Gargoyles (1994 TV series)

Discussion in 'Movies and Television' started by TrueNomadSkies, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Preach Starscream

    Preach Starscream Well-Known Member

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    "Sentinel" is probably my least favorite of the World Tour episodes. It's not terrible, but somehow aliens and gargoyles just don't mix all that well together for me. I like the idea of the alien Nokkar and Goliath finding some common ground as protectors. And bringing back the archaeologists from "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time" was a nice way to add in some continuity, but overall, it's an episode I don't particularly care for. I'm not even sure why Avalon sent them to Easter Island (a cool location that had some good potential for myths). Usually there's some evil scheme happening the heroes need to unravel or some bad guy from the clan's past that they need to confront or a new child of Oberon causing mayhem, but here, there's nothing going on. Heck, had it not been for the heroes showing up, there'd be no story really. There were no villains at all. Just a misunderstanding brought on by their presence. I don't hate this episode, but it's certainly not one I'd recommend to newcomers.

    "Bushido," on the other hand, is another personal favorite. As a fan of anime and Japanese culture, this was a fun episode. We get to meet a whole new clan of gargoyles with Japanese motifs. Very cool. I like all their designs. I would've definitely liked to have gotten to know more of them better. Especially that one big guy that looks like he could dwarf Goliath. I like that even the clans' cultures are different. The Ishimura clan faces inward during the day as a sign of trust for their human protectors, rather than facing out like other clans to face outside danger. It shows that true trust and protection goes both ways. And in a bit of irony, just like with the Castle Wyvern Clan, the true danger came from within, from both a human and gargoyle conspirators. There was some fun action. It's nice to see Taro use some fans as a weapon. Nice that Kitana's not the only one deadly with a fan. And even though it was only a brief skirmish, it'd been a while since we saw a gargoyle on gargoyle fight. It used to be more common when Demona was around. Speaking of which, it's interesting that Demona's counterpart in this episode, Yama, actually seems to manage to redeem himself in the eyes of his clan because he accepts he was lied to and was wrong for his part. Something Demona can't bring herself to do. Unlike the previous episode, "Bushido" is one I always look forward to.
     
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  2. Deathcatg

    Deathcatg Well-Known Member

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    AT least with "Sentinel", I found out very early on (somehow before I started using the internet as a preteen, maybe by reading the credits in the closing credits) that Nokkar was voiced by Avery Brooks, and since I was already watching "Deep Space Nine" during it's original airing by then, that marked it up on my book.
     
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  3. Preach Starscream

    Preach Starscream Well-Known Member

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    I'm gonna go ahead and give it a few extra points for that. I totally forgot that was Avery Brooks. I even saw his name in the closing credits.
     
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  4. The Barracuda

    The Barracuda Retro, bitches.

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    Never liked Sentinel. Probably my least liked from the entire run. Gargoyles was a show set up to be able to encompass a lot of different genres, from fantasy to sci-fi, horror, comedy, action but throwing aliens in the mix never felt right; aliens belong in the Gargoyles universe as much as they do in Indiana Jones. Personally I would've liked to explore a different angle of Easter Island perhaps with an old clan of gargoyles, the Rapa Nui and the Moai statues. Maybe the humans built the statues to ward off humans to protect the clan or built them after a war devastated the gargoyle population, etc. Plus the tropey memory loss b-plot, while fun, wasn't too engaging.
     
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  5. Preach Starscream

    Preach Starscream Well-Known Member

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    Now that sounds like it'd make for an interesting story. And it would've been far more interesting than an intergalactic war that has no real effect on Earth or any of its characters.


