Gargoyles in Live Action | Will Disney+ Deliver?



Adapted from Words Like That S1 Ep. 5: “Christmas Movie Special + End of Year Story Updates," originally released December 19, 2023.

Last summer, a report circulated that Gargoyles, Disney’s cult sci-fi/fantasy series from the ‘90s (and also my favorite series of all time), was finally getting the live-action big-screen treatment, with Shakespearean powerhouse Kenneth Branagh in the director’s chair. Well, apparently, not only will Branagh not be involved, but the live-action reboot will actually be a Disney+ series, produced by horror guru James Wan.

While I was cautiously excited at the initial report, I am now not excited at all and wish the powers that be would leave well enough alone. Besides a series adaptation seeming completely pointless (because, you know, we already have a series that was nearly perfect), Disney+ speculative fiction series have become consistently lackluster.

Although the streaming service debuted strong with the first season of The Mandalorian, their Star Wars offerings dropped so dramatically over the next couple of years that I (along with many others) quit watching after Obi-Wan. The Marvel series haven’t faired much better.

WandaVision's sitcoms-through-the-decades gimmick may have served as a delightfully quirky diversion for the first few episodes but wore off for this Dick Van Dyke fan after “the ‘70s” and devolved into bloated superhero climactic shenanigans in the finale. After a strong start, Falcon and Winter Soldier peaked at episode four, before taking a nosedive toward one of the worst finales of television I’ve seen. Loki's first season showed promise, but after two filler-ific episodes, I dropped it. I found Hawkeye to be abysmal. Another offering with a solid first few episodes, Moon Knight struggled to engage in its second half and also suffered from filler-itis. I haven't bothered watching any more D+ Marvel.

The Gargoyles new production company also gives me pause. While Wan has dabbled in other aspects of the genre (e.g., Aquaman), his involvement in this leads me to believe the show is going to lean into horror, something that has been suggested for a Gargoyles live-action adaptation for years. This is not a smart move. Even though the stars of the show are monstrous, winged creatures, any fan will tell you the story doesn’t lend itself to horror. Sci-fi? Fantasy? Shakespearean drama? Yes. Horror? No. 

The original series also featured hefty doses of high-end sci-fi tech, and I` don’t see Disney shelling out the bucks necessary to do the story justice in live action.

I might be wrong, but, unless Disney hires writers who understand classical storytelling and will stay true to the essence of the original series, we’ll be in for another dismal spec fic streaming series from the Mouse House.

Cole Powell is an award-winning singer/songwriter and Z-list YouTuber. Armed with degrees in computer technology and liberal arts and sciences, Powell seeks to pontificate his pitiful opinions to the masses through any means the internet allows.

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