost his soul. Two memorable things. The way he'd exit a room backwards into darkness. And the fact that Giles had introduced him to his wife.
*Ms. Gwendolyn Post - The fallen watcher who cons everybody.
*Zackary Kralik - The serial killer turned vampire, that Buffy tricks into drinking holy water. A real fun sick puppy, played by the always interesting Jeff Kober.
*Balthazar - You may not remember the name, but I'm sure you'd remember the obese demon body sitting in a wine vat, with vamp slaves ladeling some liquid onto his skin. One of the best and most fun creatures they ever created. Funny too. "Unacceptable. Unacceptable." The Wallace Shawn of the Demon World.
*The First - Makes its first appearance this season, trying to turn Angel. Mostly uses Ms. Calendar's form.
*Sheila Rosenberg - Willow's mom. Wish we had seen more of her.
*Lily (alias Chanterelle alias Sister Sunshine alias Anne). The former Vamp-wannabe reappears in Buffy's life as a homeless girl. Buffy seems to set her on a more positive path... and I know that in Angel, the actress Julia Lee who plays Lily winds up playing a homeless advocate. I'm looking forward to seeing whether or not I can discern if she's playing the same character -- now with her act together.
*Quentin Travers - Head of the Watcher's Council has a neat first appearance.
*Mr. Miller - The one teacher at Sunnydale High who keeps making continuity appearances over and over across Buffy's Junior & Senior years. Has one fun scene in the Graduation 2-parter where he's leading the class in a game of Hangman: "They always go for the E."
And now the top 40...
#40 THE JUDGE (Previous Rank: 30)
Dropping ten slots from last season, the big blue smurf is still holding on to the top 40. Barely.
#39 NORMAN PFISTER THE WORM GUY (PR:29)
Also dropping 10 slots. But still a cool idea a year later.
#38 LUKE (Previous Ranks: 14 (1st Season), 27 (2nd Season))
Our first episodic villain is still pretty memorable, though this may be his last season in the rankings. He's fallen eleven slots from last season. 24 from the first. Of course, it's still impressive that actor Brian Thompson still has two characters (Luke & the Judge) in the top 40.
#37 HANK SUMMERS (PR:21, 25)
Hank's falling fast (12 slots this season alone), as the guy rapidly becomes a dead-beat dad -- due more to story space constraints than anything we would have gleaned from the times we've seen him in person. He goes from taking Buffy for an entire summer to not even showing up for her birthday. And his inattention is only going to get worse.
#36 DETECTIVE STEIN (PR:32)
Down only four slots, and I'm sure you're all asking, "Who?" But if you had just finished the third season, you'd know. This guy is a subplot that never quite came to life. He's an honest cop, who suspects Buffy's up to no good -- or at least that something no good is happening around her. He's interrogated (or tried to interrogate) her three times. After the deaths of Ted, Kendra and the Deputy Mayor. He interests me. But I don't think we'll be seeing him again.
#35 UNCLE ENYOS THE GYPSEY MAN (PR:21)
Still holding on in points from Season Two. But he's fallen 14 slots, and counting.
#34 JESSE (PR:13, 20)
Falling another 14 slots, Jesse, the forgotten sacrificial lamb of the pilot is still hanging on.
#33 SCOTT HOPE (First appearance)
Scott's the nice guy who tries to date Buffy on the rebound from Angel's "death" in Season Two -- and while she's trying to nurse Angel back to health in Season Three. He winds up dumping her because she's so angsty. Wish we had seen a bit of him at the end of the season, but he vanishes after Homecoming.
#32 DEPUTY MAYOR ALLAN FINCH (First appearance)
The Mayor's right hand man -- until he decides to betray the Mayor to Buffy. He goes to find her, and winds up getting accidentally killed by Faith. He then becomes a guilt trip for both slayers.
#31 WHISTLER (PR:18)
Falls 13 slots in the rankings. But still a memorable character. The guy who brought Angel back from the brink.
#30 KENDRA (PR:17)
The first supplemental slayer. Begins to pale now that we've met Faith.
#29 ETHAN RAYNE (PR:22)
Ethan falls seven slots despite another interesting appearance as a Band Candy distibutor.
#28 DEVON (PR:37)
The lead singer for Oz's band (Dingoes ate my baby), has multiple brief funny appearances. He's likely to fade after Oz leaves the show.
#27 AMY MADISON THE RAT (PR: 17, 23)
She's fallen four slots, but that's more a factor of so many more characters coming in. I even gave her partial credit when she appeared ONLY as a rat.
#26 PERCY WEST (First appearance)
Percy was the Basketball Player that Willow was forced to tutor. He tried to take advantage of her, but VampWillow put a stop to that. He makes a number of appearances afterward and joins the final battle against the Mayor. I keep watching that last episode, but I can't see if they show us his final fate.
#25 LARRY (PR:35)
Larry actually gains ten slots, as he continues to make appearances. He's memorable as one of the "White Hats" in the alternate universe that Anya creates for Cordy. He's also fun as the jock who comes out as gay and mistakenly tries to help Xander come out as well. He appears to die heroically fighting the Mayor, but I like Larry, and I'm hoping he was merely knocked unconscious.
#24 PRINCIPAL BOB FLUTIE (PR:9, 16)
Falling another 8 slots. But still with enough first season points to keep him a fond memory.
#23 DARLA (PR: 11, 15)
Also falls eight slots. Still a potent memory. And she'll make a comeback.
#22 ANYA/ANYANKA (First appearance)
Who knew? She was fairly disposable in her first appearance, and I'm convinced she was only brought back a second time, because Joss was fascinated with VampWillow. But Anya made a strong enough impression in her second appearance, to warrant a comeback for the Prom. She quickly becomes fascinating opposite Xander. She bolts from Sunnydale during the pilot. But I should have known she'd be back.
#21 WILLY THE SNITCH (PR:24)
Up three slots. Just fun to be around. He'll start to fade as actor Saverio Guerra became a regular on Becker...
#20 HARMONY KENDALL (PR: 18, 26)
Up six slots from last season (although still down two from season one), she just has a few memorable bitchy/ditzy/comic appearances. And a couple of really great lines. If you look carefully, you can in fact see her get bitten by a vamp during graduation.
#19 COLIN THE ANNOINTED ONE (PR:10, 14)
Fallen five slots and still coasting on big point totals from season one and the beginning of season two.
#18 MR. TRICK (First appearance)
A breath of fresh air who I was really sorry to see get staked by Faith.
#17 JONATHAN (PR:19)
Jonathan moves up two slots (in an increasingly tougher field) based on strong appearances as a near-suicide and as the guy who gives Buffy her School Protector award at the Prom. Hard not to love.
#16 THE MASTER (PR: 8, 13)
The Big Bad of Season One falls three slots, despite having a delicious appearance (where he gets to kill Buffy AGAIN) in the alternate universe episode.
#15 WESLEY WYNDAM-PRICE (First appearance)
It's amazing how this goofball got us to care about him more with every year. He may be the single character who grew the most over the course of the serieses. Maybe even more than Spike.
#14 MAYOR RICHARD WILKINS III (PR:40)
The Mayor barely leaps 26 slots -- which would be even more impressive if he had actually appeared in Season Two, instead of just getting some points there for interesting foreshadowing. He certainly lived up to the bill.
#13 JENNY CALENDER (PR:15, 11)
Jenny falls a couple slots (though she's still ahead of her season one ranking) despite appearing as The First.
#12 SPIKE (PR: 9)
Spike, who'll be making quite a comeback of course, falls three slots, despite a very fun appearance as a drunken lout who wants Dru back.
#11 DRUSILLA (PR: 8)
Dru still manages to just barely stay ahead of Spike, based on her Season Two point total.
#10 FAITH (First appearance)
Faith is number ten with a bullet (or at least a very fancy knife). It's a stunning accomplishment to see how she enters partway through this season and rises so far, so fast.
#9 PRINCIPAL SNYDER (PR: 12, 10)
Snyder continues his slow rise, up another slot. But after being eaten by the mayor, he's poised to begin a slow slide. Always thought that his death was great, but it did surprise me as I thought the Mayor was less of an ingrate than that.
#8 JOYCE SUMMERS (PR:7, 7)
Joyce drops down a slot from seventh place to make room for Oz.
#7 OZ (PR:12)
Oz leapfrogs five hard-earned slots. Has some nice werewolf moments too.
#6 ANGEL (PR:6,6)
The top six haven't changed. Angel just can't quite pull up even with Cordy. Of course, next season, his own show'll put him on the fast track. Maybe even for #2.
#5 CORDELIA CHASE (PR:5,5)
Got some real great moments this year.
#4 WILLOW ROSENBERG (PR:4,4)
Inching closer to Xander, but doesn't quite pull up even in points.
#3 XANDER HARRIS (PR:3,3)
#2 RUPERT GILES (PR: 2,2)
I keep expecting Giles to slip relative to Xander & Willow, but in fact he extended his lead this season. Probably, because they so evenly split each other's screentime as Buffy's best buds.
#1 BUFFY ANNE SUMMERS (PR:1,1)
That's it for now. But here's my plan... I'm going to get the DVD's for Buffy Season Four AND Angel Season One. I'm going to watch the episodes (44 total) in AIRING ORDER. When I've gone through 22 episodes (the equivalent of one season), I'll be back with another update.
Hope this is at least mildly interesting. If not, well, then just skip it. Who's holding a gun to your head, anyway?
Nothing to sneeze at -- and with gratitude to those who have participated -- but right now, Todd tells me, we only have about 38 Gathering Journals posted at ASK GREG.
That's about 25%. I was hoping for at least FIFTY PERCENT cooperation. C'mon, guys. Put your keyboard where your mouth is!!
You only have until midnight on the 31st!!
So I showered and packed. Carol came knocking to say good-bye.
Then I headed down to the lobby.
Said good-bye to Zehra.
Then Patrick and I headed out.
I'd like to be able to tell GXB that our journey was something out of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, but the truth is it went incredibly smoothly and we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare.
Sorry, Greg. But you're still my best Gathering Travel story.
Anyway, Patrick & I shook hands on a great convention. And off I went.
I went through American Customs up in Montreal somehow. Then I had some Burger King.
Got on the plane. Slept finally. Missed the meal and the movie. Woke up. Read a bit. Landed. Was picked up VERY promptly by the driver, who seemed surprised to see me coming out so soon.
Got home to my family. Gave my family stuff. T-shirts, pins, Canadian coinage, sketches drawn by someone whose name escapes me at the moment.
Then I shaved off the beard for my newly ten-year-old daughter. Just as well. I'm growing too dependent on the beard anyway. But it seemed to make things official. The Gathering was Over.
We had an extended family birthday dinner for Erin that night, which included my parents, my 94 year-old-grandmother, my sister, my brother and his wife and TWO kids, ages not-quite-two-years-old and not-quite-one-week. Plus of course, me, Beth and Benny.
The next day we drove down to San Diego for a little family vacation. We were staying with Gary & Jane Krisel. Gary was my boss during the Gargoyles years at Disney. He was a big contributor to the show's development. A big believer in the concept. And the guy who basically left me alone to run it. So tip of the hat to Gary. When I told him about the Gathering, he thought I was kidding at first. ("An entire convention dedicated to one cartoon?") I thought HE was kidding about me kidding him, because I'm POSITIVE that I invited him to G2001 in L.A.
Anyway, it was great to see him again.
We did the Theme Park rounds. A day at SeaWorld. A day at the Wild Animal Park. A day at Legoland. Then we headed home again, picking up Norman at the vets on the way.
Norman's wearing a cone/lampshade around his head. But he's doing well.
I finished "I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason". I really liked it and am looking forward to Cece's next adventure: "Nancy Drew Blue".
Then I read Walter Mosely's "Fear Itself". Which was also great.
Today, I saw an early cut of the DVD Documentary. David Grabias and his editor Amy did a terrific job. I'm not going to go into any specifics, because (a) it's not a final cut and (b) I don't want to spoil anything. But trust me it's very cool. And you all look great!
That's about it for now. See you when I get back from Vegas.
Oh, and one last time -- SPREAD THE WORD. GATHERING REPORTS/JOURNALS/DIARIES need to be posted here by AUGUST 31st. PLEASE!!!!
With the costume & cosplay contests over, things started to relax. My assignments were over, and I could just kick back. Unfortunately, I was leaving the hotel at 6am the next morning. For the first time, I'd miss Closing Ceremonies, which was a huge bummer. I'd also miss spending any real time with Keith. But my daughter's TENTH birthday was Sunday the 8th. I had hoped to bring the whole family to the Gathering this year, but I just couldn't afford it, and I wasn't going to miss her birthday. In fact, Erin was very gracious about allowing me to fly home Sunday on her birthday instead of Saturday night. The trade-off was I agreed to shave off the beard when I got home. Benny likes it, but Erin doesn't. So it's gone now.
I promise though that next year, the whole family's coming to Las Vegas. In fact, we're leaving for Vegas the day after tomorrow. That's right, I'm so anxious to get back to the Gathering, I'm leaving an entire year early. (Or maybe, it's because my in-laws live in Vegas, and we're going to see them. I get confused sometimes.)
Anyway, we hung out downstairs for awhile. I had a number of nice chats... with Crazyman Marty Lund and his decidedly saner wife Lexy... with Kathy... with Ellen... with Carol... with Shaun... with Tony & Andrea...
Keith and his kids came back down for the Karaoke. Keith couldn't find a song he liked, so he just sang (wearing a baby no less). He truly is one of the coolest and smoothest individuals on the planet.
We've got some great singers in the fandom. Taylor sang the Love Boat theme AND better still "The Summer Winds". Cindy, Zehra & Jen all have amazing voices too. And that YMCA was a classic.
There is no way you're ever going to get me to sing. Never gonna happen. Have to maintain some dignity. But just because I'm a thrill-seeker, here is a brief list of songs I sometimes sing in my car...
Nat King Cole's "When I Grow To Old To Dream"
Joe Jackson's "The Other Me"
Joe Jackson's "Hometown"
Bruce Springsteen's "One Step Up"
Don McLean's "American Pie"
Karine dragged me onto the dance floor. After I made her promise not to go into labor, we did a couple of swing moves which was fun (especially when she eventually let me lead). I definitely think the Gatherings need more swing in general.
Around 2am-ish the downstairs party began to break up. I know I was saying good-bye all night. I was really on the fence about whether or not to stay up all night and take off at six, or try to go to bed and worse try to wake up at five.
Because, I was having too much fun, I opted (mostly by default) for staying up all night.
Karine, Jen, Zehra, Patrick, Tony, Andrea and I went up to the consuite to hang. Had an apple and some chips. Liz, Kelly, Karlyle & Chameleon Girl showed up for a bit, and Liz dropped off a very cool hand-drawn Angela conbadge for me. We watched a surreal live-action Sailor Moon. This is something my kids would go nuts for, so if anyone can copy this stuff to VHS, I'd be interested...
It was all very punchy and silly and cosy and fun. I made one of the most truly tasteless jokes I've EVER made in my life. It was semi-avian in nature.
I love all-nighters. And I loved spending time with these people.
Then finally at about 5:15 it was time to hit the showers. I said goodbye to Karine, Tony & Andrea at the Consuite. To Jen in front of my room.
Of course by this time, it was way past officially Sunday, so I'll finish my last Journal entry tomorrow...
NEXT: The Trip to the Airport: ¿Can Toman top Bishansky?
I had time to run upstairs once more. Talked to Beth. Norman, our basset had had his surgery and was doing fine. Though, unfortunately, he was now completely deaf. (Although, today, when the doorbell rang, Norman started barking just like old times. It was the first time I had heard him bark since the surgery. But I have no idea how he could possibly have known that there was someone at the door. Freaky, but cool.)
While I was upstairs, various members of Keith's family began to straggle in. His son Owen. His lovely wife Dionne, Dionne's niece (whose name escapes me, I'm afraid) and Keith & Dionne's daughters: Maelee and Ruby. Many of you know that Dionne and Keith's first date was his appearance at G1997. That's right. Those of you who saw Keith's surprise entrance might also have noticed a beautiful woman standing in the back watching him. That was Dionne. After he and I did our Q&A, I was so grateful, I treated the two of them to dinner. (How's that for slick? The guy didn't even buy dinner for his wife-to-be. ;)
I came back downstairs and joined Keith as we prepared to judge the Masquerade. Daniel, our hotel contact, was the third judge. His girlfriend Lucy also kinda participated, and we drafted Christine to help us keep everything straight.
Idiot that I am, I forgot to keep my notes, so I tried to recreate them from memory on a groggy Sunday. I apologize in advance for any errors or ommissions.
I will say that the costumes this year were truly amazing -- both in quality and QUANTITY. The last couple years, we've had plenty of the former, but were kinda shy on the latter, as fewer and fewer people seemed to be dressing up. But this year, I'm sure thanks to David Grabias and the DVD Crew, people really went to town. I was especially gratified to see so many canon characters. All the original characters are neat, but for me it's much more fun to see one of my "babies" brought to life.
BEST IN SHOW: Having said that, the runaway hit was an original Gargoyle named, I think, KORUL: the Gargoyle who was afraid of heights. He had an amazing costume, with detractable wings and sang a filk song to the tune of Rubber Ducky. Brilliant.
The awards for Canon Characters:
1st: Shari as Ekidna (bloody amazing)
2nd: Jade as La Belle Elisa (so cute)
3rd: John as the Renaissance Hunter (very cool)
The awards for non-canon:
1. Caille as Argenta (also with amazing wing action)
2. Somebody as Dancer
3. Space-Babie as Laurie Canmore
The Thom Adcox Memorial Award went to Revel as Dracon. Just for the attitude. But he refused to drop trow.
Cutest Couple: Alan & Jackie as Xanatos & Fox from "Eye of the Beholder"
Cutest Old Married Couple: Tony & Andrea as Dracon & Bad Elisa (I loved Jen's line that "Bad" means "Cleavage".)
The Gorelisa Award went to Laurean as Tom. (Staff weren't supposed to be eligible, but (a) it was a limited field of cross-dressers this year and (b) she was just so darn cute and funny.)
We gave a late-comer award to Lynati, who showed up at the very last second with a truly amazing Ophelia costume. Kicked ass.
