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Gargoyles DVD

Hey gang -- Good news and bad news time.

I was contacted by John Hanna at Buena Vista Home Video (or whatever the division is called now).

The Gargoyles DVD is definitely ON. As some of you know, I had been concerned since I hadn't heard from John in a long time.

The "bad news" is that it has been moved back to 2004 release to coincide with the TENTH ANNIVERSARY of the series.

As bad news goes, that's sorta cool.


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ATTENTION FANS OF MATT BLUESTONE

Tom Wilson (the voice of Matt Bluestone) is currently recurring on the NBC series Ed, playing a widowered fireman and a potential love-interet for the Molly Hudson character, played by actress Leslie Boone, whom I've also worked with on 3x3 EYES. (Leslie is a very good friend of Thom "Lexington" Adcox.)

I've worked with Tom on most of the series where I had some control over casting, like MAX STEEL and TEAM ATLANTIS. He's one of my absolute favorite performers, and he and Leslie make a very cute couple. He's already been on two episodes. I don't know how long a run he'll get. But I hope he sticks around.


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Chapter XLII: "Sanctuary"

Time to ramble...

This episode was directed by Dennis Woodyard, written and story edited by Cary Bates.

The one word title, as usual, was one of mine. I thought initially that we'd be even more focused on the Cathedral. That we might play a Quasimodo character. Heck, if Disney's "Hunchback" movie was going to have living gargoyles bouncing around, then I could have a Quasimodo swinging from the bell-ropes.

But the story, thank goodness, rightly evolved into a family drama with Goliath, Elisa, Angela, Demona, Macbeth and Thailog (and Bronx) providing us with one very ODD family. Quasimodo went away in favor of Thailog.

And we had to work a bit to make sure the thematic idea of the heart as a Sanctuary worked its way into the picture. Thank God for that French minister, eh?

During the "Previously..." recap the following exchange was heard between my eight year old daughter Erin and my five year old son Ben, after Angela learns (in that scene from "Monsters") that Goliath is her biological father:

Benny: He IS her father. He laid the egg.
Erin: Girls lay eggs.
Benny: His wife laid the egg.

ROMANCE

Enter, for the third time or the first (or, depending on your point of view, maybe this one doesn't count either), Ms. Dominique Destine. She tells Mac, "We have all the time in the world..."

This for me (and I know for Bond expert Cary) was a very memorable line from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." And always a good sign that a relationship is going to come to a bad end.

Elisa tips her hand, which she can do cuz no one is awake, about how she really feels about Goliath here. "The most romantic city in the world and Goliath isn't awake to share it with me." (Or something like that, all quotations are approximate.) That's what she'd like to do, I'd wager. Soar over Paris with G. the way they soared over Manhattan in "Awakenings". Now had he been awake, do you think she would have made that request? Or would she in fact be distancing herself from him simply BECAUSE she had that impulse?

After her adventure on the Loch, it's nice to see Margot on a pleasant little stroll through Paris.

THE GARGOYLE WAY

Why is Goliath so resistant to parenting Angela? After all, though they're really more like younger brothers, he does his fair share of parenting the Trio.

He falls back on "The Gargoyle Way", but that's certainly inadequate, as Diane Maza will later point out. Yes, he's only one of her rookery fathers, but he's (a) the only one there and (b) the only one left alive except for the two souls trapped inside the AWOL Coldstone.

Ultimately, I think the answer is that Angela's sudden obssession with her "BIOLOGICAL" parentage makes him nervous because of the obvious extrapolation to what comes next. If she's obssessed with me as Daddy, then what happens when she learns who Mommy is?

And that's the key. He's divorced Demona. His wife who laid the egg. It took centuries and months, but after "Vows" he moved on. Now he sees Demona as a nemesis. A painful one to be sure, but a nemesis none the less. He's afraid of what the knowledge will do to Angela. He's afraid of what Demona will do with Angela, should Angela share that knowledge. And is he perhaps afraid of what -- under Demona's influence -- Angela might become?

THE CATHEDRAL

There's some nice animation in this episode -- but none of it is at Notre Dame. That sequence put us through fits in retakes and editing. Ugghh. It's still painful to look at.

But there's some nice stuff going on...

Demona says: "In here my love." to Goliath before she realizes its not Thailog. What did you all think of that line? At this point we had only seen one silhouetted monster from a distance. And since you knew Demona was in town, we intentionally tried to lead you to belive that she was the Monster at Notre Dame. Were you expecting Thailog? Or did you think that Demona was addressing G as 'my love'?

Goliath's arrival is a shock to her, so what did you think then?

Then Thailog's arrival is supposed to be a bigger shock to you guys. Was it?

I love hearing Thailog say: "My angel of the night."

Demona has a good line too: "Jealous and paranoid."

Later, we set up Nightstone Unlimited and their two "human" identities, Alexander Thailog and Dominique Destine.

At this point in production, we knew that Fox was going to have a baby but we had not named it yet. I couldn't think of a better first name for Thailog and later I couldn't think of a better first name for Alexander Xanatos. At first this bugged me. But I began to realize it made perfect sense. Xanatos had programmed his "first" son well. If X would pick Alexander, why wouldn't T have picked it as well. And there's something so symmetrical about both his kids being named Alexander.

TOURISTS

Elisa sits at a french cafe talking out loud to herself. Ugh. Very awkward. Obviously, we couldn't come up with a solution we liked better. I'm sure it occured to me to do it in voice over, but just chucking a V.O. sequence in the middle of an ep is very awkward too. Suddenly, the movie is POV Elisa, and we weren't doing that here. (Cf. "Revelations" and Matt's VO narration.)

I do like her last line though, coming as it did from a long time Superman scripter, Cary Bates: "This is a job... for the Gargoyles!"

THE WEDDING NIGHT

We had Macbeth use the Lennox Macbeth name instead of Lennox Macduff because we thought it would be too confusing to give him an entirely different name to any new viewers. And it makes sense that he has multiple aliases. But it still bugs me and I think in hindsight, I wish we had just been consistent.

Demona kicks Macbeth into unconsciousness, and Erin asks: "Why didn't she get hurt?"

And that's a very fair question. As usual with D&M's Corsican Brother connection, we tried very hard to be faithful to it, but it was very hard. And we wound up being a bit inconsistent. The best I can suggest is that when Demona knows she's going to hurt M and it isn't just on impulse, she can more or less steel herself against the magical feedback. It's still painful. But she doesn't show it as much.

The Gargoyles wake up and Elisa says: "Look alive, guys!" Well, they do now, don't they?

I love how Thailog slips Mac the gun and then later yells at Demona, "Didn't you search him?!" He's an evil genius that one. And passive-aggressive too.

Thailog's plan is brilliant, I think. So elegant. So simple. And if not for Elisa, so effective.

Mac's suicidal tendencies resurface. Demona's legendary temper gets the better of her common sense.

Thailog really comes into his own in this ep. Sure, Xanatos said he may have created a monster, but now Thailog has outsmarted X, D and M. Who the hell is left to outsmart?

And he has some great lines too:

"You and what clan?"

"Teamwork is so overrated."

"Aren't you spunky?'" (Another Lou Grant reference of course.)

To be fair, he couldn't immediately know that Angela was blood kin, but still doesn't his reaction to her give you the creeps? When X says Angela is lovely in "Cloud Fathers" I don't think anyone thought he was being salacious. But T? Yeah, baby.

Of course, Goliath finally gets the picture after this one. Up to this point, he was thinking Demona's the lost cause but maybe Thailog is salvagable. Now he knows better. At least about T anyway.

BATTLE

There's a lot of water in that water tower. It looks cool though. The animation here makes up for the Cathedral stuff.

I love Goliath's two-handed punch.

I love Demona's punch-drunken sway, as she makes her move to, as Mac says, "put us out of our misery..."

But I've always wondered why the background painters put multiple pictures of Elisa on the wall of Macbeth's chateau. Odd, that.

When I was young, I used to love MASH, particularly back in the Wayne Rogers days. (And, yes, Wayne is a friend of my dad's now. But they didn't know each other back then so I was unbiased.) But one thing that used to drive me nuts was the repetition of the following exchange:

<LOTS OF SHELLING IS ROCKING THE HOSPITAL. SUDDENLY, IT STOPS.>

Hawkeye: Do you hear that?
Someone else: Hear what?
Hawkeye: Silence! The shelling's stopped!

This was fine the first time they used it. By the twentieth time it got VERY old.

But we do a version of it here after Elisa shoots Demona ending the battle.

Why? When it used to drive me nuts? It's amazing what I'll pay tribute too.

KEITH meet MR. DAVID

I love playing Thailog against Goliath, because I love those Thailog/Goliath exchanges where Keith plays both roles. That's one of the main reasons we created Thailog. To enjoy listening to Keith go to town.

1st Epilogue:

Goliath: "She has done you a favor, Macbeth."

That line should be a bit of a shock when G first says it. But it makes a lot of sense after he explains. And I love the look that Goliath and Elisa share. They aren't even pretending they don't share those feelings. They just won't act on them.

And how about Goliath actually telling a joke: "Just make sure you get a good look at her at night." Word.

2nd Epilogue:

One of the things I like about our series is we didn't have to end each episode the same way.

This one ends rather darkly. Goliath won't acknowledge the obvious. He just broods. Angela turns to Elisa: "Elisa, I have to know." And Elisa confirms that Demona is Angela's mother, because it's ridiculous to either lie or to not confirm the obvious that Angela has already figured out. But she knows G didn't want A to know that. So everyone is left unhappy as we sail into the fog.

And Erin ends the episode saying: "I think Elisa should be her mother."

(Me, I've always seen them sharing a more sisterly relationship. But I thought Erin's idea was sweet, and certainly came out of the sexual tension between E&G.)

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


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Sanctuary Outline Memo

In prep for my ramble on Sanctuary, here's my notes to Story Editor/Writer Cary Bates on his first outline for "Sanctuary"...

WEISMAN 2-13-95

Notes on "Sanctuary" Outline...

