Dusk falls over the city skyline. On top of the skyscrapers, the stone statues crack and light bursts forth from their eyes. The Gargoyles turn to flesh and blood as the sun retreats behind the horizon.
Gargoyles: Season 2 Volume 1 is the continuation of the creatures adjustment to modern society and protection of the citizenry. At first glance, the overall story reminds me of X-Men in a sense that here you have a group of misunderstood heroes who are feared by the general populace (there the similarities stop). Coming in on the second season, one would miss out on how the Gargoyles came from 10th century Scotland to 20th century Manhattan, luckily there is a brief overview of their transference in the opening, plus brief “previously on Gargoyles” that features the characters that the current episode will be focusing on.
Speaking of characters, here are the main ones:
Goliath - the leader of the clan. He is the embodiment of an honorable warrior. He seeks not only to preserve his clan but also protecting the innocent.
Goliath is voiced by Keith David. He just has this incredible, deep, rumbling voice that fits Goliath perfectly. David has also done voice work for Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within, Halo 2 (VG), and Spawn: the Animation (2006) etc. He has also acted in Chronicles of Riddick, Barbershop, and Agent Cody Banks etc.
Hudson – the elder member of the group. He is Goliath’s mentor and shares his tactical skill with the others.
Hudson is voiced by Ed Asner. Asner is able to give Hudson a convincing Scottish accent with smooth consistency throughout. Asner has done voice work for The amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Captain Planet and the Planeteers etc. He has acted in Thunder Alley and Elf etc.
The Trio (Brooklyn, Lexington, Broadway) – they are the young trouble makers, they are more curious about modern technology and the change of landscape (from the rocky cliffs of Scotland to the sweeping NYC skyline).
Brooklyn – often takes charge of the Trio, devising plans of attack when facing enemies. But, when it comes to Demona he often loses control of his reasoning. He is voiced by Jeff Bennett who does numerous voices throughout the show including Owen and the Magus. As a career, Bennett has done many voices from Looney Tunes to various Disney and Nickelodeon voices. He is even credited as the voice of The Man in the Yellow Hat in the upcoming Curious George movie according to IMDB.com
Lexington – is the computer literate of the group. He is fascinated by computers and machinery. Voiced by Thom Adcox-Hernandez, he is currently a voice on a Disney show.
Broadway – he is loyal to his friends and quick to come to the aid of others. He is voiced by Bill Fagerbakke who is most known as the voice of Patrick on Spongebob Squarepants.
One of the notable things about this shows voice actors/actresses are many of them played memorable characters from Star Trek: the Next Generation:
David Xanatos – is the main villain of the show. Where Goliath is honorable, Zanatos is deceptive. Where Goliath desires peace and understanding, Xanatos desires wealth and power. He is a fun villain. When you think he couldn’t want for anything, he finds something. One thing he has in common with Goliath is how well he is played by the actor, Xanatos being voiced by Jonathan Frakes (William Riker on ST:TNG).
Demona – was once Goliath’s love interest, she became corrupt through her own deceit and thirst for vengeance. Thinking Goliath is weak for wanting to protect people, she is determined to destroy his clan along with the humans. She is also excellently portrayed by Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troy on ST:TNG).
Puck – is the mischievous fairy from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Though not really a villain, but rather a prankster he is fun especially with his rhyming spell attacks. He is voiced by Brent Spiner (Data from ST:TNG). He gives Puck this lilt to his voice that really suits him.
Coldstone - was one of Goliath’s ‘rookery brothers’. He was destroyed with the rest of the clan back in Scotland but was reassembled with parts from two other gargoyles and with modern technology. Being made from various gargoyles there are three souls living in the one form. He is at constant war with himself, the souls vying for control of the body. He is played (mainly) by Michael Dorn (Worf on ST: TNG).
The show also exhibits good values. For example the values of learning to read and of trusting in others are shown in various episodes. Another one that is shown throughout is strong female roles. There is a protagonist as Elisa Maza, who is the Gargoyles confidant and link to the human world, and an antagonist as Demona. Later on in the series, Angela is introduced as another main character. She is innocent and naive of the world but has a fierce curiosity in the outside world.
Now the elements of the show that attracted me were the wonderful blend of magic and sorcery with technology. Xanatos employs his wealth to the technology aspect with robots, cybernetics, gene splicing, and robotic suits to bring the Gargoyles back to his control. The sorcery is best shown through three magic objects: the Grimoirem, a powerful book of magic, the Eye of Odin, which transforms the user into a powerful version of him/her inner self, and the Phoenix Gate can bend space and time transporting the user wherever, whenever he/she wants.
The other element is the heavy Shakespearian and Arthurian influence on the characters and storyline. From Puck (Midsummer Night’s Dream) and the Weird Sisters (Macbeth) to King Arthur and Avalon.
Lastly to the DVD’s themselves, on all three discs there are episode introductions by Greg Weisman (Supervising Producer/ Co-Creator). Here he takes a few moments to talk about the episode and what he liked about it such the rapport between to voice actors or the Shakespearian influence etc. On the first disc there is also “The Gathering of the Cast and Crew” where they answer various questions about their characters or what they liked about the show. Also on the second disc there is audio commentary for the “City of Stone” parts 1-4. On a side note, my favorite episodes are the “The Mirror” (this is a ‘what if?’ episode where Puck enters the picture and has fun switching everyone’s species around), “Upgrade” (The Pack need some help in defeating the Gargoyles and who better that Xanatos to offer assistance?), “The Price”(I love the conversation that takes place between Hudson and Xanatos), “Avalon” (The Weird Sister’s plot comes to fruitition and the truth comes out), and “Kingdom” (It’s what being leader is all about).
With all this said, I highly recommend this series if you want something fresh and exciting with relatable characters, and intriguing stories with plot twists. After watching this set I went out and got the first season to rewatch the episodes that aired so long ago (first season has 13 episodes, second season they were asked to create 52 episodes, whoa!). I am eagerly awaiting the second volume.