Winner in the Junior Division was Becca as a terrific Bronx.
The Cosplay winners were Sapphire, Chameleon Girl and Ethan, doing a hilarious recitation (complete with props) of our opening Narration. Totally cracked me up.
There were other great costumes as well:
Fox in her evening gown with the Eye of Odin from "Eye"
And the staff... with all they had to do, they still managed (almost to a man) to dress for the occassion. And they truly looked great.
Jen & Alan came as Gruouch & Macbeth
Patrick & Cindy came as Puck & Titania
Kaylee & Si came as Princess Katharine & Tom (and that kiss was great)
Rob was Lex Luthor (by default, I gather)
And of course Karine showed up as a Pregnant Fox from "Walkabout"...
And the DVD Crew got it all on tape... I am such a proud Papa.
NEXT: THE NIGHT IS YOUNG. (Well, actually, the night is fortyish, but every once in a while, the night has to behave as if it's still in college, you know?)
After my interview with Emru, but before I headed upstairs, I finally had time to browse the wonderful art show. There were a lot of great pictures and some very funny action figures. Not enough smut for my taste, of course, but it's hard to top the Gargoyles fandom in the art department. I just love seeing your stuff every year.
But the one piece that really spoke to me was Andrea Zucconi's portrait of Elisa. I'm not sure if I can exactly put my finger on why, but I really found it stunning. I don't vote in the contest. I never seem to have the time and the sheer number of categories is a bit overwhelming, but I would have voted that Elisa painting as best in show. JMHO.
Anyway, at 6pm I came back downstairs for the banquet. By the time I got there most everyone was seated. Keith still hadn't arrived but was due within the hour. Becca Morgan drew a number out of a hat, and Karine sent me to sit at a table on the far right. I sat down next to Liz -- who then proceeded to kick me out. I hadn't heard it, but I guess Karine had mistakenly announced that Liz's table would get Keith. So Liz sent me away. I returned to Karine, who sent me back to Liz. I felt like a definite consolation prize right about then. (At best.) But considering that Keith didn't arrive until the Q&A, making it impossible for him to simply converse with his table mates, I still think Liz got the better deal. But you'd have to ask her.
Anyway, dinner was very enjoyable. I shared the table with the Zucconis and Liz and Kelly and Chameleon Girl and Taylor, I think. Karlyle, were you there? A couple other people too. I'm blanking out at the moment.
Kelly told us all of her obsession with Dr. Doom. (How obsessed is she? Well, let's just say I found myself getting jealous.)
The menu cards, printed up by our hotel contact Daniel were extremely cool, featuring a nice portrait of Goliath.
*Nordic shrimp cocktail with avocado sauce
*Mixed greens with walnut oil
*Stuffed pair of quails ith grape and Port sauce
*Potatoes and market fresh vegetables
*Seasonal fruit charlotte with strawberry coulis
*three chocolate Bavarian cake with rasberry coulis
*Coffee & tea
Truth is, I'm a man of simpler tastes. The shrimp and salad were great. But I'm not a big quail fan. Not a big poultry fan, honestly. I think of birds as hassle food. Too many bones. But everything tasted great, and as you all know I'll eat anything but lamb.
As the hour came and went without a sign of Keith, Patrick or Carol, Karine asked me if I could get Carol's cellphone number. It was up in my room. So I made a quick run upstairs.
I reentered only to hear an unmistakeable voice announce: "Ladies & Gentlemen, Greg Weisman". Keith had arrived in the couple minutes while I was gone. (And vengeance belonged to those that I had fooled in the past.)
Anyway, food was saved for Keith and Patrick. Though Carol had to go back to the airport to gather up Keith's family. Keith struggled to eat while I tried to moderate the Q&A. Unsurprisingly, there were a LOT more questions for him than me. And unsurprisingly, if you know him, he had a lot to say. A lot of wonderful stories to tell. I love that man. I tried to give him a bit of time to eat. But hey, he's his own worst enemy in that department. Thank God.
(I'll refrain from commenting about the caterwaulling from the next room.)
We finally brought the Q&A to an end to give people time to change into their costumes.
COMING SOON: The Masquerade!!!
Todd informs me that 21 of you have posted Gathering Journals here at ASK GREG.
I'm very grateful to you guys, but that's less than 14% of this year's attendance, which frankly is kinda pathetic.
Please, PLEASE, take a few minutes to write up your journals and cut and paste them here. And if you've already done it, pressure those who haven't and or spread the word.
This isn't a whim. I need the numbers to show the PTB.
Despite a wake-up call that I DO remember receiving, I WAY overslept on Saturday, barely managing to shower and get downstairs in time for our second set of Auditions at 10am. Jen was putting out some fire somewhere, so we got to a bit of a late start, but we still had plenty of time to fit everyone in.
As usual, we were using the original audition sides that the actual voice actors used to audition for Gargoyles. Demona, Hudson, Goliath, Elisa, Brooklyn, Lexington, Broadway and Xanatos were all written by Michael Reaves and edited by me. Angela was written a year or more later by me.
We got a good turnout, with plenty of women auditioning, including many staff members.
At 11:30, Jen and I went upstairs to my room to cast the piece. There was time for lunch, but neither of us bothered.
We posted the cast list at 12:30pm, but not who was playing what parts.
I had a mug-a-guest next. One or two intriguing questions got asked, and I think I answered one of them, but from what I've seen posted, some conclusions were then jumped too based on facts not in evidence.
Next up was the Radio Play Rehearsal. With a cast of 31, I was very pleased that every one showed up and more or less on time too. I passed out the parts and scripts and we just had time to run through each act once. My favorite bit there was when Jen as Fleance said: "If he gets past us again, you can KISS our paychecks goodbye." And Zehra as Elisa responds with: "Pucker up." I made a rude remark that got a big laugh. But honestly, aren't the possibilities intriguing?
Anyway, as many of you know, we performed "THE JOURNEY" in the auditorium. This version was re-edited for the Radio Play, but came closer to reflecting my original intentions for the script than the strangely edited version (with those awful Goliath voice overs -- which I did not write) that they used in Goliath Chronicles.
THE GATHERING PLAYERS (2004 Edition):
Goliath - Rob St. Martin
Elisa Maza - Zehra Fazal
Brooklyn - Dylan Blacquere
Broadway - Revel
Hudson - Alan Torvik
Lexington - François Ferland
Angela - Annie S.
David Xanatos - Rob Irwin
Owen Burnett - Seth Jackson
Bronx - Syrth
John Castaway - Erik Mambu
Vinnie Grigori - Michael McAdam
Banquo - Ethan Gilchrist
Fleance - Jen Anderson
Art - Alex "Carter" Garg
Billy's Mom - Laurean Broadbent
Travis Marshall - Lanny Fields
Margot Yale - Cindy Kinnard
Matt Bluestone - Eric "Gorebash" Tribou
Lennox Macduff - Chris Rogers
Maria Chavez - Natalie "Vashkoda" Quanquin"
Lois - Jade Griffin
Fox - Kaylle
Alex Xanatos - Liz Chesterman
Cagney - Mary "Stormy" Pletsch
Jogger - Isabelle Filiaircault
Quarryman #1 - Tony Zucconi
Quarryman #2 - David Brown
Quarryman #3 - Sarah McEvoy
Quarryman #4 - Taylor Hord
Announcer - Dan Blundon
Narrator - Greg Weisman
Everyone was just great. Dylan & Revel actually kind of did pretty good Brooklyn & Broadway impersonations. I also loved hearing Lex with a French accent and cast François for that intentionally.
I loved how Jen & Ethan played off each other. And I really loved how Chris & Cindy played off each other.
And Lanny, I believe, has been in all seven radio plays. An impressive record.
And real props to our four leads: Michael, Eric, Zehra & Rob, who were all terrific. Rob had a particularly difficult job subbing for a still MIA Keith David. And Eric was really brilliant. His final "Dream of Me" line gave me chills.
As usual, the DVD squad was around filming. It was hard for them to predict who was going to speak and to mic those people, but hopefully they got some useable footage.
I'd also like to thank everyone who auditioned and didn't get cast. It really is appreciated when you lend your support. And keep trying!!!
Immediately after the radio play, I signed some scripts. (Alan got lucky as his Hudson script was signed by Ed Asner, thanks to Carol snagging Ed's signature when she went to record him for the Opening Ceremonies welcoming tape.)
I was supposed to have a signing with Keith about then. But of course, Keith wasn't there yet. And there isn't much left for me to sign in the fandom. So I sat there for about 45 minutes, talking to Emru Townsend for his magazine FPS. Emru had interviewed Keith and I years ago over the phone. So this was something of a follow up interview. Emru (who by the way has an AMAZING voice) and I had never met in person, so it was great to see him finally. He and I just talked. I don't remember exactly what I said though I have the distinct impression that SOME of what I said about the animation industry should probably have been "Off the Record". But, hey, getting blacklisted at studios is nothing new to me. (Oh, well.)
Around 5:30pm, I went back upstairs to rest and change to a slightly nicer shirt before the banquet. I think I called Beth and the kids. And I almost dozed. But I stayed awake... for a LONG time.
STAY TUNED for (Nightpart)
After Opening Ceremonies, Karine wanted to make another effort to go to the Crepe place that we had missed the night before. I ran upstairs to drop off all my junk and to quickly call home.
Then we were off and walking into Old Montreal. This time I had a sweatshirt, which kept me comfortable. Our group included myself, Karine, Mark & Mark, Zehra, Kathy, Shaun, Laurean, Ian and... Gen? (Sorry, I just can't remember.) It was a great group. I heard all about Zehra's plans to translate a Japanese play into English and then direct and produce it at Wellesley. Wow. I also listened to Laurean & Zehra compare notes on Japan, and caught up a bit with Kathy.
Karine wanted to eat outside, because they have a beautiful multi-tiered patio, but that would have been a half-hour wait and by eating inside we could be seated right away. So we admired the patio and, well, sat. Inside.
Dinner was great. I had Crepes Florentine, and then a terrific dessert crepe with Vanilla Ice Cream. I was also seated between two lovely ladies, Karine & Zehra, all the lovlier because they were generous enough to let me taste their dessert crepes as well.
Of course, our waiter was very nice, but a tad dangerous. Dropping plates. Shattering dishes. Spoiling food and even dropping a knife in MY LAP!!! YIKES!
We had plenty of time to eat, but because of delays caused by the server's lack of grace, I found myself observing what's unfortunately become another Gathering tradition: Kathy and I RACING back from dinner to arrive late to my next scheduled event: in this case the Blue Mug in the packed con suite.
This was perhaps the least Blue Mug we've ever had. And I have to admit I missed spending some quality time in the gutter. Some of the lack of azure is probably directly attributable to the absense of a certain pants-challenged voice actor with the initials TA, but I think frankly a bigger reason was that everyone's curiousity about details of the DVD overwhelmed other topics. We did have a couple of smutty moments though. Christine still thinks she scares me. And she did manage to catch me with a question I hadn't given any thought to, but I'm harder to shock than that. (I know Keith had been looking forward to the Blue Mug, as well. And I'm sure he would have done well in Thom's place, but unfortunately, Keith STILL hadn't arrived. In fact, it had become clear that Keith was going to miss most of Saturday's activities as well.)
At around 2am, Karine used the excuse of my bathroom break to end the session. I headed back down to my room. Ate one of Maui's Godiva Chocolate bars. Called Beth, thanks to the time difference, and then went to bed around 2:30am, which was decidedly early for me.
NEXT UP: THE DAY THAT KEPT ON TICKING...
I typed most of this up yesterday, but then a glitch ate it. So here we go again.
Now one of my LEAST favorite things to do is to recreate a lost document. It's much worse than composing something from scratch. You're always trying to reclaim the "magic" of whatever you wrote on your first pass. And it never quite works. So if the following is magic-free, you know why…
… I came to OPENING CEREMONIES loaded for bear, with 5 Video tapes, 2 Audio tapes and color xeroxes of a Buena Vista Home Entertainment PowerPoint Presentation.
Karine got the ball rolling, welcoming everyone to the con.
Jen got up and awarded the FAN GUEST OF HONOR award to GOREBASH. He can protest all he wants, but the guy deserves this award simply for inspiring the Gorelisa Award. (And, oh yeah, there's also Station 8 the Gargoyle Fiendsite and ASK GREG too.)
Chris Rogers came up to pitch G2005 in Las Vegas, which sounds really, really cool. I loved Laurean's new mascot. I know that there's a traditional naming of the mascot contest, but I loved the name "Blue-Eyes". So if no one wins, I'll be okay with that.
Cindy spoke, and Liz, and then the Ceremonies were hi-jacked by Abram & Maui and the Clan Olympics. The first event was goofy fun to watch. Eventually things settled back down, and shortly it was my turn to speak…
And, boy, did I have a lot to say this year. More than usual.
Carol Wagner had assembled a welcome tape recorded by various members of the show's cast & crew: myself, Keith David, Producer-Director Frank Paur, Board Artist Troy Adomitis, Board Artist Vic Cook, Development Art Director & Producer Bob Kline, Development Art Director Dave Schwartz, Actor Crispin Freeman (a past Gathering Guest) and of course Ed Asner, the wonderful voice of Hudson.
I played my little, "Ladies & Gentlemen, Keith David!" trick. And everyone looked, just as they had in 1997 at the first Gathering. It's cruel, I know. But I'd never do it if I thought that Keith wouldn't eventually show up. Which he did. Although not for another 26 hours or so, unfortunately.
I made a little sales pitch for a few of the con's events. The Blue Mug that night, for example. But especially for the Radio Play. I had need of a huge cast and needed more people (especially females) to audition. On top of that, I was nervous that if I did get a full cast, they would outnumber the audience, so I also made a plea for people to attend the show.
I gave my thanks to Karine and her extremely hard-working staff: Rob, Ian, Shaun, Cindy, Patrick, Jen, Kaylee, Laurean, Liz & Carol. I also thanked a few select people who I know helped out: Kelly, Kathy, Christine, Steph and Alan. I'm sure I fogot a bunch of people then and now, and for that I apologize.
I plugged both G2005 in Vegas again, as well as ASK GREG, Gorebash & Station 8, reminding people ONE MORE TIME to please post Gathering Journals at Ask Greg ASAP after the end of the con. (So, have you?) I also pointed out A Fan's map of attendees at the back of the room.
Then it was time for hand counts. How many Gathering Con Virgins? [A goodly amount.] How many had been to at least two Gatherings? At least Three? Four? Five? Six? Seven? ALL EIGHT? The number of the latter was very gratifying. [I'm forgetting a couple people, but I think they included A Fan, Karine, Noelle, Lanny, myself (if I count) and at least a couple of others.] These are the troops that should really inspire the rest of you.
I then held up the materials that Buena Vista had sent me. Of course, they were probably IMPOSSIBLE to see even from the front of the room. But they included a few remaining postcards promoting the DVD's release from the THOUSANDS that were distributed at the San Diego ComicCon earlier this summer. (I ended up giving these to Patrick to pass out to the hard-working staff.)
Also on hand was Buena Vista's 7-Point PowerPoint Presentation Slide Show, which I've transcribed here [with a few comments]:
2. "Visually Stunning and Dramatically Stirring, Gargoyles Defines Fantastic."
--Ray Stackhouse, TV Guide
3. A Mythical World
--An Animated Series About Ancient Creatures Who Come to Life at Night to Protect Manhattan from Evil
--10 Year Series Anniversary
--Voiced by Well-Known Talent from the Star Trek Franchise Including:
*Brent Spiner [who doesn't actually appear in the first season. whoops.]
4. A Loyal Fan Base
--Gargoyles Was the 23rd Most Requested Disney Title of Q2 '04 [certainly, we can do better than that, right?]
--Chat Rooms and Fan Websites Are Buzzing with News of the Upcoming DVD Release:
"OMG! I can't wait. 10 long years and finally my fave cartoon will be on DVD!" - SportyShorty, IMDB Fan Posting
--Annual "Gathering of the Gargoyles" Convention Attended by Thousands of Fans [If you add 'em all up, sure.]
--Gargoyles Airs Every Night on TOON DISNEY CHANNEL and Saturdays on ABC FAMILY
5. A Product Fans Are Clamoring For
--Two-Disc DVD Set
--Includes All 13 Episodes of the First Season of Gargoyles [uncut, I should add]
--Special 10th Anniversary Edition [as opposed to all those other editions, right?]
*The Gathering of the Gargoyles [original documentary filmed at G2004]
*Original Show Pitch by Greg Weisman - Show Creator [previously available ONLY by attending the Gathering]
*Audio Commentary on Origanl Episodes 1-5 [Originally, I had been hoping for commentary on all 13 episodes. Budget constraints made that impossible, as Buena Vista truly has no idea how well this will sell. (We'll have to show them, won't we?) They came back to me saying they could only afford commentary on two episodes, suggesting either the first two episodes or the first episode and "Deadly Force". I went back to them, protesting that our pilot was five episodes and that it would just be weird not to at least have commentary on the whole thing. They discussed it and agreed. So we wound up with five episodes with commentary instead of two, more than doubling the budget. I then tried to convince them to do "Deadly Force," but they ignored me. Oh, well.]
6. On-Air Synergy Support
--Synergy Support from:
*TOON DISNEY CHANNEL
7. Pricing and Timing
--Perfectly Timed for Holiday Gift Giving and Gargoyles 10th Anniversary
--U.S.: Two-Disc DVD $29.99 SRP/$19.95 MAP
--CE: Two-Disc DVD $36.99
--NAAD: December 7 [THAT'S RIGHT!!!! THAT'S THE BIGGEST NEWS OF ALL. An official release date: DECEMBER 7th, 2004!!!!!!]
The point I was generally trying to make, is that this is really a make-or-break year for the fandom. The DVD is coming out. And you have yourselves to thank. Particularly those of you who have attended previous Gatherings. Disney took notice, and you're continued support gave me the wherewithal to push them. But now the ball is squarely in your court.
People are always asking me what they can do to get the show back in some way, shape or form. Now the answer is obvious. You want the show back? Prove it!!
Buy the DVD! You want the second season on DVD? Buy the first. Buy it for yourself. Buy it for friends, family and co-workers for Birthdays and Holidays.
