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Gargoyles (TV series)

Gargoyles is an American animated television series created by Greg Weisman. It was produced by Greg Weisman and Frank Paur and aired from October 24, 1994 to February 15, 1997. At the time Gargoyles was hailed as an ambitious Disney animated series, targeting an older demographic and taking a darker tone. This was part of the Disney Afternoon block, and, due to its dark subject matter and tone, was the first show from that block to not be under the Disney name.

Gargoyles is known for its complex story arcs and melodrama. Character arcs were heavily employed throughout the series, and as the series progressed, it became deeply meshed with medieval history, particularly kings and princes from medieval Scottish history and Shakespeare's Macbeth.

The voice cast featured several Star Trek: The Next Generation alumni including, Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes who were featured regularly, and Michael Dorn and Brent Spiner who were frequent guest stars. Others in the voice cast were also from the Star Trek universe.

A small but loyal fanbase has supported the property after television syndication. The first season and part one of season two are available on DVD. The Gargoyles storyline currently continues in a comic book also titled Gargoyles written by Weisman and produced by Slave Labor Graphics. The show is currently airing on the Toon Disney network in the United States as part of the JETIX lineup.

Plot

The series features a clan of six nocturnal creatures known as Gargoyles that turn to stone during the day. They glide using large wings and age twice as slowly as humans, living twice as long because they are stone during daylight hours, even when not directly exposed to sunlight. Their leader is Goliath and his mentor is the elder gargoyle named Hudson. The others are three younger warriors named Brooklyn, Broadway and Lexington. There is also a dog-like beast without wings named Bronx.

In 994 A.D. on the coast of Scotland the six clan members, along with several dozen unnamed gargoyles and Goliath's female gargoyle love, later named Demona, protect Castle Wyvern and Princess Katherine along with many other Scots from Viking raiders until betrayal causes a massacre of the clan during their stone sleep (when they cannot defend themselves). Believing the gargoyles to be the cause of death for the princess, a magician called the Magus casts a spell on the six survivors putting them to sleep, day and night, using a spell that loosely translates to "Sleep, until the castle rises above the clouds."

In 1994, a billionaire named David Xanatos purchases the castle and moves the crumbling remains, piece by piece, to the top of his New York City skyscraper called The Eyrie Building. The magic spell is broken when the castle is literally placed "above the clouds" due to the skyscraper's height and Xanatos acquires the Magus' original book of spells called the Grimorum Arcanorum. Awakening in modern day Manhattan, the gargoyles must adapt to their new surroundings as they vow to protect the citizens of New York. Goliath befriends a detective of the NYPD named Elisa Maza and stops Xanatos from creating an army of robotic gargoyles after Demona returns, having somehow survived the 1000 years as well. She attempts to destroy them all but is stopped and Xanatos is arrested by the police for theft. The Gargoyles secret existence is kept safe with Elisa as they remain at the castle to protect New York City from various hostile forces.

Cast

Gargoyles:

Humans:

Oberon's Children:

Star Trek actors with voice parts

Actor/Actress Star Trek Series Star Trek Character In Gargoyles
Nichelle Nichols ST: TOS Lt./Lt. Cmdr/Cmdr Uhura Diane Maza
Jonathan Frakes ST: TNG Cmdr./Capt. William Riker David Xanatos
Marina Sirtis ST: TNG Counsellor Deanna Troi Demona/Dominique Destine
Brent Spiner ST: TNG Lt. Cmdr Data Puck
Michael Dorn ST: TNG/ST: DS9 Lt./Lt. Cmdr Worf Coldstone, Taurus
Levar Burton ST: TNG Lt./Lt. Cmdr Geordi LaForge Anansi
Avery Brooks ST: DS9 Cmdr./Capt. Benjamin Sisko Nokkar
Colm Meaney ST: TNG/ST: DS9 Chief Miles O'Brien Mr. Dugan
Kate Mulgrew ST: VOY Capt. Kathryn Janeway Anastasia Renard/Queen Titania
Paul Winfield ST II: The Wrath of Khan/ST:TNG Capt. Clark Terrell/Capt. Dathon Jeffrey Robbins
David Warner Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
St. John Talbot
Klingon Chancellor Gorkon
Archmage
Frank Welker ST II, Various ST shows Spock (voice), various alien voices Bronx
John Rhys-Davies ST: Voy Leonardo DaVinci Macbeth

Episodes

A total of 78 half-hour episodes were produced. The first two seasons aired in the Disney Afternoon programming block. The controversial third and final season aired on Disney's One Saturday Morning format on ABC as Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles. Except for the first episode of the season, "The Journey," these episodes were produced without the involvement of series creator Greg Weisman, and are not considered canonical within the context of Weisman's continuation.

