The Gargoyles Reboot

I don’t think there’s room for meerkats (sadly).

This year will mark 30 years since Disney released a cartoon show that was entirely different from their established 90s norm. Gargoyles aired alongside a few other new shows on Friday evenings (does anyone else remember the rather entertaining Stick with Me, Kid?), and through it, creator Greg Weisman introduced detailed (and often rather gritty) story arcs to Disney. He also wove various legends (especially Shakespearian and Arthurian ones) into this rather epic show about warriors who protect the night.

Gargoyles does not get the recognition that it deserves. This was the first step towards a more sophisticated Disney show, a show where actions had consequences, and where the lines could be blurred between who was good and who was… well, not necessarily evil, just misguided. That’s right, even the villains of the show were quite nuanced. This was not a cut-and-dried situation where you found the good guys perfect and the bad guys pure evil. There were layers to this show. It was beautifully animated.

It was also a port of call for ex-Star Trek actors looking for work (at least, it certainly felt that way!). The first time I watched it, I instantly recognised the voices of Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, and Brent Spiner, who were all long-time TNG actors. Other Star Trek alumni would go on to make appearances, including Michael Dorn, Kathryn Mulgrew, Avery Brooks, Colm Meany, LeVar Burton, and the late, great, Nichelle Nichols. Actors who made guest appearances on Star Trek would also appear in Gargoyles, such as David Warner, among many more.

I recently learned of a possible reboot of the show. I have heard this before, so you’ll forgive me if I am not getting my hopes up, but then again, there seems to be more chatter about this. However, I am not aware of any involvement from the show’s original creator, and Mr Weisman’s absence was keenly felt in the awkward final season of Gargoyles (The Goliath Chronicles has subsequently been ignored by comic book writers, who brought about an official revivial of the original series in written form). The heightened chances of a reboot, whilst a source of much anticipation on one hand, are also a source of anxious trepidation on the other. Some fans – myself included – would love to see a continuation of the original series. The rumoured reboot is said to be a live-action project as well, which raises further questions. How will Disney pull this off? Would they even consider getting the original cast back to voice the characters? It’s hard to imagine anyone other than the throaty Keith David voicing Goliath.

Disney’s record with reboots and remakes is, let’s face it, patchy. Aladdin was not great. The Lion King (that other great animated epic of 1994) was alright, but not amazing. On the other hand, DuckTales was a triumphant success, a roadmap for anyone who is looking to reboot a show whilst honouring the original’s roots. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if the defenders of the night really are back, and if so, whether or not Disney can do them justice.

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