Welcome to the latest installment of Saturday (errr Friday) Morning Cartoons. The article series where I watch shows that I watched as a kid to see if they hold up to the nostalgia that I remember for them. Yeah yeah, I know you guys are saying, but Fyst, it's Friday, what gives? I couldn't get around to writing this guy until today because of an extremely hectic work schedule yesterday, so sorry this is going up late :3 This week we'll be taking a look at Gargoyles, one of the most beloved cartoon series of the 90's. I know it aired on weekday afternoons for the first two seasons, but the third one aired on Saturday Mornings, so with that loophole, this one's fair game. I watched the first five episodes, a five parter (or short movie depending on how you look at it), of the show in order to get a fair idea of how the show held up to what I remember of it.
Clearly I didn't remember much, or didn't understand it that well because, while I remember enjoying it as a kid and thinking that Goliath was a cool SOB I wasn't rabid about it like I was for some of the other shows I watched as a kid. I was like 12 give me a break if I didn't catch all the cool stuff that this show has to offer! And cool stuff it has in spades. I do have one gripe with the opening of the series and that it's that each episode in the first five moves as if it's a part of a movie which I guess it is, but as standalone episodes they aren't that strong. As a whole the five parter kicked some serious ass and I loved the crap out of it.
The settings portrayed in the show are fantastic and really draw you into the lore. I also realized not many cartoons are based in Scotland, I wonder why? it's pretty darn cool. I like the fact that the Gargoyles spend so much time in Scotland before bringing the show to the present because it really provides excellent backstory and explains to the viewer in a way that shows them why they behave the way they do in the present rather than tell them. The story has a Shakespearean quality to it, that's fantastic I don't think I can recall another show that's quite like it. There is tragedy beyond measure in Goliath's character and it drives the story forward, the events in Scotland show why Goliath changes so much. He fears and mistrusts the humans in the present day and it's no wonder why. The Gargoyles themselves are not the only well written characters in the show though, Xanatos is a compelling villain and isn't just a mustache twirling evil-doer. I've talked about this in a few other articles about Saturday Morning Cartoons, but those types of villains tend to be the ones that are most compelling. The first two episodes focus mainly on the events of the past and three through five bring you up to speed on current day situations. Xanatos is introduced in episode two and I was immediately distrustful of him, which is a testament to how well the writers portrayed Goliath's emotions towards humans and the nature of humans in the show in general. One of the only things I had a real problem was Demona, her introduction in the present just wasn't as strong as it could have been. Sure it does a good job of showing that her opinions of humans differs from Goliath, it comes off as a little stilted. She has no regard for human life, while Goliath does not trust humans any longer he won't take human life. It sets her up as an antagonist. Detective Elisa Masa a worthy female protagonist, she's strong and curious and isn't just a damsel to be rescued throughout the show. She also acts as a tour guide for the Gargoyles around the city so they can familiarize themselves with the city.
The initial five episodes just set up the premise for the show and take it slowly, and I don't mean that there's no action in the first five episodes, far from it in fact there's at least a few big action set pieces per episode, but I mean in terms of plot, it doesn't move quickly through the first few episodes, but I kind of like that. It gives the writers a chance to familiarize the audience with all the players in the plot and their motivations because it seems as if this show is going to have a very complex lore behind it going forward. It's nice to see that the creators of Gargoyles understood that children don't need to be pandered to in order for them to enjoy a cartoon and it gives parents something to enjoy while watching with their kids. I'd give this show pretty much a perfect 10/10. maybe a 9.75 if you count some nitpicks, I think this is going on my list to watch the rest of. Apparently the creator had nothing to do with the third season and doesn't consider it canon so I may skip that one.
The one thing I kept thinking while I was watching this movie was, besides Holy Crap this is awesome, was "Can we have a Kingdom Hearts Gargoyles world like RIGHT NOW?!" Seriously they better damn well be in KHIII, it would be absolutely amazing. Split the world, half in ancient Scotland, half in modern New York and I'd be in nirvana.
Next week I'll be looking at another cartoon, but one a little less well known, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century!