Action Pack (television)
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|Type||Syndicated television programming block|
Universal Studios (1996-1998)
Studios USA (1998-2001)
Action Pack was a series of television movies and television series created by Universal Television that aired in syndication from 1994 until 2001. The Action Pack included two hours of various television series produced by Renaissance Pictures and distributed by MCA TV (later known as Universal Television Enterprises and Studios USA Television Distribution).
Following an abortive one-season attempt by Universal Television to offer a three-series Hollywood Premiere Network in 1990-91, in 1994, the Action Pack initially ran a series of television movies, which led to the run of several television shows the following year.  From January-June 1995, the series included Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Vanishing Son. From September 1995 through January 2000, it included the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and its spinoff, Xena: Warrior Princess. After Hercules ended its run in January 2000, the Universal Action Pack launched the Back2Back Action Hour and picked up two thirty minute series: Jack of All Trades and Cleopatra 2525 to air alongside Xena. The lineup lasted until January 2001. For the final six months of the package, Jack of All Trades was dropped and Cleopatra 2525 was increased to an hour long show.
After Xena, the most successful series on the Action Pack, completed airing its final season's reruns in the summer of 2001, Cleopatra 2525 also stopped production and the Action Pack series was discontinued.
Many of the stations that aired the Action Pack also aired Warner Bros.' Prime Time Entertainment Network. Some of the other stations that aired the Action Pack also aired Paramount's Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (and The Next Generation before it).
The television movies aired during the Action Pack's first year included:
- Hercules and the Amazon Women
- Hercules and the Lost Kingdom
- Hercules and the Circle of Fire
- Hercules in the Underworld
- Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur
Bandit films (Based on the Smokey and the Bandit films):
- Bandit: Bandit's Silver Angel
- Bandit Goes Country
- Bandit Bandit
- Beauty and the Bandit
Vanishing Son films:
- Vanishing Son
- Vanishing Son II
- Vanishing Son III
- Vanishing Son IV
Starting as a series of four made for television movies in 1994, the series debuted on January 16, 1995. Vanishing Son I, Vanishing Son II, Vanishing Son III, and Vanishing Son IV, were aired on February 28, July 18, July 25, and October 10, 1994, respectively. The series was ground-breaking for the casting of an Asian male in an attractive leading-man role.
The theme song is used in the Action Pack opening sequence, sponsorships, as well as the full version of the theme used in promos for the TV movies. The theme was composed by Velton Ray Bunch.
- Hollywood Premiere Network was an early attempt by Universal Television to create an ad hoc syndication network. Although not a "real" network with affiliates and the like, they were ahead of their time and would have better success with the Universal Action Pack later in the 1990s. The series aired in many of the stations that would later become either UPN or WB affiliates. She-Wolf of London premiered along with two other shows, Shades of L.A. and They Came from Outer Space on October 9, 1990
- Mysteries Surrounding the Creation of the Syndicated Television Show XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS Whoosh Online Edition. Issue Three. November 1996.
- IMDB Vanshing Son Plot Summary
- Bevis King's Xena: Warrior Princess website
- After Hercules, Rob Tapert takes on Cleopatra By Patrick Lee. SciFi.com. January 24, 2000.