Open Thread: Beginnings

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There’s no new Nick TMNT episode this week, and the next post on the pipeline–my review of Gargoyles‘ “The Cage”– isn’t finished yet.  I don’t want to just not post anything, so let’s try this again.

The rules remain the same: This is an open thread, which means that you can write about whatever you’d like in the comments, as long as it remains within the bounds set by the comment policy.  There will be an ice-breaker comment by me–see below–but one is under no obligation to adhere to it.

It has recently been brought to my attention that it’s been ten years and a day since “Triceraton Wars“–the last TMNT episode reviewed here–first aired.  It reminded me of how I first found out about the series, via a thread on Madman’s Cafe message boards on the then-recently announced series.  As a fan of the original series and the Archie books, my interest was immediately piqued, although it wouldn’t be until the show’s third week on the air that I would first catch it.

Gargoyles, on the other hand, I first found about, I think, via commercials back when the show was first airing.  My first exposure was by catching part of “Awakening: Part Four“–specifically, the moment when Elisa first sees Goliath turn to stone–on the way to watching something else.  After that, it’d be years before I’d think about the show again, which happened via the old DC Comics.com message boards.  This was back somewhere between 2001-2003, and the general topics board had an animation thread; there, someone mentioned how cool the show had been, an impression that stayed with me until I finally decided to catch an episode during a Toon Disney late night airing some time later–possibly as I waited for The Big-O and/or Witch Hunter Robin to air on Cartoon Network.    My first episode was “Vows“, which makes for a not ideal introduction but held my interest enough for me to stay for the next episode, which got me hooked.

So, my question to y’all: what was your first interaction with TMNT, Gargoyles, or some other piece of fiction you consider formative or significant?

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8 Responses to Open Thread: Beginnings

  1. DarthEmpress says:

    I saw Gargoyles when it first came out. I didn’t even know what it was when I saw it, but I thought it looked really cool so I watched the whole first episode and found myself hooked. I was so little and I remember getting dizzy from seeing Goliath’s hand bleed when he stopped Hakon’s sword lol :3 I absolutely adored Demona when I first saw her. I had just been thinking, moments before her appearance, “are there any girl gargoyles?” and then she was there and I thought she was amazing! I remember I never liked Eliza as a kid; it was always Demona I was rooting for, and I find myself still infatuated by her character to this day.

    I stopped watching Gargoyles when the Goliath Chronicles started.

    As for TMNT, I watched the OT as a kid and saw all the movies, but it wasn’t until the Nick show that I actually took the time to research more about TMNT origins and find the 2k3 series and 2k7 movie.

  2. Isaac says:

    I remember as a kid watching TMNT and being completely and utterly uninterested. Since I was, like most kids, addicted to TV I would still tune in from time to time, but it didn’t strike me as a show I wanted to watch. Then, about a year after it last aired, for some reason, now as a teenager, I got curious. I really have no idea why. I hunted down a couple episodes and I found myself enjoying them more than I had any right to. So I watched the whole thing. All seven seasons.

    Gargoyles was actually recommended to me by a friend who knew that I liked watching cartoons and had found it.

  3. I cannot *possibly* imagine “Vows” as the introduction to the Gargoyles ‘verse. It’s one of the episodes I like a lot, but it’s so contextual; I like it so much because of the potency of Goliath and Demona’s relationship and all the changes that have already taken place, all the knowledge the audience is supposed to have at that point, chronologically. I can’t imagine seeing it as the first-go. You describe it as “not ideal,” but what were some of the impressions you had of it, other than it holding your interest?

    I honestly can’t remember when or how I started watching Gargoyles. I know that I saw it in some capacity during its initial run, but I had a much stronger reaction when I caught it again in reruns when I was in high school. I remember feeling embarrassed by it since it seemed fairly uncool to be so invested in a cartoon like Gargoyles at that time, but it certainly didn’t stop me from being totally enthralled!

    The earliest Gargoyles-related memory I have is one that I’m sure happened after I had been watching it awhile, but when the world was still very new to me. I saw the end of ‘City of Stone, Part III,’ with Demona saying, mace raised:
    “I thought I’d rid myself of you long ago, human. Fortunately, that mistake is easily rectified…”
    And I positively freaked out. I had no idea what came next and I remember panicking slightly because I was going out of town for one reason or another and wasn’t sure I would be able to find out what happened. I don’t recall even how I managed to see the fourth part but whenever that happened, I remember being that much more frustrated, thinking, “WTF just happened?!?” once the Weird Sisters took Macbeth and Demona and vanished.

    I also remember being overwhelmingly relieved to find out how much MORE there was to the series after that. That episode(s) is heavy; it conveys a lot of information and contains some major revelations there at the end. It has a certain tone of finality while also being, paradoxically, something of a cliffhanger. At the first viewing, it had seemed like it might have been an ending, or at least a step in that direction. I take it now as a sign of my level of interest; that I didn’t even understand the world entirely yet, and though frustrated with the unanswered questions and spooky presentation, I still wanted more of the world and really hoped it wasn’t the end – or even near-end – of the story.

