Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

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Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
A darkened mountainous scene with dark clouds overhead. A lone man is standing to the left of the scene. Above the scene in golden capital letters is the title of the show.
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Titles
GenreAction/Adventure
Sword and sorcery
Supernatural
Fantasy
Drama
Created byChristian Williams
StarringKevin Sorbo
Michael Hurst
Country of originUnited States(filmed in New Zealand)
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes111
Plus Five pilot Television movies (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s)Sam Raimi
Bernadette Joyce
Running time41–44 minutes
Broadcast
Original channelSyndication
Original runJanuary 16, 1995 – November 22, 1999
Chronology
Related shows
 
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Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
A darkened mountainous scene with dark clouds overhead. A lone man is standing to the left of the scene. Above the scene in golden capital letters is the title of the show.
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Titles
GenreAction/Adventure
Sword and sorcery
Supernatural
Fantasy
Drama
Created byChristian Williams
StarringKevin Sorbo
Michael Hurst
Country of originUnited States(filmed in New Zealand)
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes111
Plus Five pilot Television movies (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s)Sam Raimi
Bernadette Joyce
Running time41–44 minutes
Broadcast
Original channelSyndication
Original runJanuary 16, 1995 – November 22, 1999
Chronology
Related shows

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys is an American television series filmed in New Zealand. It was produced from January 16, 1995 to November 22, 1999, and was very loosely based on the tales of the classical Greek culture hero Heracles (Hercules was his Roman analogue). It ran for six seasons, producing action figures and other memorabilia as it became one of the highest rated syndicated television shows in the world at that time.[1] Later it would be surpassed by its own spinoff show, Xena: Warrior Princess.[2] Both shows gained a cult following.

It was preceded by several TV movies with the same major characters in 1994 as part of Universal Television's Action Pack: in order, Hercules and the Amazon Women, Hercules and the Lost Kingdom, Hercules and the Circle of Fire, Hercules in the Underworld, and Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur, the last of which served mostly as a "clip show" of the previous movies as a lead up to the series.

Description[edit]

Two men, the one on the left has long brown hair and is taller than the one on the right. The man on the right has long blond hair and is wearing a tunic top and leather trousers and a gauntlet on his right arm. The man on the right is wearing a waistcoat, leather trousers and a medallion around his neck.
Kevin Sorbo as Hercules (left) and Michael Hurst as Iolaus (right)

The series is set in a fantasy version of ancient Greece not precisely located in historical time. Although set in ancient Greece, the show also has a mixture of Oriental, Egyptian and Medieval elements in various episodes. The show stars Kevin Sorbo as Hercules and regularly features Michael Hurst as his sidekick Iolaus. Rotating as Hercules' other regular companion, particularly in earlier seasons, is Salmoneus (Robert Trebor), a wheeler-dealer ever looking to make a quick dinar.

Typical plot lines involve Hercules and Iolaus saving rustic villagers from monsters, evil warlords or the often selfish whims of the gods. There was also comedy and episodes often had "in-jokes" about modern themes.

In the earlier episodes, as mentioned in the show's opening title, Hercules' main nemesis is his evil stepmother Hera, the powerful queen of the gods, who seeks to destroy Hercules using various monsters, because he is a reminder of her husband Zeus' infidelity. As the series progressed, a wider range of enemies was used; notably Hercules' half-brother, the malicious god of war Ares, replaced Hera as the show's primary antagonist. Towards the end of the series Ares is himself replaced by the evil god, Dahak, who is the main villain in the show's fifth season and sets off a story arc that has Hercules traveling to Sumeria, Norseland and Éire. Although Zeus, Hercules' father, is frequently cited by Hercules as a neglectful father, Zeus' love for Hercules is well documented in the show (In one episode, Hercules explains to a friend that he looked to father figures because Zeus was never around when he was younger. When confronted about this by Hercules, Zeus revealed that he specifically chose Alcmene to be Hercules' mother because he, unfortunately, knew that he could not be there for his son and knew that she would provide him with the love, strength, and support he deserved, thus revealing he had put more thought into Hercules' birth than any other child he ever had). Indeed, Hercules is often referred to as "the favorite son of Zeus". Zeus makes several appearances on the show, even saving his son's life and restoring his superhuman strength on one occasion when he needs it the most. Hercules, for his own part, is always there for Zeus when his father needs him, and in the end, Hercules reconciles with his father and buries whatever issues he has with the father he has come to understand and love. This, however, is changed in Hercules' last appearance on Xena: Warrior Princess, when he is forced to kill Zeus with the rib of Cronus to protect Xena's baby, however, Zeus uses his last breath to say he is proud of Hercules.

