Gargoyles (TV series)

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Gargoyles
Disney Gargoyles logo.png
Genre
Created by Greg Weisman (uncredited) and others
Written by (5 or more episodes)
Directed by (5 or more episodes)
  • Dennis Woodyard
  • Frank Paur
  • Kazuo Terada
  • Saburo Hashimoto
  • Bob Kline
Voices of
Composer(s) Carl Johnson
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 78 (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Frank Paur, Greg Weisman, Dennis Woodyard, others
Editor(s) Susan Edmunson
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Walt Disney Television Animation
Distributor Buena Vista Television
Broadcast
Original channel Syndicated (1994–1996)
ABC (1996–1997)
Picture format 480i SDTV
Audio format Stereo (seasons 1–2)
Dolby Surround (season 3)
Original run October 24, 1994 (1994-10-24)[1] – February 15, 1997 (1997-02-15)[1]

Gargoyles is an American animated series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation and Buena Vista Television, and originally aired from October 24, 1994 to February 15, 1997. It is noted for its relatively dark tone, complex story arcs, and melodrama; character arcs were heavily employed throughout the series, as were Shakespearean themes.

The series features a species of nocturnal creatures known as gargoyles that turn to stone during the day. After spending a thousand years in a petrified state, the gargoyles (who have been transported from medieval Scotland) are reawakened in modern-day New York City, and take on roles as the city's secret night-time protectors.[2]

Its video game adaptation and a spin-off comic series were released in 1995. The show's storyline continued from 2006–2009 in a comic book series of the same title produced by Slave Labor Graphics.

Plot[edit]

The series features a species of nocturnal creatures known as gargoyles that turn to stone during the day, focusing on a clan led by Goliath. In the year 994, the clan lives in a castle in medieval Scotland alongside humans, until many of them are killed by betrayal and the remainder are magically frozen in stone until the castle "rises above the clouds."

A millennium later, in 1994, billionaire David Xanatos purchases the gargoyles' castle and has it reconstructed atop his New York City skyscraper, awakening the six remaining gargoyles. In trying to adjust to their new world, they are aided by a sympathetic NYPD detective, Elisa Maza, and quickly come into conflict with the plotting Xanatos. In addition to dealing with the gargoyles' attempts to adjust to modern New York, the series also incorporated various supernatural threats to their safety and to the world at large.

Episodes[edit]

A total of 78 half-hour episodes were produced.

The first two seasons aired in the Disney Afternoon programming block. The first season consisted of 13 episodes, including a five-part opening story. This season's episodes were almost entirely written by Michael Reaves and Brynne Chandler Reaves. The second season featured 52 episodes, and a long mid-season story arc dubbed by fans as "The Gargoyles World Tour" in which the main characters travelled to numerous locations to fulfill the elements of a quest. The writing staff was greatly expanded for season two.

The controversial third and final season aired on Disney's One Saturday Morning format on ABC as Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles. Behind the scenes, the animation producers and writers had almost completely changed from seasons one and two, while on-screen, the Gargoyles relationship to the world changed considerably.

Cast[edit]

The voice cast featured several actors who are alumni of the Star Trek franchise including Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes (respectively, Deanna Troi and William Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation), who were featured regularly as principal cast members.[3] Other Star Trek actors such as Michael Dorn (Worf on TNG and DS9), Brent Spiner (Data on TNG),[3] Colm Meaney (Miles O’Brien on TNG and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), LeVar Burton (Geordi La Forge on TNG), Nichelle Nichols (Uhura on Star Trek: The Original Series),[3] Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko on DS9),[3] Paul Winfield (Clark Terrell in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), David Warner (various characters, most notably Gul Madred in "Chain of Command", a two-part episode of TNG) and Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager) were guest or recurring stars in the series.[3]

Development[edit]

The series bears no creator credit. Greg Weisman, a former English teacher, was working as a Disney executive when early versions of Gargoyles were pitched by himself and others. On his blog, Weisman describes himself as "one of the creators" of Gargoyles,[4] and is generally acknowledged by the fan community as a series lynchpin. Although Weisman may have unofficially co-created Gargoyles, the series' first season was almost entirely written by husband-and-wife team of Michael Reaves and Brynne Chandler Reaves, who wrote 12 of the 13 episodes; the remaining episode was written by Steve Perry. Weisman officially joined the series as a co-producer with episode 6, though he also oversaw earlier episodes in his capacity as a Disney executive. Weisman did not have any writing credits on the show until the third season—a season which Weisman has since disowned.