GENERAL
Cary, I'm going to resist the temptation of beating this all out for you. That's how I got so far behind before. And at this stage I doubt I could do it any faster or better than you. So I want you to do a second draft on this outline, addressing ALL of the notes below. I sympathize, in advance. This is a complicated story. But I know we (meaning mostly you) can make it work. Don't take too long. And feel free to call after you've read this. We may be able to work out some of the problems over the phone. Good luck and here goes:

"SANCTUARY"
How does the title fit? What is the theme of the story? Is it about feeling safe? Safe in the arms of someone you love? I like that notion, but we'd have to emphasize it a lot more.

And simultaneously, more of the action should be centered around Notre Dame Cathedral. Economically, we can't afford to design backgrounds for an entire city. So we should keep the action focused on a few locations, that climax at the gargoyle covered cathedral-"sanctuary".

Plus, we don't want newspapers to be generically talking about a "mysterious winged creature". We want them focused on the Creature haunting the Cathedral at night. Maybe they think it's someone posing as Quasimodo, or his spirit or maybe they even think it's a gargoyle come to life or something. Of course, it's really Thailog. (Not Demona, by the way.) He's been there since "Double Jeopardy". Arriving long before Demona and Macbeth arrived.

We need to involve Thailog more at the end. Make him part of the conflict. I think he would have upgraded a bit. Used some of that $20 million to armor himself for battle. Not necessarily robotic armor, but at least a chestplate. Maybe wrist and shin guards. Keep in mind, we want him to be more powerful than Goliath and more threatening than any other villain. We should probably arm him with some big high-tech bazooka/laser/cannon type-thing too.

And we don't have to break up Demona and Thailog at the end. We just need to know that Thailog doesn't really care for her.

Remember, Thailog's plan isn't to kill Demona and Macbeth for the sake of killing them. He wants what they have managed to acquire over the last nine hundred years. If he could add that to the fortune he's parlayed from the money he stole from Xanatos, he might be able to compete with Xanatos financially. He needs to have already merged Demona's holdings with his own. So that his corporation (and we should get a cool, evocative name for it) we'll inherit in the case of her demise. And he wants to inherit Macbeth's stuff too. So if Mac and Dierdre marry, and both die together, (which is the only way they can die) he'll get everything.

Now, I'm not pretending this is easy to accomplish. As I read the outline, I was wondering if we needed a maguffin or two to symbolize this wealth. Maybe Macbeth's Paris Mansion itself. But we managed to figure something out for "Outfoxed" that clearly and dynamically spelled out Halcyon and Fox's "financial conflict". We can do the same thing here. With the same clarity.

OTHER QUESTIONS
Does Macbeth plan on telling "Dierdre" the truth about himself?

Is this the first time since Gruoch that Macbeth has been in love? Since he's an immortal has he avoided close relationships, not wanting to outlive his lover? Or watch her grow old? Or has he been through this before? Maybe not often, but once or twice over the last nine hundred years. How did he handle it in the past? Is he doing something different now? Highlander questions, basically.

Is Macbeth afraid for Dierdre's life? Does he think Demona might try to harm Dierdre to get back at him?

Do Goliath, Elisa and Angela assume at first that Macbeth and human Demona are in cahoots and only realize/remember later that since M&D have no memory of anything between City of Stone and Avalon, that Macbeth might not know that this human woman is in fact Demona?

Do we have an opportunity, maybe when Goliath and Elisa are searching Paris for the villains, for them to be romanitcally affected by the City of Lights?

When it's over, instead of Macbeth simply remaining bitter and once again suicidal, could Goliath point out to him that life offers possibilities... that if Macbeth could fall in love with Demona, he could certainly fall in love with someone else? Someone nice who would make his long life worth living again, at least for a time.

SOME SPECIFICS
A bunch of things, (some of which Cary the Story Editor should have been able to catch from his reading of past scripts, tsk tsk). Some of these notes may be moot after a rewrite of the outline.

Beat 2) Goliath, Elisa and Angela know that Demona and Macbeth left Avalon unconcious and together. Wherever they landed it would also have to be together. (Of course, Goliath and Co. have been travelling for awhile. So there's no guarantee that Macbeth and Demona stayed together after landing wherever they landed. It's just a good bet.)

There's also no reason for Goliath to assume that Macbeth and Demona are involved with each other still. (After all, they hate each other.) Also no reason to assume that Macbeth would be hurt by the association. And though there's no love left between Demona and Goliath, Goliath has no reason to feel sympathy for Macbeth. The audience might. Some of them would know Mac's backstory from City of Stone and sympathyze, but Goliath doesn't know the whole story. And he's got no reason to think more of Macbeth than Demona. Ironically, it is Thailog, more evil than any of the others, who Goliath would have the most sympathy for. He sees Thailog as a victim of poor upbringing. He'd like to reform and rescue his "son".

On the other hand, by this time Goliath believes that they land everywhere for a purpose. If he sees Macbeth and/or Demona, it's not too big a leap for him to figure that whatever the purpose, it involves these villains.

Beat 4) Again, here we'd like the headlines to be more specific to the Cathedral.

Beat 5) Elisa would recognize the human Demona from "High Noon".

Beat 7) We are forcing the creation of a lot of different sets and backgrounds here. Also don't forget that Demona's transformations to gargoyle (and back) are painful. Also don't forget that Macbeth feels any pain that Demona feels and vice versa. Distance reduces the pain, but we've never been really specific about how much distance or what the reduction is. Does Macbeth, across town, feel a little of Demona's pain at transformation? If so, he could blame Demona, knowing as he does, that he feels her pain. All that would tell him is that Demona is in the vicinity. It wouldn't reveal that Demona is Dierdre, unless he saw her transform. On the other hand, Demona might be far enough away that Macbeth feels nothing. Or just a slight twinge of soreness, that he doesn't immediately connect with Demona. We can play it any of these ways, we just need to deal with this "Corsican Brother"-style pain-sharing. We can't ignore it.

Beat 10) We've got a lot of set-up with little action up to this point. Maybe we can streamline a bit. Also, it feels like Mac's hovercraft might be a little unwieldy for this sequence. Maybe he's on the flying equivalent of a jet-ski or something a bit more svelt.

But there's another big question. What is Macbeth's objective towards Demona at this point? He knows that the only way to rid himself of her is to die himself. He may have forgotten the lessons of City of Stone and Avalon, but I would think that his love for Dierdre would prevent him from wanting to die. Later we imply that he's chasing Demona in order to chase her out of town. But that's pretty goofy logic. "I haven't seen you in weeks. So I'm going to hunt you down, to make sure you stay out of my life."

Beat 11) We definitely want to do something with the Eiffel Tower. Maybe even stage a battle there in the first or second act. But the Tower is open to tourists at night. Does anyone see them hanging there? Or are we way into wee hours by this time?

Beat 13) Goliath can't steal this guys camcorder. He's not a thief. Even destroying it is pretty malicious for Goliath, who's never gone too far out of his way to hide from humans.

Beat 16) Gargoyles don't kiss. They stroke hair. And it's "Notre Dame" ("Our Lady"), not "Notre Damn" ("Our Damnation"?)

Beat 17) The Cathedral is a very temporary safe house for Thailog while some safer, new place is being built for him. (Or maybe that's part of what Thailog is after: Macbeth's Paris Mansion.) It is not abandoned. Thailog is safe their during the day, because he's like a needle in a gargoyle haystack. After dark, he can stay out of sight in the upper reaches, until the Cathedral closes for the night. But he can't have much of a set-up there. Computers? Paintings? I don't think so. Particularly when we've got reports of a creature climbing around the church at night. People might investigate. They wouldn't find Thailog. But what would they make of that computer?

Beat 18) Demona may have no desire to "see" Goliath, since she found Thailog. But she'd still want him dead. Plus she MUST be curious about this female gargoyle. She thinks she knows all the gargoyles that exist, and none of them are female. She'd have to know. (And for that matter, so would Thailog.)

Beat 19) Think about how silly it would look in live action, if a villain who looked like Thailog, whipped out a brush and in a few seconds added a necklace to a painting. It's equally silly looking in animation. Maybe moreso because it's so easy to do.

I don't understand the pre-nuptual agreement at all. Why does Macbeth feel he needs it? (And don't tell me his lawyers push him around.) Besides, the whole idea of it goes against what we want to have happen in the story. Thailog wants Mac and Demona to get married. And have Demona inherit so that he can inherit from her, when both Demona and Mac die. Or am I missing something? I don't think we want this to be about stealing money from a safe. That's small potatos for Thailog and Demona. Either we need to have some irreplaceable (possibly magical) maguffin in that safe, or we should be dealing with the whole ball of wax. The former would probably be easier, but I'd like to go for the latter ball of wax if we can.

Beat 20) Again, I don't buy Macbeth's logic for hunting down Demona.

Beat 21) Angela can't operate a camcorder. She's not Lex. (And as noted above, I don't see anyway for our guys to have this anyhow.) Plus she wouldn't recognize Thailog. Also it feels like a pretty big jump for Goliath to figure that Demona and Thailog are working together. Not an impossible jump, but a big one.

Also, I was unclear. Did Goliath have a chance to give instructions to Elisa or did he turn to stone before he had time?

Beat 23) Again, I don't believe Macbeth lets lawyers push him around. And I don't think we need this pre-nup agreement in the story.

Beat 24) I really don't like this camcorder. And I don't know why Elisa needs it here. Like if she followed Mac and Dem, returned to Goliath without visual proof he wouldn't believe her story?

Beat 25) "How can I prove my love to you?" "Give me the combination to your safe." Yeah, that wouldn't make me suspicious.
I'd almost rather play any scene like this where Macbeth is insisting on giving something to Dierdre, who protests that she doesn't want it. The more she protests that all she needs is his love, the more he wants to lavish on her. In this way, he is predictable, but he's not being fooled by "crocodile tears" into doing something that seems incredibly fishy.

Beat 26) Again, Elisa would recognize human Demona from "High Noon" the first time she saw her. But here I was entirely unclear. How does footage of Dierdre prove that she's Demona, when Elisa didn't recognize her in person?

And this bit about Dierdre being Demona's name...? Gargoyles didn't have names in the tenth century. Naming is a human convention. Goliath referred to Demona back then as his angel love, or his angel of the night. Do we want to change "Dierdre" to "Angel" or "Angelica" or "Angelique". I don't know if you still need this, since Elisa would recognize human Demona, but I suppose you could, as long as we wouldn't be confusing the audience with Angela.