Legacy[edit]

The show had a successful spin-off, Xena: Warrior Princess, with which it shared recurring characters such as Ares (Kevin Smith), Autolycus (Bruce Campbell), Salmoneus (Robert Trebor), Aphrodite (Alexandra Tydings), Deimos/Strife (Joel Tobeck) and Callisto (Hudson Leick). Both shows, although produced in New Zealand using mostly local actors who put on American accents, were syndicated worldwide.

The success of the show also saw a number of similar ancient-set series being commissioned, such as The Adventures of Sinbad, Conan the Adventurer, The New Adventures of Robin Hood, BeastMaster, Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, and Jack of All Trades. A sci-fi series, Cleopatra 2525, was also produced as a result of the series's influence. Thirteen years later, Legend of the Seeker was produced by the same team.

Episodes[edit]

Characters and cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring[edit]

International broadcast history[edit]

RegionNetwork(s)
 AustraliaNetwork Ten, 7mate
 BangladeshBangladesh Television
 Belgium2BE
 BrazilSBT, Rede Record
 PerúATV
 CroatiaNova
 Czech RepublicTV Nova
 DenmarkKanal 5
 Dominican RepublicTelesistema 11
 EcuadorRedTeleSistema
 EgyptEgyptian TV
 EstoniaTV3
 FranceTF1
 GermanyRTL
 GreeceStar Channel
 HungaryTV2
 IndonesiaRCTI
 IsraelChannel 1 and AXN
 ItalyItalia 1 and AXN
 LithuaniaTV3
 MalaysiaNTV7
 MacedoniaSitel
 NetherlandsYorin and Veronica
 NorwayTV3 Norway
 PhilippinesABC
 PolandPolsat, TVP2
 PortugalSci Fi Channel (Portugal)
 RomaniaPro TV
 RussiaNTV, Disney Channel (Russia)
 SingaporeMediaCorp TV Channel 5
 SlovakiaMarkíza
 SloveniaPOP TV
 South AfricaSABC 3
 SpainTVE
 SwedenTV3
 Sri LankaSirasa TV
 ThailandChannel 3
 TurkeyKanal D
 United KingdomSky1, Channel 5
 VenezuelaTeleven
 VietnamVietnam Television

DVD releases[edit]

Anchor Bay Entertainment released all 6 Seasons of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys on DVD in Region 1 for the first time between 2003-2005. As of 2010, these releases have now been discontinued and are out of print.

On January 12, 2010, Universal Studios Home Entertainment announced that they plan on re-releasing Hercules: The Legendary Journeys on DVD. They have subsequently re-released the first four seasons. Season 4 was re-released on March 12, 2013.[3]

In Region 4, Madman Entertainment has released all 6 seasons on DVD in Australia.

SeasonEp #Release Dates
Region 1Region 4
Season 118June 24, 2003
April 20, 2010 (re-release)
September 9, 2009[4]
Season 224October 21, 2003
March 29, 2011 (re-release)
February 17, 2010[5]
Season 322March 23, 2004
March 13, 2012 (re-release)
June 2, 2010[6]
Season 422July 13, 2004
March 12, 2013 (re-release)
November 3, 2010[7]
Season 522January 11, 2005N/A
Season 68July 12, 2005N/A
Seasons 5 & 630N/AJanuary 12, 2011[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]