In 1995, Disney released a direct-to-video feature film entitled Gargoyles the Movie: The Heroes Awaken, which was in fact the series' five pilot episodes edited together into one feature. It should also be noted that, originally, the 'City Of Stone' 4-parter, as well as the 'Hunter's Moon' 3-parter were in talks to be Direct To Video before they were ultimately aired on Television instead.

Comics

Disney Adventures

Like many other animated properties, Gargoyles comics were published in the Disney Adventures Magazine. 11 stories were published altogether. A two parter story, Stone Cold is notable in that it provided a story idea for Greg when he did the episode The Price (The idea being to capture a Gargoyle during the day and replacing him with a statue as a decoy). Another story, The Experts, was intended as a way of advertising The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. The story had Brooklyn, Lexington, and Broadway criticising the movie for its inaccurate portrayal of gargoyles (in that real gargoyles aren't made of stone and are very dignified).

Marvel

In 1995 Marvel released a Gargoyles comic book series. The books did not directly follow the continuity of the series, but they did reference specific events that took place within it. 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. The series ran for 11 issues. Weisman was hired to write for the comic after a couple of issues, but Marvel cut ties with Disney before his run could be produced. Weisman still has his unpublished script for the comic which he used for issue 6 on the current series. The Marvel series was tonally darker than the television series, dealing largely with Xanatos' experiments to create creatures and machines to defeat the Gargoyles. Also to note, 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

On 21 June 2006, Slave Labor Graphics, in association with CreatureComics.com, began producing a new Gargoyles comic written by series creator Greg Weisman. The comic continues the storyline of the animated series, picking up after the second season finale, "Hunter's Moon, Part III", with the first two issues adapting the first episode of The Goliath Chronicles. The comic diverged as of the third issue.

Home video releases

VHS and laserdisc

The five-episode pilot had been edited into movie format for Gargoyles the Movie: The Heroes Awaken and released on VHS and laserdisc in February, 1995. The following videos were later released containing the remaining first-season episodes:

  • The Hunted (October 1995), containing episodes "The Thrill Of The Hunt" and "Temptation"
  • The Force Of Macbeth (October 1995), containing episodes "Deadly Force" and "Enter Macbeth"
  • Deeds Of Deception (April 1996), containing episodes "The Edge" and "Long Way To Morning"
  • Brothers Betrayed (April 1996), containing episodes "Her Brother's Keeper" and "Reawakening"

Episodes six through 13 were left unaltered, except for the removals of the "Previously on Gargoyles..." segment from "Enter Macbeth."

DVD

In 2004, the tenth anniversary of its premiere, the first season of the series was released on DVD. The first half of the second season was released in December 2005.

As of June 30, 2006, Weisman announced at the Gargoyles Gathering Convention in Los Angeles, the release of Season 2, Volume 2 was axed. Weisman has stated simply, "Volume 1 did not sell enough copies." Disney currently has no plans to release the second volume, although these plans may change if sales of the currently released volumes improve.

The episodes themselves are uncensored, restoring scenes which were removed on Toon Disney and the VHS releases.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Season 1 13 December 7, 2004

  • The Gathering of the Gargoyles
  • Original show pitch by Greg Weisman
  • Audio Commentary on episodes 1 - 5.

Season 2: Volume 1 26 December 6, 2005

  • Episode introductions with series creator Greg Weisman
  • The Gathering of Cast and Crew Featurette
  • Audio commentary on the "City of Stone" episodes (parts 1-4)

Season 2: Volume 2 26 TBA
Season 3: The Goliath Chronicles 13 TBA

Lawsuit

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

Influences

Series creator Weisman, a former English teacher, has often cited his goal of ideally incorporating every myth and legend into the series eventually, similar to that of the Wold Newton family. Another possible source of influence is Shakespeare's similar use of existing source material. Many Shakespearean characters and stories found their way into the show's storylines.

