Cast of Gogs, left to right; Ray the T-Rex (antagonist), Girj (baby); Ogla (Mother), Ogo (son), Oglas (father), Igi (daughter), Gogas (grandfather)
|Directed by||Deiniol Morris, Michael Mort|
|Country of origin||Wales|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||13 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||5 minutes
30 minutes (movie)
|Production company(s)||Aaargh! Animation|
|Original channel||BBC, S4C|
|Original run||7 December 1993 – 25 December 1998|
Gogs!, or simply Gogs, is a claymation-style animated television series which takes the form of a sitcom, originally aired on Welsh television in 1993, and aired to the rest of the United Kingdom on the BBC in 1996. Gogs has since been aired internationally, and still enjoys re-runs on occasion.
Gogs revolves around a family clan of dumb, primitive and socially inept cavemen in a fantasy prehistoric Stone Age setting, and contained much dark comedy, various toilet humour-based gags and gross out situations; for example the cavemen losing control of their bodily functions. It also featured their often comedic daily struggle for survival, and attempts to advance their technology and society, such as creating fire, and often failing miserably, comically and absurdly in the act.
The show was more oriented towards an adult audience than other claymation television series such as The Trap Door or Wallace and Gromit, which were more child-friendly than Gogs. Although often called a children's television program, the "grungy" Gogs with its adult humor-based gags tended to be shown after the watershed, and so was often referred to as "claymation for the post-pub generation". Later VHS and DVD releases carried a parental guidance rating.
The original series contained only five episodes each of around five to six minutes long. After winning numerous awards a second series was commissioned with episodes running at a similar length, bringing the total number of episodes of the two series to thirteen in number. In 1998 the last installment of Gogs, a 30-minute-long special, Gogwana, was aired, which was also critically well received and won numerous awards.
- 1 History
- 2 Plot
- 3 Cast
- 4 List of Gogs episodes
- 5 Reception
- 6 Releases and availability
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Production of the show was a collaboration between numerous companies and individuals in 1993. Welsh animation studio Aaargh! Animation Ltd were among the most prominent of these, created specifically for the purpose of making Gogs. Later Aaargh Animation Ltd went on to produce the animated segments of the 1997 film A Life Less Ordinary, and numerous commercials including ones for Levi jeans. Gogs was initially the brainchild of Mike Mort and Deiniol Morris, who fronted Aaargh Animation, developed the pilot episode, and directed subsequent episodes, under executive producer Helen Nabarro. Welsh television station S4C provided some of the funding for Gogs (and originally aired the show on Welsh television), as did Harlech Television (HTV), and Siriol Productions. Comedian/actress Josie Lawrence lent her voice to The Gogs, and it is also her shrieking tones heard on the end titles. Noted Welsh actress Gillian Elisa did most of the voices, however. Additional "voices" were provided by Marie Clifford, Dafydd Emyr, Rosie Lawrence, Rob Rackstraw, and Nick Upton.
The first series was brought initially to a minor Welsh audience by Meirion Davies of S4C in late 1993, complete with Welsh language titles, credits, subtitles and voice-overs, and thus incompatible with the wider English speaking world. Gogs sprung on to an international platform with the help of Colin Rose at the BBC, who had the show translated for an English-speaking audience and aired on BBC2 in the Christmas holidays of 1996. After this, a second series, Gogs II, was produced and aired in 1997, and in 1998 the Gogwana 30-minute special and finale.
Later history and stalled film
Both series of Gogs and the Gogwana special were critically well received and garnered numerous awards. However, Gogwana would prove to be the last ever episode of the show. The high costs of producing claymation compared to the emerging sophistication of computer-generated animation (even one episode of Gogs took a very long time to produce with the small team, little resources and funding they had), and the prime time slot allocated to Gogs which would be better filled with "more conventional" sitcoms, ensured that Gogs was not commissioned for a third series or another special by the BBC. Steven Spielberg and his newly founded DreamWorks had recently attempted to retain the services of Nick Park, head of British studio Aardman Animations and creator of Wallace and Grommet, to make an animated caveman film; however Aardman "resisted being bought by Hollywood lock stock and barrel." Soon after, Spielberg saw the first episode of Gogs, which revolves around the consequences of the Gogs discovering fire for the first time; Spielberg was being impressed by it he offered Gogs creators AAArgh! work in the United States instead of Aardman. Morris and Mort met with Spielberg at his ranch and admitted they would be tempted by an offer to produce a theatrical Gogs with DreamWorks, although no deal was made and there were no further developments to the plan. DreamWorks later resumed their contract with Park and Aardman, resulting in the films Chicken Run and Flushed Away. In 2005, Aardman announced they were working with DreamWorks on an animated caveman comedy without AAArgh!; it was to be called Crood Awakening in which a clan chief is threatened by the arrival of a prehistoric genius who comes up with revolutionary new inventions like fire. Co-written by John Cleese it eventually became the 2013 film The Croods.
