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  'One thousand years ago, superstition and the sword ruled. It was a time of darkness, it was a world of fear. It was the age of Gargoyles. Stone by day, warriors by night, we were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect, frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years...
Now, the spell is broken, and we live again! We are defenders of the night. We are Gargoyles!'

In 1994 Disney surprised friend and foe by releasing a new series rather unlike any series they had created before. Gone were the ducks, the chipmunks, the toons... This was something quite different for them indeed. For the first time to my knowledge Disney brought the drama usually only reserved for their feature length animation movies to our TV-screens with the series called Gargoyles. It tells the story of a few members of a near-extinct race, the gargoyles, stone statues by day that burst to life at night, who lost their entire clan through treason way back in 994. A magic curse put them to stone sleep both day and night until the castle which they lived in would rise above the clouds. In 1994, this is exactly what happens as billionair David Xanatos has the structure dismantled and moved to the top of his skyscraper in Manhattan. As the Gargoyles awake they find themselves in a different world from which they came, even more feared and forced into hiding.

The true strength of the series, to me, lies in the characters. Upon awakening in Manhattan the gargoyles don't instantly jump to the task of protecting the innocent inhabitants of the island, instead they hide away and deal with their own problems until the time comes when they need to find a new purpose in life. Only there the instinctive need for the gargoyle to protect comes into play. Villains too are generally quite well worked out. No evil laughter here as a diabolical plan is explained to the viewer; no, David Xanatos is a well respected business man with double agendas and plans woven into plans. Often he shows more control of the situation and himself than Goliath, the main lead. Revenge, to him, is 'a sucker's game.' Demona is a gargoyle, once Goliath's mate, now so embittered by a thousand years of experience with humans and her own poor judgement that revenge is the only thing she appears to be after. Yet both have different sides. Xanatos shows being capable of true love and self-sacrifice. Demona's back-story is truely tragic and touching. The episodes that showcased her history were, again to me, the highlight of the entire series. This makes them more than the average plot device. Sometimes it would appear that not the heroes, but the villains carry this series.
I have named the two main villains, but many more exist. Some are two-dimensional, but almost all have gotten traits that sets them apart, that makes them human. And many change over the course of the series. Nothing is stagnant.

This brings up another great strength of the series. What is done is done. There is no reset button at the end of every episode so that we can all start with a clean slate in the next one. People change, situations change. There are some real shockers in there and a few nice surprises. Add to this a depth of character uncharacteristic for this type of series, animation ranging from fairly good to terrific, high quality voice acting and some very fitting background music and you've got a perfect formula for success.

Currently the glory days of Gargoyles seem to be over. A total of three seasons were made. The first season had 13 episodes, each of with wonderfully tweaked to perfection, mostly with great success. The second season consists of no less than 52 episodes. It has its ups and downs, but it contains some wonderfull stuff and for the most part manages to retain the atmosphere and spirit of the show despite a murderous production schedule. The third season, however, also known under the name "The Goliath Chronicals", was produced with much of the original production team gone, most importantly of which was Greg Weisman, the main driving force behind the series. I have watched each and every one of these episodes with morbid curiousity, and my personal opinion is similar to that of most of the fandom. An end to the series that was truly depressing for any fan to watch.

Today, the series is cancelled. It is still shown in various countries, in America on one of Disney's own TV-stations. However, one of the most powerfull episodes is censored out and many of the episodes have been cut. Still, it is around, and the fanbase is actually still growing. There is also a movie in the works, one which has been in limbo for quite a while, and while I tend to be skeptical, Greg Weisman believes that the fact that they are still working on it, still hiring new writers, means they really want this movie to be made.

What the future holds for this series is uncertain. The online fan community is alive and kicking however. There is a Gargoyles fan convention, The Gathering, an annual event since 1997, still growing in popularity. There are chatrooms and comment rooms on the web which are well visited, there's a fan run project which continues the series in fanfic form, that is, written stories by fans posted on the web, and while I could never work up enough enthousiasm to read these, the continuing success clearly suggests we're not going away any time soon.

As for this online fandom, I will leave it to them to provide the picture archives, the sound archives, the synopsis', the fanfics, the fan art... There are some really talented people around. There is nothing I could add the the wealth of Gargoyles related stuff already there, so this will be my only contribution. Would you like to see more, Station 8 and the Gargoyles Fan Website will be the best places to start.

If you have never seen Gargoyles, do try to watch. Even if Disney is not the thing for you you may be pleasantly surprised by what is without a doubt one of the best series I ever had the pleasure to watch.

  • Station 8 - Gargoyles - Comment rooms, chat rooms, a bit of an archive and a chance to talk to Greg Weisman, producer of Gargoyles.
  • The Gargoyles Fan Website - Synopsises, reviews, top ten lists, the biggest fanfic archive on the web, the list goes on...

Note: None of the images displayed on this page are my own. All images are from Disney's show Gargoyles, owned by Buena Vista. The images are copyrighted to them and have been used without permission. The single intent for this page is to express my admiration for the show and advertise it among the uninitiated. There's no profit in this for me. so please don't sue me for it, okay? ;)