Why wouldn't Goliath want Elisa along? And why would Elisa agree to stay behind?

And what is it that Angela's staring at? Footage of human Dierdre? This isn't going to help her make the connection between herself and Demona. Visual clues aren't really the answer at all, since she would have seen Demona in the Avalon 3-parter. She learned from Sevarius that Goliath was her biological father. Here she learns that Demona was Goliath's love all those years ago. She puts two and two together over the course of the episode. Figuring out the truth only after she's already come to regard Demona as evil. You won't have room here to deal with the ramifications of that discovery. You're just setting things up for another story.

Beat 27) Why does Macbeth want to capture Goliath and Angela if he wants to get Gargoyles out of his life for good?

Beat 28) Goliath is "spreading" lies? To who? I mean we know he's not. But who does Macbeth think he's spreading lies to, that makes him want to imprison Goliath to stop it?

Also Macbeth could NOT have heard about Thailog. He was under the Weird Sister's spell when Thailog made his only other appearance. Besides who would he have heard about him from?

Beat 32) Again, not at all happy about Thailog's magic paintbrush. Particularly since it proves nothing here. It's not a photograph. If Macbeth thinks Goliath might lie about Dierdre, why wouldn't he think that this is a further lie somehow accomplished by Goliath.

Beat 33) I'm glad Macbeth keeps his cook. That guy can make a mean omelette.

Beat 36) Again, don't forget that Macbeth and Demona feel each other's pain while fighting.

Beat 39) These are huge leaps for Angela to make. How does she know this about Thailog. Also does Thailog show up there, state what he states and then not get involved in the fight? Or is that a typo for Goliath? Maybe we should let the battle climax at the Cathedral. Thailog is there. Goliath tries to "save" his son from Demona's evil. (Goliath assumes this plan is Demona's, not Thailog's.) Thailog just laughs. Reveals he wants Mac and Demona to kill each other. And he'll kill Goliath to prevent him interferring. Or something like that.

Beat 41) Killing Demona would at least knock Macbeth out.

Beat 42) Again, doesn't Thailog want anything besides their deaths?

Beat 44) Goliath still needs to be in some discomfort vis-a-vis the biological mother and father thing. It's not the gargoyle way. Brynne is going to deal with this (she'll have the space to deal with it) in her Africa story. Let Elisa be the one who confirms Angela's suspicions.

Beat 45) Again, I think we're working against our own ends. Why does Thailog need Macbeth and Demona dead, if not for what he can gain by their deaths?

Beat 46) Again, I think we can let Demona and Thailog go off together. Also, we've spent the whole episode with Demona turning back and forth from human to gargoyle. Demona does not turn to stone -- ever.

Beat 47) Angela should not get any comfort from Goliath in this episode. You don't have the time to deal with it here. If she receives comfort, it would come from Elisa.

MOVING FORWARD
O.k. try another pass. I'd streamline, by opening with the skiff arriving in daylight. Elisa leaves the stone gargoyles on the skiff tied under a bridge and goes to explore Paris. A place she's never been. She probably calls home again. Maybe she tries her parents this time, and again gets an answering machine. To save money on a voice actor, the answering message can be one that Elisa recorded for her parents months ago. (My sister is on my parents' machine with a message she recorded two years ago.) Elisa's voice says something like: "My parents don't know how to work their answering machine, but if you leave a message for Peter or Diane Maza, there's a fifty-fifty chance they'll call you back"). You don't have to jump through hoops to get the message erased this time. Then she briefly wanders around Paris like a tourist until she spots Mac and "Dierdre" who she immediately recognizes as Demona. She doesn't know that Mac doesn't know it's Demona. She'd probably assume they're up to something bad together. And also guess that they're why she and Goliath, etc. have landed in Paris. She follows them at a safe distance, etc. She doesn't want to get spotted. Near nightfall, she might head back so that she can inform Goliath when he awakens. Or she might not want to lose Macbeth and Demona until after she's found their H.Q. Or maybe when Mac and Dierdre split up, Elisa follows Dierdre to see where she lands, then loses her among the tourists at the cathedral.

Anyway, that's somewhere to start.


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Chapter XXXXI: "Golem"

Time to Ramble...

This episode was directed by Frank Paur and was really based on an idea of his that pre-dated the introduction of Renard in "Outfoxed".

The episode was written and story edited by Gary Sperling. Gary selected this episode, because he felt he had an affinity for the subject matter and because his brother, a Rabbi, was able to advise him on things like the Hebrew, etc. (But I tell you, recording some of that Hebrew was a bitch.)

I love most of the backgrounds on this episode. Very striking and atmospheric.

RENARD & CO.

My eight-year-old daughter Erin spotted Renard, and immediately recognized him as "Fox's father." I think Robert Culp does a great job with Renard. And (futzing aside) with the Golem as well.

Vogel's back with no explanation or indication that he fell out of favor. I guess Goliath's speech to Renard at the end of "Outfoxed" carried real weight. I think it shows something in Renard that he's able to give Vogel a second chance.

And Renard's other compatriot is Brod. A new gangster of the new Eastern-European school. I can't remember if I already had plans to pit Brod against Dracon. But I liked the contrast between them. And I like how tough and fearless Brod is. And also how outside-the-box he is in his thinking. He'd rather have the hovercraft than a cash payment. He sees the advantage.

Goliath spots Renard (and vice versa). Renard isn't pleased, cuz he knows he's doing wrong and doesn't need a reminder that he used to lecture people on integrity.

Goliath IS pleased, initially, because he sees Renard as a potential ride home. Here, and for the last time until probably "Ill Met by Moonlight" and "Future Tense", the focus is still on GETTING HOME.

But for Renard, the focus is on living. ("Integrity is a luxury I can no longer afford.") Goliath is stunned. He calls Renard someone "I thought I knew."

There's some nice climbing here. Just visually, the way the gang climbs up the bridge. The way Angela and Bronx climb up the tower. The way Bronx later climbs down. I just think it's cool.

ELISA & MAX and GOLIATH & THE GOLEM

I also like Elisa and Max's little exchange at the beginning.

Max: What are you looking for?
Elisa: New York.

Max was consciously designed to parallel Elisa. And she at least, notices the connection. When she says "The Golem needs you as much as you need it." I think she's thinking about her relationship to Goliath. (It may be a touch arrogant, but it's accurate too.)

He's the human ally and advisor (sometimes guide) to a protector made of stone and clay. The parallels of Golem to Gargoyle are obvious, and the main reason why I felt we HAD to do this episode. (Probably the main reason why Frank suggested it in the first place.) I love how Keith read: "So this Golem is a protector." He likes the whole idea. It's almost sweet in a way.

Max is just less confident than Elisa ever was: "What if it doesn't like me?" I don't think Elisa ever worried about that, at least not after she learned that Goliath could talk.

Elisa actually has a bunch of fun lines here:

"Hit it, Bronx!"
"Don't worry. We're the Good Guys!"
"And you get used to the weirdness."

I like how the Renard/Golem turns the lamp-post into a pretzel. But on my tape, he smashes a car that was already smashed. Did that get corrected for later airings?

I also thought it was a nice touch when he knocked over Edgar Blosa's tombstone. I know that was an homage to some movie. Maybe an Ed Wood film? But now I'm blanking out?

POWER-DRUNK/POWER-SOBER

Renard as the Golem is corrupted rather rapidly (if shallowly) by his newfound power. That was the idea. That a man who had been trapped in the prison of his own body would get flat-out drunk on the freedom and strength that the Golem offered: "Instant respect. I could get used to this."

But like any high, one eventually comes down.

And Elisa is the first to start to sober him up. "You're enjoying this!" she yells. It stops him. Cuz he is. But cuz he's not so far gone that he shouldn't know better. He flees. Not because anyone has yet provided an adequate threat. He's really running from himself. But that translates to: let me just get out of here.

Renard actually says, "It's not my fault!" which of course was the one phrase that used to drive him crazy.

Goliath has a great comeback: "A weak body is no excuse for a corrupt spirit." That's classic Goliath, I think.

I love the close up shot of the Renard/Golem looking over his shoulder, weighing it all. Wondering what his alternative is beyond accepting his fate, i.e. his death by whatever disease was killing him.

And I love Goliath's next follow up too: "You've given up all you believe in... for a piece of clay."

I'm sure some people thought Renard's turn-around was too sudden. But between Elisa, Goliath and some well-chosen words from Max ("Can you live with yourself"), and Renard's basic decency, I have no problem accepting it when he finally says, "What have I become?"

THE FINAL BATTLE

Elisa really rocks in this episode I think. That may have been the thing I most noticed in this viewing. I don't think of this as one where she was particularly featured, but she really does great. I love her little "Hi there." close up moment before she decks the bad guy with a punch that comes right into camera and flashes red. (Of course, I doubt you could do that these days.)

I like all the stuff with Golem and the hovercraft.

I'm also reminded here of the end of "Awakening, Part Five" when Goliath is holding Xanatos and on the verge of dropping him to his death. Elisa and Hudson talk him out of it. And Max fulfills the same function for the Golem. And I love Max's line, which is traditional: "Love Justice and Do Mercy." So simple and eleoquent. So right.

In any case, I guess that makes Brod the Xanatos of Prague. Except clearly he didn't fare as well. The Golem's appearance must have convinced him to seek out new "Turf", if you know what I mean.

THE WORLD TOUR

Finally, Goliath has learned something about all Max's talk about destiny and making choices. He finally realizes that Avalon isn't simply messing with them. But that there is purpose and need and destiny. He could choose to skip it. He could hitch a ride with Renard back to Manhattan. But he won't run away. So instead he'll take the Skiff.

Now the World Tour can finally start in earnest. Sure, the audience still wonders when and if the quartet will ever get home. But I think the tenor of it changes now. Now there's an expectation. I think, had we not had to air so many damn reruns during the original run of the Tour in winter/spring of 1996, the audience would have been much more patient after this episode. Like Goliath, they would have understood.

Elisa makes the same choice. Although for her, it's less about quests and destiny than about abandoning her friends: "You guys would be lost without me." And again, kidding or not, there's a certain arrogance. But a lot of accuracy as well.

