“One thousand years ago, superstition and the sword ruled.”
This is the first line to one of the greatest openings of one of the greatest animated series of all time. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But Gargoyles is incredible and you know we’re right. Why? Because it includes:
That Amazing Theme Song/Opening Credits
Fire! Castles! GARGOYLES! We can hear that song in our dreams. With one of the most monumental scores ever, this opening pumps us up for every amazing episode. New viewers get the entire background on the show, returning viewers get to review some of their favorite scenes. Everybody wins!
Those Sweet Character Names
“We are defenders of the night.”
One of our favorite exchanges from the first episode, Awakening:
TOM: I’m Tom. What’s your name?
GARGOYLE #1: Except for Goliath, we don’t have names.
TOM: How do you tell each other apart?
GARGOYLE #1: We look different.
TOM: But what do you call each other?
GARGOYLE #2: (shrugs) Friend.
Cue 1000 years later, when they decide to take the COOLEST NAMES OF ALL: Goliath, Hudson, Broadway, Brooklyn, Lexington, Bronx. These Gargoyles who did not need names for so long, these complex and layered characters, decided to identify themselves with different parts of New York City. How’s that for an homage?
Those Nail-Biting Plots That Haunt Our Dreams
“Betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect.”
The entire point of Gargoyles was that they were these monsters, lost in a human world, unable to find out where they belong. The fact that they had been banished from their time BY humans made it so interesting why they decided to continue to PROTECT humans once they wake up. We watched them learn how to survive in this new world while they also learned how to stand up for it. They didn’t do it because they had to, they did it because they wanted to.
People died on this show. There were consequences to actions that characters took, and we saw what those consequences were. We saw what happened when people were dishonest, and we saw what happened when they were immoral. This show explored all aspects of the human—and gargoyle—condition. It really made us think, guys.
That Angsty Yell!
“ANGEL OF THE NIGHT!”
The Villainess That We Love to Hate and Hate to Love
“Stone by day, warriors by night.”
Most of Demona’s early life was spent as an apprentice to the Archmage. He used her to do his dirty work, and these underhanded sensibilities stayed with her. Instead of taking responsibility for what happened to her clan, she turned her grief into hatred. She lived that 1000 years by herself, scheming and plotting and planning the best way to have her revenge. It got pretty real there.
We have to wonder – was Demona really a villain? Or was she a victim of circumstance? After all, the love of her life was ripped from her, her clan was turned to stone (which is just the worst), and she probably had a pretty healthy guilt complex working. Hard to remain good and pure when all of that has befallen you, don’t you think?
That Sneaky Villain (Who Actually—Spoiler Alert—Gives Up His Evil Ways)
“It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear.”
Xanatos had money, he had power, and he wasn’t afraid to use both of them. Not only was he voiced by Jonathan Frakes of Star Trek fame, he just looked like a jerk. (Come on, that ponytail should have been a big red flag.) Xanatos simply wanted immortality. NBD. In the end, Xanatos wound up giving up his quest, becoming a halfway decent human being and ally of the Gargoyles. Points for a strong finish.
The Main Character We Can’t Get Enough Of
Ah, Goliath. Brave to a fault and fiercely loyal. He has an unparalleled streak of optimism, what with his complete and total belief in humans. He believed that humans will realize that their hatred towards Gargoyles is merely fear, and that they will overcome this fear in the future. Bold position to take, dude. In fact, he’s pretty much one super-bold dude.
That Female Co-star We Always Root For
Elisa Maza was the ultimate modern heroine. Intelligent, quick to act, cool headed, and—above all—she’s a detective (which we all think is pretty legit). One could argue that Elisa was the reason that the Gargoyles felt inspired to protect Manhattan in the first place. She helped the clan understand the new world they found themselves in. Elisa was in fact, THEIR angel of the night (see what we did there?!).
Those Supporting Characters That Always Know Just What to Say
“It was the age of Gargoyles.”
We can’t even list all of the hilarious quips that the Manhattan Clan comes up with during this series. (Seriously. We tried. This article was almost seven pages. You’re welcome.) Watching the Gargoyles figure out Manhattan and how to live there? Priceless. Brooklyn riding motorcycles, Broadway trying to eat food whenever and wherever possible, Lexington adapting to the technology of the modern age? Unmatched in their hilariosity. (Made up word alert!) Hudson and Bronx really liked watching TV, which isn’t the most comical, but we can appreciate.
They are the comedic relief and the heart of this show.
This Cool Fact You Probably Didn’t Know
Keith David, the voice of Goliath, has a long history of amazing roles. Among his many accolades, he also voiced Dr. Facilier in The Princess and the Frog!
Okay. We’re done. Almost. For now.
P.S. You might want to listen to the Gargoyles theme song on loop right now. We already are.