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Classics Star Wars: Ewoks (1985-1986) discussion, rewatch, information & analysis thread

Discussion in 'Star Wars TV- Completed Shows' started by Ewok Poet, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Yubnub, here we are! And we are mod-approved, so thank you, mods. :)

    [​IMG]

    This thread serves to gather the fans of Star Wars: Ewoks in one place, as all the places we normally hang out are barely known. Whether you liked the cartoon series as a child and you want to refresh your memory or you're set to watch it only now; this is where we will socialise, discuss it and go through episodes and events.

    [​IMG]

    Useful links:
    Watch all the episodes here, until they get a proper release
    Wookiepedia page*
    TVtropes page (has subpages, too)
    Droids and Ewoks fansite
    An awesome collection of links, courtesy of the above site
    *There are many more individual pages, but this is where I would start if I were you.

    [​IMG]


    Things you have to know // Essential information:

    - There has never been an official release of the entire series. The most recent release from 2004 is a sub-par double-sided DVD with four episodes badly edited together on each side and the original music, which was praised for very new age/ambiental feeling to it was replaced.

    - There are 35 episodes. The first season consists of 13 22-minute episodes and the second season consists of four 22 minute episodes and 18 11-ish minute episodes.

    - The de-facto lead characters of the show are Wicket W. Warrick (and whom did you expect?) and his friend and heir to the throne of the Bright Tree Village, princess Kneesaa. From Return of the Jedi, there are medicine man/shaman/wizard* Logray, chief Chirpa, Teebo, Paploo and a couple of others who are mostly background characters. From Ewok TV films, we have the whole Warrick family, Chukha-Trok and Kaink (in a single episode, otherwise background characters). New characters created for the show include the musician Latara (who previously appeared in a lot of Wicket the Ewok merchandise) and the toddler Malani.

    - Next to ROTJ and the TV films, the series' basics were set by the earliest of the Ewoks books: The Adventures of Teebo: A Tale of Magic and Suspense and How the Ewoks Saved the Trees - An Old Ewok Legend. The earlier of the two was written by Joe Johnston, who credits himself as the creator of Ewoks and...don't read it when alone at night, will you?

    - The creators of the show faced many restrictions placed by the network, who wanted everything to be "safe". This meant that nobody could be hit, just pushed, among other things; so there are many scenes where a character is hit offscreen, and you have to guess what happened. Also, some episode ideas were rejected for being "too starwarsy". Oddly enough, the series finale features Galactic Empire, Stormtroopers, droids and it's very starwarsy.

    - The cartoon series was very popular in Europe and south America. While there were some action figures released in North America, most of the merchandise related to the show is from Europe, most notably Spain.

    - The second season is marked by radical changes to character design, storylines (likely) characters' age and more. It almost does not feel like the same cartoon. It's campy, but it still has a good amount of humour and a romcom-kind-of romantic arc, if nothing else.

    - Compared to most 1980s cartoons, this one features detailed and good animation, great backgrounds and more. The idea behind both Ewoks and Droids was to raise standards for television animation. Cels from both series are pretty popular among collectors.

    - Some of the first season's voice actor are relatively big names. The late Jackie Burroughs should ring a bell, as she was playing the cranky, yet lovable aunt Hattie King in Road to Avonlea and Eric Peterson won a couple of lifetime achievement awards recently and may be best known as Oscar Leeroy from the comedy series Corner Gas. And of course, the two top-billed names Jim Henshaw and Cree Summer are known for having landed their voice talents to many cartoons.

    - Continuity wise, the cartoon episodes happen after all but one issue of the 14-issue comic series, but before the two made-for-TV Ewoks films and, of course, before Return of the Jedi. This explains why Chukha-Trok is alive in the cartoon, why Wicket is a tween and why the others whose names may ring a bell are teenagers.

    - Fan of Force mages? This cartoon features two Force-sensitives who are good guys throughout, a major villain in the first season is a powerful dark witch and a couple of other Force-sensitives, including a whole species of shapeshifters appear in specific episodes. In the first season, the rituals the good guys use are very believable, pagan-like and accompanied by incomprehensible chants. In the second season, most of it is played for laughs. A powerful Force object named Sunstar Shadowstone or, simply, Sunstar is central to the plot of the dominant arc of the first season and appears in many second season episodes.

