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GARGOYLES: SEASON TWO, VOLUME ONE

Gargoyles: Season Two, Volume One Home Video Release
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: December 6, 2005

Program Description:
Get ready for more "Gargoyles"- the fantastic, heroic animated series - with Gargoyles Season 2 (Volume 1), available on DVD for the first time on December 6 from Buena Vista Home Entertainment. This DVD set features 26 exciting second season episodes of the popular show.

"Gargoyles" is the story of the fantastic, ancient creatures that once guarded a medieval Scottish fortress, and who now come to life at night to protect the city of Manhattan from evil. Legions of loyal fans continue to follow "Gargoyles," and the series features star voice talents including "Star Trek: The Next Generation" stars Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner, and "Star Trek Voyager" star Kate Mulgrew. Available only on DVD December 6 for $39.99 from Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

Synopsis:
Gargoyles is the animated story of a group of fantastic superbeings who protect mankind from danger. Their story begins in medieval times, when Gargoyles were stone statues by day, but were transformed at sundown into fearsome, living creatures. GARGOYLES are a clan of winged beings, honorable creatures who, in a violent and brutal age, protected a Scottish castle from Viking assaults, until they were betrayed by a sorcerer's spell. They were frozen in stone through night and day, and passed through the centuries. When a wealthy businessman purchases the Gargoyles' ancient Scottish castle and rebuilds it high above the clouds atop his corporate headquarters in present day New York City, the spell is broken. The Gargoyles sleep in stone by day, but at sundown awaken to become majestic heroes of the night, defending the city from modern day menaces. The series carries positive moral messages about friendship, teamwork and doing good.

DVD Special Features:
-Episode introductions with series creator Greg Weisman
-The Gathering of Cast and Crew Featurette
-Audio commentary on the "City of Stone" episodes (parts 1-4)




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Gargoyles: Season Two, Volume One Review
by James Harvey

Nearly twelve months after releasing the first season of the popular Gargoyles series, Disney has blessed fans once again with Gargoyles: Season 2, Volume 1: We Live Again, a three-disc set collecting the first half of the second season. With a video and audio transfer that matches the quality of the previous release and well-done extras, this is one collection casual and die-hard fans must pick up.

To try and sum up the first half of the second season is quite difficult. After a few episodes to re-familiarize the viewers with the main characters, we're quickly introduced to new villains, revamped villains, and universe-building back stories. In short, the series expanded and everything changed. The crew behind the series did the right thing, in my opinion, by throwing open the doors to the Gargoyles universe.

While there are accessible stand-alone episodes, most of them feel like they are connected to a bigger story. New viewers can watch them, but the already hooked will be rewarded by little easter eggs and background progression throughout. Some refer to previously mentioned events while others are there solely to develop a spotlight character. They all seem to fit and play an important role, no matter how trivial, in the great scheme of things. It's a very intricate series, done with astonishing clarity.

The best part about this expansion is that it isn't forced, but natural. The four-part story "City of Stone" is an excellent example of how the series introduces new characters, enriching the back story of current villains, and also providing an adequate threat to our main heroes. There's so much story in "City of Stone" that not a single moment feels wasted, and the epic tone is admirably justified, even though the animation is less than adequate from time to time.

But some of the poorly animated episodes are just a natural side effect of the massive expansion the show underwent in season two. Weisman explains how new directors, animation houses, etc., had to be brought in to meet Disney's 52 episode order, an order they had around 18 months to complete. That's right—18 months.

The extras are worthy of a release such as this. We get episode introductions for all twenty-six episodes, commentaries for four episodes, and a short featurette with the cast and crew discussing how big season two turned out to be.

The commentary for the four "City of Stone" episodes start off a bit rough, with some varied pauses and stuttering, but it gets going once the story starts to unravel. The creative team takes great pride in the intricate storyline, as they should. It's interesting to hear how they came up with the ideas, how much of it is based in fact, etc. It's informative once it gets going, with Weisman, Reaves, and Paur providing great anecdotes.

The episode introductions range from 15 to 30 seconds long and include a basic synopsis of the episode plus the odd factoid. The featurette, which runs less than ten minutes, is a discussion between the cast and crew about the second season, including the problems, near nervous breakdowns, and the cast expansion that came with a 52-episode season. The extras are enough to keep the casual fan enthralled and provide enough tidbits to enjoy for the dedicated fan, though I'm sure hardcore viewers have heard just about every behind the scenes story imaginable, but there's something refreshing about this information coming straight from Weisman, Paur, Reaves, and the cast.

And while the actual disc art is amazing, the main menus within are pretty stale, using CGI that looks outdated even by mid-1990s standards. Stills appear to be forcibly dragged across the screen and poorly integrated clips from the series look simply horrendous. Disney should take note of the superb menus from Superman: The Animated Series Volume One for the next volume release. The packaging is only slightly substandard, as I'm sure better art could have been found to splash across the digipack and cover.

Disney has produced a well-done DVD set that houses a nice amount of extras and half a season worth of episodes. There's plenty of material on here, enough to keep any fan busy for at least a few days of continuous watching.

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