We at DG love to celebrate shows that showcase diversity, equality, and were ahead of their time. All of those traits and more excellently explain the cult Disney animated series Gargoyles, a short lived animated show that told the stories of Goliath, Elisa and the other Manhattan Clan members. With a combination of mature storytelling, beautiful themes, and quality voice acting, this was a series that deserved so much more respect than it got. So in celebration of its 20th anniversary, lets take a look at what made Gargoyles stand out from its other 90’s competitors.
The best way to examine a series is to look at what made it a hit in the first place: its fans. Here at DG, we have a few writers that fit that description, and thought they’d explain this cult classic better than anyone else.
I’ll be blunt: Disney’s Gargoyles is my favorite TV series, animated or otherwise. It features a beautiful, complicated, and diverse cast of characters, ones that perfectly explained my situation as an outcast in my childhood, and made me feel at ease in the world. It is also the first series I ever saw that featured a more adult subject matter, and introduced me to a wide variety of issues and topics I never would have known about otherwise, at that time. It made me a better person, to say the least, and continues to inspire me to this day.
Favorite Gargoyle: Brooklyn
The second in command to Goliath, Brooklyn is every little bit the angst filled teenage hero we’ve come to know and love. But what I adore most about Brooklyn is that even with him being so ready to help his clan, he isn’t so keen on wanting to be the leader, not until he matures into the later parts of the series. And the fact that even though he’s the stereotypical “heartthrob, boy next door” Gargoyle, he never gets the girl (except in “What If” episodes like “Future Tense”). With charm and strength, Brooklyn is easily one to root for.
Favorite Human: Elisa Maza
Yeah, I know, this is a predictable choice. But Elisa was and will always be my favorite female TV character. She was the first woman of color I ever saw on TV, and continues to be my hero to this day. From her on again off again relationship with Goliath, to her relentless will to save the Gargoyles on a number of occasions, and her blunt honesty, Elisa is an emotionally layered individual, one that is easy to root for.
Favorite Villain: Fox/Coldstone
As many have noted in the past, most of the cast of Gargoyles cannot be categorized easily as hero or villain. Everyone has their moments where they play both cards, which adds another awesome element to this series as a whole. But there are a few characters that definitely play more on the evil side than good. As for the one that really is just a fallen hero, I’d definitely give the award to Franken-Gargoyle Coldstone. Poor guy has so many mixed emotions! And as for a human baddie, Fox will always be my favorite (let alone one of the first crushes…. #lesigh) Both characters have their good and bad points, making them a joy to see whenever they pop up in an episode.
Favorite Episode(s): “The Mirror” and “Future Tense”
This one was a hard choice. I love both of these episodes for a multitude of different reasons. For one, “The Mirror” allows for more bonding time between Goliath and Elisa, especially when she and Goliath are hovering over Manhattan. We also get introduced to Puck, easily one of the best guest characters the series ever had, voiced by Brent Spiner.
As for “Future Tense,” this is another “What If” type episode. Here we see some of the strangest and most bizarre of pairings, and even weirdo scenarios for them to be in. Lexington finally gets the respect that he deserves in terms of his intelligence, and we even get to see Brooklyn really take on his leadership skills. If you ever wanted to see what it would be like if Gargoyles and Inception had a love child, this would be the episode.
Gosh, there are a ton to choose from. But, I think for the animation and intensity, this Fox and Xanatos moment certainly takes the cake:
One of the best animated series to ever grace television, its majesty cannot be replicated. There are actors whose voices I instinctively recognize because they became so heavily ingrained in me after watching this show (see: Marina Sirtis, Keith David, Salli Richardson-Whitfield to name a few). It was definitely among my first fandoms. Like, I had the special VHS that had the first five episodes together like a movie and came with its own paper board game.
…Also, what was it about Gargoyles that made it the haven for actors from Star Trek?
Favorite Gargoyle: I love all of them in some way, but I suppose it’s a toss-up between Lexington and Brooklyn.
Favorite Human: …I feel like the obvious answer is Elisa Maza. But I also really enjoyed Fox. OH and the Magus. I’ve always really liked the Magus.
Favorite Villain: The thing about Gargoyles is that very few of them were outright evil or did dastardly things just for the heck of it. They all had personal motivations and backstories that you could sympathize with to some extent. I gotta go with Demona on this one.
Favorite Episode: This is a toughie since I’m waaay overdue for a rewatch. So many moments from this show stick in my mind, but for whole episodes, I’ll say “The Hound of Ulster” and “The Mirror,” both from Season 2.
Favorite Moment: Puck’s “gift” to Demona at the end of “The Mirror,” or when Goliath was able to walk the streets on Halloween with Elisa: Beauty and the Beast, yo!
So are you a fan of Gargoyles? Tell us your favorite characters and episodes? Are you hoping for a return of these creatures of the night? Comment below and tell us all your fandom feels!