The series depicts the Gogs comically as being mind-bogglingly stupid and struggling to navigate and avoid the perils of an exotic, prehistoric land inhabited by dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals, giant insects, man-eating plants, and other exotica. Even the primeval landscape is a danger, likely to erupt in a volcano or collapse in an earthquake, and the world is wracked by powerful lightning and thunder storms. One of the show's key comedic aspects are crudeness and toilet humour; the characters do not talk, instead communicating with grunts, roars, screams, burps and farts, and overly exaggerated facial expressions. The rest of the show had an emphasis on slapstick, cartoonish violence as the Gogs spend the rest of their time wrestling, urinating, vomiting, bashing each other on the head with clubs, and scoffing food. The show was criticized by some for being too over the top.
- Gogas - The "grandfather figure" of the Gog family and elderly patriarch of the clan. Gogas has a bald patch, white hair, and crazy facial hair. He is completely senile, hot-headed, uncouth and crude, and wants to do things all his own way. His most prized possession is his club, and his solution to pretty much any problem is to bash it with it. Gogas is surprisingly one of the more physical of the group, often being the first to fight off giant bears and hungry dinosaurs with his club, although this is down to his craziness rather than bravery. At night, he snores like a wailing coyote. In the "Gogwana" special, Gogas is given a small backstory.
- Oglas - The "father figure" of the clan, Oglas is the middle-aged son of the elderly "grandfather figure" Gogas. Oglas has a Neanderthal-like face, shoulder length dark hair, and a dark cropped beard. Oglas is a slobby and lazy lay-about, mostly concerned with dossing around and living life his own way. Although he occasionally goes out hunting or such, he is often the first to run away from danger, and abandon his family in cowardly fashion and is not averse to leaving them behind in such situations. Oglas often fights with his teenage son Ogo and his bear-like wife Ogla who, despite often crudely fighting with him, also gives him somewhat unwanted affection.
- Ogla - The "mother figure" of the clan, and Oglas' mate. Enormous, bear-like and bossy, she is the matriarch of the family. None dare challenge her. Though at times disgusted and disliking of the rest of her family, she does care for them deep down, particularly her baby Girj. When she isn't kicking Girj around. Ogla keeps her dark hair tied with bones.
- Ogo - The son and firstborn of Oglas and Ogla. Appears to be a teenager. Has a simian expression and has ginger hair which sometimes appears blonde also. He is extremely slow and dim-witted, the dumbest of the clan, yet is constantly trying to impress and follow the orders of the others. He always fails however, and usually gets covered in mess or his teeth knocked out. Most of the rest of the time, all he does is pick his nose and eat it, or chases animals such as centipedes and eats them instead.
- Igi - The hippie and pacifist daughter, presumably a teenager like Ogo, although younger than Ogo. She has shoulder-length black hair which also covers her eyes. Igi is the smartest of all the Gogs, even something of a genius many millennia ahead of her time, drawing things such as scientific equations and blueprints of cars, planes and helicopters on rocks. She invents things such as a bird-costume and a hot-air balloon made out of a dinosaur's carcass in the half hour special Gogwana. She is the quietest and least obscene member of the clan. However, also being the smallest and physically weakest, Igi is often victimized or misunderstood, or left behind when the rest are fleeing from danger. Her grandfather Gogas hits her over the head with a club when he sees her advanced drawings, although they give Gogas the idea to build Stonehenge.
- Girj - The infant. Cute at a first glance, but is actually very brave and tough and sneaky. Girj is sometimes subjected to the same cartoonish violence as the others, and kicked off screen by the others when they cannot be doing with him, although Girj is never injured and indeed seems the hardiest of the entire clan, laughing in the face of danger instead of running away from danger like the rest of them. What Girj spends most of his time doing is crying and screaming (this such is one signature theme of the Gogs show), and the other Gogs have to desperately find ways to get him to stop. Besides that, he often poohs and gets into horrible messes a lot, and into very sticky situations (usually at the same time). Girj often has snotty, horrible colds, and sometimes blows snot at the screen.
