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Todd Jensen writes...

I finally bought a DVD player yesterday, and watched much of the Gargoyles DVD on it; to be precise, all five parts of "Awakening" with the commentary on, "Deadly Force", the original pitch, and the Gathering documentary. I very much enjoyed the experience as well (once I got used to how to work the DVD player, of course).

I very much liked the commentary, though I'd only recommend it to people who've already become familiar with the series since it contains a number of spoilers (such as Owen really being Puck, the prediction of Xanatos creating the Mutates and Thailog, the prediction of Xanatos making peace with the gargoyles at the end of Season Two, etc.). I did have a little trouble sometimes working out whether it was you or Frank Paur speaking (though I didn't have that trouble with Keith David; his voice is definitely unmistakable).

While much of it was information that I'd already learned from "Ask Greg" and my visit to the 2001 Gathering, there were some new things there that stood out to me, as well as a few old things that I thought I'd briefly comment on:

1. You mentioned about how much of the set-up of Part One of "Awakening" (with the opening scene of the stones falling from the top of the Eyrie Building and the preview of Part Two with Xanatos, the Eyrie Building, the commandos, etc.) was to reassure the audience that "Gargoyles" would be mostly set in the present-day rather than in the 10th century, for fear that they would be turned off the series if they thought that it would be set in the Middle Ages. Interestingly enough, for me when I started watching "Gargoyles", it was the reverse; my favorite part of "Awakening" was the 10th century introduction, and one of my biggest thoughts during it was "Pity that this is just the origin story and that the bulk of the series is going to be in the modern world". (How I'd have enjoyed the "Dark Ages" spin-off!)

2. You mentioned about Goliath being in the wrong to send the trio and Bronx down to the rookery (though with the irony that he thereby saved their lives). When I saw the episode, I always thought that Goliath had done the right thing in punishing Lexington, Brooklyn, and Bronx, however, since regardless of the fact that the humans had started the fight, the three of them were still helping to escalate the hostilities (and all that growling with eyes glowing obviously would only reinforce the humans' fear of gargoyles). Where I did think that Goliath was in the wrong was in sending Broadway with them, since he hadn't been in the fight at all, but was merely peacefully eating at the time.

3. One little bit that still amuses me (part of "Awakening" itself, I might add, though not part of the commentary) is that, directly after Xanatos's line "Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell", we see one of the workmen dismantling the castle for transportation, with the close-up on his feet (although they're in shoes).

4. I honestly hadn't realized (until you pointed it out here) that Goliath's request of the Magus was suicidal, maybe because I was then aware of the fact that the series was just starting and that the gargoyles were going to be somehow awakened in modern times. But when I looked at it from his perspective rather than that of a viewer who was aware that it was a television series, I realized that it was indeed the case, that Goliath couldn't have known that someday, the castle could rise above the clouds. Which meant that he wasn't asking to be placed under the spell so that he could be there when Hudson, the trio, and Bronx were awakened (as I'd subconsciously assumed) because he didn't think that that would ever happen, but just to gain release from the misery of loneliness.

5. Your remarks about Xanatos being designed to appear deceptively heroic definitely brought back memories for me. When I first saw "Awakening", I didn't know for certain whether Xanatos would be a friend or an opponent to the gargoyles until Part Five, but I wanted to believe that he was on their side, that he was on the level, even though a part of me had suspicions that he would turn out to be the antagonist. And it wasn't until Elisa revealed to Goliath in Part Five about what had really gone on in the Cyberbiotics raids that I had to accept that Xanatos was up to no good.

6. The significance of the Alice in Wonderland sculptures during the scene where Elisa was being chased by the commandos was definitely new to me; I had only thought of them as part of the background, and hadn't realized that they were also symbolic of the new world that she'd just discovered.

7. And thanks for confirming my suspicion that Demona's "a thousand years of solitude" remark was a hommage to Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

8. About Demona revealing her name: that scene always worked for me as dramatic and threatening. What stands out to me about it now, though, was how the expectations or assumptions that I'd had from that line turned out to not match what actually happened in the series. I had believed then that her name arose out of terrified humans whom she was preying upon viewing her as a nightmare straight out of Hell, and then, in "City of Stone", it turns out that she was given that name by a then-ally, and as a means of praising her fighting skills. Talk about skewering the audience's expectations!

I enjoyed seeing the original presentation again. One thing that stands out to me about it now is that, even though the series had by this time clearly switched to a more dramatic genre, there was still a much more strongly comical tone about it than the final version, as in:

1. The depiction of Goliath reading in the 10th century, while seated on a few annoyed-looking smaller gargoyles to keep them out of mischief.

2. The picture of Goliath and Elisa on a subway train, with Goliath wearing a lot of heavy garments to hide the fact that he's a gargoyle, but still getting a lot of attention from the other passengers (which I honestly can't imagine happening in the series itself, though we did get to see Broadway in the trenchcoat and fedora a couple of times).

3. Bronx (looking astonishingly anthropomorphic there) chewing on a fire hydrant.

All in all, I really enjoyed the DVD, and am looking forward to the Season Two ones.

Greg responds...

Ahhh, memories...

Response recorded on October 11, 2006