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YMMV: Gargoyles
  • Accidental Innuendo: Arhtur's line about his sword to the Lady of the Lake sound like he was Compensating for Something.
    Arthur Pendragon: I need my sword, my Lady. I am not whole without Excalibur.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: Despite being darker than a typical Disney cartoon and trying to reach for a older audience than just children, the show still wound up a victim of this, especially due to the third season and the first volume of the season 2 DVD set underselling.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Just how evil is Xanatos exactly? Is he even truly evil, or just really, really, REALLY misguided and, in his own way, lacking for social skills?
    • Well, he did ruin a number of lives with no real regard for the people hurt in the crossfire so he is at least mildly evil.
    • Many of his deeds are understandable From a Certain Point of View, but what he arranged for his trusting employee, Derek Maza, is definitely villainous.
    • Xanatos is never cruel for cruelty's sake, but he can and will do terrible things to innocent people if it benefits him.
  • Awesome Music: Most of the music in the show qualifies for this, but the opening theme is a fan favorite.
  • Complete Monster: For the most part, this series has a well-deserved reputation for sympathetic and three-dimensional villains - Xanatos pets at least as many dogs as he kicks. There are, however, a few unrepentantly horrible ones.
    • Perhaps the most Ax-Crazy of these is the sadistic Psycho for Hire Jackal. In most of his appearances his employers manage to keep his evil somewhat in check, but the episode "Grief" more than cements his presence as a Monster - upon acquiring the power of Anubis, he attempts to wipe out every living thing on the planet just because he can.
    • Thailog, the Evil Twin of Goliath. Created from the DNA of Goliath, with some more from Xanatos and Mad Scientist Anton Sevarius, Thailog ended up as an Evil Genius whose only drive was his ambition to dominate, enrich himself and control what he could. Thailog seduced Demona and attempted to trick her and Macbeth into killing one another to steal their fortunes and seize control of their assets. He later revealed he had cloned the entire Gargoyle clan in preparation for killing them...even Demona herself. When Demona stopped Thailog from killing her daughter, Thailog merely attempted to kill her as well, and later resurfaced to gut Goliath with a knife to collect his DNA and potentially kill his 'father.' Even Xanatos is afraid of him once he finds he has no control over him.
    • Proteus of the New Olympians is a shape-shifting Serial Killer who was imprisoned after murdering the previous captain of the guard. He consistently assumes the form of his victim to mock the man's son Taurus. When he tricks his way to freedom, Proteus delights in sowing the seeds of chaos all through the city, using people's emotions against them with his powers for a sick thrill and even attempting to destroy his city and commit genocide on his own people.
  • Crazy Awesome: Matt. The seemingly all-powerful Illuminati repeatedly tried to foil his investigation, even damaging his career in the process, but he overcame every roadblock sent his way. He even turns a seeming dead end into a lead that cracks his case wide open. Which is why they make him a member.
    Matt: I'm funny that way.
    Mace: You are impressive that way.
  • Designated Hero / Designated Villain: The episode Pendragon arguably makes King Arthur and Macbeth of all people into this, respectively.
    • The episode concerns Arthur's quest to reclaim his lost sword, Excalibur, with Macbeth opposing him and wanting to claim the sword as his own. Problem is, Arthur essentially has no moral high ground on Macbeth: As Macbeth correctly points out, he is just as valid a candidate as Arthur as the destined wielder of Excalibur, since the prophecy surrounding it says it is to be claimed by a "timeless king". Arthur, however, spends a large part of the episode acting insulted and irritated by the sheer notion that he might have to prove his worthiness again after centuries of sleeping rather than being immediately granted the sword back, coming across as rather entitled and spoiled. When it briefly seems Macbeth has been granted the sword, Arthur's first instinct is to attack him and insist that a mistake has been made, whereas Macbeth gracefully accepts defeat upon seeing Arthur being granted the real sword. This is compounded by the fact that Arthur doesn't actually solve most of the riddles leading to the sword himself, leaving the gargoyles to do most of the brainwork and not making himself come across as much more worthy of having it than Macbeth. The episode does make a point to show that even when out of his element, Arthur is still a capable leader, but most of the things meant to demonstrate this come across as rather weak, bordering on Character Shilling (the Lady of the Lake praises Arthur's leadership because he thought to yell at the gargoyles that they should shoot at a water monster with a lightning gun).