More than that, SPREAD THE WORD!!!!! Even if everyone attending G2004 bought ten copies, that would only be a drop in the bucket. We need to reach out to fans who have drifted. To people who don't yet know about the fandom. To people who perhaps haven't even seen the show yet.
Disney has no idea how many units this thing is going to sell. Their downside is fairly protected, but the upside is potentially huge. FAMILY GUY sold so many DVDs that they're making new episodes. FIREFLY, a series that didn't last one season on television (despite its brilliance), sold so many DVDs that they're making a theatrical feature film. We would have to sell a ton of DVDs to match their success. But if we do, the sky's the limit.
You're my missionaries here. So support the fandom. Make ASK GREG a weekly stop… I'm going to try to coordinate efforts to boost DVD sales, so keep posted for news and updates:
Pre-Register to G2005 (or at the least purchase a fully-upgradable Supporting Membership).
[It's still the G2004 site for now, but it'll shortly turn over to feature info on G2005.]
Keep in mind that money that comes to the con EARLY is worth more than money that comes late. To afford multiple guests, the con needs funds earlier than later. That's why pre-registering is cheaper. Buy now, save money and the worst thing that happens is that you cannot attend and you've contributed a few bucks to the fandom you love.
[Keep in mind, I earn nothing from Gargoyles or the fandom - other than massive ego boosts. Nothing to sneeze at.]
But don't give up on attending G2005 either. You have a year to save up a Gathering fund. A year to arrange for roommates or pals for a road trip. Flights to Vegas are traditionally inexpensive from most locations. Again, bring in new newbies by showing them the show and addicting them. We want to break all attendance records.
Now, you may think I'm riffing here and have gotten off topic. But in fact, I said all this and more at Opening Ceremonies.
Right about then, I introduced the DVD Vid-Documentary Crew (David, Howard & Thierry). They were there to tape the entire convention. All the primo events. But they were also there to interview the fans about how Gargoyles changed their lives.
Then … finally… I got to what I like to call my own version of the Rocky Horror Gargoyles Show.
I showed the original Gargoyles Pitch Video.
The original Gargoyles Promo Video.
The original Gargoyles Presentation Video (narrated by Jonathan Frakes).
The original pitch for "The New Olympians" spin-off series.
The original pitch for "Gargoyles: The Dark Ages" prequel series.
The animatic/storyboard/leica reel for the "Bad Guys" spin-off.
That was followed by the Audio Tape of the never animated "The Last". This was a cross-over episode between Team Atlantis & Gargoyles featuring the voices of Marina Sirtis, Frank Welker, Sheena Easton, Cree Summer and others. As usual, the grunts of battle had different implications in a vacuum. And given the dirty minds of most of the attending, those implications are fairly self-evident.
And thus ended Opening Ceremonies. But Friday wasn't over. Stay tuned for more…
And we're back...
Friday was an eventful day, so I'm breaking it down into two rambles.
I got my wake-up call, lingered for a few minutes, showered and shaved (or trimmed, I should say). Then I went upstairs for my big interview with David Grabias and the DVD guys (Howard the DP and Thierry on sound, I think). David asked me some questions, I'm sure looking for some great short pithy responses that would make nice sound bites for the DVD documentary.
Of course, I have many talents, but being short & pithy ain't one of them. My 45 minute interview lasted an hour and a half. At one point, David sent me back to my room to change shirts so that he could pretend that a little intro I was doing for the original Gargoyles pitch (which will also be on the DVD) was shot on a different day. The thing that interests me is that you'll be seeing me intro the thing at age 40 and then jump back to me at age 30 pitching. I think as an Easter Egg or something they should create a little mini-morph of me aging rapidly.
After that I brought Erin & Benny's art down to Cindy. We took a few minutes to figure out which piece went with which title card. But it was all fairly self-evident.
I saw Zehra at that point, I think. I was really glad she came back this year. Also saw Noelle somewhere in here and Lexy & Marty and others.
Next up was the Voice Acting Seminar. I brought the same old stuff to cover. Stuff I developed doing a Seminar for Telemarketers (waves at Sapphire), a.ka. that time I was truly doing the Devil's Handywork. I've used it for at least a couple years now, but I wasn't afraid of it getting old, because the plan was for Keith and I to do this seminar together. His take on the stuff (his take in general) would provide us with a unique experience. Problem was that Keith hadn't arrived on Thursday night as planned. His movie in Miami was rained out a couple days which caused a delay in his flight for said couple days.
So I'm doing this on my own. Which isn't a problem, per se, except that it's the same old stuff. But there were enough newbies to let me get away with it.
I began by reciting my meager qualifications as stage actor, stage director, voice actor and voice director. Then I broke out the scenes.
We started with the Demona audition side, which Jen read -- way too well. It was frustrating as my schpiel sort of depends on some amount of badness in order to allow me to riff on how to improve. She didn't really provide that. Damn her talent!!
Anyway, Seri got up and read Demona. And she did a good job, but I was able to force her to read the last line over and over in order to make a point about acting choices.
Then we did a few others scenes. The Tea Scene from MIA is one of my favorite acting lessons. The tag from Thrill of the Hunt. And the "Friend" scene from Awakening 1. It was all fun. The DVD crew came in and filmed a bit, which was a running theme throughout the con. It actually made everything feel fresher and more exciting.
I think I have a new reality series to pitch....
Anyway, next up was our first round of auditions. Of course, I had forgotten the audition forms in my room. So I searched for the elevator. BTW, the hotel was great, but the entire weekend I had some kind of weird trouble finding my bearings, i.e. the elevators and/or restrooms. I constantly found myself walking in circles.
Jen and I ran the auditions, like old times. I get to force people to bark like a dog or meow like a cat and when I remember to speak with either English or Scottish dialects. Every year is unpredictable. There have been years when almost no men audition and I have to drag Hudson off the street to play a part. This year, at the Friday audition, we have tons of men and only two women. It's panic time as this particular radio play has an IMMENSE cast of 31 (not counting me). And at minimum (even with some cross-gender casting) I feel I need at least seven women for clarity.
Throughout the day, Keith's flight keeps getting pushed back.
And people keep giving me stuff.
Maui gives me a box of Godiva chocolate bars. Not a box of chocolates, mind you, but a box of chocolate BARS.
Kathy feeds my Buffyverse obssession by giving me a Buffy Companion book.
Tony gives me his Annual Gathering CD. (Which I listened to on the way back from San Diego. It's great.)
Wingless gives me a Banana Splits CD. (Which I listened to on the way to San Diego. It's VERY Cool.)
Michael gives me his Demo CD. (Which I haven't listened to yet, but I will. But Michael, here's my question: I already know you're good. But are you planning a move to L.A.? What good is your CD if you're not here to audition if and when I get something (please God anything) to have you audition for?)
I got four cool con t-shirts and pins (which I had paid for) from the staff, as well as a staff t-shirt from Jen (which I did not pay for).
I got Subway from Alan, which I also paid for, cuz frankly Alan still intimidates me a bit. It must have something to do with how cosey I get with his wife.
I got my con badge and the VERY cool program that Si put together. It includes a picture of me with a pillow over my head. I'm told this is a great picture. I find it interesting that the best picture of me is one where my face is covered.
I got a G2005 Vegas t-shirt from Chris at some point.
I got a UPS package which contained stuff from the Buena Vista Home Entertainment folk for use at the Opening Ceremonies.
And best of all, I got BLACK ROSES from Christine. Which is cool. But cooler still, is the dedication, to me and Salli and I guess all of you. I have never had a book dedicated to me before. I can't tell you what that feels like. It really makes my day on a day that makes my year.
NEXT UP: OPENING CEREMONIES (the never-ending story)
Time to journal.
As usual, let me open with a few caveats, apologies, etc.
I'll try to be as complete as possible, but inevitably I may forget a few names or forget to include a few people or events. My apologies. Please don't feel slighted. The con for me is always a great time, but also a whirlwind of people. With few exceptions, I only manage a few minutes with everyone. Sometimes it takes me two or three years to really nail a name to a face. (The fact that many of you have multiple names doesn't help either.)
I'd also like to mention a few of the people I didn't see, people I hope to see next year. Former con-chairs like Jubes and Batya and especially Mae Lee. People who made an impression, like Spike and Vanessa and many, many others. I'd like to ask all of you who did attend and/or all of you who are reading this now to reach out to fans who have wandered. As many of you know (and as Friday's G-Journal will soon make clear) this is really a make-or-break year for the series. We need to re-energize, rejuvenate and REAWAKEN the fandom. Especially those who have drifted away. We need everyone!
Speaking of which, here's ANOTHER reminder to post your GATHERING JOURNALS here at ASK GREG. Cut & Paste. If necessary, enter them a con-day at a time as I'm doing. If you're reading this and you know of people who attended the convention who haven't yet posted their journal, get on their cases. I think we've got about a dozen so far. I appreciate them all, but that's NOT nearly enough. We had 200 people attend the con. If we can't get at least 100 journals here at ASK GREG, I'm going to be VERY disappointed.
Finally, as most of you know, my diaries tend to center around food. Basically, I love to eat, and it's something I really have a talent for. I love great food and horrible junk. And I'm often obssessive about the subject. Strangely, or perhaps not-so, my memories of this adventure do NOT revolve around food. In part, because I didn't get to eat as often as usual. Just not enough time. In part, because I had such a blast just spending time with all of you. Thanks.
ANYWAY, enough preamble. Let's get gathering.
The week before the Gathering had been extremely eventful. Good things and bad things were happening to my family, especially my siblings. For more info on both check out the very well-written websites of Robyn Weisman...
and/or Jon Weisman...
Over at my house, things were almost as crazy. We had taken out a loan to paint the exterior of our house. Right after we were financially committed to that endeavor, our upstairs bathroom cracked its shower pan, creating (ultimately) a hole in the ceiling of our entry hall. We have had to totally demolish that bathroom in order to repair it, which caused further damage to our bedroom, living room and powder room. Even our doorbell has stopped working.
Plus, I got a stye in my eye. For a couple of days, it was swollen up, and I thought: "YAY, MY DISFIGUREMENT CAN BE IMMORTALIZED FOREVER ON THE DVD!" Fortunately, it faded by Thursday and was all but gone by Friday.
Also, there was that ladder thing. How many Gargoyles-Creators does it take to screw in a light bulb? I was up on a ladder changing a ceiling bulb. I had the old bulb out and in hand, when the ladder (which is missing three out of four rubber feet) tipped me off. I landed on the hand holding the lightbulb, which <SHATTERED> on the brick floor. Blood and glass everywhere. The wounds, such as they were, turned out to be very superficial once they were cleaned off and the imbedded glass was tweezered out. I was wrapped in gauze for a night and my daughter took to calling me "Daddy Mummy" or "Dummy" for short. Smart kid. Anyway, by the next day, I was down to two band-aids. By Thursday, the puncture wounds were barely noticable.
More seriously, there's Norman, our ten-year-old Bassett Hound. Earlier this year, Norman was stricken with a life-threatening ear infection. We tried multiple courses of anti-biotics (including some human versions). Nothing worked. Finally we had to have his ear canal surgically removed. Then last month, the other ear got infected. It soon became clear that we were going to have to have his remaining ear canal removed, rendering him completely deaf. It was very upsetting to all of us, and I felt horrible that I was going to be out of town during the surgery. Of course, I had made a commitment, and to be honest I really didn't want to miss the Gathering.
And the fact was, I was already planning to miss a portion of it. My daughter's birthday is August 8th, 1994. I wasn't going to miss her tenth birthday, which meant I'd be leaving VERY early on Sunday morning in order to make it home in time for her birthday dinner. That meant that I was going to have to stuff all my G2004 fun into a few short days.
So, Thursday morning I got up at 7am, reminding myself that I couldn't use my own demolished bathroom. I showered in the kids' bathroom, and made my way downstairs. I had been vaguely Atkinsing for the last three weeks and had in fact lost about eleven pounds. But the diet was done for the duration. I had Cereal and banana.
I was picked up at the house at 9:30 am. The trip to the airport was uneventful. Got to LAX and got through all the various lines without incident. Then I bought a loaf of sourdough bread and ATE the entire thing. Also had a Three Musketeers bar and a bottled water. Obviously, I was craving carbs and sugar.
Aboard the plane, I began to read "I DREAMED I MARRIED PERRY MASON" by Susan Kandell. This is a very well-written murder mystery by a friend of ours. The protagonist is Cece Caruso, a biographer who stumbles onto two murders (one old, one new) while researching the life of Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of Perry Mason. I definitely recommend it.
On the plane, I had Tomato Juice and toyed with my meal: beef, biscuits, cole slaw, rice and a roll.
The movie was "Day After Tomorrow" and even though it was free, I couldn't bring myself to watch it. Though I did get curious about how it would end -- about what could possibly be considered a coda for it, so I ear-phoned up for the last ten minutes or so. Uggh.
The flight, like the whole trip, was easy. Customs in Montreal was a long line, but had the advantage of non-stop movement, which at least makes the wait FEEL more palatable.
Patrick, Jen & Rob were waiting for me. I was already in a good mood, but I immediately felt better. Now, the Gathering had really begun for me.
We had a completely uneventful ride to the Delta Centre-Ville (our G2004 Hotel). In the lobby, I saw Carol, Kathy & Kelly. Mandi, I think? Abram. A Fan. I checked in, and hit my room to do a VERY quick unpacking before meeting everyone in the consuite. I saw Becca right away, and asked where her parents were. Christine was standing just behind me and gave me a big hug.
The constaff had planned in advance to go to dinner as soon as I got in. There was some miscommunication, which I really regret, as some non-staffers were waiting to join us and the restaurant we were heading toward couldn't accomodate us all. Sad irony, we didn't even end up at that restaurant (as its kitchen was closed) and the place we did eat at had plenty of room. In the future, I'm gonna make an effort to be more inclusive at these things.
Not to rub it in, but those of us who did attend: Lanny, Derek, Michael, Karine, Cindy, Rob, Jen, Alan, Kaylee, Shawn, Patrick, Laurean, Liz, Carol and I had a great meal. We had taken a long walk to get to the crepe place that Karine wanted us all to enjoy. The weather was lovely but just a tad cool for a guy from California in a t-shirt. If I had just brought my sweatshirt along, it wouldn't have been a problem, but I was shivering by the time we sat down in our second-choice restaurant.
Which was great, by the way. Lobster Bisque, Fettucine Alfredo, Bread, bruschetta, a mussel and coke.
And great company. I enjoyed the walk back a bit more, even though I was still freezing. Karine offered to lend me her sweatshirt, but I'm still enough of a gentleman (just barely) to refrain from taking a pregnant woman's wrap.
Back at the hotel, I ran into Lynati, Mara, GXB, Alex, Eric, Hudson, Ethan, Maui, Kyt, Chris & Aaron. I hung out in the lobby with a few of them for a bit. But it was getting late, and I wanted to call Beth and the kids and talk to them before they went to bed.
So I headed up to my room. Called home. Then tried to sleep. Wound up watching TV until at least 3 or 4am, though that was only midnight or one my time. Then I finally went to sleep.
TO BE CONTINUED...
I'm back in Los Angeles after an amazing trip to Montreal and a fun family half-week in San Diego.
My own Gathering Journal will be forthcoming in installments, as usual.
But in the meantime, I'd like to remind everyone who attended G2004 to please, PLEASE, take a few minutes and write up your experiences in as much detail as possible.
Were you on staff? Were you a dealer? Were you there for the whole weekend or just for a few hours? Whatever your situation, please write up a Gathering Journal and post it HERE at ASK GREG. It's great if you have your own website or livejournal and want to post it there or even in the S8 Comment Room, but please CUT & PASTE your journals and put them here as well. No links please. Cut & Paste.
For those of you who've already done this, thanks. For those of you who started but didn't quite make it through the weekend, please don't run out of steam. For those of you who haven't started, START. Trust me, your memory isn't going to improve with time.
We had about 200 people at the Gathering. I'm hoping to get at least 100 diaries/journals here at ASK GREG. AT LEAST. (Frankly, I'd be thrilled with 100% journaling.) Getting them all here allows me to direct the Disney/Buena Vista powers-that-be to this site as a single clearing house.
Guys, this is important. Prove that you are going to do what it takes in the coming year to support the show by taking this simple first step.
It will be very much appreciated at this end.
I'm going to be off-line for a while.
I leave early tomorrow morning (8-5-04) for Montreal and the Eighth Annual Gathering of the Gargoyles.
I come home on the 8th, but then the family is immediately going to San Diego for some SeaWorld/Legoland action.
So I won't be back at ASK GREG for over a week.
But when I come back, you can look forward (I would hope) to my ramblings about the Gathering.
PLEASE, PLEASE post your own Gathering Journals, Gathering Diaries, etc. as well.
Seriously, I'm using this as a tool with Disney. We have about 200 people attending the Gathering this year. I'd like to see at least 100 Gathering Diaries posted here at ASK GREG.
P.S. Remember, if you see me at the Gathering, don't hesitate to come up to me and say hello. Don't be shy. Please introduce or re-introduce yourselves. I know many, many of you, but I'm traditionally not great with names. Sometimes it takes me a couple gatherings to remember. For that I apologize, but please don't take offense. I really do want to meet all of you. See you soon.
Okay, this is not GREG SPEAKING FROM THE MOUNT...
This is just me thinking aloud. (Well, not really aloud. I'm sitting here typing.) I don't even know if I like these ideas. They're definitely not canon.
But the following notions occured to me today...
Gargoyles don't seem to have a native language. They acquire human language ... perhaps much the same way that they acquire names. Naming is clearly addictive. And language, in many ways, is just sophisticated naming.
Clearly gargoyles are just as intelligent as humans. Before humans developed tools, Gargoyles were at the top of the food chain. They may not have created/invented as much "stuff" as humans have, but they also had way fewer needs. Necessity being the mother of invention, they had less motivation for inventing sophisticated shelter, clothes, tools, etc. But that in and of itself isn't a comment on their brain-power.
So why no need for language and names?
When it comes to naming, gargoyles clearly felt that names were superfluous if not somewhat limiting, if not downright harmful to the spirit. Humans must define things. Gargoyles know that things just are.
