A Station Eight Fan Web Site
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As many of you know, I stopped by the Station 8 Comment Room last week, asking the fans to list the top five reasons that they were drawn to the Gargoyles series. My post received 470 responses in one week: pretty good on short notice.
The responses can be viewed at http://s8.org/gargoyles/cmntarch2.php. They'll be on that site through this coming Sunday
(11/23/03), at which point the room clears.
I copied and pasted the entire room over to a Word Document and found it to be nearly three hundred pages long and full of very
gratifying bites about the series, but it's a lot to wade through, so I put the following statistics together. [Note: some people gave more than five reasons, and many reasons overlapped. I just tried to count everything. But this is far from scientific.]
"WHAT ARE THE TOP FIVE REASONS THAT YOU ARE DRAWN TO THE GARGOYLES SERIES?"
Out of 470 Total Responses…
#1 - Characters.
An amazing 437 people cited the Characters and the series' complex characterization as one of their top five reasons for being drawn to the series. They discussed, often in great detail, how real and believable the characters seem, how detailed their backstories were, how major and minor characters grew, changed and evolved, and how complex they were, reflecting shades of grey. They liked the relationships/bonds/dynamics between the characters, as well. They even liked their names. 35 respondents specifically noted and appreciated the diversity of our cast (multi-racial and multi-species, and all of very different body types). 16 respondents noted our depiction of strong and non-stereotyped female characters. Another 35 respondents listed our villains as their favorites. Many individual characters were listed simply as examples, but many were also singled out by the fans, voted as one of their top five reasons for liking the show: Demona (39), Brooklyn (30), Xanatos (29), Goliath (23), Puck/Owen (22), Elisa (17), Lexington (13), Macbeth (9), Broadway (9), Bronx (7), Hudson (5), Thailog (5), Fox (4), the Mutates (4), The Pack (3), Oberon (3), the Tricksters (3), the Hunters (3), Angela (2), the Illuminati (2), Jackal & Hyena (1), Desdemona (1), Titania (1), the Clones (1), Una (1), Fang (1) and Matt (1).
#2 - Plot Development.
228 respondents listed the series' ongoing saga, its story arcs, as one of their top five reasons for liking the series. They liked its dynamism and twists. How stories built on past stories and presaged stories yet to come: the tapestry of events that created the Gargoyles Universe. In fact, 23 people specifically listed the "Gargoyles Universe" as one of their top five draws. 88 people specifically referred to Gargoyles' Continuity as being a plus. They liked, in essence, that the show had a memory - it made events more real and seemed to reward the fans for both sticking around and paying attention. It also encouraged them to watch episodes over and over to pick up tidbits that they might have missed on a first viewing. 18 also liked how actions had repercussions and consequences. 3 people praised the series' "epic scope". 6 talked about how it seemed to be filled with possibilities for yet more stories.
#3 - Literary, Mythological, Historical & Biblical References.
201 people loved the integration of various characters and concepts from myth, history, literature and the Bible. A whopping (and gratifying) 104 specifically mentioned all the various Shakespeare references and characters as being a plus. Many felt the show was educational, inspiring them to read Shakespeare's plays or study Scottish History, etc.
#4 - Animation.
199 people loved the series' animation. Many consider it the best or among the best that American television animation has ever produced. Many people compared it favorably with Japanese anime and Batman: The Animated Series. Two people specifically praised the pacing.
#5 - The Voice Cast.
158 people listed the voice cast and voice acting in their top fives. 38 people specifically mentioned that the presence of so many Star Trek actors in Gargoyles was a major initial draw. As with the characters, many individual actors were singled out by the fans in their lists: Keith David/Goliath (32), Jonathan Frakes/Xanatos (19), Marina Sirtis/Demona (15), Salli Richardson/Elisa (4), Michael Dorn/Coldstone (3), Edward Asner/Hudson (2), Jeff Bennett/Brooklyn (2), Jim Cummings/Dingo (1), Tim Curry/Sevarius (1), Thom Adcox-Hernandez/Lexington (1), Frank Welker/Bronx (1). Three of our international fans even praised the foreign dubs.
That takes care of the top five, but this'll fill out the top twenty:
#6 - Series Intelligence.
140 people specifically stated how much they appreciated how "smart" the series was. They liked that it was written on multiple levels so that it could be appreciated by kids as well as by teens and adults. That's one of the reasons why they're still watching it ten years later. They liked how Gargoyles respected its audience and its audience's intelligence.
#7 - Design.