    "Cloud Fathers" is a great companion episode to "Mark of the Panther." Elisa Maza is a very unique character in children's programming. She's a bi-racial female, and the show does a good job of showcasing both sides of her heritage throughout the series, specifically the Avalon World Tour. It was interesting to get another Native American story that can also compliment "Heritage." There are even similar themes of the younger generation leaving or wanting to leave for the big city since their land isn't doing so well economically, which ironically would validate Xanatos' business involvement with the tribe. His construction would in fact bring in more jobs and money to the area. Though we see in flashbacks that Peter and his father had had a falling out, I do wonder what his children's relationships were with their grandfather. That would've been something nice to explore. But overall, I liked watching the Maza family work together to stop the bad guy. And funnily enough, this time, the child of Oberon isn't the villain. This time, it's Xanatos, who always has some scheme cooking behind the scenes. And in this case, it's the capture of the trickster Coyote, who has personal ties with Elisa's father Peter. I like that even though Xanatos' earlier attempt at achieving immortality with the Cauldron of Life failed, he still managed to find a use for the Cauldron by melting it down and using its iron in the newest version of his own Coyote: Coyote 4.0. This is the biggest and baddest version of the robot, and it was fun watching him actually interact with Xanatos rather than just members of The Pack. I liked watching Coyote the robot take on Coyote the trickster. Naturally, the robot is destroyed by episode's end, though I do feel it's the lamest of his various deaths. From being decapitated to having his head squished to rusting into nothing but dust, being crushed by falling debris seems pretty tame. It was also really nice to see Xanatos and Goliath once again collide, and Xanatos both acknowledging it's been a while since they last saw each other and that his death trap is his first true stab at cliched villainy were nice touches. The end of the episode though hinted at something a little darker for Xanatos though. He menacingly informs Goliath that all his constant foiling of his plans is starting to get tiresome and annoying. I feel, had it not been for the upcoming Gathering, Xanatos might've ended up declaring actual war against the gargoyles. Xanatos clearly does not appreciate having his plans for immortality go up in his face again. All in all though, this is all icing on the cake to the episode's themes of family and heritage.
     
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  6. Preach Starscream

    Preach Starscream Well-Known Member

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    Months after first being name dropped in "The Mirror," Oberon, accompanied by his Queen, Titania, finally makes his appearance in "Ill Met by Moonlight," and what an appearance it is. He right away commands attention, constantly referring to himself with the royal We, which just adds to the sense of reverent he feels he's entitled to, and making demands of our heroes. It's quite hypocritical of the Weird Sisters to alert Oberon to the appearance of outsiders on Avalon, considering they were in league with the Archmage's plans to conquer Avalon. I guess once they got their tails royally kicked, they ran off to daddy like a trio of tattle tales. Didn't anyone ever tell these witches that snitches get stiches? There was some fun action throughout the episode as Oberon takes on Goliath, Angela, and Gabriel for the fate of the Avalon clan. Much like the Archmage, Oberon makes use of Avalon's very environment as a weapon, and even in a weakend state, Oberon is still too much of a match. He technically wins the contest by almost curb stomping the trio of heroes. But much like in the initial battle of Avalon, the good guys' use of teamwork and guile plans manage to thwart their enemy. I do wonder if The Archmage would've been a match for Oberon in a one on one fight in his depowered state. That would've been a great fight. In the end, the good guys manage to defeat Oberon through the use of an iron bell and are allowed to remain on the island indefinitely.

    Interestingly enough, I do sort of understand Oberon's initial perspective. These are outsider trespassing in his home. Elisa's argument that Oberon abandoned Avalon for a thousand years doesn't really hold much water. It shouldn't matter how long he's been gone: it's his home regardless of whether he's been away for a day or a thousand years. What is a thousand years to an immortal anyways? I'd say Oberon was more than generous in not only just asking (well, demanding) they leave, but he even gave them an hour to prepare and gather their belongings. And when they challenged him, he still allowed himself to be depowered to make it more fair. Titania is quite a sly manipulator in this episode, and in later ones as we'll see. She goads Oberon into battling the gargoyles by impressing on him that though he decreed his children to live with humans to learn humility, he himself did not. Seems a lot of rulers believe themselves above their own lessons. And then, Titania even manages to drop some hints to the rest of the Avalon clan as to Oberon's weakness to iron, which though used in past episodes, had not actually been made as explicit as it is here. Furthermore, viewers with sharp ears or eyes might've recognized the voice actress for Titania was the same for Anastasia Renard. All of this will naturally come to a head in the upcoming Gathering. The series is just so damn good at getting a variety of pieces all set up before delivering a big payoff for everything. The Avalon World Tour is coming to an end soon, but there's still one more episode to go first. And it's one of the heaviest in the show's history. But that's for tomorrow.