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


Bookmark Link

BACK TO THE PILOT...

On 7-15-93, I sent our writer a memo, sending him from outline on the Gargoyles multi-part pilot (what would eventually be dubbed "Awakening") to script (with notes).

So now it's two months later. In the interrum, the writer turned in a script, but it had become clear that he wasn't locking into the vision of the show that Gary Krisel and I had. This isn't meant as a criticism of this writer. This show was so new to Disney it was hard to get the template across to people. Fortunately, the next writer we brought on hit a home-run. That writer was, of course, Michael Reaves. What follows is a LONG memo I sent him with the previous writer's script. Everything else should be fairly self-explanitory, though I've added the occassional note in [brackets].

To: Michael Reaves 9-19-93

From: Greg Weisman (818)-754-7436

Re: Notes for Gargoyles Script

cc: Paul Lacy, Jay Fukuto, Bruce Cranston.

Michael, here are our collated and copious notes on [the previous writer's] script. Some of them are probably obvious to you, so forgive me if I tend to go on and on. Enclosed with this memo is a copy of Eric's script on disk, hopefully formatted to suit your needs, and the original beat outline for the 10th century section that we gave to [the previous writer] in March to get him started. We thought reading the latter might give you a clearer idea of what we were aiming for. You'll notice that [the previous writer] compressed the events of 994 from three nights into two. This obviously saved him some space but limited his ability to set up characters, motivations, themes, logistics, etc. I'm only bringing this up to allow you the flexibility to do either. Also available but not included is the outline that he wrote, which we approved to script with five pages of notes. Just let me or Paul know if you want to see either document.

SOME GENERAL NOTES:
--Obviously, the dialogue needs improvement. Each character must have his or her own unique VOICE. Diction must be chosen carefully. We don't want Goliath to sound arch and artificial, but he shouldn't be spouting colloquialisms either. Plus everyone should only say things that make sense for them to say.

--Motivations which once seemed clear to us have been buried or lost entirely. We must make these clear and understandable.

--Goliath's arc in particular must be made clear. He begins as an optimist. He has a job to do and he does it well. He believes that humans have a lot to offer to gargoyles (like reading and writing, for example), and that gargoyles also have a lot to offer to humans. He puts up with the Queen [soon to be demoted to Princess, i.e. Princess Katharine] because whether she's grateful or bitchy is largely immaterial to the fact that he will be true to himself, i.e. a gargoyle who protects his home. When he is betrayed, he becomes embittered. He has learned to hate and mistrust humans...he begins to see the world in Demona's black and white terms. Gargoyles, good; humans, bad. It may be a mind-set that he almost has to struggle to maintain: it's against his better nature. But he's determined not to trust again. Elisa changes him. He rediscovers his optimism through her. And the realization that Demona participated in the betrayal cements it. The world has shades of gray again. It's a tough world, but worthy of effort.

--Themes are likewise buried or lost. In addition to Goliath's major arc, the most important theme is, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Even Goliath is prone to fall into the trap of appearances. We should emphasize it as much as possible. A secondary theme is the "man out of his time" idea. We should never forget how strange the twentieth century must seem to our gargoyles.

--Ideally, we'd like to have some lighter moments of humor, both to offset the tension and to throw it into relief. But that doesn't mean we need brainless sight-gags or goofy pseudo-Spider-Man quips.

--As we discussed, you may want to open the whole piece with a VERY brief twentieth century scene between Elisa and another cop, looking at the fallen debris (claw-marks included) and wondering what could have caused this.

--Also remember that Gargoyles can't fly. They can glide, and we will cheat this using updrafts and downdrafts to keep them in the air, but if they're on the ground they have to get some height (perhaps by clawing their way up a building). They absolutely CANNOT take off by running fast at ground level.

--Gargoyles normally have pupils, but when they are angry or fighting, their eyes glow solidly.

PAGE NOTES
PAGE 1
As we imagined it, the castle was built on top of a Gargoyle rookery. The rookery itself was a series of tunnels carved into a cliffside overlooking the sea. This gave the inhabitants (both Gargoyle and Human) protection on all sides but one. The scene between Brian and his mother was originally to take place within a hundred feet and in clear view of the castle gates as they struggled up the hill toward the castle on the promontory. They are probably serfs. It's doubtful they had a village to burn down. The castle would have been the center of the community. We're not even sure whether it's necessary for the marauders to have already attacked their farm. (How would they have survived that, anyway?) Brian's desire to stand and fight seems off point. The fight's gonna happen where it should happen, at the castle.

Incidentally, for reasons that escaped us, [the previous writer] changed the boy's name from ROBBY to BRIAN. It doesn't really matter, but for some reason, Brian seems like a more modern name. Robby may be no better, however, so feel free to use either name or come up with a new one. [Of course, Michael changed the name to Tom. So in "Three Brothers" I used the Robby name for the young Captain.]

PAGE 2
Cole is a very wordy marauder. Also his reasoning's a bit off. He's in no real hurry to catch the farmers. He's after bigger game: the castle. If he takes that, he'll get everyone's possessions including the farmers. He's on a steady march up the hill. [Cole, of course, became Hakon and the marauders became Vikings.]

PAGE 3
Waiting for dusk to obscure the archer's vision is o.k., but obviously, waiting for nightfall when they can't see anything makes even more sense.

We saw the Captain as anything but handsome. A burly gargoyle of a man, ugly even. A real career soldier. Not necessarily a native to the castle. Someone who would get as little respect from the queen as Goliath does. Someone who could identify more with the gargoyles than with the humans he works for.

PAGE 4
The conversation between the marauders is too on the head. Telegraphs TOO much. I think the point was supposed to be that even in 994, real gargoyles were fairly rare and many castles had adopted the practice of putting fake ones up to scare off the likes of Cole. Cole is taking a calculated risk in attacking a gargoyle covered castle at night. I did think it was a nice moment when Cole ordered his men on and then silently stared at the castle, before shrugging off his fears.

The captain should have his archers ready, but Cole's keeping his men out of range, waiting for nightfall.

At some point we may need to clarify why the marauders are attacking. The idea is monetary gain. Confiscate anything of value. Drag the people away in chains. Perhaps ransom the valuable ones. Sell the others as slaves.

PAGE 5
O.k., the gargoyle's transformation from stone to flesh is not a magical one. It's biological. No magical light. We've discussed that every sundown they turn back to flesh from the inside out and when all that's left is a thin layer of stone on top, it starts to crack, and they explode out of it. (This is like a snake shedding it's skin for a new one underneath.) It's also up for grabs whether we want to show the complete transformation here. It may be better saved for when they first wake up in the twentieth century. Your call.

PAGE 6
In this first battle, the Marauders never make it over the wall. The battle takes place in front of the castle, and maybe on the wall a bit.

Bronx does not panic and hide. Again, think of Hooch in Turner and Hooch. He's dangerous in a fight.

The "gargoyles-don't-have-names" stuff must seem totally incomprehensible to you from this script, but we actually do think it can work, so as we go through the script, I'll try and show you what we had in mind. One key thing to remember is that in the tenth century, gargoyles felt that naming something defined and limited that thing. Goliath was named by the humans, (and you'll notice that the humans chose the name of a monstrous biblical villain, which kinda indicates their opinion of gargoyles in general). If gargoyles do need to refer to each other, they do it based on the individual relationship. So on this page, Goliath would never refer to Hudson as "Old One", but might refer to him as "old friend".

PAGE 7
Goliath: "We'll take care of it, son. You get your mother to safety." All of a sudden I expect to see a big red S on his chest. No thanks.

Plus Brian (or Robby or whatever) drives me nuts. This kid is too precocious. We don't need to see him leaping into battle. And we need to remember, Gargoyles are scary to humans, even to humans that gargoyles protect. Brian may have a more open mind than his mother, but the mistrust may not fully go away until the end of the tenth century sequence. Brian isn't hero-struck by Goliath. He's intimidated. (Of course this whole scene may go, since the marauders aren't gonna make it over the wall, here.)

The trio are NOT kids. They are the human equivalent of 19 years old, which would easily make them warriors in their own right. Not necessarily mature, but old enough to fight and not whine.

"Earned your claws" is an odd expression. I don't think I like it, but I'm not sure.

PAGE 8
Like "Old One" for Hudson, "Beautiful One" in reference to Demona is just an awkward substitute name. If Goliath must refer to her, it would be by relationship...something like "my love".

And they do love each other, so we don't need any pseudo-"Moonlighting" sparring. She would certainly not refer to him as "Presumptuous One."

And we probably don't need any 20th century airplane jargon, like Double Barrel Roll, etc.

Bronx is NOT Scooby Doo. Dogs don't laugh.

Cole and Goliath's exchange is awkward and confusing. What does Cole want revenge for? Having been beaten?

PAGE 9
Goliath's line, "As we owe you ours every day, for protecting us during the daylight hours", is redundant.

We need to clarify the wizard's reaction to Goliath. To be fair to [the previous writer], the Wizard [soon to be dubbed 'the Magus'] is a character who's been giving us trouble from the beginning. We thought of him as a frightened and prejudiced old man. Perhaps, it might work better if he were envious, insecure and young. Turning the haughty, young queen (who is easily swayed by appearance) against the gargoyles. Whatever you think works best. Believe it or not, Bronx might actually be useful in this scene. If he trotted after his master into the throne room and did something funny and obnoxious, that bit of comic relief would then be ammunition for the wizard's opinion, and the queen's disgust.

PAGE 10
Likewise, we need to understand the Queen's attitude. She is young and immature. Prejudiced, insecure too, perhaps. Perhaps she feels the need to prove her own superiority and fool herself into believing she doesn't need the 'goyles. It's unlikely that she would value the ugly captain much more than the gargoyles. In our original beat outline, we had the queen suggesting that after this fight with the marauders is over the captain's services also might not be valued so highly. (Perhaps she tells him he'll be reporting to the wizard from now on?) This might also help motivate the captain's betrayal.

PAGE 11
Goliath's line "We are what we are." is right on target. It's not that he loves how the queen treats him. But he will be true to himself w/or without praise. However, the phrase "do our jobs" is wrong. It's not a job. It's who he is.

Again, I'm confused by this reference to Cole's revenge.