We are friends. What other name do we require, etc.
It fits in with their animistic/monotheistic view of a higher power. A higher power that requires no name.
Does beg a question, though if you go back far enough.
Does the sky need a name? Does the river?
Elisa responds: "The river's called the Hudson."
But she could have responded: "The river's called a river."
Did the gargoyles have a language that they ABANDONED in favor of human words -- even if those human words were Atlantean (like the term "Gorlois", the true Atlantean etimology for "GARGOYLE")?
Gargoyles are so attuned to the earth. They have biological clocks that match the seasons. They have relationships that require no names, until those names have been imposed.
Is it possible, that gargoyles once... long ago... had mild psychic abilities that left them with no need to create language? It wasn't words that they intuited (or transmitted or read or whatever) but emotions, maybe images or sensations.
Maybe it was tied to magic. Not that Gargoyles are magical creatures, but if magic was free-flowing before the Will-O-The-Whisps evolved into the Children of Mab (or whomever) and somewhat confiscated that power for their own, perhaps that magic was just part of the Earth that gargoyles were so attuned to, and allowed for some psychic congress.
Or perhaps, it is a biological ability -- based on biio-elecricity and brainwaves -- that has faded with disuse. Perhaps the very language skills that Gargoyles learned from the human race dampened their psychic intuitiveness, much as Fox's natural magical abilities were stunted by her human upbringing.
Either way, it suggests that this ability could be latent.
I'm NOT saying that the gargs we know are psychic. They've all been fooled enough, even by the INTENSELY emotional Demona (who would theoretically be broadcasting as well as receiving) to bely that notion.
But I wonder if this isn't an interesting area of speculation.
If you see me at the Gathering THIS WEEKEND, it's a topic I'd be interested in discussing.
As I'm sure many of you have noticed, Gorebash has rebooted ASK GREG in a major way. It's still a work in progress, so feel free (politely) to offer your input to Gore.
But don't forget to thank him as well for his hard, hard work.
Thanks, Gore! It's very much appreciated.
As noted yesterday, I'm as big a geek -- if not bigger -- than anyone in the room.
So now, for no particular reason, I've put together a countdown of the GREATEST BUFFYVERSE characters from Seasons One & Two.
I thought about doing Season Two separately, as if it stood alone, but that felt artificial. (Like the rest of this feels natural? Yeah, right.) Think of the Buffyverse as an eight year horse race. You're not sure which nag is going to go the distance... But cumulatively, you begin to discover things.
So here's the top 30 characters of the Buffyverse for Seasons One & Two combined. In reverse order...
#30 - The Judge. Medieval demon raised by Spike & Dru to burn the humanity out of, well, humans. Killed by a rocket launcher. (Previous Rank: Did not appear in first season.)
#29 - Mr. Norman Pfister, a.k.a. Worm Guy. One of the assassins hired by Spike to kill Buffy. Could transform his whole body into worms. Stomped by Xander & Cordy. (Previous Rank: Did not appear in first season.)
#28 - Dalton. A relatively brainy vampire flunky, who appeared in a couple of episodes working for Spike & Dru. Burned by the Judge. (Previous Rank: Did not appear in first season.)
#27 - Luke. Still a fairly memorable first opponent for Buffy even a year later. (PR: #14. Okay, he's memorable, but not that memorable, falling 13 rankings with no where to go but down.)
#26 - Harmony Kendall - Made another humorous appearance. (PR: Honorable Mention.)
#25 - Hank Summers. Still, if barely, a part of his daughter's life. (PR: Honorable Mention.)
#24 - Willy. The weasley guy who runs the demon-bar hangout and plays both sides of the fence. (PR: Did not appear in first season.)
#23 - Amy. Back as a full-fledged witch. (PR: Honorable Mention.)
#22 - Ethan Rayne. Giles old chaos-worshipping "friend". (PR: Did not appear in first season.)
#21 - Uncle Enyos, a.k.a. Gypsy Man. Jenny Calendar's vengeance-seeking Gypsy uncle. Killed by Angel. (PR: Did not appear in first season.)
#20 - Jesse. (PR: #13. Drops seven rankings, and counting, as he's been totally forgotten.)
#19 - Jonathan (variously spelled Johnathan and Jonathon, a.k.a. Student and/or Hostage Kid and/or Freshman (which he later turns out not to be, unless he skips a couple grades by the time Buffy graduates). Jonathan with something like 6 appearances but VERY little screen time in each really makes an adorable impression, thus it's not surprising that he winds up playing an increasingly larger role with every year. (PR: Did not appear in first season.)
#18 - Whistler. The demon, played by the always interesting Max Perlich, who helped redeem Angel from the gutter. This guy interested me a LOT, but never (as I recall) returned. I always wondered if Doyle was a reworking of Whistler when they couldn't get Perlich to be a regular on Angel. (PR: Did not appear in first season.)
#17 - Kendra the Vampire Slayer. Came and went. But before you know how interesting Faith can be, she was very cool. (PR: Did not appear in first season.)
#16 - Principal Bob Flutie. (PR: #9. Drops 7 places and being still dead, likely to keep heading south.)
#15 - Darla. Appears in a wonderful flashback, where she sires Angel. (PR: #11. Only drops 4 ranks, and is likely to make a comeback, because death plays much more fast and loose with Darla than with Principal Flutie.)
#14 - The Annointed One. Spike just overwhelmed this guy (and then flambéd him). I suppose it was also a liability to have an eternally youthful child in an ongoing series. It won't take long before a growth spurt changes the kids looks significantly. (PR: #10. Another four rank drop and falling.)
#13 - The Master. Influence still being felt... (PR: #8. Down five rankings.)
#12 - Oz. Becomes Willow's guy after a slow burn. And gets to be a Werewolf to boot. (PR: Did not appear in first season.)
#11 - Jenny Calender, a.k.a. Janna the Gypsy spy. Becomes SO important that Angel has to snap her neck, breaking Giles heart -- and falling into a Buffy/Angel trap that is common to most TV dramas (except Gargoyles) which states that no relationship really has long term potential. (PR: #15. Actually moves up 4 rankings, while most are moving down.)
#10 - Principal Snyder. (PR: #12. Also moving up a bit.)
#9 - Spike, a.k.a. William the Bloody. Enters the list in the top ten.
#8 - Drusilla. This surprised me a bit. Would not have guessed that Dru would beat out Spike. But in their first season, she's actually a tad more important. His villainy culminates in hers. (Of course, both are overshadowed by Angelus) (PR: Did not appear in first season.)
#7 - Joyce Summers. (PR: #7. Holding her spot.)
#6 - Angel, a.k.a. Angelus. Really starts to come into his own here, but missed a couple episodes and Cordy had a headstart from season one. (PR: #6)
#5 - Cordelia Chase. And Cordy also begins to truly come into her own in this season. Evolving out of her funny but one-note stereotype from Season One and beginning a relationship with Xander that I was sorry never got to be played again in Angel (even historically). (PR: #5)
#4 - Willow Rosenberg. Xander's headstart kept him ahead in a season where they had a much more neck-and-neck pointscore. (PR: #4)
#3 - Xander Harris. (PR: #3)
#2 - Rupert Giles. Still a bit surprised how he continues to rank above X&W. (PR: #2)
#1 - Buffy Summers. (PR: #1)
Honorable mention goes to the following (for making one or two memorable appearances):
Catherine . Okay, normally, I'm not going to honorably mention someone in consecutive seasons, but that great scene where Oz is watching the Cheerleading trophy follow him with his eyes, is priceless continuity.
Absalom. Vampire working for the Annointed One trying to raise the Master. The last champion of the Season One storyline. Buffy burns him.
Nurse Greenliegh. Eaten by fishboys. Probably gets extra juice because I like actress Conchatta Ferrell in just about anything.
Ted Buchanon - Psycho Robot Serial Killer. Lots of evil fun. Trashed by Buffy.
Devon - Dopey lead singer of Oz's band.
Inca Mummy Girl, a.k.a. Empada. Poor kid. She just fell apart on us.
Larry. School bully who turns out to be a sensitive gay guy.
Lyle Gorch - Cowboy vampire, barely smarter than his brother.
Chanterelle - Goofy vampire wannabe.
Detective Bob & Detective Stein - Each appeared twice. Bob was Snyder's cop. The one who helped Snyder cover up the macabre doings at the school. Stein was Buffy's vague nemesis. The one who questioned her about Ted's "death" and suspected her of Kendra's. Both are interesting and feel more important than they wind up being.
The Mayor. Doesn't appear at all. But Snyder's both scared of him and desperate to impress him.
And that's it. But Season Three just came in the mail today. It'll obviously take me some time to watch it. But eventually, I'll be continuing this pointless exercise...
Aren't you glad?
Yes, that's right, I'm as big a geek -- if not bigger -- than anyone in the room.
I bought the 1st and 2nd Seasons of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER on DVD. And I've been watching the episodes. Or studying them actually.
So now, for no particular reason, I've put together a countdown of the GREATEST BUFFYVERSE characters from Season One.
(WHY, you ask? Because it amuses me and appeals to my geeky mind. <Yeesh, what a dopey question.>)
Now, this is a truly subjective (if not pointless) exercise that I've tried to reduce to an objective task. I've awarded points per episode to each character based on a number of criteria. Then I totalled up the points for each character for the season. In case of a tie, I made a subjective call.
I tried NOT to make the point totals reflect what happened with characters in subsequent seasons. This is a countdown reflecting Season One only. Though I won't deny the fact that if a character reappeared later in the series, it probably meant that said character was memorable to the creators (and the viewers) in his or her original appearance(s). So I allowed some bias to filter in. But I tried to be strong.
Most of the results aren't particularly shocking, but a few things surprised me a bit.
Originally, I was just doing this for myself. But I figured, what the heck, might as well share my obssessive behaviour with you poor victims.
So here's the top 15 characters of the Buffyverse for Season One in reverse order...
#15 - Jenny Calender. In season one, she's merely the computer teacher/techno-pagan. But she already seems to have some interest in Giles.
#14 - Luke. The vampire who was the surrogate for the Master's "Harvest" during the 2-part pilot. An impressive first foe, who'd be topped many times over. But he set the bar well. He received the same point total as Jenny, and long-term she's MUCH more important, but in the first season, I think Luke's role was much more crucial.
#13 - Jesse. Jesse was Xander's best friend, who became a vampire in the pilot and was accidentally staked. Jesse would have been more important if anyone had EVER mentioned him again -- even in episode three. It strikes me as a very un-Joss like thing that Jesse completely faded from memory... INSTANTLY.
#12 - Principal Snyder. The new and harsh replacement principal makes an immediate impression.
#11 - Darla. The vampire who served the Master and was revealed as Angel's sire. Jealous, vulnerable, greedy and sweet all rolled into one. She was staked in her third appearance, but it's not surprising she came back both in flashbacks and in ANGEL.
#10 - The Annointed One. Also known as Colin and/or the Boy. This guy was built up to be VERY important in Season One, though he wound up not being important at all.
#9 - Principal Bob Flutie. The conflicted original principal of Sunnydale High. For obvious reasons, adjusted to be MOST sympathetic just before he was eaten by the quartet of Hyena-Avatars.
#8 - The Master. The main recurring villain for Season One. Staked at the end of the season, though his influence would continue into Season Two and beyond. (FYI, one of the DVD extras revealed that his real name was Heinrich Joseph Nest.)
#7 - Joyce Summers. Buffy's mom.
#6 - Angel. Made a pretty big impression in relatively few appearances. Obviously.
#5 - Cordelia Chase.
#4 - Willow Rosenberg.
#3 - Xander Harris. This surprised me. I would have thought that Willow and Xander would have been neck and neck -- impossible to declare as anything but a tie. But at least in Season One, Xander really got more screen time and a much bigger overall role in the series.
#2 - Rupert Giles. This surprised me a bit too, as I would have guessed that Xander & Willow would have both scored ahead of Giles. But nope. Not when you break it down.
#1 - Buffy Summers. Duh.
Honorable mention goes to the following (for making one or two memorable appearances):
Catherine & Amy, mother & daughter witches. Amy obviously will become more important, but Catherine's end, forever imprisoned in the cheerleading trophy, was too cool.
Dr. Gregory. Buffy's biology teacher. Made two appearances before being killed by the She-Mantis. Was the only teacher who believed in Buffy.
The She-Mantis. A fun villain.
Harmony Kendall. Only made two brief appearances, but she stood out enough as one of Cordelia's "Cordettes" that she would wind up being brought back again and again. A certain comic timing, probably.
Hank Summers. Buffy's dad.
Joy. The Senior Cheerleader.
Sid. The human trapped in the body of a ventriloquist's dummy.
That's it. I'll have Season Two shortly. I bet you can't wait.
Just wanted to let everyone know that Gorebash, Todd & I will be re-opening the Question Submission function for the month of August 2004.
Gore is working on revising the whole site. We're not 100% sure that the new version will be ready by then, but either way, you'll be able to submit questions and rambles from August 1st to August 31st.
I'm going to ask (and pray) that people NOT post frivolously. I'm still over two years behind on answering questions. Try and do your homework just a bit before posting a question. Check the Archives or at least the FAQ. Heck, it wouldn't hurt to pre-post your question at the Station 8 Comment Room. Give your fellow fans a chance to direct you to the answer, before you post it for me. Keep in mind that it will take me a LONG time to get to your questions, so if you can get them answered another way, it'll be MUCH FASTER for all concerned.
But with that caveat in mind, I'm very pleased to be reopening the site to you, if only for one month. In particular, I'm anxious to get as many GATHERING 2004 DIARIES as possible. Seriously, we have close to 200 people attending this year, and my goal is to get at least 100 diaries posted at ASK GREG as an historical record. So please, that's one kind of post that I'm really looking forward to. So don't hesitate.
"Sure," you say, "I'd love to come to the Gathering, but..."
There are always reasons, I suppose. Some good, some not so good, some very good.
I'd still like you to come. Even now. With less than a month left, I'd like to see you make the effort and show. It's a great year for it, what with the Disney folks there shooting footage for the DVD. Heck, don't we want them to see how strong our fanbase is?
The Gatherings have been the lifeblood of this fandom. Why are we getting DVDs this year. Because of the annual Gathering. Just that simple.
And, yes, I am talking to you. And you in the back there too, trying to sneak out.
But let's say you just CAN'T make it this year. This happened. Or that happened. You just can't. You ask me to understand, by saying, "What else can I do?"
Here are a few things...
1. Buy a supporting membership. It's much less expensive than a trip to Montreal. It helps support the convention. And you're entered for a free t-shirt.
2. Heck, just ORDER THE T-SHIRT. It's also much less expensive than the trip. And you get a T-shirt.
3. Order a pin or the Phoenix Gate Anthology.
4. At least go to the website and check these things out:
5. Start planning now to attend G2005 in Las Vegas. Start saving. Show your true support for the series and the fandom.
Took the kids to see Spider-Man 2 yesterday.
The murder of all those doctors seemed gratuitous to me. Trashing them, sure, but why did the arms (particularly at this early stage) feel the need to kill. I know, I know, self-defense. But in a movie like this, where otherwise I thought it was more-or-less okay to bring my kids, I thought it was really unnecessary.
The death of Otto's wife didn't bother me. Except that it became gratuitous as nothing at all was done with it. Her entire character became gratuitous. And I like Donna Murphy.
I've already talked about my whole Kirsten Dunst would make the perfect Gwen Stacy but is unconvincing as Mary Jane Watson thing. Nothing in this movie convinced me otherwise, despite the "Go get 'em, Tiger" line at the end. I guess you just have to get used to the idea that they've combined these two characters into one and chosen MJ's name.
Peter's objection to dating MJ, because it could put her at risk seems a little preposterous given how much risk she's been put in over these two movies even though they haven't been dating. I don't mind this, I just wish that someone, specifically MJ in their last scene together would have pointed that out.
The theme of this movie is "LET'S REVEAL MY SECRET IDENTITY TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE". At the end of the previous film, it was beyond clear that MJ had figured out that Peter was Spider-Man. This is somewhat successfully slid by in this film. But by the end of the second film, the list of people who have seen Spidey's face is nearly endless:
The New Green Goblin
About thirty-seven people on the train
and let's face it, even Aunt May seemed to be strongly implying that she had figured it out.
A little bothered by the way some of Peter's late-arrivals were staged.
Did he really lose THAT much time delivering Pizza.
But more importantly, it seems clear that being Spider-Man aside, he just flat out didn't leave enough time to get to MJ's show in the first place. Face it, he lost his mo-ped but arrived in the bad-guys car. And it took less than a minute to capture them. And he was still late. This bugged me because he was blaming Spidey for screwing up his life, when clearly if he had left for the play in a timely fashion, he would have arrived on time (and missed the crime completely).
I didn't quite know what to make of the whole thing with the landlord's daughter. Kept expecting her to see Peter with MJ in the last scene and turn into a super-villain or something. She was sweet. Didn't catch the character's name, though it's a very similar character to the character that same actress plays on Joan of Arcadia.
Everyone seems wowed by Molina's performance and by Doc Ock, especially as compared to the last film's Green Goblin. I have no objections to either Molina or Doc, but I don't get the raves. Green Goblin's motivations made a lot more sense to me than Ock's. Sure the arm effects were cool. But the whole AI thing effecting his brain seemed forced. And frankly, a bit unnecessary.
From all of the above, I'm sure it must seem like I didn't like the movie. But in fact I did. I even liked how nearly everybody now knows Parker's secret. How did it help any of those people to not know?
Okay, I haven't seen the second Spider-Man movie yet, so this is mostly based on the first (and commercials for the second).
But am I the only guy out here who thinks Kirsten Dunst is a perfect Gwen Stacy?
I think she's wonderful in the first film. Bu I mean, aside from the hair color (which, from other movies, we know is artificial), her persona is totally Gwen. Yeah, yeah, she's an actress, but she's got nothing of that John Romita tigress that is Mary-Jane Watson.
She's Gwen Stacy.
BIG NEWS. SO BIG I'M LOCKING DOWN MY CAPS.
AS MANY OF YOU KNOW, THE FIRST SEASON OF GARGOYLES IS BEING RELEASED THIS YEAR ON DVD TO COINCIDE WITH THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SERIES.