    P.S. In a crazy coincidence, as I was typing all this up, the Gargoyles opening theme randomly popped up on my ipod. Too wild.
     
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  7. Deathcatg

    Deathcatg Well-Known Member

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    Good ol' Kate Mulgrew. And I think "Star Trek: Voyager" just premiered in the beginning of that year. Before that, I would have just known her as the very distinctive voice of Red Claw from "Batman the Animated Series".
     
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  8. Preach Starscream

    Preach Starscream Well-Known Member

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    Damn, I never knew that. But now that you mention it, I can totally hear it in my head.
     
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  9. Dr Kain

    Dr Kain Well-Known Member

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    Oh shit, next episode is my absolutely favorite.
     
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  10. Preach Starscream

    Preach Starscream Well-Known Member

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    "Future Tense." This episode. God damn this episode. Just wow. More than twenty years later, and it still hits incredibly hard. First off, we'll get the obvious SPOILER out of the way: Yes, it was all just a dream, but that doesn't really change what the audience sees for 95% of the episode's runtime. Heck, the story begins with Goliath literally being struck by lightning. Talk about starting off with a bang. From there, if you can believe it, things only get worse. Our Avalon crew finally lands in Manhattan after weeks, if not months, of trying to get home, and it is, for lack of a better phrase, a true hellscape. The sky is darkened, the Statue of Liberty lies in ruin, crumbling to pieces, and the entire city is crisscrossed by a multitude of odd, almost spiderweb-shaped buildings all coalescing into the Eerie Tower, now known as the Eerie Pyramid. In a strange real-world coincidence, that became truly tragic post-9/11, there are no Twin Towers visible in the New York skyline. Our heroes are immediately attacked by new advanced models of the Steel Clan, now bearing Xanatos' distinct goatee. The skiff is destroyed, Angela and Elisa are taken hostage, and Goliath and Bronx are rescued by a much older Matt Bluestone and Claw, who has lost his wings in what could only have been a brutal battle. We learn that 40 years have passed since Goliath, Elisa, and Bronx left, and now Xanatos has not only taken over New York, not only has he successfully seceded from the rest of the country to form his own nation, but he has in fact, finally achieved the immortality he had sought for so long. A true nightmare come to life. On top of all this, Goliath has to contend with what's happened to the city and his clan. The Clock Tower, the home he'd been wanting to return to, has been destroyed. The (I can only guess) daughter of Captain Chavez wonders the streets alone with a picture memento of her dead mother. Hudson died over 30 years ago in a battle against Xanatos. Lexington has become as much of a cybernetic monstrosity as Jackal and Hyena, two of his most hated enemies. Broadway, no longer the lovable oaf, walks around pale and blind. And apart from hating Goliath for abandoning them for decades, Brooklyn is now Demona's mate, with Thailog also long dead from a clone war. Brooklyn has grown into a fearsome looking warrior who would no doubt be more than a match for Goliath if they were to truly fight. But most shocking is how he and Demona are with each other. Once fierce enemies, they are now a devoted couple (On a side note, I really like how Brooklyn and Demona now wear their wings. Instead of being draped over their shoulders and across their chest, they now hang down off the shoulders resembling the classic Superman cape). Brooklyn tells Goliath the Phoenix Gate is the only way to undo this bleak future. Goliath refuses knowing that history is immutable (thanks to his various experiences with time travel), and he believes there must be another way fix things in the present. He could probably try and come up with a plan if it weren't for the fact that Xanatos, thanks to using his son, is already planning a final offensive, on not just the clan, but the whole world. The fight between Xanatos and his son Alexander inside the Eerie Pyramid is quite epic. The animation is smooth and fluid as father and son trade energy blasts across a virtual reality. Alexander in fact looks just like his old man, but he's got his mother's hair color and tattoo. It's a brutal fight that ends horrifically when Xanatos destroys his only child in cold blood. What need does an immortal have for an heir? Even Goliath is shocked at this.