122 people cited the show's design work and art style as part of their top five. They liked the looks of the individual gargoyles and the other characters as well, with 12 people actually praising how "sexy" the characters were. They liked the backgrounds and the overall look of the show. 12 people specifically gave credit to the series' color palette.
#8 - Writing.
76 people cited the series' writing for praise (this is in addition to those listed above who liked the characters, overall story arcs, literary references, etc.). They praised the writing's attention to detail, its substance, layers and intensity. 32 people praised how "believable" and "realistic" the show seemed, despite its fantasy premise. 28 specifically noted the mystery and intrigue, liking the risk-taking twists and turns that kept the audience coming back for more. 27 praised the show's humor and comedy (and one person even liked all the in-jokes). 24 specifically praised the dialogue. 11 praised the emotional depth. 5 praised its timeless quality. 3 praised its scary sequences.
#9 - Issues/Values/Themes.
71 respondents were impressed by Gargoyles ability to introduce real world issues and teach values without preaching. They cited episodes that dealt with gun safety, illiteracy, environmental concerns, etc. 24 people also specifically cited the shows pro-social themes, again noting how the show got its messages across without hitting the viewer over the head with them. Specific themes were even listed on occasion. 10 people hailed the idea of our using monsters as heroes and exploring the theme of "not judging a book by its cover." Four liked the show's theme of hope. Another four liked its theme of protection. One person listed "the fish out of water" theme. Another listed the theme of Family as being important.
#10 - Romance.
67 people responded to the romance in the show. In particular, the slow-boiling Beauty and the Beast relationship between Goliath and Elisa.
#11 - Core Concept.
65 people listed the core concept as one of their reasons. They liked the whole idea of medieval Gargoyles waking up in the modern world. They liked how fully realized the Gargoyles species was, from how they looked to how they acted, their history, culture and behavior. An additional 30 people specifically cited the series' "Originality".
#12 - Music.
62 respondents listed Carl Johnson's music score and opening theme as one of their top five reasons for liking the show. (Though one person was happy that there was no singing.) Many of the fans spontaneously requested that Disney release the music on CD. [Of course, many, many others noted that they would like to see the whole show on DVD.] 7 additional people listed "Sound" in general, including music and sound effects.
#13 - Multi-Genre storytelling.
62 individuals liked how the series elegantly combined multiple genres, including fantasy, science fiction, comic book action hero, comedy, drama, horror, etc. They liked how science went hand-in-hand with sorcery. They liked the use of magic and technology, time travel, robots, gods, monsters, etc.
#14 - Episodic Stories.
60 respondents praised the storytelling of individual episodes. How each was able to stand alone, while still fitting into the larger tapestry of the series' arcs. 17 people praised the stories from the Avalon World Tour set of episodes. Many individual episodes were also cited in the fans' lists: "Deadly Force" (9), "The Mirror" (6), "Temptation" (2), "Future Tense" (1), "M.I.A." (1), "Awakening" (1), "City of Stone" (1), "Hunter's Moon" (1), "The Edge" (1), "The Hound of Ulster" (1). One person specifically stated that he liked how not a single episode was filler.
#15 - Setting.
46 people cited the setting, usually the combination of medieval gargoyles in modern New York City. They liked how we depicted the city, how we got it right. Many people also enjoyed the flashbacks to medieval Scotland, and the World Tour episodes that took our cast to locations across the globe.
#16 - Atmosphere.
34 respondents praised the series' gothic atmosphere, running through the writing, design and animation.
#17 - Action.
30 people liked the action. The pure excitement - without being gratuitous.
#18 - The Fandom.
29 people noted that they were either drawn to the show or have remained with it at least in part because of the loyal fandom. An additional 20 found the show inspirational for their own creativity. Another 18 listed the show and its characters as "Aspirational" (although most didn't use that word). 14 more cited personal reasons for why the show was important to them. And it seems that we have many couples who met through the fandom, including multiple married couples who credit the series with bringing them together. 17 people were specifically impressed by the passion and dedication of the Gargoyles cast and crew and their participation in the fandom.
#19 - New for Disney.
28 people were impressed with the show simply for being something new and different for Disney.
#20 - Original Publicity.
11 people cited the series' original publicity for getting their attention and getting them to sit in front of their televisions in the first place. 5 more cited the old syndicated "Disney Afternoon".
That's pretty much it. There were a few other random and/or hard to qualify answers, but the above 20 reasons pretty much cover why the fans still love the series. I know all this sounds incredibly immodest coming from me, but all it takes is a quick skim of the fans' actual responses to see that I'm not exaggerating at all.
Thanks to everyone who participated...