The second season consisted of 52 episodes, and featured a much larger writing staff, including Reaves, Chandler Reaves and Perry, as well as newcomers Lydia Marano, Cary Bates, Gary Sperling, Adam Gilad, Diane Duane and Peter Morwood, amongst others. For this season, story editing duties were handled on a rotating basis by Reaves, Chandler Reaves, Bates and Sperling. For the third season (consisting of 13 episodes), most of the writing staff was new to the show, although returning writers included Marano, Gilad and Bates. Weisman, who had been involved with Gargoyles from the beginning, wrote the season debut, but was dissatisfied with the new direction of the show and refused a proposed creative consultant credit on the remaining episodes.

Many Shakespearean characters and stories found their way into the show's storylines, particularly those from Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream.[5] The series was also influenced by medieval Scottish history. Weisman also cited the influences of Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears and Hill Street Blues on the series.[6] The latter in particular inspired the ensemble format of the series and the 30-second "Previously, on Gargoyles…" recap found at the beginning of later episodes.[7][8] The former was an influence on the original comedy development of the show, which was subsequently made darker and more serious before production.[9] Some aspects of the series Bonkers, which Weisman helped develop, also influenced the show to some degree. Most noticeably, the relationship of toon cop Bonkers and his human partner Miranda Wright was used as a template for the relationship of gargoyle Goliath and Elisa Maza, as was the then-recent movie Beauty and the Beast.[10]

New York artist Joe Tomasini brought a suit against Disney, claiming that his copyrighted screen play and character designs had been copied during the development and production of Gargoyles.[11] The case was ultimately thrown out, after it was proven that Disney did not have access to Joe Tomasini's creations.[12]

Reception[edit]

The show was only moderately successful at the time, yet did not fall into obscurity and has continued to be critically acclaimed. IGN ranked Gargoyles 45th place on their 2009 list of top 100 animated series of all time, stating: "A decent success at the time, Gargoyles has maintained a strong cult following since it ended more than a decade ago".[13] Hollywood.com featured it on their 2010 list of six cartoons that should be movies.[14] UGO.com included it on their 2011 top list of legendary medieval and fantasy TV shows.[15] In 2013, WatchMojo.com ranked Gargoyles as the #4 animated Disney series.[16] In 2014, they ranked it as the 5th best cartoon to have gotten cancelled.[17] It got honorable mention the Top 10 Kids cartoons that Adults enjoy.[18] The episode "Deadly Force" got honorable mention in the top 10 controversial cartoons [19]

Less favorable assessments of the series came from animation producer Bruce Timm, who dismissed Gargoyles as "kind of namby-pamby... with all that Celtic fantasy crap" in a 1999 interview[20] and the animation blog Cartoon Brew, which cited the series as an example of "juvenile mediocrities" that are beloved by the geek community.[21]

Comics[edit]

Disney Adventures[edit]

Gargoyles comics were published in the magazine Disney Adventures, 11 stories in total. A two-part story "Stone Cold" is notable in that it provided a story idea that was later used in the TV series in the episode "The Price". Another story, "The Experts", was intended as tie-in advertising for Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Marvel[edit]

In 1995, Marvel Comics issued a Gargoyles comic book series which ran for 11 issues. The books did not directly follow the continuity of the series, but they did reference specific events that took place within it. The Marvel series was tonally darker than the television series, dealing largely with Xanatos' experiments to create creatures and machines to defeat the Gargoyles. Greg Weisman, television series co-creator, did not have any direct involvement in the story development of the comic series, but was consulted on some plot points to be sure it stayed within certain boundaries.

Weisman was eventually hired to write for the comic, but Marvel cut the deal with Disney before his run could be produced. Weisman still had his unpublished script for the comic, and would eventually use it as issue #6 of Gargoyles SLG comic.[22] The characters Beth Maza (who appeared in a photo in "Deadly Force") and Petros Xanatos appeared in the comics before their full debut on the show.