    • Macbeth, on the other hand, does almost nothing really immoral in the whole episode, and comes off as a good deal more cunning than Arthur. His henchpeope do attempt to kill the gargoyles, but never in any scenes where Macbeth himself is present. In fact, at the start of the episode, the gargoyles actually attack Macbeth without any real provocation, pretty much an anomaly for them in the series.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • What's done to Demona in fanfiction... oh, poor Demona.
    • It's done a lot to Xanatos as well.
    • Also Thailog.
    • Macbeth is a fairly minor example — he's an Anti-Villain who's heavy on the "anti"- but a lot of his fans see him as a Hero Antagonist, which Word of God says he's definitely not, at least when first introduced (later in the series, this may have changed).
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
  • Evil Is Sexy: Demona, Hyena, The Banshee, The Weird Sisters (at least while Seline/Fury is in control), Robyn Canmore, Shari, and Fox at least until her Heel-Face Turn, all qualify in spades for this. Xanatos easily counts as well, as does Thailog.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Although the show is usually good at tying up loose ends, a few plot threads have been left hanging: The computer virus that Xanatos acquires in "Legion," for example, is never seen or heard of again. (Given how Technology Marches On, it is unlikely that it ever will be now.) What Titania whispered to Fox in "The Gathering" has also been left hanging; Word of God says that it wasn't very important anyway.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some fans of the show ignore Goliath Chronicles, and dismiss it as nonexistent. Hell, Weisman himself goes by that notion.
  • Foe Yay: Xanatos basically dresses up as Goliath every night.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: This exchange between Elisa and Xanatos in the third episode seems a lot less funny when we see Xanatos ruling Manhattan as his own private nation in "Future Tense".
    Xanatos: The truth is that my men repelled an invasion by a rival corporation trying to steal some of our new technology.
    Elisa: "Repelled an invasion"? You're a private citizen, Xanatos, not a country!
    • In a perhaps less "funny" and more ironic sense. early on Xanatos warned Goliath that New Yorkers would soon start hunting Gargoyles, and that he would be the clans only salvation. Skip ahead to the episode "Angels in the Night" and you see that the Gargoyles hunted and persecuted by New Yorkers, and Xanatos helping the clan out of a trap set up by the Quarrymen.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • It is not essential to understanding the show, but familiarity with the myths, legends and Real Life history of some of the characters adds a whole new depth to some of the stories (On the other hand, there are some points where their inaccuracies can cause headaches amongst that same crowd).
    • The 3 gargoyles who make up Coldstone are nicknamed Othello, Desdemona (Othello's mate), and Iago (Othello's enemy, who desires Desdemona). Othello was convinced Goliath tried to take Desdemona away from him. This is pretty much Othello in a robotic, Frankenstein's Monster-like nutshell.
  • Growing the Beard: Many fans point to "City of Stone" as the point when Gargoyles made the jump from an above-average Action Adventure cartoon to a true epic with multi-layered characters and complex story arcs. It introduced surprisingly detailed backstories for Macbeth and Demona (leading to major Character Development for both), but it also featured the first official alliance between David Xanatos and the gargoyles—firmly cementing Xanatos as the unpredictable Chessmaster that we know and love.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In the episode "Mark Of The Panther" Elisa's mother, Diana Maza, tells the story of the Panther Queen which gets a lot worse when you remember that her son Derek Maza was transformed into a panther mutate by Xanatos.
    • From the same episode (though this could also be Hilarious in Hindsight), when Anansi declares his desire to turn the protagonists into Panthers, Elisa spites him retorting "Dream on Spider-Man!". Now that Disney owns Marvel Comics...
    • In "Future Tense", our heroes are in a Bad Future and the WTC is missing in one scene. The episode aired in 1996 and Puck says it's a prophecy. Disturbing...
  • Hell Is That Noise: The werewolf from "Eye of the Beholder". Words utterly fail to describe how unearthly horrifying that thing sounded.
    • Also Thailog's Evil Laugh in the beginning of "Double Jeopardy".
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Demona, a gargoyle, flitting about Notre Dame... In a dark and serious feature by Disney, no less.
    • Brooklyn in Future Tense. Holy crap, what an asshole!
    • Goliath at one point uses the term "Forever alone.". Several years later...
    • In "Future Tense", the alternate universe Brooklyn mentions that Thailog died in the "Clone Wars". Greg Weisman is now working on a new Star Wars animated series with Star Wars: The Clone Wars' supervising director Dave Filoni.
