Gargoyles: Season 2 Volume 1
DVD Reviews | Jan 14th, 2006
Starring Keith David, Salli Richardson, Jonathan Frakes, Ed Asner, Marina Sirtis, Jeff Bennett, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, Bill Faggerbakke, and Frank Welker
Studio: Disney/ Buena Vista
Buy on Amazon.com link
I’ll have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of Gargoyles when it first came out back in ’94. I dismissed the show mainly because I knew some little kids that watched it and I figured that it was mainly geared towards a younger audience. I figured that there wouldn’t be much to the show and would probably be nothing that interested me, so I never watched it. Jump ahead about eleven years into the future and I find myself watching a cool cartoon channel called Toon Disney. Toon Disney began running a lot of the cool cartoons that I used to watch in my earlier years like The Tick and the Spider-Man and X-Men cartoons from the early 90’s. By chance, Gargoyles happened to be on and I watched a couple of episodes. Let’s just say I was hooked. Gargoyles is definitely not just for kids. Many of the stories are geared towards an older, more intelligent audience all the while retaining the fun and excitement of a great cartoon. Believe it or not, there are quite a few educational values in the series. Characters ranging from King Arthur and Merlin the Magician to Shakespearean figures such as MacBeth and Gillecomgain appear over the course of Gargoyles run.
For those who know not of the Gargoyles and their tragic story, I will now fill in the details. The Gargoyles are a clan of actual Gargoyles who were stone by day and flesh and blood at night. The Gargoyle clan made an uneasy alliance with a Scottish clan to protect their castle at night if the humans would protect the Gargoyles in stone form at night. Human prejudice towards the Gargoyles brought about a betrayal by a group of radical clansmen who sought to gain control of the castle and its territory and to destroy the protectors of the castle, the Gargoyles. Only a handful of Gargoyles survived along with a few unhatched eggs. A magic spell cursed the Gargoyles to remain cast in stone until “the castle rose above the clouds”. In present time, billionaire David Xanatos bought the entire Scottish castle and placed it high atop his skyscraper in Manhattan, high above the clouds. The Gargoyles curse was broken and they vowed to protect the city much like they did their castle in the past.
Twenty-six episodes and a wide variety of storylines and subject matter make up the first half of season two. The Gargoyles find themselves traveling to the past as the origin of the Gargoyles is told, encounter an elf who gets his kicks out of turning people to stone, and travel around the world encountering new Gargoyles both as friends and as enemies. This was one of my favorite things about Gargoyles, the wide variety of storytelling and themes. Gargoyles spanned many genres ranging from Mythology, fantasy and sorcery to pulp style detective stories and the shows biggest influence, Shakespeare. One episode would take place in Medieval Scotland while the other would be an ode to detective film noir and the next, a page from Macbeth. I never felt that the series was repeating itself at any time. The directors and writers were always pushing for the next new story arc, which I think is the main reason that the show holds up so well, the writing was downright excellent. As for the animation, think of a cross between Batman the Animated Series and Beauty and the Beast. Most of the episodes had a dark and grimy look to them much like Batman TAS did, but the characters were clean and crisp with many of the painted backgrounds providing stunning detail. Since the Gargoyles could only roam the streets at night, the animation style was befitting. Another feature about Gargoyles were the characters. In many animated series you have your typical strong focal characters and then a group of so-so second rate supporting characters. Gargoyles had not just strong main characters, but a very strong supporting cast (as well as a great cast of voice actors) and an equally strong repertoire of villains. David Xanatos, voiced by Jonathan Frakes (William Riker on Star Trek the Next Generation) was a great foil to the Gargoyles. Here you have a modern day business mogul who spends his money not only on big cars and skyscrapers but on all of the latest gadgets and weaponry which he uses to fulfill his own personal goals, most of which are illegal…versus a group of supernatural gargoyles from a thousand years in the past who are dubbed the new protectors of the city. This made for some interesting stories as the Gargoyles try to come to terms with the new world in which they live in and all of the technology that now surrounds them. I really can’s say enough about how good this series was and I’m disappointed in myself for shunning it all those years ago.
Usually I would have some points about the DVD set in which I didn’t like, but the only thing that disappointed me was the fact that there weren’t enough extras. I wanted to know more about the wonderful universe that the Gargoyles live in. There was a feature on the Gargoyles box set that I think all DVD sets should include, that being the episode introductions by Greg Weisman, Supervising Producer and Co-Creator of Gargoyles. Before each episode, Greg would introduce the episode and give some insight into why they made that particular episode or give his personal thoughts and feeling on a character or characters in the episode or on the episode in general. I thought that this was a very cool feature that every boxed set should include. Like I said, nothing about Gargoyles that I didn’t like.
For anyone out there who thinks of the Gargoyles cartoon in the same light as I once did, that the show is more geared up towards kids, rent the DVD set, borrow it from a friend, or catch an episode on TV. You’ll probably think of the show a lot differently. That is if you can quit watching it. For those older “kids” who never really grew up or those of you who may have children of your own, pick up the Gargoyles for not only the entertainment value, but for the educational value as well. Your kids may not learn their ABC’s from Gargoyles, but they’ll discover things like history, Shakespeare, the importance of literacy, learn about Braille, or even gain an interest for global politics. Alright, they may not learn much about the last one, but they…or you for that matter will discover a great show that didn’t get the credit that it justly deserves. Go pick up Gargoyles and tell them that Goliath sent you.
The Gathering Of The Cast And Crew
Episode Introductions With Greg Weisman
Dolby Digital 2.0
1.33:1 Full Frame Dual Layer DVD
Favorite Scenes: City Of Stone Parts 1-4, The Silver Falcon, The Price, Eye Of The Beholder, Revelations
Running Time: 615 minutes