Slave Labor Graphics[edit]

Main article: Gargoyles (comics)

On June 21, 2006, Slave Labor Graphics, in association with CreatureComics, began producing a new Gargoyles comic written by Greg Weisman. Weisman wrote the comic book series as a direct sequel to the first and second seasons, ignoring the third season and telling his preferred story in its place.[23] The comic continued the storyline of the animated series, picking up after the second season finale, "Hunter's Moon, Part III". The first two issues adapted the first episode of The Goliath Chronicles ("The Journey"), the only episode of the series Weisman wrote.

In August 2008, Greg Weisman announced that, due to Disney increasing its licensing fees, Slave Labor Graphics would not be renewing its license of Gargoyles after it ran out on August 31, 2008. The final two issues of Bad Guys and four of Gargoyles were released in the comic trades collecting both series in August 2009. Weisman also stated that SLG president Dan Vado has not given up on the Gargoyles franchise and hopes to pursue the idea of Gargoyles graphic novels in the future.[24]

Merchandise[edit]

Various merchandise released for the series included a series of 22 five-inch action figures (along with two vehicles and a castle playset) was released by Kenner in 1995. A collectible card game, Gargoyles Stone Warriors Battle Card Game, was published by Parker Brothers in 1994.[25][26] Other licensed merchandise included numerous other toys and figures, collectible trading card and sticker series, and a wide range of clothing items, books, art supplies, kitchen and bathroom items and supplies, clocks and watches, etc.[27][28][29]

Video game[edit]

The series' video game adaptation was released by Buena Vista Interactive in 1995, exclusively for the Sega Genesis and in the United States only. The game was a side-scrolling platform action game. Its plot was considered non-canon and involved the Eye of Odin attempting to destroy the world.

Home video[edit]

VHS and Laserdisc[edit]

The five-episode pilot "Awakening", edited into a single movie under the title Gargoyles the Movie: The Heroes Awaken, was released on VHS and Laserdisc on January 31, 1995.[30][31] The following VHS tapes were later released containing the remaining first-season episodes:

VHS Name Episode Titles Release Date
The Hunted "The Thrill of the Hunt" & "Temptation" October 11, 1995[32]
The Force of Goliath "Deadly Force" & "Enter Macbeth" October 11, 1995[33]
Deeds of Deception "The Edge" & "Long Way to Morning" April 9, 1996[34]
Brothers Betrayed "Her Brother's Keeper" & "Reawakening" April 9, 1996[35]

Episodes 6-13 were left unaltered, except for the removal of the "Previously on Gargoyles..." segment from "Enter Macbeth".

DVD releases[edit]

In 2004, the 10th anniversary of its premiere, Buena Vista Home Entertainment released Season 1 of Gargoyles on DVD in Region 1. The first half of the second season was released in December 2005.

On June 25, 2013, Volume Two of Season Two was released on DVD as a Disney Movie Club exclusive. Season Two Volume 2 Is also for sale on The Disney Store.com.[36][37]

The episodes themselves are uncensored, restoring scenes which were removed on Toon Disney (now known as Disney XD) in 2012, and the VHS releases.

DVD name DVD cover Ep # Release date Additional content
Gargoyles: The Complete First Season Gargoyles The Complete First Season.jpg 13 December 7, 2004
  • The Gathering of the Gargoyles
  • Original show pitch by Greg Weisman
  • Audio commentary on episodes 1–5.
Gargoyles: Season 2, Volume 1 Gargoyles DVD 2.jpg 26 December 6, 2005
  • Episode introductions with Greg Weisman
  • The Gathering of Cast and Crew featurette
  • Audio commentary on the "City of Stone" episodes (parts 1–4).
Gargoyles: Season 2, Volume 2 S2v2-gargoyles-disneyexclusive.JPG 26 June 25, 2013
  • Episode introductions with Greg Weisman
  • The Gathering of Cast and Crew featurette
  • Audio commentary on the "City of Stone" episodes (parts 1–4).
Gargoyles: Season 2, Volume 2 26 October 14, 2014
  • General Retail Release

Broadcast history[edit]

The first two seasons aired in the Republic of Ireland on RTE Two on weekday afternoons in 1997.[38]

Cultural impact[edit]

Fan community[edit]

A small but loyal fanbase for the property developed after its cancellation, largely online.[39]

In 1997, Weisman began answering fan questions about the series in an online forum at Ask Greg, revealing, among other things, productions details about the series, in-universe details about the characters, and his plans for the property if it had not been cancelled or if he was able to revive it in the future. Among other revelations, Weisman has detailed spinoffs for the series that reached various stages of development, including Bad Guys (for which a leica reel and comics were produced), Gargoyles 2198,[40] Timedancer, Pendragon, Dark Ages and The New Olympians.