I'VE JUST BEEN INFORMED THAT DISNEY IS SENDING A VIDEO CREW TO THE GATHERING OF THE GARGOYLES, OUR ANNUAL CONVENTION, TO TAPE THE FANS, GUESTS, EVENTS, ETC. FOR THE EXTRAS SECTION OF THE DVD.
THAT MEANS IF YOU ATTEND THE CONVENTION THIS AUGUST 6-8 IN MONTREAL, YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO ACTUALLY BE ON THE DVD. LET THAT SINK IN FOR A SECOND.
IF YOU'RE ALREADY SIGNED UP, GREAT. BUT IF NOT -- WELL -- WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!!!!
CHECK OUT THE CON'S WEBSITE AT:
DON'T MISS THIS GATHERING!!!!!!!!
The following RANT is somewhat ADULT. You've been warned.
There are two prime time television series that I'm fond of that I'm annoyed with for a very specific reason.
One is GILMORE GIRLS. The other is JOAN OF ARCADIA.
Last week, on Joan of Arcadia, 16-year-old Joan nearly decided to lose her virginity with Adam.
Last week on on Gilmore Girls, 19-year-old Rory lost her virginity with Dean.
In both cases, it's not the losing or not losing that bothers me.
It's just that in both cases, we've more or less been witness to these girls sexual awakening. And I've never gotten any indication that either girl has done anything beyond kissing, that neither guy has ever gotten past what we used to call first base.
One of my biggest pet peeves about television is that second & third base (including anything and everything in between kissing and sexual intercourse) do not exist. Oral sex? Doesn't exist. Touching and/or nudity without intercourse? Doesn't exist.
I don't need to see it. (Not that I'd object, but this isn't about me being a pervert for once.) But I would think that two shows as smartly-written as Gilmore & Joan should be able to find a way to suggest that such "intermediate steps" DO exist. I mean if they can talk about full-on intercourse, why can't they talk about things that are safer, younger, more exploratory, with FEWER consequences.
I feel it's TERRIBLY irresponsible to teach kids and teens that there's no way to express themselves sexually, once they've gotten past a kiss, except by going all the way. By hitting home runs, by scoring, so to speak.
Look, when I was a teen, there was a LONG, LONG gap between my first kiss and my first time engaging in sexual intercourse. There was a pretty substantial gap between my first kiss with the girl that I would end up losing my virginity to and the actual act of losing said virginity. In fact, in every relationship I ever had, up to and including my wife, kissing was a prelude to touching, etc., which was in turn a prelude to "making love"... assuming the relationship lasted that long.
The frustrating truth is that I really like both Gilmore Girls and Joan of Arcadia. I even really liked the episodes that are currently annoying me. But I'm still waiting for someone to brave the taboo and bring back second and third base.
PROPS TO "THE WONDER YEARS" for the only example of Second Base on a Prime Time series that I recall. But what was that -- ten years ago? Has there been no progress since?
Let me get this out of the way first:
I love the television work of Joss Whedon.
Love Firefly. (I'm very much looking forward to Serenity too.)
I am stunned that after eight years (thirteen seasons worth of television) that I won't be able to get new episodes of a Joss Whedon series next year.
Yes, they claim they'll bring back Buffy or Angel or both in t.v. movies. But frankly, I don't want to get my hopes up too high.
This season of Angel was brilliant in episode after episode. The insane Slayer. The Angel muppet. The return of Cordelia. The return of Conner.
And last night's finale... was stunning.
The really smart thing was what they left out -- ironically, mostly action. I mean face it, do we really need to SEE Gunn take out six vamps? Do we really need to see Illyria take out four demons in a car? Do we really need to see Spike take on a cult? (Well, actually it might have been fun to get a little more of this -- what with his Lone Wolf & Cub dilemma of fighting while holding a baby.)
Harmony was a bit weak, i.e. I don't mind that she betrayed Angel or that Angel knew she would, but how did she know anything to betray him with. And I've never understood the transition between the Lyndsey who left L.A. at the end of season two and the Lyndsey who came back midway through season five. Why was he suddenly Angel's enemy again? It was cool that Lorne shot him, but I have to admit I wasn't sure if it was justified. Didn't he deserve a chance at redemption? And what was the deal with Eve at the end?
But that's quibbling.
Wesley had a decent death. And an even better end. The Illyria stuff was all great.
And of course, the final final ending, with the four warriors against the horde and Angel's last line, "Personally, I'd like to
slay a dragon." was just brilliant.
This was, in my opinion, much superior to the Buffy series finale. Both had the problem of only having one hour to stuff a ton of content in. But again, Angel was much smarter about what it LEFT OUT. Buffy's finale just seemed VERY rushed to me. Anya's death barely registered, even with Xander. And did the First get any comeuppance at all?
And sure, I'll admit that the last couple seasons of Buffy suffered from a real one-step-forward-two-steps-back-then-the-SAME-step-forward syndrome.
But all these negatives are quibbling based largely on the superior quality of Joss' series in general.
How did this happen? (Not the great work. But the absense of it next year.)
Just a couple years ago, I was in Whedon heaven. Buffy. Angel. Firefly. And any minute the Buffy Animated Series (which I was SO dying to work on, but couldn't even get my foot in the door) and Ripper. How did five series (four set in the Buffyverse) drop down to zero in just 18 months?
Yes, thank god for Serenity, which is in production.
But whether he likes the grind or not, Joss was born for Series TV not one-shot movies.
I'm really going to miss him.
Guess it's time to buy the DVDs.
Went to a wedding today.
My good friend Monique Beatty married Tim Eldred.
Monique, as some of you may know, was my assistant and a script coordinator during the Gargoyles years. She was literally invaluable to me then, keeping my schedule (known then as "Greg's Nefarious Plan to Take Over the World") and keeping me on track. Among other things, she offered tremendous moral support. She's now a Line Producer at Nick. Tim is a story board and comic book artist.
They are both, great, great people. And I am so happy for them.
It was also nice to see Deirdra, Shan and Kevin at the wedding.
My brother e-mailed me this link:
so I decided to check it out for myself. Might do a couple rambles on the commentary there, but today let's just look at the vote tally as to when people think the series "Jumped the Shark" (i.e. started to suck)...
Network Switch (SYN to ABC) - 8 votes
Never Jumped - 7
The third season - 3
The Goliath Chronicles - 2
They found the Island of Gargoyles - 1
Time Slot (They moved it to the morning) - 1
Xanatos repents - 1
Gargoyle of the Week - 1
Thailog - 1
Of course, four of those categories are really one and the same. The "Network Switch (SYN to ABC)" and "Time Slot (They moved it to the morning)" was for "The third season", which was subtitled "The Goliath Chronicles". So if you add up those votes, you get a whopping (if any number out of 25 can be called whopping) 14 out of 25 votes for TGC as our shark jumping moment. Since I have to agree and since another 7 voters (bringing the total up to 21 out of 25) think that the show didn't jump at all, I'm feeling pretty good right about now.
So let me obssess about the remaining four votes.
I'll try to take them in chronological order...
One person thought we jumped the shark by introducing Thailog. I don't know what to say, except that I disagree. I think Thailog was a pretty cool addition to the series. A great villain and a complex character. I'd tend to think that the fanbase would agree.
(I know that at this time the submit function here at ASK GREG has been suspended, but I invite folks at the Station 8 Gargoyles comment room at:
to entertain this topic.)
Another viewer thought we jumped the shark when "They found the Island of Gargoyles", (i.e. Avalon, I assume). Hard to figure exactly what the person didn't like about this. Don't know if it's Avalon itself that bothered the viewer or the addition of more gargs, or Angela or the World Tour that followed. Maybe it got too fantasy. But again, I have no regrets on this score.
Our third rogue shark-sighter cites "Gargoyle of the Week" as our problem. I can only guess that this refers to the World Tour. Of course, we certainly never intro'd anything close to a gargoyle a week. We intro'd four new clans (Avalon, London, Ishimura & Mayan) over twenty-three episodes (which initially aired over something like a six month period). But maybe Gargoyle-A-Month is a more accurate criticism. Did we make a mistake saying that our sextet (plus Demona) weren't the only survivors of the gargoyle race? Maybe. It does remove some drama. But I liked adding hope into the equation for the gargoyle race. And I definitely liked how the World Tour (and not just the new clans, but especially the new clans) widened the scope of our tapestry/series. But many have disagreed.
Finally, our last shark-sighter cites "Xanatos repents". But I'm not sure that Xanatos ever really repented. He called a truce certainly, but not until the fourth to last scene of the last episode of the 2nd season. And I don't think anyone really thinks that we jumped the shark during "Hunter's Moon". So I'm going to be generous to myself and assume that it was how X was handled during TGC that this guy was voting for. (That may include my episode "The Journey", but I'll have to live with that and the notion that if people had been able to see where _I_ would have taken David in subsequent episodes, they might be less inclined to even think he repented, let alone that it caused the series to jump.)
Well, that was fun. I'll try to tackle the commentary tomorrow...
I wrote this whole thing up yesterday, before I realized that the server (or whatever) was down... So I'll try to recreate it now. I hate recreating things that I write. You can take for granted it was much better written yesterday. *Anyway, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.*
On Sunday, I went to the unveiling of Gary Sperling's grave marker. It's nearly impossible for me to believe that he's been gone an entire year.
The day, the weather, was very reminiscent of the day of his funeral, i.e. hot, hot, hot. Gary's family seems to be doing well, to have found some equilibrium. They miss him, but it's also clear that he is an ongoing and wonderful presence in their lives.
I still catch myself, have to remind myself that he's gone.
Spent some time with some old Disney buddies. We talked about Gary. Talked about Disney (then & now). It was really kind of great. But many of them I hadn't seen since his funeral, and it's a bit appalling that we haven't gotten together for a year, and that the only thing that brings us in contact is another bittersweet occasion.
I ask myself what I've done with this year. What Gary might have done with another year. I don't really feel like I've achieved much, have much to show for being on this planet for twelve months longer than my friend. Except for this: I got to spend that time with my kids. Not that I'm that spectacular a father, but I think my mere presence (fairly active presence) in their lives has to be a good thing. I'm guessing if Gary ever envied me anything (cuz that wasn't his nature at all), he'd envy me that. It's damn hard not to conclude therefore that I am one lucky sonovabitch.
And that conclusion, I think, is worth the price of admission right there. Another thing to thank Gary for, I guess.
FIREFLY THE SERIES ON DVD
I watched it over the last week, and it's so great. Most of you know, I'm a big Joss Whedon fan anyway. But seeing all 15 hours of Firefly in order was just great.
I despair for television when a series like that doesn't find an audience. It's easy to blame Fox for the haphazard way they aired the eps. No surprise, the series is MUCH stronger aired in order. But I watched it when it was on (missing only one episode) and even out of order, the series was so amazingly great.
Where was the audience?
The good news is that Joss is making "Serenity", a movie that picks up 6 months after the last episode of Firefly with all of the original cast.
I don't know how they justify making this movie, if they couldn't justify giving the series a chance, but I'm not complaining.
Still, I wonder: WHERE WAS THE AUDIENCE?
I just saw wecently wed Wesley & Willow walking arm-in-arm down Wittle Santa Monica Blvd. It was pretty cute...
Have I mentioned this before?:
I think one (though certainly not the only) visceral appeals of the E-Street Band is its archetypal relationship to Robin Hood & his Merry Men.
Bruce Springsteen = Robin Hood (complete with a "rob-from-the-rich-and-give-to-the-poor" mentality)
Miami Steve Van Zandt = Will Scarlett
Max Weinberg = Friar Tuck
Patti Scialfa = Maid Marion
and of course
The Big Man, Clarence Clemons = Little John
I'm not sure which of the following is Alan a Dale...
Garry Tallent, Roy Bittan, Danny Federici or Nils Lofgren.
(The truth is Bruce/Robin is his own Alan, I guess.)
When it comes down to it, I don't know the names of enough Merry Men to make every parallel work. But I'm sure you can see the connections.
We lost two greats yesterday.
Actually, we lost Spalding Gray over a month ago, we just hadn't confirmed the loss until yesterday.
I was (and continue to be) a huge Spalding Gray fan. His acting was decent, fun. But his monologues were always brilliant. I remember once laughing so hard at "Gray's Anatomy" during the Indian Sweatlodge riff that I thought I was going to die of asphyxiation. Everyone should rent his seminal "Swimming to Cambodia". Everyone. Then move on to "Monster in a Box" or some of his other great filmed monologues. They're amazing. But nothing like seeing him live. He will be missed.
As will Paul Winfield, a truly amazing actor. I met him twice when he came in to perform the roll of blind novelist "Jeffrey MacClain Robbins" on GARGOYLES. It was a joy to watch Paul and Ed Asner play off each other. Winfield brought tremendous dignity and humanity to Robbins. And he helped us tell our tale of literacy without making it too preachy. I still remember fondly the following exchange when Hudson is amazed at how Robbins can find Macbeth's address in the phone book.
Hudson: Magic book.
Robbins: Aren't they all?
Simple, but mighty.
Spalding, man... Paul... You left us too soon.
Well, I'm glad I chose to trust them Angel writers. I thought last night's episode of Angel, with the new Illyria/Fred was another extremely powerful and well done hour of television.
It was a nice variation on a theme in that Illyria ISN'T going to be the big villain for the season. She's now just another lost soul. An ancient demon who has to start over.
I do have a couple quibbles:
I wasn't fond of the artificial way they wrote Lorne out of the episode until the montage at the end. It just seemed like they felt they were too crowded to give his character any screen time.
It bothered me that no one could acknowledge that what was happening to Gun was an exact parallel to what happened to Wes when he stole Connor, because no one remembers Connor. That whole nobody-remembers-Connor thing still strikes me as only a step above the Bobby-Ewing-reappearing-in-the-shower/it-was-all-a-dream ploy on Dallas. But the Connor thing is more a fault of LAST season (which had its share of problems) as opposed to this season.
So I'm very optimistic that Angel will continue to be brilliant throughout its final year.
Last night, I finally got around to watching last week's Death of Fred episode on Angel.
Very powerful, very powerful stuff.
You see, I'm conflicted, because Angel's writers have certainly earned my trust this year with powerful episodes, including:
--The Death of Cordelia (one of the best hours of tv and endings that I've ever seen)
--The lunatic Slayer (another great, great ending)
--Angel's turned into a puppet
But I'm a little tired of the "One of our regulars goes bad" storylines. Hell, Smallville, which I don't watch because it sucks, seems (judging by their commercials) to do this every week.
And Buffy/Angel has had it's fair share of the same thing. Just last season they did evil Cordelia and the return of Angelus. (Plus there's Angelus' original appearance in Buffy Season 2, Dark Willow and various episodic evil versions of everyone from Xander to Anya.)
So I'm just not looking forward to seeing another evil version of one of their characters. Been there. Done that. If this is Angel's last season -- as it reportedly is, then I'd have liked to push a different way. Lyndsay and the Senior Partners, for example.
But on the other hand, how can I not trust Joss and the Angel writing staff. This season has been jam-packed with amazing episodes, and last night was no exception.
So I'll just cross my fingers, and in any case, try not to weep as the last of Joss' amazing series goes off the air.
Back in January, I listed my choices for the Oscars -- hampered by how few movies I had seen. I made a point of saying that these were preferences, not predictions.
But just for fun, let's you and I revisit my choices and see how I did.
Again, keep in mind that I wouldn't allow myself to pick anything from a film I hadn't seen. And since I hadn't seen MOST of the nominated films, that left me with few choices in many categories.
GW: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
WINNER: LOTR: ROTK
Comment: No-brainer. I'm 1 for 1.
GW: Johnny Depp
WINNER: Sean Penn
Comment: Didn't see Mystic River. Have no doubt that Penn was probably great. But I still feel that the academy does not appreciate comedy and a win for either Depp or Murray would have been nice to see. I'm 1 for 2.
GW: Keisha Castle-Hughes
WINNER: Charlize Theron
Comment: Everyone tells me she was amazing, but I never saw Monster. In fact, Keisha was the only nominated performance I saw. This is no big surprise. I'm 1 for 3.
GW: Alec Baldwin
Winner: Tim Robbins.
Comment: I liked Robbins speech. Again, I didn't see his performance. I'm sure he was great. But I know Baldwin was great. I'm sinking here at 1 for 4.
GW: No pick.
WINNER: Renée Zellweger
Comment: Didn't see ANY of the nominated performances. I'm 1 for 5.
GW: Peter Jackson
WINNER: Peter Jackson.
Comment: I pretty much stuck with the ROTK horse and scored well, obviously. I'm 2 for 6.
GW: Walsh, Boyens, Jackson
Comment: I'm 3 for 7.
Comment: I'm 4 for 8. Batting 500 now after the acting awards decimated me.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
GW: no pick
Winner: The Barbarian Invasions
Comment: I'm 4 for 9.
GW: Finding Nemo
Winner: Finding Nemo
Comment: I'm 5 for 10.
Comment: I'm 6 for 11.
Comment: I'm 7 for 12.
GW: Master & Commander
Comment: Hey I even won in a tech category where ROTK wasn't nominated. I'm 8 for 13.
Comment: Oh, well. I'm 8 for 14.
Comment: Duh. I'm 9 for 15.
GW: Into the West
Winner: Into the West
Comment: Okay, now I've heard all five songs. Sting's song seemed really great. But at the time I'd ONLY heard Into the West. I liked it, so I picked it and it won. I'm 10 for 16.
GW: no pick
Winner: The Fog of War
Comment: I'm 10 for 17.
GW: No pick.
Winner: Cherno0byl Heart.
Comment: I'm 10 for 18.
Comment: I'm 11 for 19.
COmment: I'm 12 for 20.
COMMENT: I'm 13 for 21.
GW: no pick
winner: Harvie Krumpet
Comment: I wonder now if I did see that Ice Age short somewhere. Like on the DVD maybe? Doesn't matter. I know a lot of people were routing for Roy to win. Wonder what he would have said? High road or low road? Anyway, I'm 13 for 22.