In the three night structure of the original beat outline, the captain's betrayal (and the logistics that made it possible were much clearer). You might want to refer to that March outline or at least rearrange scenes so that the logistics work. Meanwhile, the captain's suggestion should be to take ALL of the gargoyles and give the marauders a good scare.

PAGE 12
Goliath figures he can be plenty scary on his own. Why leave the castle unguarded? (Still he's aware that going off alone is somewhat dangerous. That's part of the reason he leaves Demona behind.)

We don't get the line about only her "understanding the full responsibility."

Page 13
I don't mind "smoothskin" too much, but I don't see any point in reducing that to "smoothie". I certainly would rather have them use the word "Humans" over "pink ones".

Broadway volunteers some very awkward expository information about naming. But I think the exchange with Brian could help illustrate the idea simply with a few changes. For example:

BRIAN
You don't have names? How do you tell each other apart?

LEXINGTON
(simply)
We look different.

BRIAN
But what do you CALL each other?

BROOKLYN
Friend.

In other words, they don't have clever explanations for why they don't have names. They have simple reasons for why they don't need them.

PAGE 14
So all these substitute names like "One that always looks good" is just the kind of thing gargoyles would never do.

It probably would take a little more prodding to get the trio to act like monsters.

PAGE 15
Growling is kinda feeble.

Also didn't Goliath leave with Hudson in the previous scene? And should he order them specifically into the rookery or just out of the courtyard? And again, beware playing the trio too young. Here they come off as little kids.

Hudson and Goliath CANNOT run along the ground and catch an updraft with their wings. They could jump off a cliffside though.

PAGE 16
"Little Gargs?" I don't know.

This whole conversation comes off as artificial and expository.

And Bronx should be with them. How else does he survive? Which means he should probably have been with them in the previous scene with Brian/Robby as well.

PAGE 20
It's a tough scene, but we need dialogue that won't make us cringe.

Are the trio and Bronx waiting in shadows, or are they just now emerging from the rookery?

PAGE 21
Hudson's attitude is wrong. He's a soldier, not a kindly old man.

We're not sure why Goliath ran down to the rookery, but we know the results of the trip don't work. If Cole found the eggs in the rookery and took them away, than he would have also found Bronx and the trio and destroyed them. The idea with the eggs was to plant that they existed in one scene in the pilot and not refer to them again. Than they'd be fodder for a future episode.

Hudson's line: "There is never a reason good enough..." is confusing in this context. We shouldn't be afraid to use silence when words aren't necessary.

At the bottom, the Queen's last line has now made her thoroughly irredeemable. (Even if Brian is a sappy kid.) Now that she's been humbled, we should begin to see her transformation. She's witnessed some horrible things. Now that it's too late this young woman is going through some changes that might someday make her a wise ruler.

PAGE 22
Again, we need to make sense of the wizard. He can't be so irrational towards Gargoyles that it's unbelievable.

PAGE 23
Brian makes my teeth hurt.

PAGE 24
Brooklyn is coming across as whiny again. There's no finesse to any of this dialogue.

And the choreography of this scene makes little sense either. Why is Cole only now dragging the Queen into his tent. Again, you may want to refer to our original March-dated beat outline. In that, Cole and the Captain have the Queen and Wizard (the most valuable captives) isolated in their tent from the beginning. Cole taunts the wizard here by tearing pages out of the magic book and burning them. Then when gargoyles attack, Cole and Captain flee tent and campsite, leaving wizard behind, again isolated, believing the queen will be killed. Goliath follows the villains. Queen will thus be witness to his heroism. Wizard can blame gargoyles for causing queen's death (not for killing her) before she returns with Goliath. Not the only way to go, but it might work. This doesn't.

PAGE 25
Hopefully, by this time the Captain's motivation will be clearer. He had no love for the queen. He thought he was doing the gargoyles a favor by having the humans dragged away, leaving the castle to them. But Goliath insisted on leaving the gargoyles at the castle, and though the captain believed he could protect them from Cole, he was wrong. Cole was taking no chances, purely as a practical matter.

PAGE 26
What exactly are we seeing in silhouette?

Again, the choreography and the wizard's reaction and accusations make no sense.

PAGE 27
The way the wizard phrases the spell renders the spell useless, because the gargoyles did not betray the castle. However, it's good that the emphasis of the spell is on putting the gargoyles to sleep (in which case they always turn to stone) rather then having him magically turn them to stone (which would confuse the whole issue of whether or not gargoyles turn to stone magically or biologically).

By this time we need to believe in the Queen's change of heart and redemption. Even the wizard should be well chastened. This whole thing is coming across as too pat.

PAGE 28
This needs to be a sad, almost poetic moment.

PAGE 30
Do we want to use lasers to cut through mortar? Is this planting the available technology so that it doesn't seem artificial if we use it later, or are we making something that should be special into something mundane?

PAGE 31
Maybe so it's less artificial, the rain should be coming down from the beginning of this scene.

Here, at least, the gargoyles should explode out of their old skin.

PAGE 32
Don't know why we're moving inside for half a scene that could be much more dramatic and effective in the rain.

Obviously we can't use the name Charles Xavier. And we probably shouldn't use Xavier either. We've discussed the name XANATOS here, but if you have a better idea that's fine.

We don't know about giving Xavier the book of magic. Seems to us that the book may be useful for future stories (like the eggs). Besides if he has this book, what would keep him from turning them back into stone at the end of the pilot when things don't work out.

PAGE 33
Again, we're not sure if we can do THE PACK justice in the pilot. They've got that interesting "American Gladiator" back story that we don't seem to have room to service here. Though thematically it does fit nicely. Maybe in a future episode. If we do use the Pack, they shouldn't have any Cybernetic implants. And they shouldn't have CY.O.T.I. either. These were all additions that I discussed with Eric for their second and third appearances. We should never take this sort of stuff for granted.

I like the HARD HATS idea too, but I wonder if even this is necessary. If the attack is done by black garbed, masked commandos it would still serve it's purpose.

The attack should come very soon after the gargoyles are awakened. And they should be totally at sea. Helicopters. Guns. They don't know what the hell is going on. Pack...Hard Hats...Commandos...they'd be running circles around these 'goyles. If the gargoyles defend the castle at all, it should be purely reflexive. Again, it's what they are. But Goliath is certainly in no mood to protect any human or human interests. Goliath should be more confused than the audience.

And we definitely don't need any mid-raid chats between Xavier and Fox. Not sure if the bad guys need to talk at all.

PAGE 34
Nor do we need any old bad vaudeville schtick from Hyena. I know she's crazy, but please...

And Dingo can be cast to have an Australian accent w/out resorting to cliched dialogue like "Mate" or "Gander at the Goodies".

Also don't know why Fox waited so long to "coordinate" the attack.

We've been spelling Elisa's name with one "s". Eric consistently used two. I only bring this up, because it changes the pronunciation to something that sounds less Hispanic: his eh-LISS-uh as opposed to our eh-LEE-sah.

Our preliminary designs have shown Elisa with long hair. And we never thought of her as a Rosie O'Donnell type. We're hoping she's something special but doubt that's the way to take her.

What are the reactions to what's going on above their heads? It's high enough up that they can't see any details. And it can't be such a civic disaster of falling stone that the whole city would be up in arms.

PAGE 36
How does Xavier know Goliath's name? Maybe this was supposed to be a mistake on Xavier's part, a clue that he knows more than he claims. But Xavier is not that sloppy.

PAGE 37
Before Lex identifies the helicopter as a flying ship, should one of the others think it was some kind of creature? A metal dragon or something?

PAGE 38
Although Goliath is too decent not to be somewhat grateful to the man who woke them up, we don't think he's making any deals with any humans at this point. He's protecting his own.

PAGE 39
Could Elisa see "lasers and heavy weapons fire" from the ground? And Batman may call Gotham his city, but we doubt that Elisa is so full of herself to call New York, "MY city".

And when does Elisa investigate? That night? The next day? Why does she wait 24 hours?

PAGE 40
We're uncomfortable with the notion of introducing our cop by having her perform an illegal search. Perhaps, instead of being stonewalled, she is called in to investigate the theft. (Xavier knows she'll get nowhere, because there was no theft.)

PAGE 41
Bronx would not shake like Jello. He'd probably be a fairly effective watchdog. (Which is not to say we couldn't use him surprising her to comic effect.)

They just rebuilt the castle; should the ledge be giving way?

PAGE 42
As we discussed, Goliath can grab the flagpole, but it should snap off in his hand. He's not BATMAN. He's way to weighty. Maybe he uses his claws to dig into the side of the building and eventually slow his descent.

We need to develop the relationship between Goliath and Elisa slowly. His saving her life does create some kind of trust...but doesn't make friendship automatic. So she wouldn't just "know" that he "was only... protecting the castle."

PAGE 43
And she can't just shrug off the fact that she's "talking... to a bunch... of gargoyles." When and how will she hear their story, learn about them.

There's something promising about their exchange at the bottom of the page. Perhaps if it were more like...

GOLIATH
And who decides what is... "wrong"?

ELISA
Well, over the years... the people decided.

GOLIATH
You mean the humans decided.

Or perhaps something which indicates the tension.

PAGE 44
His need to know more about this world...is this his decision or something she leads him towards? In general, this all seems to be happening too fast. She seems to know his desire to stay with the castle before he's expressed it. She seems to know about the day/stone stuff. Why does she even want to enlist him at this point?

PAGE 45
Even at this stage, we need some solemnity to their growing bond.

And we need to avoid modern phrases like "case list" that we can't assume Goliath would understand.

Hudson asks a good question. Goliath's answer seems non-responsive to it.

And Elisa seems like a real user in her aside at the bottom. Besides, how does she know he'd make a great addition. And why are they waiting until tomorrow night. The way he's devised the last few scenes, it seems the night is still young.

PAGE 46
Why enter mid-scene if you're just gonna have Xavier re-explain things?

PAGE 47
As noted above, characters here don't seem to have their own voice. Hard to believe that Xavier would use the expression "for crying out loud."

If we do use the Pack, this could be a good time to emphasize the theme of appearances being deceiving. Xavier could even use the fact that Goliath is sensitive to this theme to his advantage.