Conventions[edit]

The Gathering of the Gargoyles
Status Defunct
Genre Science fantasy
Venue Various
Location(s) Various
Country USA and Canada
Inaugurated 1997
Most recent 2009
Website
The Gathering of the Gargoyles

The Gathering of the Gargoyles[41] was an annual fan convention which began in 1997 and ended in 2009. The Gathering featured several regular guests close to the Gargoyles franchise including Greg Weisman and voice actors Keith David and Thom Adcox. The Gathering has featured several recurring special events such as a radio play where attendees audition and take speaking roles, a masquerade ball where attendees dress up as their favorite character, an art show where the many artists within the fandom can display or sell their artwork. Weisman has in the past shown the leica reel of Bad Guys at Gatherings. Footage and interviews from the 2004 Gathering appears as an extra feature on the Season 1 DVD of the show.[42]

CONvergence 2014[43] featured a Gargoyles related theme with many guests from the series including Greg Weisman, Thom Adcox, Marina Sirtis, C. Robert Cargill, Scott Lynch, Amy Berg, and Emma Bull. It is a four-day convention held in Bloomington, Minnesota over the Fourth of July weekend.

References in other works[edit]

  • Greg Weisman wrote a story for DC Comics' JLA Showcase 80-Page #1, published in February 2000. Weisman's story was set during the time of the Justice League Europe and titled "Flashback of Notre Dame". The story has Captain Atom, the JLE and Plastique meeting a group of gargoyles at the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. After an misunderstanding battle, the JLE help the gargoyles return to their home island Brigadoon. This version of the clan are more batlike than the characters they parodied and have names based from Paris: Behemoth (Goliath), Diabolique (Demona), Seine (Hudson), Angelique (Angela), Montparnasse (Broadway), Montmartre (Brooklyn), Champs-Élysées (Lexington), Left Bank (Bronx), Thomeheb (Thailog), Cyrano (Othello/Coldstone), Christian (Iago/Coldsteel) and Roxanne (Desdemona/Coldfire).
  • The 2001 Pioneer LDC English dubbing version of the anime series 3×3 Eyes (the English voice cast featured members of the Gargoyles cast including David, Bako, Fagerbakke, Adcox-Hernandez and Ed Asner) has Gargoyles homage scenes, including a homeless man humming the Gargoyles theme and a character who wonders "What could make claw marks in solid stone?"[44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Gargoyles". www.bcdb.com, April 13, 2012
  2. ^ O'Connor, John (1995-09-07). "TELEVISION REVIEW; Nocturnal and Excited About Books - New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-05-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Archives - OrlandoSentinel.com". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 1997-06-22. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  4. ^ "Greg's Introduction : Gargoyles : Station Eight". S8.org. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  5. ^ "Gargoyles - Season 1 Review". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  6. ^ Final page, Gargoyles #1
  7. ^ "Search Ask Greg : Gargoyles : Station Eight". S8.org. 2000-06-14. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  8. ^ "Search Ask Greg : Gargoyles : Station Eight". S8.org. 2001-02-22. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  9. ^ "Search Ask Greg : Gargoyles : Station Eight". S8.org. 2001-01-02. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  10. ^ Which is actually directly referenced in the 2nd season episode "Eye Of The Beholder", where Elisa dresses as Belle for Halloween and walks down the street arm in arm with Goliath.
  11. ^ "Tomasini v. Walt Disney Company". Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  12. ^ Sallah, Michael (2000-07-02). "Lawsuits are nothing new for Disney". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  13. ^ "IGN - 45. Gargoyles". IGN. Retrieved 2014-11-01. 
  14. ^ Hollywood.com, LLC. "Six Cartoons That Should Be Movies". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  15. ^ Fitzpatrick, Kevin (2011-04-08). "Gargoyles - Medieval Fantasy TV". UGO.com. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  16. ^ "Top 10 Disney Animated TV Series". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  17. ^ Top 10 Best Cartoons That Got Cancelled - YouTube
  18. ^ Top 10 Kids Cartoons that Adults Enjoy - YouTube