    The good guys mount a raid against Xanatos' forces in the Eerie Tower, but everything goes very wrong very quickly. Before they even land, they're attacked by Thailog's shock troops. Lexington is taken hostage, and Broadway is killed in one of the most beautifully, heartrending moments of the series. His last words to Goliath describing how beautiful and bright the sun is hammer home that these are his final moments. Just as back in "Deadly Force," Bill Fagerbakke nailed the drama and heartbreak of the moment. It's touching, and Goliath's tears for his friend are our tears as well. But rather than breaking him, this revitalizes Goliath's resolve, and he succumbs to a rage we hadn't seen since he discovered the Captain of the Guards was his clan's betrayer a thousand years ago. Blood vengeance is all that's on his mind as he screams out for Xanatos to show himself. It's frightening, pained, and desperate all at the same time. Man, Keith David was born for this role. But there's no time to mourn. It's time for the final confrontation with the series' biggest antagonist. We're transported into the previous virtual reality world where Elisa and Angela are being held captive, and we learn the real Xanatos died in his fight against Hudson decades ago. What everybody's been fighting has been an AI created in his mind's image. And it's far more cold-blooded and calculating than Xanatos ever was. It wastes no time in creating a virtual sun that turns the gargoyles to stone but reverts Demona back into a human. The Xanatos AI takes this moment to torment her by blasting Brooklyn and Angela into pieces. It's brutal in its efficiency. Demona attacks though she's no match for him. But before she too is incinerated, she relays a message to Goliath: it's all in his mind. His will can win. Goliath comes to life as a stone gargoyle and engages Xanatos in fight that costs him his arms before being pulverized into dust. Fortunately, Goliath wills himself together and destroys the AI Xanatos freeing himself and Elisa from its world, only to learn another horrible truth: it was Lexington all along. He grew to hate Goliath as well and used the memory and AI of Xanatos to further his own evil goals as the Xanatos program will soon download into every computer across the world, granting him ultimate control. Unfortunately for him, he is no physical match for Goliath, and he too is killed when Goliath hurls him into a computer terminal like a hammer throw. As the world is falling into chaos and ruin, Elisa begs Goliath to allow her to use the Phoenix Gate to try and undo everything. Goliath, injured with a hole torn through his wing, relents but is too weak to hand it to Elisa himself. Her insistence that he place it directly in her hand cues Goliath into realizing something is wrong. He is not speaking with the real Elisa. The illusion melts away, and Puck finally reveals himself as the true mastermind behind everything. It seems he's not terribly eager to return to "boring" Avalon for The Gathering and would've liked to used the Phoenix Gate as a means to bribe Oberon to allow him to stay with humans. In a final twist, Puck teases that though Goliath thinks it as a dream, it may have actually been a prophecy before returning him back to the skiff with Elisa, Angela, and Bronx all safe and sound, yet none the wiser as to what Goliath just experienced. From their perspective, he just got dizzy and passed out. Goliath understanding how dangerous and tempting the Phoenix Gate is sends it through a time portal with no one to guide it in an attempt to keep it from ever falling into the wrong hands with the hope that the future is not written as he saw it. And on that, we close this midsummer's nightmare.