LIVE ACTION SHORT:
GW: Two Soldiers
Winner: Two Soldiers
Comment: I think this was the single award that I had the most invested in. Turns out it was favored. I had no idea. It was the only short I had seen, but I went out of my way to see it because "Two Soldiers" by William Faulkner is my all-time favorite short story ever. The movie isn't quite as good as the story, but it definitely does it justice. I was so happy when it won. And I'm 14 for 23.
Comment: Final tally: 15 for 24.
Eleven of those fifteen were the ROTK sweep. The other four were for Two Soldiers, Nemo, Translation's script and M&C's Cinematography.
Of the nine I missed, five were in categories I made no pick whatsoever, per my self-imposed rules. One of those five plus three other misses were in acting categories, where I hadn't seen the winning performances, so couldn't vote for them. That means that the only category where I feel I really "guessed" wrong was in Sound Editing where I went with Pirates over M&C.
Not too shabby.
Keep in mind I usually go to bed at about 2am. Last night/this morning was no exception. I had to set the alarm for 4:30am in order to get to the airport and get through security (which is ever-mutating and unpredictable) in time to catch my flight outa this burg.
Did I mention that today is Friday the 13th?
I'm not usually superstitious about Friday the 13ths, because my wife was born on a Friday the 13th, so I kinda consider it a lucky day for me.
But my flight was cancelled. Not delayed. Cancelled. Some equipment malfunction and no back-up plane to take it's place. The current plan is to try again tomorrow. Wish me luck.
So anyway, came home and we decided to go to the movies: "MIRACLE".
Many of you are too young, but many of you are old enough to remember the 1980 Winter Olympics and the "Miracle on Ice" U.S. victory over the unbeatable Soviet Union team. I was 16 and saw the game on ABC. My father had also only recently bought our first VCR, and we actually have the game on tape.
This movie brought back SO many memories. It is incredibly well-made, and Kurt Russell is amazing in it. The truly phenomenal thing about the film is that I knew exactly how it was going to end, but I was nevertheless on the edge of my seat the entire time. Not as seat-edgy as I was 24 years ago, of course, when I DIDN'T know the outcome, but still...
I recommend this film to anyone, whether or not they are interested in hockey.
Meanwhile, I have a headache and am, for obvious reasons, quite tired. So if I start to ramble, well...
Last week I had three celebrity sightings over a three day period.
Saw what's-his-name (I'm blanking out) the Quantum Leap guy who plays Jonathan Archer on Star Trek Enterprise at the Yellow Balloon, which is a kid's haircutting place. I was there with my two kids. He was there with his two sons. (Or at least I assume they were his sons.)
Later that afternoon, I saw Nancy Travis from "Becker". I was at a bowling alley with my two kids. She was at the alley with her son. (At least I assume it was her son. Maybe she traded kids with Archer for the day.)
Two days later, I saw Melissa "Laura Ingalls" Gilbert at Jamba Juice. She's currently the president of the Screen Actors Guild. She's about my age. She ordered a smoothie. The Jamba guy asked her what size, and I wanted to say "Give her a half-pint." But I figured she didn't need that joke from me. And it wasn't that funny anyway. My kids weren't there. Neither were hers or Archer's.
Disney. I probably shouldn't comment on this AT ALL.
I'm afraid I'm not one of the big Eisner-bashers. I worked for him during the Eisner/Katzenberg team-up years. And I'm not saying it was a piece of cake, but I had to pitch to the man once every six months, and I have no complaints about that era. He bought Gargoyles afterall. Course, I had to pitch it to him three times, but he still let us make the show. And for me personally, things got worse when Eisner STOPPED making the final decisions about which shows Disney TV Animation should make. Back then, when he gave the green light, other divisions either got on board or got out of the way. Now, all decisions are made by committee. I don't envy TVA's current execs and creative types. It's much harder to get a green light. And much harder to get a show made. The buck of course ultimately stops with Eisner -- even for this new way of operating, but people bitch about his micro-managing. And he never did that to us. But his complete removal from our process created a system which I think is arguably much worse.
In a war between Eisner and Roy Disney, it's hard not to want to side with the guy who literally carries the Disney name. But I have to admit that my Disney concerns are more parochial. The division I'm still (after all these years) most interested in is the TV Animation Division that (I like to think) I helped build with guys like Gary Krisel, Bruce Cranston, Jymn Magon, Tad Stones, Karl Geurs, Alan Zaslove, Tom Ruzicka, Michael Webster, etc. And frankly, I just don't know what Roy thinks of our old stuff. I know that back in the day, he WOULDN'T let us use characters like Mickey, Donald, Goofy, etc. He didn't think we could do them justice, I guess. He didn't stand in the way of a show like Gargoyles, but I never once heard an attaboy from him. And I did from Eisner.
Does that mean anything ten years later. Probably not. But it makes the whole sitch kinda gray and murky for me loyalty -wise.
But in a war between Eisner and Comcast? Well, I have no idea what would truly be best for the company, but it would be hard for me to see Disney lose it's independence and become merely a subsidiary of a larger conglomerate... and frankly aren't these conglomerates LARGE A DAMN NUFF ALREADY?
I don't have the answers to any of this.
Disney vs. Pixar. Or more accurately Eisner vs. Jobs. Again, hard not to want to side with Jobs, but I've been reading the Business sections on this, and Jobs seems to have made the deal impossible to make financially. Now the reason he may have done this may be because Eisner pissed him off beyond the ken, I have no idea, but there was no way anyone acting in Disney's fiduciary interest would give up 50% share of two Pixar movies in exchange for an on-going relationship with Pixar that would only have amounted to fixed Distribution fees. That just doesn't make financial sense to me as a Disney *but not a Pixar* stock holder.
I'm tired and murky. And you know what, I didn't see Brother Bear, but my kids liked it. And I LIKED TREASURE PLANET!!! Quite a bit, actually. So I wish people would stop knocking the movie. I think Disney botched the marketing on it and then sabotaged the thing by writing it off after one weekend before word-of-mouth even had a chance to help them off.
I'm bummed that Disney dismantled it's Tokyo Animation division. For personal reasons, that bums me out more than what they did in Florida and even to their Burbank Features staff. But it's all a bad sign.
I'm not even coherent now, am I ?
I'll stop rambling and try to answer a couple questions.
See you next week ... unless the plane doesn't take off again tomorrow.
I'll be out of town tomorrow and all next week.
No internet access while I'm gone, so I'll be back here at ASK GREG on 2/23/04.
Have a great Valentine's Day,
I'd like to thank everyone who participated in last night's chat.
Props especially go out to Mooncat for moderating and logging the thing.
To Matt for suggesting it (more-or-less) in the first place.
And for Gorebash for hosting it.
Finally, I'd like to send a personal shout out to "Beth Maza". I had forgotten that that was your screen name, and I'm afraid I was so busy answering questions that it didn't register when you came in the room. Of course, I remember you and your REAL name.
Beth Maza was the con-chair for the very first GATHERING in Manhattan in 1997. She almost single-handedly organized the convention and got me there (against all odds, I should add). We all owe her a huge debt of gratitude. Me most of all.
Next to Gorebash, no one besides Beth did more to bring me into the fandom at the beginning. Thanks. (And I hope you see this.)
Just letting everybody know that I'll be stopping by the Station 8 Chat Room (http://s8.org/chat/gargs/) on Thursday, February 5th, 2004 from 4pm-6pm PST (that's 7-9pm Eastern).
Hope to see you all then.
This is an interesting exercise for me. One which mostly demonstrates how few movies I get to see.
The Oscar Noms came out and are in today's paper. So I'm going to list my choices.
But here's the main rule. I can only choose from movies I've actually seen. The result is that there are entire categories (including at least one major category) that I can't vote in at all:
Foreign Language Film
Of course, I reserve the right to make changes later if I see more movies. Also, these are NOT predictions. I'm not trying to guess who the Academy will chose. I'm simply stating my preferences...
PICTURE: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
Haven't seen Mystic River or Seabiscuit. Didn't care for the tiresome Master & Commander. I enjoyed Lost in Translation, a movie which snuck up on everyone, but I don't think it was quite as good as everyone said. I'm sorry that The Cooler didn't get nominated, but in any case it's hard not to vote for LOTR: Return of the King over either Master or Translation. I think that both of the first two movies were better than the third, but as I've stated, this isn't a Return of the Jedi scenario. This is an amazing movie on every level. The bar was set incredibly high by Jackson's first two films. And he still made it over by any reckoning.
ACTRESS: Keisha Castle-Hughes, WHALE RIDER
Well, I haven't seen In America, 21 Grams, Monster or Something's Gotta Give. So Keisha was my only option. But that's okay. I wasn't too wild about the 2-D movie, but the kid was great. Doubt she'll win, but, hey, I'm routing for her.
ACTOR: Johnny Depp, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL
Haven't seen Mystic River, Cold Mountain or House of Sand and Fog. That leaves Depp in Pirates and Murray in Translation, both terrrific comic performances. I'm choosing Depp, the more obvioulsy comic turn, because (a) comedy is rarely rewarded by the Academy and like to break that barrier and (b) as good as Murray is, he's kinda playing himself. But this was a VERY tough choice for me.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Alec Baldwin, THE COOLER
Haven't seen 21 Grams, In America, Mystic River or the Last Samurai so all that leaves is Alec in Cooler. But even more than Keisha above, I'm thrilled to have Alec as my choice. I saw The Cooler this past Saturday and REALLY loved it. William H. Macy and Maria Bello are also brilliant in it, but I'm not at all surprised that Baldwin was nominated. He's a great actor.
DIRECTOR: Peter Jackson, RINGS: KING
Haven't seen Mystic River or City of God. Didn't care for Master & Commander. Liked Lost in Translation, but Jackson's efforts on Return of the King are stunning.
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Walsh, Boyens, Jackson, LOTR: ROTK
Havent's seen American Splendor, City of God, Mystic River or Seabiscuit, leaving Rings my only option. But again, I like the screenplay so it's a fine choice. Looking forward to the extended version though.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Coppola, LOST IN TRANSLATION
Haven't seen Barbarian Invasions or Dirty Pretty Things or In America, which leaves me a choice between Lost and Finding Nemo. No contest. Nemo is a cute little movie, but it's far from being my favorite Pixar script. Translation is fascinating.
ART DIRECTION: Hennah, Lee, LOTR: ROTK
Haven't seen Girl with a Pearl Earing, Last Samurai or Seabiscuit. Which leaves me with a contest between LOTR and M&Commander. This was actually a tougher call. I didn't care much for M&C, but it looked damn good. But I think LOTR was a greater overall achievement.
ANIMATED FEATURE: FINDING NEMO.
Haven't seen Brother Bear or Triplets of Belleville. So that leaves Nemo only. Again, not a brilliant film, but it has some brilliant stuff in it, so I can vote this way with a vaguely clear conscious.
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Boyd, MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
Haven't seen City of God, Cold Mountain, Girl with a Pearl Earing or Seabiscuit, which leaves only M&C, which again looked great. So, fine.
SOUND MIXING: Boyes, Semanick, Hedges, Peek, LOTR: ROTK
Haven't seen Samurai or Seabiscuit, but it leaves three great choices, M&C, ROTK and Pirates. I'm gonna give the edge to ROTK. I seem to be sweeping with them. Can't help it. Note that Christopher Boyes is up for bother Pirates and Rings. That's pretty good odds, but an even bigger bummer, I'd imagine, if he loses.
SOUND EDITING: Boyes, Waters, PIRATES
Boyes is looking good for some award. Sound editing on Nemo, Pirates and M&C were probably all great. But I have a softer spot for the fun of Pirates. One of the few categories where I HAVE seen all of the nominees.
ORIGINAL SCORE: Shore, LOTR: ROTK
Haven't seen Big Fish, Cold Mountain or House of Sand & Fog, which leaves Howard Shore's brilliant ROTK work and Nemo, which was just okay.
ORIGINAL SONG: "Into the West", Walsh, Shore, Lennox, LOTR:ROTK
Well, I'm a big Annie Lennox fan to begin with, and the song was very moving to me, so this is an obvious choice. Throw in the fact that I haven't seen Mighty Wind, Cold Mountain, Cold Mountain or Triplets and it was also my only option. The good news is that so far, there hasn't been a category where I have declined to pick a winner because I only had one option. So far, even in categories with only one option, I've genuinely liked that one option.
COSTUME DESIGN: Dickson, Taylor, LOTR: ROTK
Haven't seen Girl with Pearl, Samurai or Seabiscuit, which again leaves M&C and LOTR. Went with LOTR for cause. Great costumes across the board.
FILM EDITING: Selkirk, LOTR: ROTK
Haven't seen City of God, Cold Mountain or Seabiscuit, leaving YET again M&C and LOTR. No brainer. Half the time in the M&C battle scenes I couldn't keep basic track of who was doing what.
MAKEUP: Taylor, King: LOTR:ROTK
Another of the categories where I have seen all the nominees. Pirates had great make-up, truly. And I came very close to giving this one to Pirates. But just that one Orc was so damn good, and he was just the tip of the iceberg. M&C is also in the running, but why?
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: "Two Soldiers"
I haven't seen the other four options, but I have seen Two Soldiers, based on a William Faulkner short story that just happens to be my all time favorite short story ever. I made a point of seeing this short and was not disappointed. It's really great.
VISUAL EFFECTS: Rygiel, Letteri, Cook, Funke, LOTR: ROTK
And the last of three categories where I've seen all the nominees. Any other year and Pirates (but not M&C) would have challenged for this award. But ROTK, right?
So what's the final tally...
11 for LOTR: ROTK, including picture, director, song, score, screenplay and a half-dozen tech and craft awards. I think that's a clean-sweep. And I'm not generally a sweepy kinda guy. But the true geek in me has been awakened by this trilogy.
2 for Pirates, including Depp's brilliant performanceand a tech award.
1 for WHALE RIDER's kid actress.
1 for THE COOLER's Alec Baldwin.
1 for LOST IN TRANSLATION's keen screenplay by Sofia Coppola.
1 for FINDING NEMO. Best animated feature, won perhaps by default, though I liked the movie.
1 for MASTER & COMMANDER for cinematography, another default win perhaps, though it certainly looked gorgeous.
1 for "Two Soldiers", a personal favorite that may be the award I'm most routing to be right about.
And then five categories where I couldn't vote at all.
ASK GREG isn't exactly a BLOG. I'm not always sure what's appropriate to put here...
For example, I had a weird thought last night. It occured to me that I'm old enough (based on my sexual history) to have a 22-year-old child. (My actual kids are 9 and 6.) That freaked me out. But I'm not sure it's appropriate for this forum. Still -- I guess it doesn't hurt to be advocating protected sex over unprotected sex, right?
(I know that's gonna come back and bite me on the ass. I just know it.)
Saw RETURN OF THE KING. And I really, really liked it, although I didn't really, really like the first hour. Overall, I enjoyed the first two movies more, but don't get me wrong. I'm not comparing this to the awful Return of the Jedi, at all. I still loved it, and I can't wait to see the extended version.
I do wish there had been some mention of what the dwarves were up to. And some indication of where the elves went who fought at Helm's Deep. How come they didn't lend a hand in Gondor? Even a line of dialogue would have been helpful to me.
The movie that actually caught me by surprise was PETER PAN. I really liked it a lot. It's so melancholy and bittersweet. Peter looked terrific (and was about 50/50 on the acting). Some things may have been a bit on the head, but it's Neverland, not Subtletyland. Just to be clear, I'm not saying it's a better movie than LOTR, but I thought the reviews of Pan were way harsh.
HATED CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN. But there was one VERY FUNNY scene in it when the twins confessed. Otherwise, as a dad, I thought the message it sent was EXTREMELY dubious -- and extremely unrealistic.
Had a great vacation. Hope you all are having a happy new year.
Random ramblings before I go on vacation...
*I am DYING to see "LORD OF THE RINGS: Return of the King". I can't believe how much I want to see this movie. It has been ages since my geeky self has been this desperate. I literally can't remember the last time I so NEEDED to see a movie.
*I bought both extended DVDs for the first two films. (The first one, a year ago of course.) Honestly, what I really can't wait for is the Extended version of Return of the King, but since that's a year off, I'll settle for seeing the "short" version on the big screen. All I can say is that I hope to hell that there's a movie theater on Marco Island, and if so it damn well better be playing ROTK. (And that's right. I'm cussing! Oh, don't look so shocked.)
*I'd like to see a music video featuring Demona to Dido's
*I'd like to see a music video from Goliath's POV -- but featuring Elisa -- of "Amazing". (I think that's the title. I'm not sure who the artist or band is.)
*I've seen an interview with Peter Jackson saying that originally -- a long time ago -- he wanted to make "The Hobbit" but found that the rights were a mess. He wanted to make "The Hobbit" to demonstrate that he could do "Lord of the Rings". But discovered that the rights to the latter were free and clear, so switched his ambitions to the LOTR, which he wanted to make as TWO films, as he felt he couldn't do justice to the story in one film. Thank God, he got to make three. And, yes, I'm desperately hoping that after "King Kong" (which I'll trust him on, since he's earned that trust, but if ever a movie did NOT require remaking...) he'll do "The Hobbit" as a prequel with the Ians and JR-D and Serkis.
*I can personally vouch for the rights to Hobbit being a mess. When I was a development exec at Disney -- and again, later, at DreamWorks -- we looked into acquiring the rights to do a new animated Hobbit Movie. The rights were hopelessly mired. I understand it isn't quite as bad now. But at the time, a huge number of people/groups had a claim (some more legitimate than others) to the thing. After looking into the situation, my boss wouldn't touch the thing with a ten foot pole.
*I'd really love to do a WWII Blackhawk movie someday.
*Last week, I saw a short film based on William Faulkner's short story, "Two Soldiers". This is my all time favorite short story EVER. I highly recommend it. HIGHLY. And the movie was pretty darn good too. The kid was amazing.
*Saw Clancy Brown again today at a recording session. He kicked ass, as usual. I'd love to tell you what he played, but I honestly don't know if it's confidential or not, and I don't want to get in trouble. Hopefully, I can talk about it soon. I'm not sure he remembered me though, which was a little depressing.
*Saw George Segal walking down the street in Beverly Hills. He didn't seem to remember me either. Of course, we've never met.