    • This is not the last time David Warner voiced an evil wizard
    • Fans disliked Preston Vogel for seeming like a rip-off of the more fleshed-out Owen. Owen is an in-universe ripoff of Vogel, as he is styled after him by Puck, his true identity.
    • In "A Bronx Tale", a child is shown reading a "Mega Mutants" Comic book near the start of the episode. It seems humorously prophetic now that Disney owns Marvel Comics.
      • Plus, Brooklyn's Spider-Man costume in the comics.
    • In "Walkabout," Anastasia Reynard, voiced by Kate Mulgrew, remarks that they don't know enough about hive mind artificial intelligence. The episode originally premiered before the Borg made their debut on Voyager, where much more about the Borg was revealed then had been known previous.
      • While on the subject of Anastasia Reynard, the later reveal of her as Lady Titania, wife of Oberon, is rather amusing, considering Kate Mulgrew's later role as Flemeth, the witch of the wilds.
    • In Grief, Angela's line about "stopping the avatar".
    • The Hunter that Demona fights during the Renaissance uses a flying machine very similar to the type Leonardo Da Vinci designed. That wouldn't seem coincidental back then, but nowadays...
  • Idiot Plot: In a way Deadly Force, an otherwise very powerful and gripping episode, revolves around this as it requires Elisa, an experienced police officer, to be stupid enough to leave her gun lying around loaded for anyone, in this case Broadway, to find, who then accidentally shoots and almost kills her because he has no idea of how dangerous guns actually are. This causes grief for Elisa later on when an annoying partner is forced on her by her idiot chief because of it.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Nothing is ever mentioned afterwards of the entire city which Jackal, mad with Anubis' powers, reduced to mere rubble, though the Emir/Anubis fusion mentions returning the stolen life energies we never actually see it happen.
    • Demona murdering several people while they're turned to stone, plus that woman whose arms she shot off.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Macbeth and Demona to a lesser degree.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Xanatos, of course. Brilliant and utterly devious? Check. Smooth operator? Double-check. Goal-oriented? Absolutely. Charismatic? AND HOW!
    • Thailog solidifies himself as another one when he gets the better of Xanatos in his first appearance. While Xanatos only saw the "I win no matter what" part of a Xanatos Gambit, Thailog realized that his experienced employees would take orders that made no sense because of them. He used the Xanatos Gambit as a weakness. Of course, he learned it from the best...
    • Magnificent Bitch: Demona, especially during her chessmaster moments.
  • Memetic Sex Goddess: The series has a lot of attractive characters, but Demona takes the cake here.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Xanatos went over it for Elisa in "Metamorphosis". It's unlikely she'll ever forgive him completely.
    • Lexington was never really able to get over being duped by the Pack, though he eventually forgives Fox, if only for the sake of baby Alexander.
    • Demona goes over it truly in "City of Stone", where she ends up breaking, and thus murdering, an untold number of humans turned to stone.
    • The Pack all get one, when they irreversibly change their bodies into stronger but more monstrous forms, with the exception of Anti-Villain Dingo, who goes for a suit of powered armor that of course does nothing to change his actual body.
    • Jon Canmore crosses it when he tries to kill Vinnie for disobeying him.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The Banshee's wail, in and out of universe. Granted, that was the whole point, but sitting through all her scenes was painful.
  • Never Live It Down: Every time there's a news story relating to Xanatos or Fox, reporter Travis Marshall always notes how they've been in jail.
    • Broadway feels this way about the time he shot and nearly killed Elisa.
  • Only The Creator Does It Right: Given the fandom's reaction to season 3, most people see Greg as the true storyteller of the series.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Averted. The Sega Genesis game is an all-around excellent, albeit Nintendo Hard, action-platformer.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Princess Katherine and the Magus once they Took a Level in Badass. And Kindness.
    • Matt Bluestone may count as well. When he was introduced as a regular cast member he was forced on Elisa after she'd been shot. The Chief thought Elisa could use some backup on the street. Because he didn't know about the Gargoyles' existence, he spent a long stretch of time as The Load. It wasn't until later when his back story and personal obsessions started to come out that he started being able to be useful. Elisa and the Gargoyles stopped viewing him as The Load and started to think of him as a friend.
  • The Scrappy: Matt Bluestone. Even after he got some Character Development he was still viewed as this by some.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • "Deadly Force." They wanted to push An Aesop in there, and they pulled it off perfectly.