  19. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1Hb6vk04iQ
  20. ^ "Bruce Timm & Glen Murakami". 5x5media.com. 1999-09-17. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  21. ^ "How Can We Make Adult Animation Truly Adult?". Cartoon Brew. 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  22. ^ "Gargoyles #6 at". Tfaw.com. 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  23. ^ "Search Ask Greg : Gargoyles : Station Eight". S8.org. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  24. ^ "Search Ask Greg : Gargoyles : Station Eight". S8.org. 2008-09-02. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  25. ^ "Gargoyles Stone Warriors Battle Card Game | Board Game". BoardGameGeek. 2011-11-11. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  26. ^ "Stone Warriors Battle Card Game" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  27. ^ "The Gargoyles Fans Website :: Gargoyles Merchandise". Gargoyles-fans.org. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  28. ^ Tim & Christine Morgan (2000-01-01). "Christine's Huge Collection of Gargoyle Merchandise". Eskimo.com. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  29. ^ Derrick Alderman. "The GARGOYLES Collector's Archive". Mindspring.com. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  30. ^ "Gargoyles the Movie [VHS]: Keith David, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Jeff Bennett, Frank Welker, Edward Asner, Bill Fagerbakke, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, Jonathan Frakes, Brigitte Bako, Marina Sirtis, Kath Soucie, Thomas F. Wilson, Yeun Young Sang, Greg Weisman: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-05-03. 
  31. ^ Julien WILK. "LaserDisc Database - Gargoyles: The Movie: The Heroes Awaken [3936 AS]". Lddb.com. Retrieved 2014-05-03. 
  32. ^ "Gargoyles: Hunted [VHS]: Keith David, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Jeff Bennett, Edward Asner, Frank Welker, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, Bill Fagerbakke, Jonathan Frakes, Brigitte Bako, Marina Sirtis, Thomas F. Wilson, Kath Soucie, Yeun Young Sang, Susan Edmunson, Diane Duane, Greg Weisman, Len Wein: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  33. ^ "Gargoyles Vol 2: The Force of Goliath [VHS]: Keith David, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Jeff Bennett, Edward Asner, Frank Welker, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, Bill Fagerbakke, Jonathan Frakes, Brigitte Bako, Marina Sirtis, Thomas F. Wilson, Kath Soucie, Yeun Young Sang, Susan Edmunson, Diane Duane, Greg Weisman, Len Wein: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  34. ^ "Gargoyles: Deeds of Deception [VHS]: Keith David, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Jeff Bennett, Edward Asner, Frank Welker, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, Bill Fagerbakke, Jonathan Frakes, Brigitte Bako, Marina Sirtis, Thomas F. Wilson, Kath Soucie, Yeun Young Sang, Susan Edmunson, Diane Duane, Greg Weisman, Len Wein: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  35. ^ "Gargoyles: Brothers Betrayed [VHS]: Keith David, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Jeff Bennett, Edward Asner, Frank Welker, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, Bill Fagerbakke, Jonathan Frakes, Brigitte Bako, Marina Sirtis, Thomas F. Wilson, Kath Soucie, Yeun Young Sang, Susan Edmunson, Diane Duane, Greg Weisman, Len Wein: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  36. ^ "GARGOYLES to be the next DMC Release!". Disney Afternoon Forever. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  37. ^ "GARGOYLES, TALESPIN up for Sale on DMC, Cover Art Up". Disney Afternoon Forever. 2013-06-24. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  38. ^ RTÉ Guide: 7–14. August 1997. 
  39. ^ "The Gargoyles Fans Website :: Main". Gargoyles-fans.org. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  40. ^ "Search Ask Greg : Gargoyles : Station Eight". S8.org. 2001-06-11. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  41. ^ "The Gathering of the Gargoyles". The Gathering of the Gargoyles. 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  42. ^ "Gargoyles DVD news: Want to be IN the Gargoyles DVD?". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  43. ^ "Convergence". 2014-07-04. 
  44. ^ "10 - Ask Greg Archives : Gargoyles : Station Eight". S8.org. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 

External links[edit]