Toon Zone Talks to Greg Weisman, Part One: "Gargoyles"
Toon Zone would like to welcome readers to the first of a four Greg Weisman interviews, each touching upon his involvement with the programs Gargoyles, The Batman, Roughnecks, and W.I.T.C.H.. New installments will be posted throughout the summer.
December 7th, 2004 saw the release of Gargoyles: The Complete First Season on DVD to a rabid fan-base. Hardcore fans, and even casual fans who remember a cartoon from their childhood, rushed to own the first season of this classic animated series. Citing this show as his pride and joy, series creator Greg Weisman was pleased with how the set turned out.
“I was involved in content discussion for the first season release,” says Weisman. “I was really pleased and surprised they valued my input.”
The DVD set featured the original pitch for the animated series, a look at the annual “Gathering of the Gargoyles” convention, and commentary on the original five episodes. Now, the original five episodes have been the center of some confusion, specifically as to the final version of the opening arc.
Over the past few years, various fans and sites have reported multiple versions, including the 80 minute “movie” edit of the original five episodes released by Disney in 1994. Weisman confirms that the episodes featured on the First Season releases are the final, absolute versions of the original five episodes. Every scene, every little bit of dialogue, is in there.
“This problem began when we cut the pilot into an eighty minute episode,” Weisman remembers. “That movie was created to air for a press event, and how it got onto video escapes me.”
The complication grows from there, with two versions being sold into syndication. Both the 80 minute cut and a re-edited version, with some scenes from the original episodes spliced in, are still floating around somewhere in syndicated-TV land.
The complete original episodes are now available only on DVD, given the current censors and standards television stations have to adhere too. Both the USA Network, when it had the license, and the Disney Channel edited the show for both content and time. The show, like many other cartoons from the early 1990’s, currently airs in abbreviated form on Toon Disney.
“Given the current standards, there is no way the show could be done how we approached it ten years ago,” says Weisman. “Everything has drastically changed since then.”
If the show was pitched today, Weisman is sure it would retain its’ quality, but it’d be very different.
“The episode where Eliza was shot would be very difficult, maybe even impossible to do today,” adds Weisman. “We had a lot more freedom back then.”
While violence and danger content has dropped considerably since the early 1990s, Weisman believes if the product is solid, that should not affect the quality. But it can get a bit frustrating, he admits.
“Language has also drastically changed,” he says. “Words that we could say then can’t be said now. Context has changed so much.”
This in itself works as a solid plug for the DVDs, Weisman jokes. “Catch the unedited episodes on DVD! It’s the only place you can get them!”
When asked about the second DVD set, Weisman was unable to give any solid answers. He states the sales were fairly well for the first season, and he hopes to get a definite answer from Disney on the next season set soon.
“They know where to find me,” he adds.
Next: The Batman – May 2005
Be sure to visit Greg Weisman’s official website for the latest updates from Weisman himself!
Correction: An earlier version of this interview stated that Gargoyles currently airs on ABC Family. It currently only airs on Toon Disney. Thanks to Chris Coleman for pointing this out.