    • City of Stone was anything but subtle in conveying the Aesop that killing never solves anything, but the scene in which the Weird Sisters and Goliath stop Macbeth from killing Demona wouldn't have been nearly as powerful otherwise.
  • Tear Jerker: Quite a few in the series actually, but the massacre at Castle Wyvern, and the ends of the episodes "Metamorphosis", "Vows", "City Of Stone", and "Avalon" really stand out.
    • The Tear Jerker of "City Of Stone" is even worse if you know what happens to Gruoch after Macbeth leaves. According to Greg Weisman, after Canmore had defeated Luach, Gruoch returns home to see that her son and father had both died in battle. Out of grief for losing her entire family, like many Shakespearean characters, she tragically commits suicide and dies a broken woman.
    • "Deadly Force," when Broadway finds a thug threatening someone with a particle-beam emitter: "What's this?! A new kind of gun?!?! A new way to kill people?!?!" Bill Fagerbakke's voice acting did a great job conveying Broadway's grief for Elisa in that scene in particular.
    • The single, maybe two-second shot of Broadway crying his eyes out after accidentally shooting Elisa. It's such a small thing, but so effective. The Gargoyles crew were wonderful at this.
  • True Neutral: Anubis
    The Emir: I demand reparation! My son was cruelly and unfairly taken from me!
    Anubis: On the contrary, death is the ultimate fairness. Rich and poor, young and old, all are equal in death. You would not like to see the jackal god play favorites.
  • Ugly Cute: A majority of the gargoyles, quite a few of whom actually aren't ugly at all.
  • Villain Sue: In Earlier episodes, Xanatos stopped just a hair's breadth of being one; he's Lex Luthor (amoral corporate genius inventor) crossed with Doctor Doom (power armor and enjoys mixing magic and science), handsomer than both, rich as hell, all of his plans regardless of if you beat him go the way he wanted them to in some way, and most importantly, he is completely free of the weaknesses mastermind villains usually have, namely overwhelming ego (he has it, but he never lets it get in the way of anything), petty revenge fetishes ("Revenge is a sucker's game."), insanity (while he's amoral, he is not a sociopath or insane), and idleness (he always makes sure he can take care of himself if his plans fall apart). What's worse is that no matter what happens, it never feels like it was a major setback for him. As time went on, his weaknesses and flaws were found and elaborated on; namely, his standards make him human enough to genuinely love his family - yet his ambition is great enough he often sees that love as a weakness.
  • What an Idiot: Oh, so many that it could have its own page. Let's start at the beginning. Yes, people of Castle Wyvern, treat the gargoyles — half of your fighting force — like crap and act like Ungrateful Bastards after they save you from the Vikings. Surely this won't cause problems later on when you need them the most.note 
    • Brooklyn giving Demona the powerful grimoire despite the fact she tried to kill him the last time they met.
    • Elisa being dumb enough to leave her gun lying around loaded for anyone to find in Deadly Force. While she may have been a single woman who was accustomed to living alone and not having guests randomly show up out of nowhere, you would think that an experienced police officer like her would already know better than to just leave her gun lying around like that. As a result of this carelessness she almost gets killed accidentally by Broadway and after she makes a complete recovery her chief punishes her by forcing her to have Matt Bluestone as a partner since the chief now rather stupidly believes that Elisa can't take care of herself and that a partner will keep her safe - which makes little to no real sense since there was literally NOTHING Matt could do to help Elisa if she were ambushed in her home by actual villains and only resulted in Elisa just resenting both Matt and the Chief since Matt was The Scrappy for such a long time who did nothing but annoy her and get in her way.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: An all-adult cast, serious explorations on issues like prejudice and genocide from the first episode, a Very Special Episode about the consequences of gun usage (which isn't painted in black-and-white like other Aesops), loads of Shakespeare references, and to top it off a villain who will have you divided on whether you should hate her or not. Not something you'd really see in most Disney animation, much less Disney television (which does explain why Disney screwed it over. Something that deep, dark, action-packed, and intellectual doesn't fit into the cutesy, light-heartedness of Disney. Look what happened to The Black Cauldron).
  • The Woobie: Many characters take turns with this, but Goliath, Elisa, and Macbeth stand out the most. Just watch Macbeth's back story in "City Of Stone" and try not to feel pity towards him at the end.

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