Aired as part of the Disney Afternoon back when there was one; now airs very late at night on Toon Disney.

Possibly the animated series that best captures the feel of a modern comic book, Gargoyles follows the last survivors of an ancient Scottish gargoyle clan. The gargoyles are "stone by day, warriors by night," winged creatures with no names of their own (except their leader, named Goliath by humans). In 994 A.D., humans and gargoyles had a wary partnership protecting a castle built on ancestral gargoyle land. Human treachery led to the slaughter of all but a few gargoyles and Goliath. A subsequent magic spell turned them to stone forever -- "until the castle rises above the clouds."

Jump ahead 1,000 years, where Evil Industrialist David Xanatos has learned about the spell and transports the castle -- lock, stock, and gargoyle -- to the top of his Manhattan skyscraper. The terms of the spell being fulfilled, Xanatos hopes to use the mighty beasts as pawns. His plans ... don't work out.

65 episodes of Gargoyles were produced with Greg Weisman at the helm. Disney commissioned 13 more for ABC's Saturday morning block of cartoons, but Weisman didn't feel good about the editorial interference Disney wanted. Another story editor took over, and the show drifted away.

The original 65, however, stand as mostly self-contained yet serial stories that tackle just about every major world mythology. One standout episode, "Deadly Force," looked at gun safety -- complete with blood -- very seriously. (Predictably, this is the only episode that Toon Disney will not air, even after 11:00 p.m.)

A number of Star Trek actors provided voice talent, including:

Goliath was voiced by Keith David, whose powerful baritone can be heard as the voice of HBO's Spawn and in TNT and Cartoon Network promos, and played an imam in the movie Pitch Black.

"Gargoyles," was chock full of star voices - especially from one show in particular. It's almost as though a stint on Gargoyles was a pre-requisite for any Hollywood resume. Check out these references:

Goliath was voiced by Keith David, voice of Spawn in the cartoon series. Keith also voiced Goliath's evil clone, Thailog, and a few other minor characters.
David Xanatos, the main villain of the series, was voiced by Jonathan Frakes - better known as William Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG). He also did the voice of the Coyote robots - androids designed to impersonate Xanatos).
Demona, despised outcast of the Gargoyles, was voiced by Marina Sirtis another ST:TNG vet.
Hudson, the oldest of the surviving Gargoyles, was voiced by veteran actor Ed Asner, well known for his role as Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
Brooklyn, the keen and cunning, was played by veteran voice-actor Jeff Bennett, who you've probably heard in any number of minor roles in Disney and Warner Brother's cartoons for the last decade. Jeff also voiced a number of other minor characters on the show.
Lexington, the smallest of the gargoyles, was played by Thom Adcox-Hernandez.
Broadway, the simple food-loving gargoyle, was voiced by Bill Fagerbakke aka 'Dauber' from tv's "Coach."
Eliza Maza, the first modern human to befriend the Gargoyles, was voiced by Salli Richardson.

The rest of the cast list reads like a Hollywood invitation list to a sci-fi party:

Brent Spiner - Data from ST:TNG, he voiced the mischevious otherworldly Puck.
Michael Dorn - Lt. Worf in ST:TNG, he voiced the resurrected Coldstone, a cyborg gargoyle with multiple personalities.
Kate Mulgrew - Yet another from the Star Trek crew, she later played Captain Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager. Here, she was the voice of Queen Titania / Anastasia Renard.
Nichelle Nichols - A little older Star Trek cast member, Nichelle was Lt. Uhura in the original series. In Gargoyles, she was the voice of Diane Maza, the mother of Eliza Maza.
Laura San Giacomo - of TV's "Just Shoot Me," played the daughter of Queen Titania, and wife to David Xanatos: Janine "Fox" Xanatos.
John Rhys-Davies - English actor known for roles in "Sliders" and more recently, the role of Gimli in the Lord of the Rings series of movies, he voiced MacBeth, former King of Scotland.
Frank Welker - If you've ever watched a Warner Brothers cartoon, you've heard his voice. He's considered a "voice god" in the industry, and doesn't let anyone down in this show either, bringing several supporting characters to life.
Jim Cummings - Another "voice god," Jim has been heard in everything from Disney and Warner Brothers since Tale Spin. Here he voices minor characters, including Dingo.
Tim Curry - The villain you love to hate, whether he's a bizarre alien transvestite ("Dr. Frankenfurter" in The Rocky Horror Picture Show), a demon ("Darkness" in Legend), or a mean pirate ("Long John Silver" in A Muppet Treasure Island), he's done voices for dozens of shows and movies. In this, he was the voice of Dr. Anton Sevarius, an unscrupulous geneticist working for Xanatos.
Robert Culp - Best known as Kelly Robinson in "I Spy," (or for you children of the eighties, Agent Bill Maxwell on "The Greatest American Hero") he voiced Halcyon Renard, elderly owner of Cyberbiotics, and father of Fox Xanatos.
Matt Frewer - Best known for his dual role in Max Headroom, both as the title computerized character, and the reporter that spawned him, Edison Carter. He voiced Jackal, a cunning and treacherous cyborg.
Cree Summer - Voice actress for many years, including Penny on "Inspector Gadget," and Princess Kida in the more recent Atlantis: The Lost Empire, she played Hyena, another cyborg.
James Belushi - More famous now than his dead brother, James went from Saturday Night Live to his own starring roles in just a few short years. In Gargoyles, he voiced Fang, a mutant with a penchant for wisecracks.
And that's not all. Others have made Gargoyles a layover on their road to stardom, or a minor sidetrip if they are already there: Peter Scolari, Paul Winfield, Ephraim Zimbalist, Jr, Kath Soucie, Morgan Sheppard, even Sheena Easton can all be found here.
If you're a "voice-watcher," then this is definitely the show for you.


Sources: IMDB, and the Gargoyles Fan website: http://www.gargoyles-fans.org/
According to Greg Weisman, co-creator and -producer of Gargoyles, Disney has slated the release of Season One of the cartoon on DVD sometime in the fourth quarter of 2004. (It was originally scheduled for sometime in 2003, but Disney pushed it back - supposedly to "coincide with the tenth anniversary of the show".) If sales of this set are good, Disney will most likely release boxed sets for Seasons Two and (ugh) Three (A.K.A. "Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles"). Of course, given that the date given for the DVD release has changed at least twice, I'm not holding my breath.

No word on what special features (if any) the DVDs will have.


Full Title: Gargoyles
Platform: Sega Genesis/Megadrive
Developer: Buena Vista Interactive
Publisher: Buena Vista Interactive
Year: 1995
Genre: Sidescroller (Hand-To-Hand Combat)
ESRB Rating: K-A

Based on the Gargoyles cartoon show (produced by Buena Vista's parent company, Disney), this video game places you in control of Goliath, the leader of the gargoyle clan at Castle Wyvern. The game consists of five levels, each split into several subsections. The first two levels take place in the castle itself in A.D. 995, the remaining three in modern-day New York City.

Even players who are familiar with the show will be somewhat confused by the storyline. As the game begins, Viking wizards have created a talisman of great magical power - the Eye of Odin. (In the show, the Eye of Odin is, quite literally the eye of the god Odin, stolen from him at some point in the last thousand years.) Mad with power, they decide to attack, of all things, a small castle in Northern Scotland. As the game progresses, some of the events from the show occur - but in a fairly nonsensical manner. After the second level, despite having defeated the Vikings, you're put under a magic spell for letting the castle be destroyed. Just as in the cartoon, the spell is set to break "when the castle rises above the clouds", and it's done the same way - the castle is placed on a very tall skyscraper. Why anybody would do this, however, is not explained; nor is it apparent why you immediately find yourself waist-deep in malevolent robots. When you reach the end, you discover the source of all the trouble - Demona - but she isn't introduced until exactly this point, and it isn't explained who she is or what she's doing here.

Neither is the gameplay particularly outstanding. All of the enemies and traps are incredibly predictable; unfortunately, that doesn't make it easy to kill them - the patterns they run in often leave you only a fraction of a second to attack. On the other hand, all of the enemies except bosses and the "Thor 3000" robots can be killed simply by throwing them. The bosses themselves get more or less progressively more difficult: the Viking Wizard on the first level is fairly easy to beat; but if you can even get through the three Cerebrus robots to Demona, you then have to face her while avoiding a huge machine gun and some other odd attacks. It is doable, but you'll most likely get frustrated beforehand with having to fight so many mini-bosses to get to her. Replayability is minimal; the difficulty levels simply mean you start with a different number of lives.

Overall, Gargoyles isn't a horrible game, but neither is it very good. It's alright for an hour or so's diversion, but don't go looking for anything particularly challenging or innovative.

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