    Overall, wow is the best way to describe this episode. The bad future trope is a classic storytelling technique that allows us to see our heroes at their lowest, acting as a catalyst for them to change or take some immediate action to avoid it. The Ghost of Christmas Future is one form that I'm sure most people are familiar with, but there are many different ways to go about it. Disney itself employed this technique with other shows, such as Duck Tales and Darkwing Duck. But they never went as far as "Future Tense" did. I know I went into a lot more detail with the episode than I usually do, but it was important to illustrate why in a show known for being dark and violent, this is its most dark and violent episode. Characters are killed, betrayed, and in the end, our main hero lies defeated, broken. Too weak to even muster the strength to pick up a talisman. But as shown with prior episodes (particularly, "Shadows of the Past") Goliath is able to overcome his enemies with his mind as well as his strength. Elisa's behavior is off, and he deduces things aren't what they seem. As always, character is what's most important to the shows. Puck not wanting to return to Avalon could be seen as having been foreshadowed in "The Hound of Ulster" when The Banshee also refused to return for the Gathering, and him employing such an excessively cruel prank just to obtain the Phoenix Gate is right in line with his character. He's an immortal trickster who wants something. And he'll go about any means to get it. For repeat viewers, there are some holes in his illusions early on. Brooklyn being flustered and quickly coming up with an explanation that Thailog had been killed in the Clone Wars happens only because Puck obviously didn't know about Demona and Thailog's relationship from "Sanctuary." Goliath mentioning that the real Xanatos at his worst would never do what the AI did seems like an attack on the machine, but it could also be a hint that things are so, so much worse than what the reality actually is. Which I've no doubt is why the showrunners were able to get away with all the heightened violence. Seeing what's become of our heroes is heartbreaking, as Goliath had earlier voiced the audience's feelings of missing the Trio and Hudson. Hudson being dead is sad, but it's almost expected. Of course the older war veteran would be the first to go. It's what's happened to the Trio that is truly tragic. Brooklyn, usually came off as the hotheaded one, but his hate for Goliath is disappointing, yet understandable. Lexington now comes across as a cold cyborg, even with the return of Goliath. Broadway is the only one actually happy to have Goliath back, but he's as broken outside as his brothers are inside. And though Goliath's initial reaction is to attack Demona when she first appears, once he learns she's on their side, he accepts her as a teammate and never doubts her loyalty. This clearly shows that even though he's accepted she is his enemy and hates him, he would gladly welcome her back into the clan if she could reform. Something that by now, the viewers probably know will never happen. In terms of the show's mythology, this episode brings to an end the three main gargoyle artifacts we've come to know over the past two seasons: The Grimorum Arcanorum (destroyed along with The Archmage), The Eye of Odin (returned to its rightful owner), and The Phoenix Gate (lost to time). Not counting any comic continuations. In terms of story arc, this episode brings to an end the Avalon World Tour, and it's been a hell of a ride. We got to meet new friends and enemies. The entire world opened up. And new races revealed themselves to our heroes. All that's left is to bring it all to a climactic wrap with The Gathering.
     
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  11. Hail Galvatron

    Hail Galvatron Well-Known Member

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    And here's the Weisman ramble...

     
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  12. Deathcatg

    Deathcatg Well-Known Member

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    Kind of sad that Weisman pointed out quite a few times here that modern Standards and Practices for American television will not allow even tastefully done on-screen deaths like the ones here to be done for today's children series. We're pushing towards having more on-screen inclusion and metal health issues in children media, but I guess some things they can no longer handle for themselves without parental guidance (actual parental guidance, not just the rating label).
     
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  13. Preach Starscream

    Preach Starscream Well-Known Member

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    A great ramble. I'd forgotten to mention "Days of Future Past." It's certainly the standard bearer for bad futures in action shows/comics/cartoons. Even with my long ramble, there is still so much packed into the episode.

    I do have to disagree with Weismann that the type of violence and death displayed would be completely out of the question (at least during when he made that ramble). If I'm not mistaken, he wrote that back in 2005. That was when Justice League/Justice League Unlimited was airing. And that show definitely got away with some incredible violence and death throughout its run. Including both "The Terror Beyond" and "Wake the Dead" that can rival Broadway's death in sadness and poignancy. And even Weismann's own Young Justice had some higher levels of violence and death.