*Saw Diane Lane and Christopher Lambert tonight at my daughter's school "Winter Program". They're kid goes to the same school. I've never met them either, but I'd love to ask them what it was like working with Sir Laurence Olivier ("A Little Romance") and Sir Ralph Richardson ("Greystoke"). I wonder if it would bug them that the movies I'm MOST interested in are more or less the first one's each of them ever made.
*I realize I'm intentionally name-dropping. And I also realize it's kind of obnoxious. But, hey, I live in L.A. and I work in the biz, sort of. So I might as well go all out. I also met Steve Harris ("The Practice") and Ming Na ("e.r.") at the Recording session today. And I saw Rino Romano (Johnny Rico from "Roughnecks: Starship Troopers"). Rino, at least, remembered me, thank god.
*The funny thing about LOTR and my passion for the movies is that I'm not a massive Tolkien fan. I read the Hobbit and the Trilogy when I was in my early teens. And I liked them all right. But I wasn't rabid about it. And I could never get through the Silmarillion, though I tried at least three times. I reread the Hobbit to my kids about two years ago. And again, I liked it. But I TOTALLY LOVE THESE MOVIES. Totally obssessed!
*I ate way too much candy at the recording session today.
*It's been a long time since I really rambled on this site. It's been fun. Have a great holiday, guys.
Seasons Greetings everyone...
I'm heading out of town for awhile. I'll be back answering ASK GREG questions no later than January 5th.
Have a great holiday season.
For those of you who missed the controversy over the following set of questions... You're lucky.
These questions waited a long time in the queue, but were deleted...
What follows is a bit difficult to read, so here's a primer.
<Lynati lists topics -- or perhaps they are old questions -- inside these carrots.>
[She then quotes ASK GREG inside brackets.]
Then she asks new numbered and lettered questions inside parens, e.g. 1a).
MY NEW RESPONSES FOLLOW IN ALL-CAPS.
I'm in a Canmore mood this evening. Err, morning.
<Of Fiona's relationship to Robyn and her siblings, posted at two different times>
[Fiona is the twin sister of Jason, Robyn and Jon's grandfather. That is, she's their great aunt.]
DID YOU CUT AND PASTE THIS QUOTATION OR RETYPE IT YOURSELF? DID I REALLY MAKE THAT GLARING AN ERROR, SUBSTITUTING JASON FOR JACKSON.
[But I'm pretty sure that Jackson is Fiona's twin brother. That Jackson was the father of Aron who was the father of Charles
who was the father of Jason, Robyn & Jon. And I know Fiona's great-grandfather was Angus.]
This second list would make her their great-great-aunt. When you have a chance, will you look it up in your Canmore-bloodline list and clarify for us:
(1a)Is she Jackson's twin brother, or Aron's?
THE TWINS, JACKSON AND FIONA CANMORE WERE BORN IN 1888.
(1b)How many "great"'s properly belong in front of her name in relation to Robyn?
IN 1908, JACKSON'S SON ARON CANMORE WAS BORN. FIONA WAS HIS AUNT.
IN 1936, ARON'S SON CHARLES CANMORE WAS BORN. FIONA WAS HIS GREAT AUNT.
IN 1964, CHARLES' SON JASON CANMORE WAS BORN. FIONA WAS HIS GREAT-GREAT AUNT.
IN 1966, CHARLES' DAUGHTER ROBYN CANMORE WAS BORN. FIONA WAS HIS GREAT-GREAT AUNT.
IN 1972, CHARLES' SON JON CANMORE WAS BORN. FIONA WAS HIS GREAT-GREAT AUNT.
<At the time of 'Hunter's moon' were Jason, Jon and Robyn Canmore the only descendents of Canmore? Do they have any other family out there that they are unaware of?>
[There are probably a lot of Canmore descendants. They probably know some and don't know others, just like anyone. But they were the three who had carried on the tradition of the Hunter.]
(2a)Were Robyn and her siblings chosen to continue the Hunter tradition, or did they get a choice?
THEY WERE CHOSEN. AND THEY HAD A CHOICE IN THEORY, BUT GAUGE THAT RELATIVE TO WHAT YOU SAW IN "HUNTER'S MOON".
(2b)As they were trained by the "Canmore clan", does that mean that a large part of the family knows about "the Demon" and
the pledge to hunt her down, or is it kept a secret from anyone not pledged on the Hunter path?
IT DEPENDS ON HOW YOU DEFINE "CANMORE CLAN". IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT ANY AND ALL OF THE DESCENDANTS OF DUNCAN & CANMORE -- THAN NO, I DON'T THINK MOST STILL KNOW ABOUT DEMONA. BUT IF YOU'RE REFERRING TO THE BRANCH OF THE CLAN THAT RECREATED THE HUNTER TRADITION, THAN YES, MOST KNOW.
(2c)Were any of Robyn's cousins (and second cousins, etc.) offered the choice to become Hunters, and if not, did they receive similar training anyway?
I TEND TO THINK THAT THE MANTLE OF THE HUNTER FALLS ALONG A DIRECT LINE OF DESCENT AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE.
(2d)Was Fiona Robyn, Jason, and Jon's primary teacher and trainer?
NO. BUT SHE PARTICIPATED.
[But I've charted so many Canmores that I get confused sometimes, and I don't have that chart with me. I can't remember for
sure. Ask me again later. ]
[She [Demona] was hunted (a) because she was the only one left (as far as they knew) and (b) because of a little mishap with
Canmore and one of his sons that I haven't told you about yet.]
(3a)Will you tell us about all of the Canmore's you have charted at 2002 (or whichever con is "next" by the time this post gets
through), including the above-mentioned "incident" that you have not previously told us about?
(3b)If not, will you tell us about most of them?
Hmm...maybe you should just sell copies of the Canmore family list at the Gathering.
IT'S A THOUGHT.
<So what happened in Paris, 1920 that was so significant to the Atlantis and Gargoyles universes? >
[Come to G2002 and find out.]
<origination of the word "Gargoyle".>
[The etimology of the word gargoyle goes back a long way. It evolved at least in part from an Atlantean word. That's all I want
to say at this time. But hold tight. More will be revealed at the Gathering 2002 in Virginia Beach.]
<Who created the Praying Gargoyle? >
[If you come to G2002, you'll find out.]
<How powerful is its magic?>
[Potentially, very powerful.]
(4a)So, was the Praying Gargoyle created on Atlantis?
IT WAS CREATED BY ATLANTEANS -- BUT I'M NOT SURE IF IT WAS LITERALLY CREATED IN ATLANTIS.
(4b)Did the first gargoyles develop on Atlantis?
NO. GARGOYLES PREDATE ATLANTIS. AS DO HUMANS.
(4c) What did you have for lunch today?
NOTHING. TOO BUSY ANSWERING QUESTIONS.
(4d)In 1920, were Fiona Canmore and Demona fighting over the possession of the Praying gargoyle?
NOT REALLY, THOUGH IT PLAYED A ROLE IN THEIR CONFLICT.
(4e)If yes, and the Praying Gargoyle was hidden this year, was there any particular reason that Demona had to wait 60
years to reclaim it, or did she just figure it was too good a hiding place to leave the statue in until she needed it?
THE PRAYING GARGOYLE WAS DESTROYED IN 1920. IT TOOK 60 YEARS TO REGENERATE.
And, while I'm here...
(5a)...Does Demona really "know every remaining gargoyle" as she claims in "the reckoning", or was this just another one of her "I am right about everything (and therefore there can be no more gargoyles than I know of)" delusions?
IT SEEMS CLEAR TO ME THAT SHE DOESN'T KNOW EVERY REMAINING GARGOYLE, AS SHE CLEARLY DOESN'T KNOW ABOUT AVALON.
(5b)Which clans is she actually aware of at the time she makes that proclamation?
I'M NOT GOING TO TIE MY HANDS BY LISTING THEM AT THIS TIME.
(5c)As Angela learned about Demona's immortality in "Sanctuary", why was she crying after Demona's "death" in the reckoning?
IT'S ONE THING TO KNOW SOMETHING INTELLECTUALLY, IT'S ANOTHER TO TRULY ABSORB IT. ALSO, AS I'VE STATED MANY, MANY TIMES BEFORE, THE MANHATTAN CLAN KNOWS THE BASIC RULES REGARDING DEMONA AND MACBETH, BUT THEY ARE NOT AS SURE AS I AM THAT DEMONA CAN NEVER BE KILLED EXCEPT UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS IS ALL NEW TO THEM.
(5d)Did Angela and Goliath honestly believe that Demona was permanently killed by the roller coster collapse/fire, even
knowing that Demona is only able to truly die at Macbeth's hands?
THEY JUST WEREN'T 100% SURE.
(5e) Was Angela not aware of that stipulation?
(5f)Since Goliath knew, did he deliberately keep the knowledge that Demona would survive from Angela?
(5g)Have I forgotten something that makes a flaw in my reasoning here?
ONLY THAT YOU ARE THINKING IN ABSOLUTES. MOST PEOPLE (AND GARGOYLES) GO THROUGH LIFE WITH SOME DOUBTS, INSECURITIES AND UNCERTAINTIES. EVEN IF THEY ARE TOLD SOMETHING, THERE'S ALWAYS ROOM TO QUESTION IT.
Yes, I plan to attend the Gathering in 2002.
The last question is, will you have read this post by then?
OBVIOUSLY, NOT. BUT AT LEAST I GOT TO IT BEFORE G2004.
Have a great holiday, everyone.
See you in December!
As many of you know, I stopped by the Station 8 Comment Room last week, asking the fans to list the top five reasons that they were drawn to the Gargoyles series. My post received 470 responses in one week: pretty good on short notice.
The responses can be viewed at http://s8.org/gargoyles/cmntarch2.php. They'll be on that site through this coming Sunday
(11/23/03), at which point the room clears.
I copied and pasted the entire room over to a Word Document and found it to be nearly three hundred pages long and full of very
gratifying bites about the series, but it's a lot to wade through, so I put the following statistics together. [Note: some people gave more than five reasons, and many reasons overlapped. I just tried to count everything. But this is far from scientific.]
"WHAT ARE THE TOP FIVE REASONS THAT YOU ARE DRAWN TO THE GARGOYLES SERIES?"
Out of 470 Total Responses…
#1 - Characters.
An amazing 437 people cited the Characters and the series' complex characterization as one of their top five reasons for being drawn to the series. They discussed, often in great detail, how real and believable the characters seem, how detailed their backstories were, how major and minor characters grew, changed and evolved, and how complex they were, reflecting shades of grey. They liked the relationships/bonds/dynamics between the characters, as well. They even liked their names. 35 respondents specifically noted and appreciated the diversity of our cast (multi-racial and multi-species, and all of very different body types). 16 respondents noted our depiction of strong and non-stereotyped female characters. Another 35 respondents listed our villains as their favorites. Many individual characters were listed simply as examples, but many were also singled out by the fans, voted as one of their top five reasons for liking the show: Demona (39), Brooklyn (30), Xanatos (29), Goliath (23), Puck/Owen (22), Elisa (17), Lexington (13), Macbeth (9), Broadway (9), Bronx (7), Hudson (5), Thailog (5), Fox (4), the Mutates (4), The Pack (3), Oberon (3), the Tricksters (3), the Hunters (3), Angela (2), the Illuminati (2), Jackal & Hyena (1), Desdemona (1), Titania (1), the Clones (1), Una (1), Fang (1) and Matt (1).
#2 - Plot Development.
228 respondents listed the series' ongoing saga, its story arcs, as one of their top five reasons for liking the series. They liked its dynamism and twists. How stories built on past stories and presaged stories yet to come: the tapestry of events that created the Gargoyles Universe. In fact, 23 people specifically listed the "Gargoyles Universe" as one of their top five draws. 88 people specifically referred to Gargoyles' Continuity as being a plus. They liked, in essence, that the show had a memory - it made events more real and seemed to reward the fans for both sticking around and paying attention. It also encouraged them to watch episodes over and over to pick up tidbits that they might have missed on a first viewing. 18 also liked how actions had repercussions and consequences. 3 people praised the series' "epic scope". 6 talked about how it seemed to be filled with possibilities for yet more stories.
#3 - Literary, Mythological, Historical & Biblical References.
201 people loved the integration of various characters and concepts from myth, history, literature and the Bible. A whopping (and gratifying) 104 specifically mentioned all the various Shakespeare references and characters as being a plus. Many felt the show was educational, inspiring them to read Shakespeare's plays or study Scottish History, etc.
#4 - Animation.
199 people loved the series' animation. Many consider it the best or among the best that American television animation has ever produced. Many people compared it favorably with Japanese anime and Batman: The Animated Series. Two people specifically praised the pacing.
#5 - The Voice Cast.
158 people listed the voice cast and voice acting in their top fives. 38 people specifically mentioned that the presence of so many Star Trek actors in Gargoyles was a major initial draw. As with the characters, many individual actors were singled out by the fans in their lists: Keith David/Goliath (32), Jonathan Frakes/Xanatos (19), Marina Sirtis/Demona (15), Salli Richardson/Elisa (4), Michael Dorn/Coldstone (3), Edward Asner/Hudson (2), Jeff Bennett/Brooklyn (2), Jim Cummings/Dingo (1), Tim Curry/Sevarius (1), Thom Adcox-Hernandez/Lexington (1), Frank Welker/Bronx (1). Three of our international fans even praised the foreign dubs.
That takes care of the top five, but this'll fill out the top twenty:
#6 - Series Intelligence.
140 people specifically stated how much they appreciated how "smart" the series was. They liked that it was written on multiple levels so that it could be appreciated by kids as well as by teens and adults. That's one of the reasons why they're still watching it ten years later. They liked how Gargoyles respected its audience and its audience's intelligence.
#7 - Design.
122 people cited the show's design work and art style as part of their top five. They liked the looks of the individual gargoyles and the other characters as well, with 12 people actually praising how "sexy" the characters were. They liked the backgrounds and the overall look of the show. 12 people specifically gave credit to the series' color palette.
#8 - Writing.
76 people cited the series' writing for praise (this is in addition to those listed above who liked the characters, overall story arcs, literary references, etc.). They praised the writing's attention to detail, its substance, layers and intensity. 32 people praised how "believable" and "realistic" the show seemed, despite its fantasy premise. 28 specifically noted the mystery and intrigue, liking the risk-taking twists and turns that kept the audience coming back for more. 27 praised the show's humor and comedy (and one person even liked all the in-jokes). 24 specifically praised the dialogue. 11 praised the emotional depth. 5 praised its timeless quality. 3 praised its scary sequences.
#9 - Issues/Values/Themes.
71 respondents were impressed by Gargoyles ability to introduce real world issues and teach values without preaching. They cited episodes that dealt with gun safety, illiteracy, environmental concerns, etc. 24 people also specifically cited the shows pro-social themes, again noting how the show got its messages across without hitting the viewer over the head with them. Specific themes were even listed on occasion. 10 people hailed the idea of our using monsters as heroes and exploring the theme of "not judging a book by its cover." Four liked the show's theme of hope. Another four liked its theme of protection. One person listed "the fish out of water" theme. Another listed the theme of Family as being important.
#10 - Romance.
67 people responded to the romance in the show. In particular, the slow-boiling Beauty and the Beast relationship between Goliath and Elisa.
#11 - Core Concept.
65 people listed the core concept as one of their reasons. They liked the whole idea of medieval Gargoyles waking up in the modern world. They liked how fully realized the Gargoyles species was, from how they looked to how they acted, their history, culture and behavior. An additional 30 people specifically cited the series' "Originality".
#12 - Music.
62 respondents listed Carl Johnson's music score and opening theme as one of their top five reasons for liking the show. (Though one person was happy that there was no singing.) Many of the fans spontaneously requested that Disney release the music on CD. [Of course, many, many others noted that they would like to see the whole show on DVD.] 7 additional people listed "Sound" in general, including music and sound effects.
#13 - Multi-Genre storytelling.
62 individuals liked how the series elegantly combined multiple genres, including fantasy, science fiction, comic book action hero, comedy, drama, horror, etc. They liked how science went hand-in-hand with sorcery. They liked the use of magic and technology, time travel, robots, gods, monsters, etc.
#14 - Episodic Stories.
60 respondents praised the storytelling of individual episodes. How each was able to stand alone, while still fitting into the larger tapestry of the series' arcs. 17 people praised the stories from the Avalon World Tour set of episodes. Many individual episodes were also cited in the fans' lists: "Deadly Force" (9), "The Mirror" (6), "Temptation" (2), "Future Tense" (1), "M.I.A." (1), "Awakening" (1), "City of Stone" (1), "Hunter's Moon" (1), "The Edge" (1), "The Hound of Ulster" (1). One person specifically stated that he liked how not a single episode was filler.
#15 - Setting.
46 people cited the setting, usually the combination of medieval gargoyles in modern New York City. They liked how we depicted the city, how we got it right. Many people also enjoyed the flashbacks to medieval Scotland, and the World Tour episodes that took our cast to locations across the globe.
#16 - Atmosphere.
34 respondents praised the series' gothic atmosphere, running through the writing, design and animation.
#17 - Action.
30 people liked the action. The pure excitement - without being gratuitous.
#18 - The Fandom.
29 people noted that they were either drawn to the show or have remained with it at least in part because of the loyal fandom. An additional 20 found the show inspirational for their own creativity. Another 18 listed the show and its characters as "Aspirational" (although most didn't use that word). 14 more cited personal reasons for why the show was important to them. And it seems that we have many couples who met through the fandom, including multiple married couples who credit the series with bringing them together. 17 people were specifically impressed by the passion and dedication of the Gargoyles cast and crew and their participation in the fandom.
#19 - New for Disney.
28 people were impressed with the show simply for being something new and different for Disney.
#20 - Original Publicity.
11 people cited the series' original publicity for getting their attention and getting them to sit in front of their televisions in the first place. 5 more cited the old syndicated "Disney Afternoon".
That's pretty much it. There were a few other random and/or hard to qualify answers, but the above 20 reasons pretty much cover why the fans still love the series. I know all this sounds incredibly immodest coming from me, but all it takes is a quick skim of the fans' actual responses to see that I'm not exaggerating at all.
Thanks to everyone who participated...