The biggest influence was perhaps Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett's Emmy award winning Batman: The Animated Series, which was also noted for its dark and serious subject matter.

Weisman has also noted, among many other influences, the impact that Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears and Hill Street Blues had on the series (mentioned in the back of Gargoyles #1). 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. The former was an influence on the original comedy development of the show, which was subsequently changed and made darker and more serious before being released.

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. (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)

Video game

In 1995, Gargoyles the video game was released in the United States for the Sega Genesis. A Super Nintendo version was planned, however, it was never released. The game was a side scrolling platformer. The plot was considered non-canon and involved the Eye of Odin attempting to destroy the world. The game was poorly received.

Planned spin-offs

Weisman and his development team, before the cancellation of Gargoyles, planned several spin-offs featuring tangential characters from the series, as well as continuing the story of the Manhattan Clan. Only one of the projects ever entered active development: the series Bad Guys, for which a leica reel was produced. Bad Guys will be getting a spin-off comic book soon.

  • Timedancer -- A story about Brooklyn being caught by the wayward Phoenix Gate thrown into the time stream by Goliath. This spin-off details Brooklyn's 40-year (20 years biologically for a gargoyle) journey through time while trying to catch the gate and return home to Manhattan. During his travels, he ends up in Xanadu, China where he picks up the gargoyle beast Fu-Dog, the future where he and Fu-Dog contribute to the fight against the Space-Spawn, and also to feudal Japan where he meets his future mate Katana. They eventually return to Manhattan just five minutes after his departure along with their children Nashville (age roughly 19(9) years) and Tachi (unhatched). The spin-off would have also featured the enhanced Archmage and Caliban of Shakespeare's The Tempest as antagonists and shown how Brooklyn, Puck, Mary and Finella helped Xanatos and Demona form their eventual alliance that would free the gargoyles from their stone sleep.
  • Pendragon -- A spin-off series about King Arthur and the English gargoyle Griff as they search for Arthur's mentor Merlin, the biological son of Oberon by a mortal woman. Along the way they clash with the Illuminati and journey to such places as Tintagel, Stonehenge, and Antarctica in their search for Merlin. Eventually they find the wizard and a fourth character, Blanchefleur, the estranged wife of the Fisher King. Eventually, Arthur would have also pursued the Holy Grail in the hands of Illuminati leadership and at the end of his travels would have founded the kingdom of New Camelot in Antarctica, which would also become the site of a gargoyle clan.
  • Dark Ages -- A prequel that would have dealt with the original Wyvern Clan. It would have covered the time period before the creation of Castle Wyvern and ended with the massacre. This spin-off concerned the development of Goliath, Demona, Hudson, Coldstone/Othello, Coldfire/Desdemona, Coldsteel/Iago, the Archmage, Prince Malcolm, the Captain of the Guard and also Hudson's mate and their daughter Hippolyta, both of whom would have been killed by the end of the series. Major events would have included the construction of Castle Wyvern, Malcolm and the gargoyles' part in the Scottish Civil War that would lead to Malcolm's brother Kenneth becoming High King of Scotland, and how the alliance between Malcolm and the Archmage was formed.
  • Bad Guys -- A series featuring former enemies of the Gargoyles joined together by the Director, an American public servant. The team would have been led by Robyn Canmore, one of the Hunters, and would have included Dingo (formerly of the Pack), Matrix, Yama of the Ishimura Clan (exiled for what he did in Bushido) and Fang (one of the mutates). All of the team members would have been blackmailed into joining with Robyn and Dingo been wanted by law enforcement in America and Yama through the secret of his clan dwelling in Ishimura. The primary purpose of the team would have been to combat the Illuminati and would have also dealt with the various members redeeming themselves. There would have also been a romance between Dingo and Robyn whose descendants (the Monmouths) would be in conflict with the Castaways and the Quarrymen in the future. Of the spin-offs, this was the only one that was almost made before being canceled and a leica reel that was made is shown each year during the Gathering. Bad Guys will be getting a spin-off comic from SLG Publishing
