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Gargoyles: The Complete First Season (1994) – DVD Review

Gargoyles Season 1 DVD


Written by Cary Bates, Lydia Marano, Gary Sperling, and Len Wein
Directed by Saburo Hashimoto, Yeun Young San, and Kazuro Terada
Starring the Voices of Keith David, Salli Richardson, Jonathan Frakes, Ed Asner, Marina Sirtis, Bill Fagerbakke, John Rhys-Davies, Jim Cummings, Michael Dorn, and Tim Curry


  • Running audio commentary of the first five episodes by creator and producer Greg Weisman, co-producer Frank Paur, and actor David
  • The Gathering of the Gargoyles Featurette
  • Original show pitch

Released by: Disney DVD
Rating: NR (some mild cartoon violence)
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Nope, it was made for TV

My Advice: Skip it

[ad#longpost]A thousand years ago, Gargoyles lived during the night time. They would come to life and fight to protect the humans who lived in the castle. However, one night that all went entirely wrong and they were placed under a curse whereby they would stay in stone until the castle touched the sky. Centuries later a billionaire tycoon bought the building and moved the gargoyles to modern-day New York City. Once there, the curse was broken and they were awakened. Now the Gargoyles were faced with a decision of whether to take their revenge on the human race or to continue protecting them by night. Oh yeah, it turns out that the billionaire tycoon has some dastardly use for them in mind, too.

The plot description for this show makes it sound a lot better than it really is. If someone were to take this idea and update it with digital animation and CGI special effects, it would probably rock visually, but as it was back nearly ten years ago, it’s just boring. The voice talent is okay, but they were working with scripts that were sub-standard at best. In fact, most of the first episode was set in medieval Scotland, and the accents were all over the place; i.e. most of them not from Scotland. I know this was aimed at kids, but come on. Anyway, after that, it just goes downhill. They make friends a modern-day detective who is out to clean up New York and bring down the billionaire who brought the gargoyles to New York in the first place.

The double-disc set has special features but there’s nothing to sneeze on. On the first disc, there is a commentary track spread across the first five episodes, but it’s just not that much to write home about. The information presented is only worth it if you actually find the show interesting. To me, the animation was so second-rate that I was turned off in the first two minutes. And that’s all for the first disc. The second disc sports a featurette that focuses on “The Gathering of the Gargoyles”. These are the people who love the show so much that they actually attend a reunion every year. If you thought the Trekkies were bad, wait until you see this. There are people who actually state that their marriage is based, partly, because they had this connection about the show to begin with. Wow.

Finally, there is a rather amusing look at the pitch reel that the series creator put together to pitch the show to Disney. It features pan-and-scanned photo renderings of what the gargoyles will look like and Weisman going through pretty much the same plot description that you’ll find at the beginning of this review.

If you have never seen the show, consider yourself one of the lucky ones and be thankful that people like me have to sit here and watch this stuff so you don’t have to. It’s just another service we offer.

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  • Aw, I have fone memories of this from a few years back. Course I only caught a few episodes as school clashed with it, and I was far more innocent back then.

    Still, though the half-baked romance thing was just icky. And I doubt I’d ever be bothered to rewatch

  • I have never disagreed with a review from this site more than I do over this single review. Sure, the series took a little while to gain steam – but it had the Illuminati before they were ‘cool’ – it had Puck, Cuchulain, MacBeth, and some clever writing and character moments. It was sort of like a blend of WORLD OF DARKNESS meets BATMAN … and for ToonDinsney fare, it was ahead of it’s time.

    Wow … this reviewer just didn’t get ‘it’ at all. You guys rated ‘POWER RANGERS’ higher than this DVD … and that’s simply wrong.

  • David, my friend: Well, that’s what we have comments for. :) Anyway, opinions differ on every film/show. One of us will hate something somebody else loves and/or grew up with and/or (in some cases) worked on. Yikes. I have people telling me I didn’t get “it” for the Star Wars prequels and people telling me I didn’t get “it” for Narnia and all kinds of things. So it takes all kinds.

    And in our defense, “us guys” didn’t rate POWER RANGERS higher than this show. One reviewer rated one DVD, and another reviewer rated the other DVD. I’m sure if we traded the discs between the two, we’d get completely different reviews. Which is how we like it. For example, here’s my movie review of Beautiful Mind, and here’s HTQ4’s review of Beautiful Mind. He adored it, I was woefully underwhelmed. So bear in mind, it’s the reviewer’s opinion–there is no “official stance” on any film because there’s twelve of us here. I’ve encouraged the staff to review any film they want, regardless of how many write-ups it’s gotten on the site already, because I want diverse opinions on everything. We’re schizo like that. :) Thanks for writing in.

  • Widge,

    I was simply going off of memory in regards to the POWER RANGERS reference. I understand it’s HTQ4’s opinion … and I’m not railing against him so much as I am totally shocked by the rating her gave the DVD. Like jaw-dropping shocked. No offense meant. I just *strongly disagree* it’s all good.

    Yeah, and I didn’t like Beautiful Mind either …

    But, I’m hoping I’ll *love this*

  • David: We provoke strong reactions in people. Sometimes allergic, sometimes not. :) Glad to hear you didn’t like Beautiful Mind. Welcome to the club–I think there’s like eight of us worldwide.

    And it’s Cohen. How could it not be worthy?

  • Do you guys have jackets? I might be willing to change my opinion if I could get a really cool jacket.

    I mean, you know, one that the arms don’t tie together in the back and all…

  • Huge fan of Gargoyles. Couldn’t agree more with this review.

    And I was not always a fan or even remotely interested in Gargoyles until near high school. But I couldn’t be. It was on a channel you had to pay a separate ritzy private bill to each month. Disney channel was not part of the regular cable package until 1997 when ABC cancelled Gargoyles. My childhood didn’t need it then as collecting Archie Sonic comics, trying to pwn the magnificent Sonic CD, Balto, and The Lion King were my magical bases of inspiration and creative bath. But during this time the Gargoyles merchandising ads were everywhere and there was one of them even in an issue of Archie’s Sonic comics. Their whole design from the some ads seen was super uninteresting and my Sonic fanaticism pushed them to the ignorable margins.

    Your animation point was my first excited agreement. Most Gargoyle fans forgive the terrible animation. I will not, and immense pressure from the Gargoyles legion of fantards shall never change my mind. Only large chunks of the first 5 episodes (Awakening) were well animated close to movie level. The rest of the lazily animated times give one an uneasy and dissapointed feeling. More of the work was done in the Korean budget studios and I wonder what the pay was for their animators; I bet much below their minimum wage. But Disney it seems joined in free trade for more money and quality out the window while also disappointing thousands like me who wanted to help animate their shows here in America. If I was a 1% billionaire kid I would invest so much to reanimate all of the 65 episodes (Goliath Chronicals does not count as it is non-canonical) in my free time after my work done for many humanitarian projects. It would of course be free to the world on my video channel and if Disney wanted to buy them then they would actually care about quality again – possibly. But that is another debate.