    - Want something that stood the test of time for your children to watch? This cartoon features a cute and well-known lead character, at least three strong female characters, a cool old mentor, a not-so-masculine male in the main cast, at least two characters are artists, parents are mostly realistic...while villains tend to be bumbling, due to restrictions and all, the main villain of the first season IS a bit scary.

    Some prompts to kick the discussion? Chak!

    When did you watch Ewoks first?

    What are your favourite episodes?

    How about favourite characters?

    Do you own any collectibles?

    Did you and your friends ever play Ewoks, draw them or anything like that?

    [​IMG]

    I am still trying to get my head around what else should be in this OP, so if I forgot anything, tell me. Either way, time to enjoy this and go to ridiculous depths when and where necessary.
     
  2. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett PT Interview Host/All-Around Good Guy star 10 VIP - Game Winner VIP - Game Host

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    Feb 18, 2014
    You really put your time in this

    I have never watched Ewoks do you think if I liked droids would I like Ewoks.
     
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  3. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 31, 2014
    Thanks. :) Sure I did. I also edit that TV Tropes page and one major character page on the Wook.


    I don't know anything about you, other than your gender, what you post and that you have dyslexia, so...how about you tell me what you generally like in animation, and if you can stand cute if there is creepy involved? That is basically what this cartoon is like - there are disturbing things hiding behind overwhelming cuteness. Think Disney's Alice in Wonderland, scenes in Tulgey wood.
     
  4. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett PT Interview Host/All-Around Good Guy star 10 VIP - Game Winner VIP - Game Host

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    Lets see I like
    Action
    Comedy
    Stories that pull you in
    New Characters
    Non repetive
     
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  5. TCF-1138

    TCF-1138 ST/Anthology/Fan Films Manager taking a break star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Awesome post and thread, Ewok Poet - I still haven't gotten around to rewatch the show (have been planning to for weeks, but real-life and all, you know), but this inspires me yet again to do so.
    I'll revisit this thread as soon as I've seen a few episodes.

    I'll just leave this embed of the awesome season 1 intro before I go :D

     
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  6. Orman Tagge

    Orman Tagge Jedi Knight star 4

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    Apr 10, 2014
    Kudos to you Ewok Poet! Very thorough and discussion provoking OP. Nicely done.

    I'm gearing up to start watching the show today. I've seen the live action movies and really enjoyed them (especially the second). Would it be appropriate for me to post my thoughts on each episode as I see them for the first time in this thread?

    Also, you mention two Ewok books above (How the Ewoks Saved the Trees and The Adventures of Teebo). Would they be worth reading to enhance my enjoyment of the show?
     
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  7. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord 5x Hangman Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

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    Sep 2, 2012
    Maybe you could get permission from the mods to scan the Ewok books and post them to the Arcana Historica page, as "never reprinted" material?

    http://www.theforce.net/timetales/misc/arcana/arcana.asp
     
  8. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 31, 2014

    One of the later books, basically a ROTJ picture book, is set to be re-released in August...I am confused.

    Joe Johnston is often selling signed and non-signed copies of his own book, so I am not sure about that one.

    When it comes to others, this sure is a headscratcher.


    And thank YOU for motivating me to do this, as I still had my doubts yesterday.

    The second film is my preferred one, too; because it's dark, realistic and precisely what I think good youth-oriented stuff should be. The shows and films that more or less imply that kids are idiots who need everything 100% watered down. That film is awesome in the same way that, say, the original Watership Down book is.

    It would be more than appropriate to post your thoughts as well. As somebody who watched the show in the autumn of 1990 and lives in a country where it's a cult favourite of many kids born in early to mid 1980s, I cannot be as objective as somebody like you; so...by all means, go ahead and do it.

    Regarding the books, yes, I would recommend them. Johnston's book is pretty dark, but it introduces the basic mythos pretty well and once you read it, you won't be like "Wait, this one has a sixth sense?!" when watching the first episode. The other book likely inspired both the first and the third episode of the show, but at the same time, it's the only book where other characters can hear the trees, as in the cartoon, it turns out it's not a common ability. And yeah, hearing the trees - one of the most awesome Force abilities, ever.