  • Gargoyles 2198 -- A future spin-off to the gargoyles series, 2198 would have dealt with the Earth being invaded and occupied by the Space-Spawn, who have kidnapped the newly formed gargoyle clan of Queen Florence Island along with the human and gargoyle leaders there and stolen the Master Matrix (the computer processor for much of the world and the weather control center of New Camelot) located in Antarctica. The primary characters were to be Samson, the descendant of Goliath through Angela and de facto leader of the Manhattan clan; Delilah (aka Delilah II), a descendent of the Delilah who was cloned from Elisa Maza and Demona; and Zafiro, a descendant of the Mayan Clan of Guatemala. They would have also been joined by Owen, incapable of transforming into Puck because Alexander (now the leader of the UN) has been kidnapped by the Space-Spawn; Demona who is apparently still unredeemed; Nick Maza, a descendant of the adopted child of Goliath and Elisa and of the Natsilane family; a timedancing Brooklyn from the past accompanied by Fu-Dog; Nokkar of the N'Kai, who has failed in his task of stopping the Space-Spawn from taking Earth; and two robots resembling Lexington, which are without guidance after the Master Matrix was stolen. The team would have mainly dealt with the Space-Spawn and their proxies the Illuminati (who have decided to turn collaborator) and the Quarrymen (who blame the gargoyles for the invasion). The cast would have eventually be split with Nokkar, Demona, Nick Maza, Zafiro and one of the Lexington robots going into space to fight the Space-Spawn.
  • The New Olympians -- Would have dealt with the New Olympians introduced in the Gargoyles episode of the same name (a half-fae, half-mortal race) and their relations with humans after they make contact with the United Nations. The main characters would have been Taurus (the minotaur security chief of New Olympus and the new ambassador to the human world), Talos (a New Olympian robot who advises the New Olympians because he was built thousands of years ago in ancient Greece by Daedalus), Sphinx (a young New Olympian student) and Terry Chung (a human who stumbles upon New Olympus and precipitates the New Olympians into making contact with humanity). The New Olympians themselves would have been split into three factions made up of those who still fear humanity (Ekidna, Kiron, and one of Boreas' sons), those who want humanity to worship them again (Helios, Jove) and those who just want to co-exist (Taurus, Talos, Boreas). Like Gargoyles, New Olympians would also have had an inter-species romance between Sphinx and Terry along the vein of a Romeo and Juliet relationship.
    • The New Olympians were inspired from Marvel Comics Inhumans, The Eternals and DC Comics New Gods.
    • A young Terry Chung appears in Gargoyles #4 as a trick or treater, indicating the spin-off to take place years later.
  • Team Atlantis -- A planned, but canceled spin-off of Atlantis: The Lost Empire. An episode titled The Last would feature Demona (with Marina Sirtis reprising the role) and the introduction of the character Fiona Canmore The Hunter (Voiced by Sheena Easton). The story would have Team Atlantis having to deal Demona who uses the Praying Gargoyle Statue (From Hunter's Moon) to bring stone Gargoyles in Paris alive. Demona would be referred to as Gorlois (Atlantean term for Gargoyle), and would be modified designwise to fit the style of the cartoon. Though the episode isn't complete, it has been partially storyboard with the voice recording complete. Voice recordings have been available to those attending The Gathering.
    • Greg has mentioned wanting to adapt the story into comic book format with the cast from Team Atlantis used. If the characters can't be used, then Greg will use analogues to maintain the story.

There was initially intense speculation concerning the intentions of the producers had the series continued, but many have been since debunked by Weisman in the "Ask Greg" forum. Weisman has, however, also revealed some of his own plans for the show, had it continued.

While no other series have entered production since the cancellation of Gargoyles, there have been organized fan fiction efforts to explore Pendragon, Timedancer, Bad Guys and Dark Ages.

Greg Weisman currently plans to release Bad Guys as a bimonthly black and white six issue limited edition comic book around October 2007. Should the spin-off series prove successful he will continue with the remaining spin-offs, but if not will then try to incorporate some of their elements into the main comic series.