The lines re: the t.v. set are appropriate in the sense that the gargoyles should not take the modern world for granted. But they don't have to be stupid either. Perhaps the more savant-like Lex can express things in terms the others can understand. For example, television might be a living tapestry. And a living tapestry might appeal to Hudson.

Is the holographic projector necessary?

PAGE 49
Xavier's never nervous. Let him do the reasoning and the talking.

PAGE 50
Bronx has no real wings. He cannot glide.

All this dialogue is "voiceless" and dull.

Back to the name thing. This is more what we had in mind:

ELISA
What do I call you guys?

HUDSON
Goliath is the only one the humans named.

ELISA
What? You have to have names.

HUDSON
Does the sky need a name? Does the river?

ELISA
The river's called the Hudson.

HUDSON
(w/a heavy sigh of capitulation)
Fine. Then I too will be "the Hudson".

GOLIATH
Don't worry. You'll get used to it.

ELISA
Good thing we weren't facing east.

PAGE 51
Or something like that. Then the kids decide that if Hudson (the big traditionalist) is gonna have a name than they'll get names too. We don't need to see them find their names. We'll just reveal their choices later. Also we don't need to find a rationale for Bronx's name. The trio can just come back with it. (They probably just made their choices based on the sound of the words.)

As for the various exits... Hudson is happy to guard the castle. That's what gargoyles do. Maybe he's going to study the new world through the Living Tapestry/T.V. that he's discovered. Goliath wants to explore it first hand. Hudson tells Goliath to take the dog with him, probably as a way to make sure Goliath is careful and safe. (Again the dog is not a liability to it's master. But good to have around in a bad situation.) But Hudson would express his concern subtly.

HUDSON
Take the dog with you.

GOLIATH
Why?

HUDSON
He needs the exercise.

Goliath gets the message. As for the trio, just remember that they are not "youngsters" with a curfew. Goliath can express a stern warning without treating them like children.

PAGE 52
Remember, Brooklyn is the natural leader of the trio.

I doubt Elisa says "Sheesh!"

PAGE 53
Now this whole thing with the robbery seems horribly contrived. If I didn't know better, I'd think Elisa had rigged it just as Xavier rigged the Pack attacks. The whole thing doesn't work. Certainly no one would rob the same apartment twice on the same night.

PAGE 54
Elisa seems to wear an agenda on her sleeve at the bottom of this page. She's coming off as a worse slickster than Xavier.

PAGE 55
Goliath's: "Those days are over!" response is ridiculous, because those days never existed.

And dogs don't laugh.

PAGE 56
I'm sure we don't want the female Hyena doing Rodney Dangerfield. Or any other bad old jokes.

PAGE 57
I've missed how Elisa made it to her car. I thought they were herding her.

And her line about "checking the transmission" is exactly the kind of pseudo-Spider-Man quips that we can forever do without.

Do we care how the Pack found Goliath?

Since Fox is telling a fib (which Xavier probably fed to her) in order to get Goliath's dander up, then "riches" misses the point entirely. What does Goliath know or care about wealth? Perhaps Fox brags that the stolen information will give them power to crush anyone who stands in their way. As for her excuse for chasing Goliath down...(Since it is literally contrived)...she could say that she doesn't like to leave any potential enemies alive. She couldn't finish him the other night because he was surrounded by friends. But now she can pick off all of the gargoyles one at a time. That would send a chill down Goliath's spine.

Also, it occurs to me that if you do replace the Pack w/masked commando types, than we could actually have a masked Xavier delivering this speech to Goliath. Maybe Bronx recognizes Xavier, but not being Scooby Doo, there's no way for Bronx to get his message across.

PAGE 58
So many problems.
--Elisa comes off as an idiot, here.
--None of us buy Goliath's sudden "surge of superhuman strength".
--What's Bronx doing in this scene?
--No running take offs into the air allowed.
--Bronx can't fly, so he couldn't follow anyway.

Also, this might be an opportunity to explain that Gargoyles glide and don't fly. As they are trying to escape, Elisa would ask the natural question:

ELISA
Fly us out of here!

GOLIATH
I can't.

ELISA
What do you mean you can't?! What're the wings
for?!

Or something like that. Given his limitation they either have to stand and fight or he has to start to climb high enough to get some air.

PAGE 59
Does the crowd attack Goliath or ask the Pack for autographs? Again, can we service the Pack in this pilot with all the other things we have to accomplish?

PAGE 60
If we do use the Pack, then Elisa has NOT just remembered who they are. And we need to understand why she doesn't immediately call for back-up or warrants for their arrest.
And this is a missed opportunity to play up the theme of judging by appearances.

This is also an opportunity to explain that Gargoyles daytime hibernation allows them to heal and recharge. Shed their damaged skin for a new one the next night.

PAGES 61 - 63
It seems odd that we haven't really intercut between the trio and Goliath.

This scene is a mess as well.
--Again, we need "voices" for the trio.
--We shouldn't rush to give them colloquialisms either. Over time, they SHOULD pick them up more readily than Goliath or Hudson. But let's make it make sense.
--We don't need to see the namings at all, or find rationales for the chosen names.
--Brooklyn appropriating some sunglasses seems like it might be a fun little touch. But how he gets a leather jacket and t-shirt over his wings is a bit perplexing.

PAGE 64
Although I'm not necessarily in love with it, the "Pleestameetcha" bit is the closest we come to believing these guys are learning to adapt, as opposed to automatically adapting with ease.

Dancing Gargoyles are a bitch to animate. Or so I've been told.

PAGE 65
We'd like to avoid the whole perplexing issue of whether or not the gargoyles can read. I tend to think that except for Goliath, they can't. (As it is, we're stretching in having them able to even speak and understand modern English.) In fact, if we feel like actually doing some good at some point, then a literacy episode featuring our trio and Hudson might be honestly worthwhile, but until we're prepared to really deal with the issue, we'd like to avoid it.

PAGE 66
This cluebuster scene has come off more contrived than it had to be.

PAGE 67
Again, it's unclear why Elisa doesn't simply file charges.

Maybe Hudson starts to give a shadowed Goliath the same guff he's been giving the trio, until Goliath steps into the light and he sees that Goliath has been wounded.

Again, wealth is not the issue. But physical power might be.

PAGE 68
And this grudge thing makes no sense. The Pack has battled Goliath twice and have basically won both battles. The only explanation that makes any kind of sense is the notion that they don't take any chances with potential threats.

Goliath could be honestly perplexed as to what to do...and decide to sleep on it.

The reunion should be an amazing moment. We need to believe in their love.

Xavier should say that he took the liberty of choosing the name Angelica for her. It's a lie that will ring truer.

PAGE 69
Angelica's story is not convincing. The attack was during the day. All gargoyles that were found were destroyed. We know it's a lie but we need a better one. Maybe just before sunrise, she got worried about Goliath and left the castle to find him. [The truth is that at the last minute she didn't trust the Captain to protect the frozen gargoyles from Cole. So she took off and hid somewhere.]

Xavier's story is no more convincing. Maybe he saw her picture in an art book and purchased her for his collection, long before he found out about Goliath. Or something.

Dialogue needs work, and Bronx is misused again.

PAGE 70
This is how Bronx should be used. Like a dog.

Goliath's "You just watch me" line, again misses an authentic voice for the character. He should also not gain immediate comfort with everyone's new names.

It's probably all right that Brooklyn has picked up the word "cool" and its usage by this time. But Goliath should not respond with another colloquialism, "Excuse me?", like he's Wayne or Garth. Does he think the tower is too cold or Brooklyn is? Actually, this whole exchange might be better suited for Hudson or cut entirely. I just feel like I've seen it in a 1969 Bob Hope film.

PAGE 71
As for Bronx going with Hudson, we can play off my earlier suggestion. This time Goliath tells Hudson to take the dog with him, because now he's worried about his old friend and the dog might come in handy. But he wouldn't dare to embarrass Hudson either.

GOLIATH
Oh, and Hudson, take the dog. He needs exercise.

We don't know why Angelica and Goliath need a helicopter.

And Demona's little slip about "crime rates" is too goofy. No reason for her to say something like this unless she was trying to tip him off.

PAGE 72
Maybe I'm over-reacting to the word, "lumbering", but for some reason I keep picturing an old fashioned and impractical Spruce Goose. We need to make this cool.

We obviously don't want to animate TEN GUARDS simultaneously.

Also we need a sense that Xavier out-fitted each of the three teams with a precise plan and understanding of their mission. He's too smart to let them all wing it.

PAGE 73
Why wouldn't the trio glide to the top of the tower/skyscraper? Why GROUND yourself by starting at the bottom. And again, they should already have a plan, provided by Xavier.

We also need to believe that these things are well-guarded. If CYBERCORP went to the trouble of splitting this information between three separate disks in three separate locations, including one mobile location, than they're not just gonna leave each disk laying around. Again, a plan from Xavier would help short-cut CyberCorp's security. But we also need to see some things that only a gargoyle's unique talents could accomplish.

Also, should we intercut between these three assaults, as opposed to basically seeing them one at a time?

PAGE 76
Bronx is not Lassie. He's not smart enough to have plans whispered in his ear.

PAGE 78
Would a police dispatcher really report "gray monsters with wings" over the radio?

Should the gargoyles have tried to bring the airship down on purpose, or did that happen when things didn't go quite according to plan?

There's a lot of fainting and near fainting in this script.

PAGE 79
Are there any other cops around?

Is this an airplane crash/explosion or a blimp/airship taking a slow fall?

The exchange between Goliath, Elisa and Demona is very confused. Demona's "little detective" line is perhaps a clue that she knows more than she's letting on. But if it's so bitter, so soon, than it's too big a clue. Perhaps she just points out that Elisa doesn't know the story and they don't have time to tell her now. At any rate, Elisa and Goliath have not built the relationship to justify the "how could you" line at the bottom of the page. Of course, by now they should have. Even if we have a better line of dialogue to illustrate it.

PAGE 80
We probably don't need the triumphant scenelet at the top.

And we don't know why Xavier would raise the question of legality.

Remember, from Goliath's point of view, Elisa simply doesn't know the whole story. He thinks explaining will be easy.

PAGE 81
Any visible seething on Demona's part will give her away.