    That theme was done by the Grammy-winning musician Taj Mahal. In my former country, it was not dubbed, but the lead voice actor was mumbling over it and, at the very end, all five (yup, only five) voice actors giggled over it. o_O


    In that case, yes, give a go to the first season. The 12th episode is comedy, all 13 plots are different and the emotional aspects is well-done.
     
  9. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett PT Interview Host/All-Around Good Guy star 10 VIP - Game Winner VIP - Game Host

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    Ok I will give it a go.
     
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  10. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord 5x Hangman Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

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    I plan to give it a go. The Crystal Crisis on Utapau arc on SW.com was managable even without subtitles - this ideally should be the same.
     
  11. Orman Tagge

    Orman Tagge Jedi Knight star 4

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    Apr 10, 2014
    Cries of the Trees

    Well, I just finished the first episode, and I was actually really impressed! The characters are all distinct without being, well, cartoonish in their traits, and the tension towards the end of the episode was very real. Highlights of the episode to me were the Morag scenes (her Force powers were very cool), the surprisingly dark scene where the firefolk queen is being tortured, the use of gliders and catapults (being a nice nod towards RotJ), and the scene towards the end where Wicket saves Bozzie's soul tree. I actually laughed out loud at that one. More generally, the entire climax was very well done.

    Being a bit more critical, the animation quality definitely was something I had to work to look past. It's a pity, because the art is actually very well done (better, I think, than Droids), but the resolution was just so low. It's time for a Blu-Ray release already, darn it!

    This episode did further reinforce my opinion that the classics probably shouldn't be canon. Although I really did enjoy this, it just doesn't feel like the same Ewoks we see in RotJ. I appreciate and fully include it in the Legends continuity, but it is a bit "un-Star Warsy", in my opinion.

    Looking ahead within the show, I'm curious, are there any episodes where we get an appearance by a more typical Star Wars character - i.e. a Rebel pilot or a stormtrooper or something like that? Just curious. I'm also really, really looking forward to the Logray and Morag conflict evolving, and seeing if anything happens with Chukha-Trok. He was my favorite from the first Ewok movie!

    To give these reviews some context, I'm 17, I've grown up in the United States, and I'm one of those hardcore Legends fans who's still excited about the NEU!

    Overall Rating: 7/10

    I'll be getting to episode 2 tonight!
     
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  12. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord 5x Hangman Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

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    The finale of Season 2, I'm told.
     
  13. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 31, 2014
    Was about to type the exact same response and to refer Orman Tagge to the OP.

    The intention was to make things, Neolithic-like and lo-fi by premise. The Ewoks basically did not discover metal, so this is simply the way they live and it could not have been much different, in order to stay true to what we see in ROTJ. Endor is located in the remote Moddell sector very close to Wild Space and, on top of it, a couple of astronomic abnormalities as well as a pulsar known to damage hyperdrives. Endor's diverse wildlife is, in many ways, a result of many starships crashing in the past, introducing multiple species.

    There is a greatly illustrated in-universe story for this:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/104432084/Castaways of Endor.pdf

    The other reason is what I briefly explained in the OP - executives were meddling, to the point where they rejected an episode penned by one Paul Dini where an Imperial pilot was supposed to crash on Endor, due to being "too starwarsy".

    ...

    That's one great review and now that I know your age, I'm more than impressed that somebody who was exposed to so much from day one, unlike us who saw this when it was first aired, like this. :)

    Regarding the characters' looks; I have my own reasoning for it: things are usually simplified for animation, which is why we don't see stripes and spots on characters and all marking are reduced to bare minimum. I assume some of the typical Ewok headdresses would have been too creepy for meddling executives in addition to being complicated.

    But generally, if we take the five ROTJ characters, four of them are recognisable in terms of looks, all five in terms of mannerisms etc.
     
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  14. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord 5x Hangman Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

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    Which is the late issue, of the comic series?
     
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  15. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 31, 2014

    The 13th issue, The Black Cavern. It's really confusing because Wicket's Belt of Honour appears out of nowhere and the plot is very similar to the second season's episode Just My Luck.
     