The Gathering of the Gargoyles

The series has inspired a minority of an extremely loyal fan following, spawning fan-based project and a convention. The Gathering of the Gargoyles is an annual fan convention which began in 1997. The location of the convention changes each year. In 2008 the convention was in Chicago, in 2009, it will return to Los Angeles. The Gathering features several regular guests close to the Gargoyles franchise including series co-creator 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.

The Gathering of the Gargoyles was comically criticized in a Cracked.com article. The convention was listed as the number 6 "Geek Convention God Never Intended" and appeared along side other conventions such as ROFLcon and Yaoi-Con

Trivia

In episode four, Hudson is watching Television for the first time. While flipping through channels the Famous Lion King scene of Simba being ceremonially presented by Rafiki can be seen. Disney is known for referencing the Lion King in its various properties such as Toy Story and Hercules.

Parody/Reference

JLA Showcase #1

In 1999 Greg Weisman wrote a story for DC Comics JLA Showcase #1 80-Page, cover dated February 2000. The one shot consists of various Justice League stories; Weisman's was set during the time of the Justice League Europe and titled "Flashback Of Notre Dame". Roster included: Captain Atom, Flash, Kilowog, Metamorpho and Blue Jay. The story has Captain Atom, The JLE and Bette Sans Souci/Plastique meeting a group of Gargoyles at Notre Dame Cathedral. After the usual misunderstanding/battle, the JLE help The Gargoyles return to their home island Brigadoon.

The story, while being a parody is an homage to Gargoyles. This version of the clan are more batlike than the characters they parodied and have names based from Paris, France. The story's full of injokes (such as The Gargoyles home island Brigadoon, being a reference to Avalon). The names of the clan (and Gargoyle they are based on) are:

  • Behemoth/Goliath (Clan Leader)
  • Diabolique/Demona (Behemoth's Ex-Wife)
  • Seine/Hudson (Behemoth's Mentor)
  • Angelique/Angela (Daughter of Behemoth and Diabloique)
  • Montparnasse/Broadway (Boyfriend to Angelique)
  • Montmartre/Brooklyn (Behemoth's Lieutenant)
  • Champs-Élysées/Lexington (Monmartres' Brother)
  • Left Bank/Bronx (Clan's Dog)
  • Thomeheb/Thailog (Behemoth's Brother)
  • Cyrano/Othello (one of Behemoth's rookery siblings)
  • Christian/Iago (another of Behemoth's rookery siblings)
  • Roxanne/Desdemona (yet another of Behemoth's rookery siblings)

Freakazoid

The Lawn Gnomes mini segment was parody of Gargoyles. The episode "Freakazoid is History" featured Freakazoid listening to a Gargoyle who bears a slight resemblance to Goliath.

3×3 Eyes

According to Greg Weisman, the English dubs of 3×3 Eyes features a scene with a homeless man humming the Gargoyles theme song.

The Big O

In episode fourteen of the anime The Big O (Roger the Wanderer) there are three stone gargoyles that bear a striking resemblance to Brooklyn, Broadway and Lexington on a rooftop as Roger Smith wanders through a memory of Paradigm City. The Gargoyle resembling Broadway appears to have Goliath's jaw.

X-Men: Evolution

In episode 45 "No Good Deed" during the staged "heroics" montage, Avalanche knocks a stone Gargoyle statue, which bears a resemblance to Broadway, off a building in order for Blob to catch, preventing it from smashing into a crowd of people below.

W.I.T.C.H.

Episode 21 of Season 2, U Is For Undivided has parts of the city transformed into a medieval type setting. A couple shown in the middle of it are Brenda and Marco. Respectively based on the Gargoyles yuppie couple Margot and Brendan, Pat Fraley voiced both Brendan and Marco.

The Spectacular Spider-Man

The first episode Survival Of The Fittest (which is written by Weisman) has Spider-Man swinging past a few Gargoyle statues, two of whom resemble Hudson and Broadway. Another scene in this episode depicts a statue of Broadway being smashed on a helicopter pad by Spider-Man, in his attempt to flee from Vulture and an attacking helicopter.

The Batman

Gotham City Police Detective Ellen Yin bears a slight resemblance to Elisa Maza. Detective Ellen Yin wears a red leather jacket with a black t-shirt underneath, as well as blue jeans and black shoes.

References

External links

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