    But as for modern cartoons today though, I honestly can't say since I've not watched any cartoons made after Young Justice. I think I just aged out.
     
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  14. mx-01 archon

    mx-01 archon Well-Known Member

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    He was still right on that count, though, as Young Justice was on cable TV, rather than intended for network syndication. So different standards there.

    Network standards aside, real "Monkey's Paw" scenario on that series. The fans got the dark and mature storytelling they always wanted from Weisman. All it cost was the heart and soul and character interplay of his much lauded earlier works. About the only time the series ever approaches "good" is when it bucks its own momentum to take a moment and get real, like the minor subplot where the team suffers damaging mental trauma and actively needs counseling to cope.
     
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  15. UndertakerPrime

    UndertakerPrime Happiness is just a Flaming Moe away

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    It’s been a while since I watched Future Tense, but reading this brings it all back…
    DAMN, I still remember the first time I watched it on TV, I was like “what the f*** is going on???” Truly amazing. For me it’s up there with The Mirror as my favorites of the series.

    I wonder if I’m in the minority when I say, I was never a big fan of the Avalon World Tour. I remember when I first saw those eps on TV and I honestly just wanted them to get back to Manhattan. They felt like filler between the good stuff. Granted, I probably haven’t watched them for almost a couple decades so maybe I can appreciate them more now for their world-building. I do agree that the Easter Island alien felt REALLY out of place in this series (which is actually kinda funny in a series where all manner of mythical creatures are real :p ).

    I had started watching through the series on Disney+ but I only got to around the beginning of the second season before I got caught up in watching the Muppet Show again (that’s my childhood right there. God the Harry Belafonte ep is so good…)
     
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  16. Preach Starscream

    Preach Starscream Well-Known Member

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    I think most fans would definitely agree with you. I've only really become of fan of the World Tour recently. I can definitely understand why some fans would see most of it as filler, but my issue with it is, like you, that we just don't revisit Manhattan enough. Out of 20 episodes of the World Tour (23 if you count the Avalon 3-parter that kicks everything off) only 4 episodes are set in Manhattan (Kingdom, Pendragon, The Green, & Future Tense). That was just too much time spent away from the rest of the clan. They were missed. I like the new characters we get to meet, but not at the expense of the ones we already grew to know and love.

    Maybe the World Tour wouldn't have felt so long if we'd revisited Manhattan once every 2 or 3 episodes. But I do enjoy most of the World Tour for the world building, and it's a little more tolerable on DVD where I can decide which episodes to watch, or just pop in a random World Tour episode, or even skip some all together.
     
  17. Dr Kain

    Dr Kain Well-Known Member

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    I think the issue really wasn't the world tour stuff itself, but the way it was broadcast. I don't know how it was in other areas, but my Fox would show like 2 or 3 new episodes in a row, and then do nothing but reruns for a few weeks before airing another 2-3 new ones. And this continued on from like Thanksgiving until the end of April.

    I seriously thought the world tour thing was like 40 episodes long by the time it finished, only to learn it was half that.
     
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  18. Preach Starscream

    Preach Starscream Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that type of schedule would drive anyone nuts. I remember a similar thing happened with Superman the Animated Series. They'd show like one or two new episodes, then go into reruns for weeks. Of the episodes they had literally just aired. It was infuriating as a fan.
     
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  19. Hail Galvatron

    Hail Galvatron Well-Known Member

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    I may have shared part of this before, but this was around the time the high episode order and the re-run issue hit. Here's Weisman's ramble:

     
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  20. Preach Starscream

    Preach Starscream Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad Weismann apologizes for nothing. I do think the Avalon World Tour was not only important, it was fun. I enjoyed all but one episode ("Sentinel"), and I'll defend them to this day.
     
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