Growing up and living most of one's life in Southern California makes having a number of so-called "Brushes with Greatness" inevitable.
Sunday, I saw Tony Shaloub in Larchmont Village, but since I had recently seen him at Los Angeles International Airport AND spoken with him at Logan International Airport, I refrained from accosting him again, lest he think I was stalking him or something.
And just yesterday, I rode up an elevator with Florence Henderson, who looks great, by the way.
So the fact that I once met Art Carney is, in and of itself, not particularly remarkable. But his passing seems an appropriate time to relate this story.
In the mid-seventies, I was in Junior High. I read a LOT. I had somewhat eclectic, and geek-leaning tastes, but most of what I read were mystery novels, especially mystery novels that were part of on-going series. One such series was Harry Kemelman's Rabbi David Small mysteries. (This is a series that I highly recommend. The more recent books aren't quite as strong, but the original seven are terrific.) Each book's title began with the day of the week. And the first mystery was called, "Friday the Rabbi Slept Late."
One day, I came home from school and found that my street was, as they say, "bustling with activity". An army of humans and trailers and equipment had descended on Queen Florence Lane. In the seventies, in the San Fernando Valley, this was still something of a rarity. But in any event, I was fascinated. They were filming a movie in and around the house directly across the street from ours.
Soon, I discovered that the movie was a telefilm called, "Lanigan's Rabbi". It was an adaptation of "Friday the Rabbi Slept Late." I'm not sure how I managed this, other than persistance and the chutzpah that comes with not knowing anything at all, but I kept telling people that I had read the book that the movie was based on. At some point someone grabbed me and introduced me to the director. I have no idea if he was humoring me or truly interested, but he asked me a number of questions about the original novel, claiming that he -- and that in fact NO ONE on the set -- had actually read the thing. There were, I was told, certain things in the script that weren't tracking for him. So I answered his questions and told him how the mystery played out in the book. He took it all in and seemed grateful for the insight.
In any case, he then did something fairly astounding. He let me hang out. That's it. But I was allowed to watch filming. I was allowed to get food from the catering truck. I was allowed to sit with the actors and talk with them. Now, this couldn't have gone on for very long. It's not like I was employed by the movie company or anything. I didn't follow the shoot to its next location. But they spent at least three or four days in the cul-de-sac where I lived. They gave me a copy of the shooting script, which I then had autographed by the movie's two leads.
One of those leads was Stuart Margolin, who's probably most famous for playing "Angel" on THE ROCKFORD FILES. "Lanigan's Rabbi" wound up spinning off into an on-going series, and for some reason Margolin didn't end up playing Rabbi Small in the series. But he was terrific in the movie. And he was an extremely nice guy, who didn't seem to mind chatting with a thirteen-year-old, who was hanging around the set.
But the part of Police Chief Lanigan was played by Art Carney. Now Art Carney is a certified genius. Emmy winner. Oscar winner. Of course his performance as "Ed Norton" in THE HONEYMOONERS is nothing short of brilliant. His on-screen teaming with Jackie Gleason, a match-made in sitcom heaven. Among other things, Ed Norton was the clear inspiration for any number of cartoon characters, ESPECIALLY "Barney Rubble". People often forget, however, what a wonderful dramatic actor Carney was. How he brought a touch of humanity to every role he played. Rod Serling knew this. Art is unforgettable as a drunken department store Santa in "The Night of the Meek" episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. A part that Serling wrote especially for Carney. He is also truly wonderful in a number of movies: "Harry & Tonto" and "The Late Show", among others.
I knew almost none of this at the time. I didn't even know Ed Norton. In New York, the Honeymooners has probably NEVER been off the air, but Los Angeles was and is an I LOVE LUCY town. It would be nearly a decade before I would move to New York and learn to appreciate Ralph and Ed and Alice and Trixie.
What I knew at the time, all I knew at the time, was that this was a big time star -- in the middle of shooting a movie -- who spent time with me. Time by the catering truck. Time on the set. He explained how things worked. He explained why things were done the way they were done. He was just so damn nice -- nice enough that as ignorant as I was -- I didn't take it for granted. It impressed me even then.
A few days later, they were gone. Stuart, Art, all of them. The movie finished shooting in my neighborhood and moved on. Some time later, the movie went on the air. We didn't have a VCR back in those days, so I don't have a copy. I followed along on my shooting script and took note of all the little changes in it. It seemed to me (though I might have been seriously kidding myself) that the final version of the film leaned a bit closer to the original novel than the shooting script in my hand. I was certainly kidding myself when I took credit for that somewhat dubious conclusion. And without a doubt the coolest moment was watching Rabbi Small and Chief Lanigan (Stuart and Art, as I called them) walking down the hill of my street and turning a corner and suddenly being at the Rabbi's Temple. There was no temple around the corner from Queen Florence Lane, but the transition was so seamless, it seemed miraculous. A true bit of movie magic before I understood movie magic. Before I was even vaguely jaded.
I just now spent a half hour looking for that shooting script. I couldn't find it. I hope it turns up eventually. I'm sure I wouldn't have thrown it out, but there's a good chance it was in one of my boxes that was in my parents' basement, part of my past which was destroyed by a flood caused by the Northridge Earthquake. I hope not. I haven't thought about any of this in years, but now it's something I'd like to revisit in more detail.
I wrote about Bob Hope a couple of months ago, when he passed, and I suppose this is a very similar kind of tribute. Others will, I'm sure, write more important, more personal and more informed things about Art Carney in the next few days. But I wanted to add my bit.
Not just for the incredibly talented performer, a loss we should all feel, though not too intensely as he has achieved a meta-Xanatosian immortality through the many great performances we will always have to rewatch time and again. And not for the friend and/or family member, because he was none of these things to me, and I was none of these things to him.
But oddly, I wanted to write a tribute to the stranger. To the nice man, who was patient with a dopey know-it-all kid. He was warm and funny and made me feel welcome.
And for that I am truly grateful. Thanks, Chief.
Yesterday, I made the following request at Station 8's Gargoyles Comment Room:
I really need some help. Without going into details about the why, I'd love to get the answer to the following question:
"WHAT ARE THE TOP FIVE REASONS THAT YOU ARE DRAWN TO THE GARGOYLES SERIES?"
We don't need fancy answers -- and of course there's no right or wrong answers -- so don't feel like you need to compose elegant
responses. Just RESPOND, please.
Also, please, spread the word around and have as many fans as possible stop by THIS WEEK and give their answer right here at the S8 Comment Room. It would be much appreciated. Very much appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
The responses so far have been very gratifying. I'm particularly impressed with how many people have stopped by the Comment Room that usually don't.
But (with good reason) I'm greedy. I'd like to get even more people to stop by. So please SPREAD THE WORD. E-mail/telephone/snail mail anyone you know who was EVER a GARGOYLES fan and ask them to stop by the Comment room and post their own personal top fives. We really, really, really need something akin to 100% participation.
Here's the address:
I'll stop by the Station 8 CHAT ROOM this Friday, November 7th, 2003 at 4pm PST. (That's 7pm on the East Coast. The rest of you figure
out your own time zone.)
Please spread the word. (Nothing's more depressing than when the so-called "pro" stops by and there are no fans who want to chat.)
Maybe we can get a big crowd and hang for a bit.
Hope to see you there,
Time to ramble...
I watched "Grief" the other night with my wife Beth, my nine-year-old daughter Erin and my six-year-old son Benny.
This episode was directed by Kazuo Terada & Takamitsu Kawamura, story edited by Michael Reaves based on his story. The teleplay is by Michael and Brynne Chandler Reaves.
Though Brynne co-wrote the teleplay, this strikes me as a VERY Michael episode. I remember how excited he was to be using the Tanna Leaves and the Avatar, plus all those other references to Thoth, Osiris, Isis and Set. I think it was something he had wanted to do on a Batman episode, but it hadn't survived someone's interference (my memory is hazy). But these MUMMY trappings suited our purposes perfectly. The Tanna leaves even gave Hyena hay fever.
The one word title, as usual, was one of mine. I liked it because it had that double meaning, covering the Emir's grief over his son, and all the grief (trouble) that this was causing. I have a vague memory that Michael wasn't thrilled by the title, but, hey, I gave him his Tanna Leaves...
One of us had Wolf speak to the second meaning in the episode when he says he's tired of the Gargoyles giving the Pack grief. Just to give things a bit of clarity.
The new Coyote 3.0 surfaces, complete with a slightly new design and that now iconic Xanatos robot head (smashed in his last appearance) displayed on a video screen. (Goliath mentions seeing it, although in the ONLY scene where Goliath could have seen it, it's not visible. Arggh...)
The new Coyote design obeys Frank Paur's general rule of robots, which states that if you're not trying to fool anyone into thinking that the robot is actually a human being, then the design should clearly be inhuman enough so that you'd never think it could be a guy wearing an armored suit.
Coyote's an odd bird in many ways. So like Xanatos, but without his drive and with more of a vengeful nature. Programmed in, I believe, so that he doesn't let anyone or anything stand in the way of X's missions. He's got some fun lines ("Shoot first and ask questions later."), in particular his exchanges about the chain of command...
Coyote: "I'm not programmed to kill without orders.
Wolf: "I'm giving the order!"
Coyote: "You don't qualify."
Coyote: "Is that an order?"
Emir: "YES! Get rid of them!"
Hyena continues to be attracted to a Coyote that doesn't seem interested but also never closes the door on the possibility of hooking up with the cyborg. ("Wanna make sparks fly?" "Later, perhaps.") It's sick and twisted and hard to get your head around, but it sure is fun, culminating with her wonderful complaint to her brother after Jackal destroys Coyote: "Every time I meet a guy I like..." (I also like those buzzsaws on her arms.)
It's important to note that Dingo is already missing from the group. Clearly, during and after "Upgrade" he was rethinking his association with the other members. This doesn't bode well for the Pack as a unit. They're already talking about going their separate ways after the Emir's work is through and are only still together because they owe Xanatos for busting them out of jail. After this, Wolf will head to Scotland, answering the call of his ancestor Hakon. Jackal & Hyena will take a job with Cyberbiotics and head for Guatemala. Dingo will go to work for Fox in his native Australia. Coyote 4.0 will be rebuilt and head for Arizona with Xanatos.
So "Grief" is the Pack's swan song -- that is until a new Coyote forms the Ultra-Pack with Wolf, Jackal & Hyena and a new member... someday...
To be perfectly honest, the Emir entered the Gargoyles Universe as a throwaway line of dialogue to indicate how powerful Xanatos was in "The Edge". If he could keep an Emir waiting, X must be a real bigshot. But Michael and I remembered the line, and used the Emir again as a semi-throwaway in "Double Jeopardy". But by that time, I think we might have already known we'd be seeing him on the World Tour. It's just an example of how the Tapestry seemed to be working for us. Creating opportunities that were so right, it almost seemed as if we were truly tapping into the Gargoyles Universe. How many of you were surprised to see the Emir actually appear?
The Emir was a very successful and poignant character (at least in my opinion). I give most of the credit for that to actor Tony Shaloub and Voice Director Jamie Thomason. Not to knock our wonderful designers and animators who brought that voice to life. But let's face it, he's just a guy in a robe. Now over the course of the ENTIRE production of Gargoyles, I would say that I only missed two voice sessions EVER. But one of them was this pick-up session with Tony. NOW, of course, everyone knows that Tony is an Emmy-winning brilliant actor of movies and television. I just love MONK. But back then, the only thing that Tony was really known for was the Italian immigrant cab driver on WINGS. Pretty cool in and of itself, of course. But having missed the session, I was unprepared for just how wonderful he was as the Emir. Everything from the grief-stricken sighs to the bursts of anger are just wonderful.
And while we're on the subject of voice, how about that other Tony, Tony Jay, as Anubis. He's delicious in three different personae -- as the neutral and imperious Anubis, as the crazed Jackal/Anubis and as the exhausted Emir/Anubis. That vocal effect we did of having both actors (Tony & Tony or Tony & Matt Frewer) read the Avatar lines and blending them together was a bit of accidental brilliance, in my opinion. I'm also glad that they do NOT quite synch up. It's better. The lines basically fit, but they ebb and flow around each other like the magical melding it's supposed to be. It was a bit of a bitch to mix, but I love it.
But I digress. The Emir's heartbroken love for his son is, I think, one of the cleanest and most purest emotions (unencumbered by too much fantasy) that we ever presented. Something very real. When the Emir first pulled out the photo of his son, Erin said "Who is that? Is that his son?" She immediately knew the photo had meaning. (Again, Tony's big sigh really helped.)
And at the end, we (along with Goliath) really hope that after gaining true understanding upon becoming Anubis' Avatar, he is now at rest with his son.
Jackal also truly comes into his own in this episode. I love how he flat out has a thing for jackals. How he admires the Anubis hieroglyph and Anubis himself, calling him "The original model". It's cool and creepy. We also truly get to see Jackal as a sociopath here. I think I've mentioned before that I view Hyena as a psychopath and Jackal as a sociopath, i.e. someone with enough sense to know he's got to do his evil within a schema that allows him to get away with it. But what happens when you free the sociopath from all restrictions. What happens when you give him (Matt & Tony, remember) the powers of Death itself? Well, you see what happens. People die. Lots of them, in theory.
Getting away with that was interesting. I think maybe in Adrienne Bello's mind, everything was set right. Or the fact that we see that Egyptian town age into a ruin didn't count because we weren't seeing ANY human beings die. But we had much more trouble getting those two skeletonized crocs past her than the implied death of an entire town. Misdirection. Or she was just being cool. Or both, i.e. she thought the misdirection was sufficient that she COULD be cool.
I love when Jackal/Anubis says: "Life and Death at my command. I LIKE it!" I also like that he's smart enough and sociopathic enough to co-opt the most dangerous guy in the room: The Emir. The Emir? you ask. Well, yes, it's the Emir who does in fact end up defeating him by rereading the scroll. And Jackal keeps the Emir in his place by holding out the hope to him that he will restore his son.
Seriously, how could we not go to Egypt on the World Tour. How could we skip visiting what Angela refers to as the World's Biggest Gargoyle. So we stuck a fictional temple inside it -- and then trashed it. I think dedicated archaeologists must hate our show, because we're constantly trashing these amazing hidden chambers of antiquity. Maybe I'm getting older or something, but I find myself wincing everytime Goliath and Wolf bust a sacarphogus during a fight, everytime a pillar cracks or the roof falls in. I'm just glad we didn't destroy the Sphinx itself.
Goliath's entrance into the temple isn't one of our most brilliant animated moments. For starters, when Coyote is touching the hieroglyphs, he seems to miss every one. Goliath than claims to be repeating the sequence, but it looks nothing like what Coyote did. Yet it works for both of them. Maybe getting into that temple isn't as hard as it looks.
I love how the power of death flows from Jackal/Anubis and then through the Sphinx's own eyes before striking out at Egypt at large. Almost makes the Sphinx seem to come to life in those shots.
And I do love that shot at the end where the gargs are in stone in front of the stone Sphinx.
Love Wolf's reaction: "Shave my head and call me baldy." (Or something like that, all ramble quotations are approximate.)
The animation effects on this episode are all fantastic, particularly the lighting during tranformations (very reminiscent of "Shadows of the Past"). Gorgeous. Another reason for me to be bummed that Disney closed its Tokyo studio.
I like how Anubis has no real mouth. Certainly no synch to his dialogue. My kids both commented on it. It fascinated them. But I also think it puts him on another level. His speech is that of a god. He requires nothing as mundane as a mouth movement to get his meaning across. (That's why it's so disconcerting in "THE GATHERING, PART ONE" when his mouth opens to laugh. He seems above something as petty as laughter, non?)
And how about Tony Jay and those great lines of godlike neutrality: "I grant but one boon." "Death is always pointless. That is the point." "All are equal in death." "You would not like to see the Jackal God play favorites." Etc.
All right, once again, let me acknowledge my screw up. I should have let Coyote shoot Elisa, Goliath, Bronx and Angela dead. And have nothing happen. At that moment in the ep, no one can die. Emir and Anubis are just covering that in dialogue. Instead, Elisa pulls off a fairly elegant move that allows them to escape. But how much cooler if the distraction were the mere fact that they survived the Pack's barage unscathed? I blew it.
Otherwise, there is some pretty cool action.
Coyote advises Elisa to take her best shot. She does and it's kinda cool. But less cool because she then comments on it.
Coyote's limp afterwards is a nice touch, I think.
When Elisa and the gargs wake up in chains, Erin says: "They all wake up at the same time suddenly." Leave it to a nine-year-old to point out an obvious cheat.
Erin said, "Yuck, disgusting." when Jackal first transformed.
Benny: "He wants to be the strongest, I'm guessing."
Benny didn't quite get why the Gargs were turning old. (Designing a demonstably old Bronx was NOT easy, by the way.) Or for that matter why Hyena and Wolf turned into Cyber-baby and wolf-cub. (Though both kids thought they were cute.) So the exchanging of energies lacked a bit of clarity for our younger audience, perhaps. Still any excuse to give Keith David an opportunity to do a variation on a theme is fun. Like hearing Keith play Thailog, it was also cool to hear him play a very old Goliath. The guy's a maestro of his own voice.
I do remember arguing with Reaves about the Baby and puppy moment. I thought (a) that it was funny and (b) that it was necessary to illustrate Jackal/Anubis' power. Michael simply thought it was too silly in tone. Now, I'm very glad I held firm. I think it's a great moment. And a little in-context humor really helps any episode. (I also love Jackal's "Baby sister" line that prefaces the change.)
I think in hindsight, Goliath's explanation that the gargs aged at half-speed and Jackal didn't know it, is a cheat. They are visibly very old. Internally, they'd be no less old. It's not like Jackal was thinking, "Hmmm, if I age them fifty years that should be enough." He just kept aging them until they were old and feeble. It's also not like biologically a gargoyle's exterior ages faster than his or her interior.
Ironically, commenting on that was not necessary for the purpose of explaining the action. If there had been no explanation and Goliath had used sheer will power to drag himself up for one last feeble attack, I don't think anyone in the audience would have balked. Rather, I think that dialogue was put in by me to definitively establish the fact that Gargs age at half speed. Oh, well...
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?