  16. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord 5x Hangman Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner

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    And the next (and last) King for A Day, is definitely before The Black Cavern since he doesn't wear the belt?
     
  17. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 31, 2014
    Yup, that's how I see it. And that's the best of all issues...if only the stupid teleportation blooper didn't appear in it. :( I don't know how the authors got away with that.
     
  18. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 31, 2014
    A look at The Cries of the Trees from back in the days...

    The said episode got me hooked when I was ten years younger than Orman is now and I thought I'd share the POV of a seven and a half year old from long, long ago.

    So, we're spinnin' back to October 1990 and a CRT TV on a temporary picnic table in Yugoslavia, mom and dad in the kitchen and my granny watching with me...


    - I did not know what Star Wars was at the time the cartoon series was aired, nor did I make a connection with Droids that aired here a year earlier. The back panel of the tie-in sticker album only said that "Luke Skywalker met Ewoks on his endless travel through space". Since we use phonetic spelling and it said LUK, which means ONION, I wondered what an onion is doing in space and if the Ewoks ate it.

    - I was not 100% sure who was the lead character based on what we saw in the episode. Friends at school the next morning informed me that it was all about Wicket and said that I was dumb. Nowadays, I see that it makes sense, as Wicket does not carry the episode and his idea on what to do at the end seems somewhat forced.

    - The first couple of minutes did not hold my attention. I kept on complaining to my grandmother that everybody is so stupid, "just like in other cartoons" and Morag and Umwak's conversation was "too evil" for the seven-year-old me.

    - I did not like Wicket, I remember telling my friends who were automatically in love with him that he was "too stupid". Since my best friend back then was obsessed with him, we would often phone each other for no other reason than arguing about who's better. Nowadays, she's the book keeper in her dad's firm and I'm a creative freelancer. Makes sense.

    - I did not like Kneesaa (whom we literally called Knesa with both K and N pronounced and not Nee-sah here!) either. This changed when I grew up, but back then, in my mind, she was "too girly". Now when I realise that she is technically the least feminine of the female characters, I wonder why I thought so. Perhaps because she was a princess.

    - I thought chief Chirpa was boring. This still makes sense to me today, as he just...stands there throughout most of the first season, saying scary stuff in dramatic manner; while Logray is a cool old guy.

    - Characters' names lead me to think that they were all of different nationalities, among them Spanish and Hungarian. Since the cartoon was dubbed by Bosnian voice actors in Sarajevo and Bosnia and Hercegovina is known for bears, I totally thought that a bunch of foreign immigrant teddy bear monkeys live in trees in Bosnian mountains. MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

    - I did not realise that Malani was that much younger than the others, which led me to think that I did not understand they were adolescents. Note: Wicket's age is given as 12 in human terms, Kneesaa's as 14, Malani's 6-8 and Teebo is "older than Wicket", so is Paploo; but Weechee Warrick is older than all of the young ones and probably the only one in his 20s.

    - I remember not liking Umwak (the Dulok shaman, whose name is uttered only in later episodes) whom I do find funny nowadays - he's a con artist after all and con artists are funny.

    - From the moment Paploo swung in on a vine, I wanted to swing on vines. From the moment I saw hang gliders, I wanted to fly.

    - I was more scared of aunt Bozzie than Morag the Tulgah witch.

    - I left out the most obvious thing about this recap on purpose. :p
     
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  19. Orman Tagge

    Orman Tagge Jedi Knight star 4

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    Apr 10, 2014
    Sorry for missing the bit about the Imperials in the finale. I felt like I remembered seeing it, but then I couldnt remember if it was in refence to Droids.

    While my experience with Ewoks is about as different from Ewok Poet's as it gets, I agree that the beginning doesn't hold attention that well. It improved quickly though.
     
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  20. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 31, 2014
    Mind you, this is my experience from 24.5 years ago. And there is nothing to be sorry about, absolutely. ;)

    I responded immediately, as some fan theories and misconceptions are very, very widely spread. And it does not help that, in some cases, the internet is full of wrong information. For example, most sources have a mix of the first and second season voice actors listed for the entire series.
     