Ray the T-Rex
A major supporting character and the primary antagonist of the show, Ray is a ravenous Tyrannosaurus rex who is frequently attempting to eat the Gog family clan, and is constantly stalking them wherever they go. In the first episode, when the characters are introduced in the opening credits, the T-Rex is said to be named Ray. Ray is used a designation for the T-Rex at other points in the show also. Ray's obsession with the Gogs may be as much down to revenge as hunger, as also in the first episode Ray is thwarted from eating the Gogs by having his private parts burnt by fire. In the second episode, Oglas and Ogo flee from the small dinosaur, only to discover a massive T.Rex which chases them off a cliff. Ray continues to appear in several episodes in the first series, one episode in the second series and in the half-hour special Gogwana.
Ray's depiction is inconsistent through the show and the T-Rex changes in size and appearance somewhat throughout the show; sometimes he is depicted as yellow, sometimes orange, sometimes red, and sometimes green. In the first episode Ray is smaller and faster (perhaps a baby T-Rex), and in later episodes he is depicted as slower but larger and generally more menacing. In the final half-hour special Gogwana, Ray, who is again stalking the Gogs, inadvertently saves them when he eats the new antagonist, the Cannibal King.
Other animals seen
- A prehistoric mole is a recurring animal in the first series. Gogas is often seen trying to club the mole.
- In the first episode, Igi sees a giant eagle flying above the ground, which inspires her to make a bird costume. The eagle was almost hit by an arrow from Oglas and Gogas's bow-and-arrow.
- In the second episode, Oglas and Ogo find a man sized, theropod dinosaur eating leaves. It soon notices them, and continues to beat them up.
- In the second episode, Ogo is attacked by a wild boar whilst tied to a tree. The boar then chases Oglas and Gogas, making them fall down a hole. The tree Ogo is attached to is thrown over the pit. The boar continues to urinate and poo on them until Ogla scares the boar away.
- In the third episode, a thunderstorm occurs, driving the Gogs to find shelter. Ogo climbs up a tree and finds a leaf to shelter under, which came from a pteranodon's nest. It then carries Ogo in the air and, later in the show, Ogla as well. These creatures are seen numerous times throughout the show.
- A Brontosaurus is seen in the third episode knelling over died and again in the fifth episode falling into a crack in the ground and poking its head out.
- Trilobites are seen in the final half-hour special Gogwana, which although were marine animals in reality they are seen scuttling along the ground, alongside many other creatures they did not co-exist in the same time with.
- A tricerotops skull is seen in the desert, also in Gogwana. In the same scene numerous creatures are seen - a pair of unidentified furry desert creatures, perhaps the ancestors of rabbits, vultures, and a desert dimetrodon. The Gogs take refuge in the hulking carcass of a dead woolly mammoth which had evidently veered mistakenly into the desert.
List of Gogs episodes
- Fire - the English-language pilot, Fire, premiered on BBC2, 21 December 1996 at 8.50pm.
- Stone Circle
- Gramps RIP
- Apes and Men
- Gogwana Special (1998 finale)
Gogs received international acclaim and won several awards, initially winning "Yr Animeiddio Gorau" (Welsh for Best Animation) for four years running in 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998 at the Welsh BAFTA Cymru. Again, in 1995 the show won the international Children's BAFTA Award for Best Animation, and in the 1996 international BAFTAs, Gogs won the entry for Best Animation. In June 1996, Gogs won the award for best animation at the Banff television festival in Canada.
Gogwana extended finale
The thirty-minute-long special in 1998, Gogwana, which wrapped up the show, was also well received, winning several awards. These included the Banff Rockie award for Best Animation Program Award at the 1999 Banff Television Festival, and also winning the Audience Award for Best Film at the Rio de Janeiro Anima Mundi Animation Festival. It also won Best Children's Series at the 1998 British Animation Award. It was also nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 1999 international BAFTAs.
Releases and availability
Both the first and second series of Gogs were released separately on VHS in 1997 by Warner Vision International with a parental guidance rating. With the airing of the thirty-minute long special Gogwana in 1998, Gogwana was also released separately on VHS.
Gogs was released as a Region 2 DVD on 9 April 2001 also by Warner Vision International. The DVD contains all thirteen episodes of both series, including the 30-minute special "Gogwana", all on a single disc, with a total run-time of 89 minutes. Special features include a rare photo gallery.