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Shannon "Shan" Muir writes...


You asked for our comments on the DVD, and I think you missed the comment room the week I posted most of this information, so I've reposted here but tailored it to emphasize and de-emphasize areas as I think would better fit your personal interest and remove date specific wording. It also is presented in a single unit versus the three parts it originally showed up as in the Comment Room.

As to the "Gathering of the Cast and Crew" featurette, I think it was well edited though at times the backgrounds were hard on the eyes. This may just be a personal thing. The footage clips intercut throughout from the series fit incredibly and it really feels like they took the time to find the best bits. It drove me nuts at first that you were the only person facing screen right when everyone else faces screen left, but after multiple views I understood why. It's because you get the majority of screen time and they very likely wanted to create a balance between how often a person was on one side of the screen over the other. Your on screen percentage set it up that you logically should be the only one on that side. Had it been able to be more balanced as far as each person's on screen time, Michael Reaves and Frank Paur could have been on the same side as you, and the voice actors all facing the other way (sorry this is my Radio-TV degree training kicking in).

My favorite part is Frank Paur's ending on the whole thing about optimism. He said exactly why I think the show resonates with me, it's a lot like the way I try to look at life. One gets kicked, then get back up again and still believing there's got to be some good in the world. The most thought provoking line is Michael Reaves when he talks about most animation being people "just whacking each other on the head" and - all due respect to Mr. Reaves! - every time my gut reaction is to yell at the screen "then why don't you change it?" (Side note: it just makes me more aware of why I stay in the animation business and where my heart is).

As to the Introductions. Generally I think they work, especially as someone who didn't watch the series years ago and only caught up more recently on the Toon Disney airings. For people newer to the show, I think they help you feel "caught up" or refresh your memory if you haven't seen them all in order. I also like the fact you can select them in isolation without watching the episode, in case you didn't choose it initially but then want to back up and find out what he said after viewing. But... I'm sorry, but I find it hilarious you can watch just all the Introductions back to back. I mean, I like and respect you and all, but I don't see a point! My boyfriend Kevin had an awful lot of fun with this, making a joke along the lines not to watch it too much and get obsessed with Greg Weisman. (I couldn't let it pass without comment. I feel safe enough since you know both Kevin and myself, so I feel safe bringing it up just for you to ponder.) This is my one major question abotu the set: can you illuminate more as to why the option of watching all the Introductions was included?

As to the "City of Stone" commentary: Very good overall. Thought the wrong Demona model issue was a tad overemphasized, though I think this couldn't be helped because of the conversation between the three of you (which was a definite plus over hearing just one person's take). And to be honest, I wrote most of the animation errors off as a overstressed Demona and the effects of the loss of the last of her innocence by making the choice she made, I never really noticed until the three of you brought it up. And I'm usually REALLY picky about continuity, as it is part of my job when I work on shows. And I did learn some new things as well about the series, mainly from Mr. Reaves and Mr. Paur as fresh voices.

Overall, I am pleased with the sound quality and visual quality of the episodes compared to how I saw them aired on TOON DISNEY, with the obvious exception of "Vows". Mistakes happen, I know, but the wrong ending making the DVD submarines a powerful story, in my not so humble opinion. I say that as a writer even more than just a fan of the show. I know there's no real way to correct this box set, but I think there should be something addressing both endings as a bonus on the last disc (should it be made), talking about the whole situation of why the ending was changed for subsequent airings and presenting both endings. Provided of course, you can sell Disney on even addressing this (or that you even see this in time to make any impact on that level, given the queue backlog). It would (semi) satisfy those more knowledgeable of the series that have precisely forgotten the intended ending (though obviously not included in the episode), be more trivial bits for those into that kind of thing, and educational for those wanting more behind the scenes information about the animation process and the kinds of things that can happen. And I say that as an animation professional, a fan of the show, your former student, and someone who has written about the animation industry for non-artists.

Anyway, I hope that information and insight is of some help to you.

Greg responds...

I have no idea why the option of watching all the intros in a row was put in. But I have to admit, I like it. Cuz personally, I wouldn't want to watch me introducing (and sometimes spoiling) things. But after the fact, it's convenient to be able to just watch 'em all down and see what a goofball I am.

Response recorded on December 21, 2006