  21. Orman Tagge

    Orman Tagge Jedi Knight star 4

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    Apr 10, 2014
    Let us all know what you think!
     
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  22. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett PT Interview Host/All-Around Good Guy star 10 VIP - Game Winner VIP - Game Host

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    I will

    Hope i have time on the weekend.
     
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  23. Orman Tagge

    Orman Tagge Jedi Knight star 4

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    Apr 10, 2014
    The Haunted Village
    Definitely not as strong an episode as the first. First of all, the invisibility soap thing was hopelessly silly. Just replace the word soap with potion in that episode and it'd have been way easier to overlook. Compounding that with the absurdity of the duloks made for a very silly episode that lacked a lot of the tension of the first. While the previous episode was certainly silly in places, it had real stakes: the village was going to be burned down. This one just sort of cut the threat short: the mantigrue was effective when it was threatening Wicket and Kneesa, but it got silly when it went after berries instead of Ewoks later on. Sort of the same deal with King Gorneesh of the duloks. When he was introduced he grabbed my attention, but he was as inept as his underlings.

    It's not all bad though! I appreciated that the duloks actually put the invisibility...soap...to use, as opposed to just playing it for laughs, and I understand that the whole "throwing a scare" instead of attacking the Ewoks was due to limitations on the show; they made it work. That dulok con man shaman Umwak seems like a promising recurring character too. The expanded flora and fauna of Endor were well appreciated here (especially the hippopotamus looking thing) and reminded me of the live action Ewok movies (in a good way!). And, most significantly, Wicket started to come out much more clearly as a strong main character.

    So not all bad, but a little too campy, and lacking the tension of the last episode.

    Overall Rating: 4/10

    I'll probably do another episode or two today!
     
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  24. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 31, 2014
    Was looking forward to your impressions and I agree on many points.

    The Haunted Village is one of my two least favourite episodes of the first season, for a number of reasons.

    - While the madness that occurs when Duloks find the soap is fun, albeit juvenile; the whole idea of protecting the trees with invisibility soap is meh.

    - Kneesaa is practically helpless all along.

    - Teebo does not say a single word, which is kind of a...shock after The Cries of the Trees. I think he was in it only because the three leads from the comic had to appear in all episodes. I get it that he was too old to mind the woklings.

    - The thing with brushes appearing and reappearing is a known error, to the point where model sheets for the props contain a note on it. Apparently, they wanted to avoid Wicket carrying more brushes.

    However, even a weak link like this has some great moments:

    My favourite part of the episode are two random middle-aged Ewoks talking in Ewokese and gesticulating. While there are other instances where characters speak in Ewokese (hint: there are two such occasions in the third episode), this is the only such instance that makes me laugh, because...there is so much authority in their voice and then, boom, the invisible Duloks prank them.

    Another moment I like is Wicket tumbling over and over after Gorneesh more or less hurls him. I rarely ever feel sorry for Wicket throughout the series, but that is one of the moments when one has to be like "aww, poor little thing".

    The scene where the group gathers fireflies is awesomely done - with different poses, shadows, airbrushing. Love it. Love their faces in it, too.

    Willy saying that adults need to soap the trees is immediately followed by brushing Weechee's entire face away. Too funny!

    Ironically, I loved the episode as a kid, because I wanted to jump off a vine in a lake.

    ...

    Now, for Duloks being the way they are - bumbling, incompetent villains are common for this era in animation, which is why there is Morag, a true villain mastermind behind them. Even with this, there are moments where Gorneesh can show how vile he really is, like that scene with Wicket. There will be some moments throughout the series where they could even make you feel uneasy. Also, if you have read Joe Johnston's book, you will get an idea of what they truly are like.

    The hippotamus thing is called both "blobbe" and "Endorian swamp beast", depending on the source. Watch out for its second appearance in the 12th episode, which is hilarious. :D
     
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  25. Orman Tagge

    Orman Tagge Jedi Knight star 4

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    Apr 10, 2014
    The scene with the Ewoks speaking Ewokese was great, I forgot about it!

    I think I'm going to try and pick up Johnston's book, although my obsession with hardcover might make that a little harder for me.

    Anyways, about to start episode 3! I'll be back soon!
     
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