    This may be part of the reason that multi-parter episode is still one of my favorites. First impressions with a healthy dose of good, ol’ nostalgia in all its glory.

  4. I feel like I have mentioned this experience in another comment somewhere…I went back through my responses to the other “City of Stone” posts and didn’t see it, but I still feel like I’m repeating myself. In either case, apologies if I’ve now inadvertently told the same story twice!

  5. Ian says:

    @RobinChristine No apology required, . I don’t recall you telling this particular story, and even if you had, repeating it just means that readers who weren’t around back then and I don’t have to dig around for that old post to hear it. : )

    I don’t think I can accurately say what I thought upon first seeing “Vows”–my memories of that experience have been muddied by subsequent viewings, so the most I can say is what I now imagine I would have thought back then. Plus, when it comes to series I’m first watching in media res , my impressions tend to be about things that happen, rather than how I feel about those things which tends to be “lemme try and make sense of what is going on here, cause I have no clue.” I may have had trouble sussing out the relationship between characters: I didn’t know Demona or Xanatos back then, so seeing all of these apparent enemies at a wedding did not help help me figure things out.

    “City of Stone”, I remember more clearly. Macbeth had been one of those things I remembered from those earlier message board conversations, so I was excited to see him. The Weird Sisters also left an extremely strong impression, as I thought it was awesome to have them manipulating things behind the scenes, which helped give the whole thing an aura of epicness I was not at all expecting from the show.

    I also remember being overwhelmingly relieved to find out how much MORE there was to the series after that. That episode(s) is heavy; it conveys a lot of information and contains some major revelations there at the end. It has a certain tone of finality while also being, paradoxically, something of a cliffhanger. At the first viewing, it had seemed like it might have been an ending, or at least a step in that direction. I take it now as a sign of my level of interest; that I didn’t even understand the world entirely yet, and though frustrated with the unanswered questions and spooky presentation, I still wanted more of the world and really hoped it wasn’t the end – or even near-end – of the story.

    This may be part of the reason that multi-parter episode is still one of my favorites. First impressions with a healthy dose of good, ol’ nostalgia in all its glory.

    Word. I’ve mentioned before how the episodes between “City of Stone” and “Avalon” represent my favorite “era” of Gargoyles, and I think that feeling you describe played a large part in that. It was my entry into the universe, and that made them special, even as time has caused me to view them more critically.

    @DarthEmpress Would you be offended if I told you I have been severely underestimating your age? I thought you were closer to Isaac’s age than mine (28). : )

    I tend to consider being with a show from the beginning a special privilege, particularly when the show in question a mythology-driven one. There’s something special about not knowing what to expect, and there are times in which not there from the start changes the experience dramatically. Take TMNT: given how much of the fandom doesn’t really give a damn about spoiling things, I imagine it’s quite hard for someone getting into the series now to watch “Return to New York” without one having its ending spoiled for them. For me, though, watching the episode as it first aired, it was like the most surprising thing ever, something that needed to be shouted out into the mountains for how shocking it was. On the other hand, I’d learned about Owen and Puck from a fansite far in advance from watching “The Gathering” and it rather blunted the experience for me.

    @Isaac: So you’ve watched Gargoyles as well? How do you feel it compares, as a show, to Weisman’s Young Justice?

  6. @Ian Perhaps there’s a subject for a post: Gargoyles as compared to Young Justice. Or maybe one about Xanatos as a villain.
    And hearing that you heard about Owen and Puck beforehand sounds positively dreadful. That was another of those awesome, “OMFG WHAT” moments for me that I really enjoyed.

  7. Isaac says:

    @Ian: I never liked Gargoyles that much honestly. I’ve watched a fair amount of it, but couldn’t quite get into it. I understand why you like it – I even understand the similarities between it and TMNT, but quite honestly, it just never appealed.

    I think part of the problem was what I like about Young Justice – and indeed what I liked about Spectacular Spider-man – was Weisman’s willingness to just create a story and run with it. Both shows are heavily serialized (which may have lead to their downfall). Now Gargoyles has some of that too, but there’s also a lot of filler, and the filler doesn’t work for me very often.

    I don’t really have a problem with filler. Of the first nine episodes of TMNT the only one that really stands out for me is the very filler-y Nano, and I think the “filler” episodes in the first half of season 4 are probably better than the main plot (which is, essentially, Leonardo is moody). Teen Titans, another show I quite like, was almost entirely “filler”. Each season (except for season 5, which was also probably the worst season), had only three or four (out of thirteen) episodes that actually connected to the season’s arc. Even in Young Justice, one of my favorite episodes was Secrets, an episode that developed the character of Artemis quite a bit while presenting a compelling villain.

    But when Gargoyles would venture into filler, it just felt to me like those stories were just there. I don’t remember much of Gargoyles truthfully, which I guess is part of what I don’t like about it. So much of it just doesn’t stand out for me. Weisman is, I think, at his best as a writer when he’s telling one single story of the course of more than 20 minutes.

    Have you watched Young Justice or Spectacular Spider-Man? If so, what did you think?

  8. Ian says:

    @RobinChristine, @Isaac: I’ll be closing this thread once I open this week’s, and I’ll be responding to your questions and comments there.

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