It's probably o.k. if we've revealed Xavier by this time, but his line is SO on the head.

PAGE 82
Why is Goliath being cryptic?

The issue of law into one's own hands is awkward coming from a woman who's been playing so fast and loose.

And when she says, "I thought we had a common bond..." Well, as the script stands now, we don't believe it. And we should.

PAGE 83
Does Goliath know NYC like a cabby. Can't stage this scene so that he doesn't have an off-screen opportunity to find out where he's going.

Did Goliath mention Elisa's name on or off camera? Or did Xavier just find it out on his own?

Page 84
Again we need to be somewhat careful that we don't assume that Gargoyles are totally up-to-date on modern terminology.

We also need to make sure that Xavier's plan up to this point is clearly spelled out. (Xavier wanted two things. The information on the disks and the gargoyles' unquestioning obedience. He tricked them into stealing the disks, something he couldn't do without their talents. The logistics of which should probably be explained here.)

{At this point, Xavier will know that he's obviously not going to be able to secure the gargoyles' loyal service. That's all right though. He has a back-up plan. The info on the disks allows him to create new-and-improved steel gargoyles. (Perhaps it contained a formula for a rocket fuel that would allow them to fly--something more believable than anti-gravity disks.) Now, he doesn't need the real gargoyles. He'd still like to have them. But if he can't, he'll destroy them so that they can't work against him.}

PAGE 85
Don't know why Demona waited so long to shriek?

Goliath can't swoop up to the top of the roof from the ground.

PAGE 86
This whole conversation seems non-responsive. Exposition's flying, but they're not talking to each other. Goliath should probably figure some of this out for himself.

PAGE 87
Goliath suddenly sees Xavier as the devil, it seems. It just doesn't seem justified.

Xavier is not a war-monger per se. Demona's reasoning may need to be more general. She recognizes that Xavier is the worst kind of human. If she helps him gain more power, she's helping humanity destroy itself. Plus he gives her cool weapons.

As to her name, we think she should say something mysterious like..."The humans named me Demona long ago." No explanations necessary.

Page 88
Xavier set up this test. If Goliath had passed, great. But what did Xavier think would happen if he failed. He probably should have supplied Demona w/some mega-cannon kinda thing to wipe Goliath out. Goliath should barely escape with his and Elisa's life. And when they do escape, either Xavier or at least his assistant Owen should be revealed there also. It's not like Xavier trusts Demona 100%.

PAGE 89
We'll leave the design of the robots to the designers, but I'm guessing that if we really want to contrast the robots with our gargoyles, than they should be shiny and chrome-like, as opposed to Giger-bio-mechanical.

Xavier doesn't plan on selling anything. This is a guy who's favorite word is " Acquire". Acquire power; acquire people...anything he sets his sights on. What he can get by legitimate purchase, he'll buy; it's easier. What he can't buy, he'll take by subterfuge or force. What he can't take, (i.e. our gargoyles and their obedience) he'll destroy. He has no desire to destroy humanity. Or even the system of commerce and government that's put him where he is.

PAGE 90
Elisa's apartment is the first place that the Pack would look at this point. And in any case, the landlord is not gonna just let the floor cave in. Elisa should try to lead the Pack (or whoever) on a wild goose chase. Perhaps into a sculpture garden full of art decco gargoyles and the like. This should be a tense scene where she clearly putting her life on the line to saves all of the Gargoyles. This doesn't seem like a moment for ineffective comedy.

PAGE 91
Xavier should not be too ruffled by the Pack's failure. If they had gotten them during the day it would have saved him some trouble. But he's not worried. He has the castle. He knows they won't risk another day without coming to take it back.

PAGE 92
Although Elisa's statement that everyone has some good in them is a fine message, it seems off-point.

Is Elisa going to participate in this fight or just watch it? Is Bronx (who can't glide or fly) staying with her for protection, or are the Gargoyles carrying both of them into battle.

Demona's line about designing her own armaments only works if it's supposed to be a clue to how long she's been awake in the modern world. Otherwise, it's easier if it's just a gift from Xavier.

PAGE 93
Finally, Lexington has found a voice. Unfortunately, it belongs to Mr. Spock.

Xavier wouldn't sink to the level of calling Goliath a moron.

And it's ridiculous for Goliath to say that he betrayed him more than any human. First off, it's not true. The captain's betrayal was far worse. And secondly, the whole point of this thing is that it doesn't matter whether you're a human or not.

Also, the Pack, (Hard Hats, Commandos, whatever), should all be participating in this finale, unless they've truly been dealt with in some way during the daytime chase scene.

PAGE 94
This is a very weak fight. Audience won't be able to know about internal gyroscopes, and nobody is gonna buy the screwdriver stuff.

PAGE 95
Xavier is coming off very weak, here. Can't happen.

PAGE 96
Elisa can throw a pair of binoculars farther than she can clearly see without them. I don't think so.

PAGE 97
In all this morass, we've lost track of what Elisa is busting Xavier for. What does she have evidence of that she can reveal without simultaneously revealing the gargoyles?

PAGE 98
Goliath: "This time the threat came from within." It isn't just this time.

Goliath's attempt at a joke is lousy. And what's worse is the "clean up this town" line. He's neither the sheriff nor Batman. That's not his mindset. He's a protector of innocents, not a pro-active crime fighter.

PAGE 99
This is not how we want to go out. Tell me about it.

Well, that's it. (That's enough surely.) Good Luck.


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Hudson's nearly renamed...

More old memos from the original development file...

At one point a Disney Executive came to me and asked me to rename Hudson as a personal favor. She had just had a son, whom she had named Hudson, and was concerned for reasons I can no longer clearly remember.

I wanted to be nice, but this was very problematic for us. Hudson's being named for the river was the way into the New York names for the whole clan. I couldn't see an easy way to make the change.

But in the spirit of being a team-player, we tried to give it a shot.

The following is a hand-written note in my files of possible names. The ones marked with an "x" were actually crossed out by me.

[Castle Logo] Walt Disney Television

Gregory David Weisman

FIRE - x
LONG - x
CONEY - x
SHERIDAN - x
COLUMBIA - x
HARLEM
ROCKEFELLER
MADISON - x
LAGUARDIA - x
SHEA - x
YANKEE - x
TRIBECA - x
SOHO
JERSEY
BATTERY - x
WASHINGTON - x
LINCOLN - x
VERRAZANO NARROWS - x
ROOSEVELT
EMPIRE - x
CHELSEA - x
GRAMMERCY - x
WALL ST. - x
BROAD ST. - x
BOWERY
NOHO - x
HOUSTON - x
BLEEKER - x

After jotting those down, I composed a memo for my boss to see if he wanted to make the change. He didn't have (or at any rate didn't use) e-mail back then. So traditionally, I would send the memo to myself. Print it out and then leave a hard copy with his assistant.

[4] From: Greg Weisman 9/13/93 12:44PM (616 bytes : 28 ln)

To: Greg Weisman, Paul Lacy
Subject: Hudson Names

------------------------------- Message Contents -----------------
Gary, here are some possible alternatives to the name Hudson:

Rockefeller
Roosevelt
Bowery
Harlem

SECOND CHOICES:
Madison
Soho
Jersey
LaGuardia
Shea
Yankee
Tribeca
Battery
Washington
Lincoln
Sheridan
Greenwich
Coney
Grammercy

He returned the same memo to me stamped from his office with the following little note:

RECEIVED BY
SEP 13 1993
GARY KRISEL'S OFFICE

Greg

WHY
1) Would "Hudson" pick his own name?
Keep this for the teens

GK

Having received that note, I then had to go into his office and remind him about the whole naming schema. The fact that we had names for the 'teens' and that the reason we were considering changing Hudson's name was because of the request of this one executive. Gary then considered all this and decided to stay the course. I apologized to the executive but told her we wouldn't be making a change. I felt bad -- a bit. But I also felt sure that we had chosen the correct names.


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Another design memo...

We got more designs from WDAJ. Here's our response back to them...

To: Motoyoshi Tokunaga 8-26-93

From: Greg Weisman 818-754-7436

Re: GARGOYLES DESIGN WORK

Dear Mr. Tokunaga,

This is in response to the designs sent in your fax dated August 21st. (We've looked over the originals you sent as well.) Although we have substantial notes, I want to emphasize that we're learning more with each submission. Things that did not occur to us initially are now becoming clearer. For reference purposes, I'm going to refer to the page numbers of the fax. In the future, you might want to number every drawing on every page for easier reference.

PAGE 3
Seeing the four Gargoyles together raised a number of interesting problems. Goliath seems to have lost some of the upper body bulk that made him so imposing. And Broadway seems to be on an equal level with Goliath. We need to make Goliath more special and unique. And although the trio of Brooklyn, Lexington and Broadway must each be unique from each other, we'd like to see the three of them as a natural grouping. As it stands now, Goliath, Broadway and Brooklyn all seem of a piece, with Lexington as the odd man out.

I might propose the following possible solutions:
--Let's give greater stature to Goliath relative to the other three, particularly Broadway.
--Let's make Goliath the only one of the four who tends to stand erect like a man. If Broadway and Brooklyn existed in a crouch as Lex does, we could cheat all three of them larger and still leave Goliath with greater stature.
--We already have two unique wing constructions (Goliath's and Lexington's), but we could stand to create a third type. Leaving either Brooklyn or Broadway as is, if we gave the other a third style of wing, then when we looked at the trio of younger gargoyles as a unit, each of them would have a unique wing-type and Lexington wouldn't seem like such the odd man out.
--If I haven't mentioned it before, we think of Goliath as being in his late twenties (in Gargoyle years). We think of the trio as being between 17 and 19 years old (in Gargoyle years). Keeping them youthful should also help in making them into a visible unit and still distinguish them from Goliath. Broadway, in particular is looking a bit too old.

PAGES 4 and 5
We'd like to make Goliath more imposing in size. Perhaps by slightly reducing the size of his head relative to his shoulders and chest. Bulking up his upper body.

We're also divided over here on the issue of the tail. Some of us feel it adds an inhuman element to help make Goliath cool and different. Others, just feel it's another thing that'll need to be animated.

Love the way the wings drape on page 5.

