Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
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|Hercules: The Legendary Journeys|
Opening sequence logo
Sword and sorcery
|Created by||Christian Williams|
|Theme music composer||Joseph LoDuca|
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||111
+ 5 pilot television movies (List of episodes)
|Running time||41–44 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Renaissance Pictures
Universal Worldwide Television
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Original run||January 16, 1995 – November 22, 1999|
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys is an American/New Zealander 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. Later it would be surpassed by its own spinoff show, Xena: Warrior Princess.
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.
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.
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' influence. Thirteen years later, Legend of the Seeker was produced by the same team.
Characters and cast
International broadcast history
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 five seasons. Season 5 was re-released on July 22, 2014.
In Region 4, Madman Entertainment has released all 6 seasons on DVD in Australia.
|Season||Ep #||Release Dates|
|Region 1||Region 4|
|Season 1||18||June 24, 2003
April 20, 2010 (re-release)
|September 9, 2009|
|Season 2||24||October 21, 2003
March 29, 2011 (re-release)
|February 17, 2010|
|Season 3||22||March 23, 2004
March 13, 2012 (re-release)
|June 2, 2010|
|Season 4||22||July 13, 2004
March 12, 2013 (re-release)
|November 3, 2010|
|Season 5||22||January 11, 2005
July 22, 2014 (re-release)
|Season 6||8||July 12, 2005||N/A|
|Seasons 5 & 6||30||N/A||January 12, 2011|
- NOTE: The Season 1 release in both regions 1 & 4 includes the 5 tele-films preceding the series. The region 1 re-release does not include the TV movies.
- List of Hercules and Xena characters
- Young Hercules
- Xena: Warrior Princess
- Hercules and Xena: The Battle For Mount Olympus
- West End Games published the Hercules & Xena Roleplaying Game.
- Greek mythology in popular culture
- Hercules in popular culture
- "Research Hercules: the Legendary Journeys". BookRags.com. 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- Jenny Hontz (1997-02-26). "‘Xena’ powers to record rating". Variety. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- "Universal Announces a General Release for 'Season 5'". TVShowsOnDVD.com. 2014-04-30. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
- "Buy Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Season 1 (7 Disc Box Set) on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- "Buy Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Season 2 (7 Disc Box Set) on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- "Buy Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Season 3 (7 Disc Box Set) on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- "Buy Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Season 4 (7 Disc Box Set) on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- "Buy Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - The Final Seasons: Season 5 & 6 (10 Disc Box Set) on DVD-Video from". EzyDVD.com.au. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys at the Internet Movie Database
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys at TV.com
- Hub Network-http://www.hubnetwork.com/shows/hub-nights/hercules-the-legendary-journeys