Gargoyles protect. It’s in their very nature, their purpose. To lose this is to be corrupt, empty and lifeless. This kind of heavy message was typical for Gargoyles and showed a level of depth not often seen in animated shows. Now before we start talking about how much of the show holds up, I can’t go any further without talking about the opening. My God, the opening narration for this is chilling. Keith David’s voice defies explanation in just how damn good it is, and from his first word, you can sense the tone of this series. In 2 words? Pure Badass. Even beyond the narration, the mix of drums and violins in the background music is gorgeous to listen to. However, while I could sit here and wax poetically on the beauty and meaning of the theme, we have a show to talk about, so sit back, relax and lets look in on the Manhattan clan of Gargoyles.
Before we get into the fun details of the show, we have to consider what this show meant when it came out. Gargoyles premiered in 1994 and was meant to be Disney’s answers to Batman TAS which is easily considered the greatest animated show of all time. Now at this point, Disney wasn’t leaning dark with their shows at all, with things like Doug, Bonkers and The Little Mermaid on the air. With a much darker tilt, both in story and overall animation, this show felt infinitely more adult than the rest of Disney’s catalogue. A major problem with kids shows back in the day was a lack of overall cohesion in the story. Things happen in one episode that mean nothing 2 weeks later. Gargoyles was amazing in its ability to build a world that hinged on the interactions of each character. Every character had their own arc that showcased their growth and development which fed into episodes much further down the line. Speaking of the characters, lets take a moment to consider just how well done they are. The lead “villain” of the show is human billionaire David Xanatos, who might just be one of my favourite fictional characters of all time. He embodies the idea of the practicality with regards to villainy and gave rise to the Xanatos Gambit, wherein all foreseeable outcomes benefit the creator…essentially meaning, that even when it seems like he lost, he really won. One of my favourite lines in the entire series is just Xanatos talking to his girlfriend and pointing out that revenge is a suckers game, one that he has no time to waste on. An antagonist who actually thinks things through is just wonderful to see these days. For more info on the Xanatos Gambit, check out the TVTropes page for it, it’s a great read. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/XanatosGambit) .
Another huge pull for this series is the depths they went to with their mythology. This show basically wrote Shakespeare for kids. Now I know you think I’m exaggerating but I mean they actually took elements from his plays and brought them into the show. Oberyn, Puck, and Tatiana all make appearances and Macbeth himself is a main character across the series! This is great because it acts as a gateway to other forms of entertainment for kids. This of course leads me to my next point – This show is almost an animated version of Star Trek. A ridiculous number of Star Trek alumni made appearances on the show, with two of them (Commander Riker, Jonathan Frakes and Counsellor Troi, Marina Sirtis) playing main characters Xanatos and Demona, a gargoyle consumed by her hatred of humanity. A fun fact is that the character Xanatos was actually modelled after Frakes himself. Gargoyles was never afraid to tackle big issues like prejudice, xenophobia, gun violence and it shows in the writing. One great example shows one of the Gargoyles playing with a gun and accidentally shooting a human. The show could have taken a typical “Guns are bad, m’kay” approach and left it at that, but instead they turned this into one of his defining character traits that carried over until the end of the series.
So overall, Gargoyles 100% holds up and is worth watching anytime and anyplace. Unfortunately, it’s not up on Netflix, but the show is so damn good, it’s worth the hunt to find episodes online. Anyways, what do you think? Leave a comment below and let us know what you’d like to read next. Catch you next time -BB
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