PAGE 6
One of Gary Krisel's concerns is that the face have depth. He doesn't want it to look like a mask connected to Goliath's thick neck. I'm not sure I see that problem in these drawings, but it's something to watch out for.

Another important point is Goliath's attitude and expression. He is highly intelligent. Noble. Gary was also concerned that some of the expressions here (and on page 4) made him look a bit like a thug.

A third concern is whether or not we might still have too much pencil mileage in the facial design to animate effectively.

PAGE 7
I love the top two head shots. Goliath looks terrific surprised. And I think the trick with the pupils vanishing in anger is very effective with all the characters. I also like Goliath amused in the lower right corner. But I'm not sure about the lower left shot. I'm not clear what emotion is being expressed. Something about the teeth and maybe the eyes is unappealing. I apologize for not being able to pin down my problem further. Maybe we should reserve his jagged teeth for extreme expressions? I don't know.

PAGE 8
Both poses, particularly the kneeling shot, are wonderful. In the first pose, however, I think we should be cheating his wing-span much, much larger.

Page 9
Great.

Page 10
I like his slimmer "teen" build, but perhaps Brooklyn should "stand" in more of a crouch. Not simply bad posture, but keeping at least three limbs on the ground.

PAGE 11
Again, Brooklyn needs to remain 18 or 19 years old. Particularly in the lower left and right corners he seems much older than that. We also probably need a greater range of expressions. Remember, he is the irrepressible leader of the trio. Out to find adventure. Are his horns too far apart? As opposed to being slicked back like his cool young hair, are the horns scooping up, giving him a more demonic look than necessary? Have we created a mouth that inhibits expression too much? You can see, we have more questions than answers, still.

PAGE 12
I think Lexington works as a basically horizontal character, but we don't want to make him too diminutive relative to the others...stretch him out in poses. Remember that his middle set of limbs function as arms as well as legs.

His wing design may be more complicated than necessary. We may not need the rib construction coming out of his back. For him, it may be enough that he has this wing like webbing between his two upper sets of limbs. Perhaps it's more elastic than draping.

Again, we need to keep him young. Lex is highly curious about the modern world around him. Everything interests him and fills him with wonder. He's more naive and innocent than the others. These qualities should help compensate for his slightly more demonic look.

PAGE 13
My favorite shot is the third from the left on the bottom row. And as usual, the angry glowing eye "battle" version works great. The upper right shot is cute. And I like the surprised version in the second from the left on the bottom row. But we're not getting the sense of wonder or excitement from him in the upper left and upper middle. And I don't really care for the sinister shot of him in the lower left corner. He's not angry or primed for battle (we know this cause his eyes aren't glowing), so I can't figure out what would give him that kind of nasty, almost hungry expression out of a battle context. Again, it may be that using jagged teeth outside of battle mode makes them too demonic. Another question: do his cheekbones need to be so prominent?

PAGES 14
Body-wise, Broadway looks pretty good outside of a context of scale with the others. We like his gut, his sumo-like quality. But like Brooklyn and Lex, he should be a croucher. Like the center on an American football team. And we may want to scale him down; he doesn't necessarily need to be that tall or broad relative to Goliath.

Our biggest concern is that he looks way too old. Mostly in the face, but when scaled with Goliath, as on page 3, in the body as well.

PAGE 15
Again, in all these shots, he looks too old. In some ways, he looks too much like Goliath. He should be a nineteen year old party animal. He just likes to have a great time. Always laughing. The only shot that really works for us here is glowing eyes shot in the lower left corner. In battle, it's appropriate to have the jaw distended and grotesque. In the others, we might try to give him more youth by making his head shape more horizontal than vertical. Less cheekbones, maybe. Rounder, perhaps? I'm not sure.

That's it for now. Looking forward to seeing your next pass.

Thanks. Greg.

cc: Bruce Cranston, Barbara Ferro, Eddy Houchins, Lenora Hume, Gary Krisel, Paul Lacy, Tom Ruzicka, Dave Schwartz.


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More correspondence with Tokyo...

Another old memo from my development files. It's pretty self-explanatory.

To: Motoyoshi Tokunaga 8-4-93

From: Greg Weisman 818-754-7436

Re: GARGOYLES DESIGN WORK

Dear Mr. Tokunaga,

Just a quick note to let you know we all looked at the Clayface episode of Batman that you sent us. We thought it was terrific. If you are confident you can animate to this level, I'm confident we have a great show in the works.

Greg.

cc: Bruce Cranston, Barbara Ferro, Lenora Hume, Gary Krisel, Paul Lacy, Tom Ruzicka, Dave Schwartz.


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Chapter XXXX: "Monsters"

Time to ramble...

I think this episode had a fun story written and edited by Cary Bates. And I know it had a great moody storyboard directed by Frank Paur. But it suffered from two major problems...

1. Repetitive elements. We had multiple story editors working on multiple episodes. I was overseeing all of them, but sometimes things did get away from me. "Monsters" has a number of elements in common with "Heritage" which had only just preceeded it in the line up. It makes "Monsters" seem a bit more tired than it really is, through no fault of Cary's. For example, we open with a Sea Monster. One of our female cast members is lost and nearly drowned. Goliath searches frantically. Etc. Even my five-year-old son Benny was convinced, "We just saw this one." It just felt very been there done that. My fault.

2. Very weak animation -- some of the weakest of the series -- removed much of the mystery and mood from the boards that Frank directed. I know we called tons of retakes on this ep, but there was a limit. Secrets were given away too early. What's a monster submarine and what's a monster is too easily discernable at the start. We were hoping for more silhouette's in that murky Loch. Throw in some really atrocious character moments (like when Angela wakes up in chains) and you've got an ep that's unimpressive at best.

And yet, there's much in this show that I really like.

It takes an important step toward evolving Angela's relationship with Goliath. Though G's not aware of it, Sevarius reveals to Angela that she is his biological daughter. Having grown up around her adoptive *HUMAN* parents, that notion of biological imperative must have seeped in. She already KNEW that Goliath was one of her ROOKERY parents. But this revelation ignites her curiousity and need. I find it interesting anyway. My eight-year-old daughter Erin was likewise fascinated with this aspect. She was anxious for Angela to tell Goliath about her discovery. Of course, Goliath knows in a 'shrug' sense. It's visually obvious to him. It just isn't programmed to be significant for him.

And if that weren't enough to make the ep worthwhile, we also get another wonderful over-the-top performance from Tim Curry as Dr. Anton Sevarius. He has a TON of great lines in this (all quotations approximate)...

"If it gets any more sacharine in there, I'll have to shove a finger down my throat."

"It must be awful to wake up in chains first thing in the morning."

"Thank heaven for little girls... and DNA markers."

"He's your very own flesh and stone."

"Enough to make my mind boggle..."

But there were other problems too. In my mind and Cary's Big Daddy and Nessie were mates (with little ones revealed at the end). But because of the name "Big Daddy" and because we were intentionally using the L.N.Monsters to parallel and comment on Goliath and Angela's father-daughter relationship, many people thought that Big Daddy was Nessie's dad. I'm not sure it matters too much. But (unintentional) confusion can't help.

ELISA

Elisa knows they haven't arrived in Manhattan because it's too quiet and because the water's too clean. Of course, Loch Ness is famous for having MURKY, MURKY water. Not that the water is "dirty" exactly, the way New York Harbor is. But it's hard to figure Elisa would think of the Loch as clean either. And I knew that. Don't know how that got by me.

But Elisa does have some fun lines here and there:

"I'm not really the adventuring type."
"It's a show... Themeparks do this five times a day."
(Yes, we weren't above giving a gentle knock to the parent company.)

(Of course, when Elisa said that last bit, Erin said, "I don't think so." Benny noticed the submarine was metal and thought it was a robot. It took him a while to get the notion that it was a ship or sub.)

LITTLE CONTINUITY TOUCHES

Elisa leaves a message on Matt's machine. But the tape is full. This was done for two reasons. Or three...
1. We felt that Elisa would and should attempt to contact someone.
2. We wanted to prolong the agony (at least in the audience's minds) as to what happened to our travelers from the point of view of those left behind.
3. We were in the middle of a tier, and couldn't guarantee (as we saw with "Kingdom" that the episode would air in order. We didn't want Elisa to successfully contact anyone, because it might screw up continuity.

Nice to see Brendan & Margot taking a little vacation on the Loch, huh?

Angela says to Nessie: "I bet you've never been this close to a real live gargoyle either." But of course Angela's wrong. One of the reasons that Nessie gets so friendly so fast with Angela is BECAUSE she recognizes her as a gargoyle and knows that gargoyles are friendly to the Monsters of the Loch.

Of course, this begs the question as to what the Loch Ness clan was doing throughout this little adventure. I don't have a grea answer -- YET -- but for now, I'm just going to fall back on the notion that they were aware that Nessie was missing, but didn't know the cause. (It is a big murky loch, after all.) And yes, I know that's a feeble explanation, but it will have to do until I figure out a better one.

The title "Monsters" is another one of my thematic one word titles. Angela hits the nail on the head when she calls Sevarius the only monster around here. It's central to the series theme. But again, maybe too obvious, contributing to the weakness of the episode.

We had some trouble with the animation of the scene where Bruno confronts Goliath and Elisa right after they escape the dungeon. It forced us to reuse Jeff Bennett's "All right." line twice in a row.

Speaking of Jeff, my wife Beth thought Bruno sounded very Jack Nicolson. I pointed out that when Bruno was created, way back in "Awakening" we asked Jeff to make him a young George C. Scott. Beth couldn't hear that at all.

Benny used to love Bruno. Not only does Bruno barely register with him now. He doesn't remember ever liking the character. Erin asked him if he remembered the Xanatos Goon Squad. He didn't respond.

Another weakness... Angela just holds her breath forever down there at the end.

And when Goliath does get there, her chains pop off too easily, begging the question why she couldn't free herself.

I know I keep talking about the ep's flaws. But like all the 66 chapters, I really am more fond of it than critical. I do love seeing Goliath launched as a living torpedo, for example. There are a bunch of little things that I like.

And heck, we killed off four more characters. Sevarius and Bruno survived. But I think we have to assume that the other four members of the Goon Squad are gone for good.

But it wasn't one of our best efforts, I'll have to admit.

Sorry 'bout that...

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



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