Cartoon Callback: Gargoyles

By Megan Lanham

The Goliath Chronicles image

Gargoyles, or Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles, is an animated television series which aired on Walt Disney from Oct. 24, 1994 to Feb. 15, 1997. It often ran re-runs well into the 2000s and is widely considered a show that was ahead of its time. This was a show I often found myself engrossed in whenever it aired during the Disney Afternoon programming block. As soon as I heard the theme song with the dark gregorian-esque choir and the sweeping orchestral, my eyes were glued to the screen. Though I only had vague memories of what this show was about until I recently rewatched it. 

The series features a species of nocturnal creatures known as gargoyles that turn to stone during the day, focusing on a clan of them led by the main character, Goliath. In the year 1994, the clan lived in Scotland. While petrified, most of the gargoyles are betrayed and killed by humans and the remainder are frozen in stone form. A thousand years later, in 1994, billionaire David Xanatos purchased the gargoyles castle and reconstructed it atop his New York skyscraper, the Eyrie building. As a result, this reawakens Goliath and his clan. With the help of a compassionate police officer named Elisa Maza, they try to readjust to the modern world of New York City. They quickly come into conflict with the scheming Xanatos and various other supernatural threats afterwards. 

This show is heavily inspired by the goth culture and has relatively dark themes, a major departure for Disney as a whole. The emphasis for this show was the writing, featuring complex story arcs and melodrama. Character arcs, as well, are heavily prevalent throughout the series along with Shakespearean themes. 

Due to its complex themes and darker storyline, I see this cartoon often compared to Batman:The Animated Series in terms of overall content. If you are a fan of dark fantasy and are looking for a cartoon with a more complex story than some of its contemporaries, I would definitely recommend this one. All three of its seasons are on Disney+ for your viewing convenience.

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